In photos: Racers fueled by ‘horsepower therapy’ take to Okanagan track despite slim crowd

(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
38-DD Race Team crew members John Miller and Angel Tranter. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)38-DD Race Team crew members John Miller and Angel Tranter. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Driver Tyler Fuller with the Leading Edge Glass and Axe Monkeys team. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)Driver Tyler Fuller with the Leading Edge Glass and Axe Monkeys team. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Races continued this weekend at the Penticton Speedway, but things were much quieter than usual. The Speedway only reserved 50 tickets, due to social distancing protocols put in place by Interior Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry’s office. Despite having very few people in the crowd, drivers still hit the track for an evening of high-intensity races. Some events were cancelled, and driver participation was lower than usual. See story on page 6. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)Races continued this weekend at the Penticton Speedway, but things were much quieter than usual. The Speedway only reserved 50 tickets, due to social distancing protocols put in place by Interior Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry’s office. Despite having very few people in the crowd, drivers still hit the track for an evening of high-intensity races. Some events were cancelled, and driver participation was lower than usual. See story on page 6. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)
(Phil McLachlan - Western News)(Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Races went on last weekend (July 18, 19) at the Penticton Speedway, but things were a little quieter than usual.

The stands, which normally hold several thousand enthusiastic fans, held less than 50, due to COVID-19 safety measures put in place by Interior Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry’s office.

Days before races were set to take place, resistance from IH put the races on hold.

On average, the speedway attracts about 4,000 fans. In early July, the speedway hosted their first event of the season, at which they seated about 1,500. Speedway owner Johnny Aantjes expressed frustration at the decision to limit the crowd.

“I’m disappointed, to say the least, I’m frustrated. I’m looking around and I’m seeing so many instances where, particularly the beaches and the parks, where nobody is enforcing physical distancing, and there’s a lot of people in a small area,” said Aantjes.

Unlike the speedway, he explained, where they plan on enforcing physical distancing and implementing certain measures to help lower the risk for those involved.

READ MORE: In photos: Penticton Speedway celebrates opening weekend

With just 50 spectators in the stands, Aantjes said they wouldn’t come close to covering their costs, yet, the races will go on.

“Racing is a part of mental health for a lot of people too, it’s an outlet for people; you need something that’s in a safe, restricted area that people can get out and do their thing. And we think it’s necessary, it has to happen,” he said.

Come Saturday less than 50 people observed drivers race around the track in their respective categories, including Hornets, Street Stock and Hit-2-Pass.

The pits were also less full than usual. Some drivers chose not to come to the event.

Josh Miller took first in Hit-2-Pass event Saturday, his first ever hit race. Despite the small crowd, he said he was just happy to be racing.

“We waited so long to be racing, it sucks with no fans, but we’re still out having fun,” said Miller.

On a regular weekend in July, the event would attract between 12 to 16 Hit-2-Pass cars, filling the pits with vehicles, but on Saturday, there were many empty spots.

The 38-DD Race Team crew admitted they debated coming out to the races.

“We weren’t actually going to come out, because there’s no fans. If there’s no fans, there’s no point. We do it for the fun, we do it for the fans… putting on a show for the crowd is what matters,” said Miller.

However even more than this, the reason they race is because of something they call, “horsepower therapy.”

“When it’s the off-season, as soon as Christmas rolls around, you get that itch. You don’t realize how much this helps you, with stress and all that, until you sit in there and your foot goes to the floor. We call it horsepower therapy,” said team member, Angel Tranter.

Driver Tyler Fuller with the Leading Edge Glass and Axe Monkeys team, said the small crowd didn’t change a lot for him. When he puts his foot to the floor, he says he’s so focused on the car in front of him that he barely notices the people in the stands.

“This is my outlet, you can’t do it on the street, or you shouldn’t anyway. You can some out here, put your foot to the floor and hold it there as long as you dare…,” he said.

Fuller took third in Street Stock on Saturday night.

He said one of the biggest reasons he comes back is because of the speedway group.

“It’s the Penticton Speedway family. Once you’re in you’re in, you’re part of the family. It’s nice, I should have come here a long time ago.”

After the races concluded that night, Aantjes said the crowd was lighter than he anticipated, but happy they were able to easily keep within their 50-person limit.

“(It was) a good night of racing overall, we kept racing going. (For) 50 years we’ve have racing at this race track… it looks like we’ll still be able to pull the season off, so there’s something to be said for that,” he said.

Their next big event of the season will be the Gordie Mannes Memorial Weekend, July 31 to August 2.

READ MORE: Another winery in South Okanagan closes due to COVID-19

READ MORE: VIDEO: Summerland mayor destroys bandanas with Confederate symbol

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snowboarders at Revelstoke Mountain Resort heading for the gondola. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Another 16 COVID-19 cases for Revelstoke

The cases were identified between Jan. 3 and 9

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A performance by Alex Cuba will be streaming live on Arts Revelstoke platforms on Feb. 12, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Fasano, submitted by Arts Revelstoke)
Arts Revelstoke hosting virtual performances and movies this season

REVY. Live and Movies in the Mountains is returning

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Shrubbery peeking through snow in downtown Revelstoke on Jan. 14. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
95% less snow in Revelstoke this winter compared to last year

However, there’s plenty of snow in the alpine

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

Most Read