Drivers impressed Johnny Aantjes at the Penticton Speedway Championship for Eve of Destruction on Oct. 25.
Not only were the races great, vehicles looked good while smashing into each other.
“Got some good costumes going on with some theme cars,” said Aantjes, owner of Penticton Speedway. “We had really good attendance. I wish we had a few more spectators that participated in the (costume) contest. We had a bunch of little people that were into it so that was great. It was a lot of fun for the kids. It was a beautiful October afternoon. We had a bunch of cars from out of town.”
Among the vehicles was the crowd favourite “tank” as well as Superman and Batman themed cars.
When it came to the racing, fans watched Kale Shaw claim the Hit to Pass championship with 844 points. Rick Richet took second, finishing 35 points behind, while Norm Swerdfeger was third with 769 points.
“Kale Shaw had another good season. Rick Richet was right in there,” said Aantjes. “The three of them had a good battle for a few years.”
With Shaw taking next season off, Aantjes said Richet will take a run at the championship. Included in the results for Hit to Pass was Flying Destruction, which took place twice and added a “ton of fun” the Aantjes said. That will continue as spectators loved it, though Aantjes learned from some driver that they felt it was hard on the cars.
“There was a couple of people that were not happy with a stock car being used for the first one,” he said. “They didn’t take into account the fact that it was an old tired stock car whose days of glory have been long since used up. It was a new chance for some glory and it definitely got it with that first jump we hit.”
Winning the street stock championship was Aaron Yazlovasky over Ashley/Darren Patton by 283 points with 1012. Shaun Ross rounded out the top three with 626 points. Aantjes felt the street stocks had a good year, with only three low driver turnouts in 16 events.
The Hornets class was also strong. Clayton Campbell edged out Dakota Lyons, 972 to 928 for the Hornet championship. Conrad Brightman took third with 909 points. With the dwarf group, won by Ron Brewer, Aantjes wants to see more cars. There are 15 cars in the valley, however, only six to eight turned out unless it was a special event like the Gord Mannes Memorial. Aantjes plans to put in work to improve the numbers in that group.
Contributing to the success on the track was promotional work done with the Penticton Hospitality Association. Doing two-day events attracted tourists. The Gordie Mannes Memorial Weekend, sponsored by Underwriters Insurance, attracted a record-setting crowd of more than 7,000. The tailgate section was always full as well. Aantjes thanked his long-time sponsors and staff for the success enjoyed.
Next year Aantjes wants to push young people racing and family fun. He said anyone interested in getting involved with the racing should contact him. Whatever their interest is, he will do what he can to help. Johnny Aantjes can be reached at email@example.com.