Don Spencer gives a bit of a smoke show with his 1971 Dodge Challenger RT during a previous Thunder in the Valley drag racing event. ROGER HAGGERTY PHOTO

Don Spencer gives a bit of a smoke show with his 1971 Dodge Challenger RT during a previous Thunder in the Valley drag racing event. ROGER HAGGERTY PHOTO

Drag racers cancel Alberni’s Thunder in the Valley for 2019

Organizers make last-minute decision after regional district denies airport for venue

Thunder in the Valley has been cancelled for 2019.

Roger Haggerty from the Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association made the announcement on social media late Wednesday night following a general meeting of the AVDRA.

“Thunder in the Valley 2019 is cancelled,” Haggerty posted. “We tried to make it happen on Stamp Avenue.”

Even though association representatives met with San Group on Wednesday about parking, and San Group was supportive, “there is just not enough space left anymore,” Haggerty wrote. His was one of several posts made on Facebook after the AVDRA vote.

San Group bought a portion of land from Catalyst Paper that has been used for parking for Thunder in the Valley since it was held at Stamp Avenue. The lumber company will be building a manufacturing plant for wood products on the site this spring or early summer.

The drag racing association was forced to make a decision about whether to hold a race this year after the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District made a surprise reversal of their decision last week over use of the Alberni Valley Regional Airport. The City of Port Alberni had given permission to hold the race on Stamp Avenue for a third year in a row.

Haggerty sits on a committee examining the idea of a permanent drag racing facility in the Alberni Valley. He indicated the AVDRA will have an official statement about the cancellation on Thursday, May 16.