Last weekend’s events at Saratoga Speedway began with a splash and ended with a bang.
Lataisha Maynard of Courtenay, B.C.’s strongest woman, provided the splash in front of an enthusiastic crowd when she harnessed up and pulled the Alpine EMS ambulance with an estimated weight of 8,500 pounds for 100 feet. That was the warm-up as a Campbell River Boatland full-sized GMC carrying an ATV and towing an 18-foot motorboat for an estimated 12,800 pounds rolled up to the dragstrip. The strong-lady and single mom is working her way to national competition this fall and the fans pitched in donating more than $800 to help Lataisha make it to Thunder Bay.
The racing was fast and consistent as once again the Kyte Delivery Hornet B division put on a great show starting 20 cars and going 20 laps with only two cautions. There are lots of young drivers in this field racing door-to-door keeping auto racing where it belongs: in a controlled, safe environment and not on the streets. At the finish line in first place it was the # 2 of Brandon Carter with #93 Nolan Perry in second and #77 Al Carter rounding out the Powerhouse Sheetrock Podium.
Hornet A action followed when four B racers opted into the main event with a competition transfer expanding the field to nine starters. The action was intense. Boston Larson filling in for the absent Bill Mayell driving Bill’s #24 was caught up in a late-race spin which sent both cars to the back. When racing resumed, it was #91 James Laidlaw currently second in points finishing ahead of points leader #98 Nigel Neufeld and B racer # 69 Tyler Farrell at the line. This marked rookie Farrell’s first podium finish. After being a spectator at the races, he thought he would get a car and put his skills to the test.
With points on the line plus a big pay out in the boat race to come, the Crash to Pass cranked up the heat with 15 smash-ready race cars eager to do battle in two feature races. The points race was scheduled for 20 laps but was shortened when the fifth caution came out at lap 7 to ensure enough time and cars remained for the main. It was #12 Kenny Baker from Langford crossing the line first with #43 Erik Jessen from Nanaimo hot on his bumper and Black Creek’s #73 Sheldon Hopp in third place for the points and trophies.
The fans were pumped up and ready for the “bang” that is the Saratoga Speedway Boat race with $2,000 cash put up by Travis Atkinson, GM of CR Boatland. With the track watered down, and the boats and cars lined up, announcer Rocky Horne led the fans in the countdown to green. It didn’t take long for the first destructive hit to shatter a boat and what followed was mayhem and excitement. It was difficult to keep up with cars and boats spinning wildly, bouncing off the concrete barriers, crunching together in a cacophony of carnage. When the race was called to an end, five warriors were still running with enough boat remaining for the officials to consider. Rocky solicited help from the fans as the judges deliberated and a winner was announced: #47 Langford’s Dakota Hanson in his ’56 Ford “tank” was able to preserve the most boat and claim the grand prize. #73 Sheldon Hopp was close behind and #18 Craig Holfeld took third place cash and trophy.
On Aug. 27, Saratoga Speedway welcomes the BC Street Stocks for the annual 75-lap Invitational sponsored by Brendon Moore Industries. Tickets are going fast but still available: www.saratogarcing.ca