Things got back in gear after the winter in Shulus this weekend, with the Merritt Speedway once again filled with the sounds and sights of the classic community favourite: race day.
Along with the four current classes of late model, street stock, four cylinder bomber, and junior four cylinder bombers, a new ‘Quarter Sprint’ class has been added to the fun for this season at the speedway. The new class, which consists of ‘mini sprint’ and ‘quarter midget’ cars for racers five to 13 years of age, had demonstrations on both of this weekend’s race days (May 20&21).
“When young people have something to do, and they have a passion, then they’re not out being hoodlums,” said Christopher Jones, volunteer media coordinator with the Merritt Speedway. “If they’ve got something to focus their energy on, and it [racing] is, it’s a great passion.”
While looking to engage youth with their Kids Club and new class of racing, Jones noted a number of improvement have been made for racers, fans, and volunteers alike. A new timing system, with an accompanying app called Speedhive for live results, has been installed at the track. Most races this season also include a new start time to increase the comfort of those at the track.
“One of the cool things we’re doing this year is changing a lot of our races to night races, instead of afternoon racing, and that means it’s not going to be so hot during the heat of the summer, not only for the racers, but for the fans,” added Jones.
Racing at night will bring cooler temperatures, meaning moisture will stay in the track for longer before dust becomes increasingly prevalent. All but one of the remaining six weekends of racing action will be night races, which start at 5:00 p.m.
For Jones, the weekend didn’t go exactly as planned as a racer, although he took it with humour and said it was all just a part of the sport he loves.
“I blew up my motor,” said Jones with a laugh. “It’s still functioning, it just doesn’t have the power it used to. It’s just one of those things in racing, and you just carry on, and get ‘er fixed.”
Results of the main events for both May 20 and 21 race days are below, counterclockwise, 4 cylinder Jr, 4 cylinder Sr, street stock, and late models:
May 20 Main Event results:
May 21 Main Event results:
Full results of the opening weekend of racing’s main events are available on the Speedhive app. For more information on the Merritt Speedway, visit www.facebook.com/merrittspeedway.ca.