Greg Sabatino photoGordan Bettles, in the No 17 truck from Williams Lake, collides with No. 22 Ken Waslen from Riske Creek in the Stampede Hit to Pass Friday night at Thunder Mountain Speedway

Greg Sabatino photoGordan Bettles, in the No 17 truck from Williams Lake, collides with No. 22 Ken Waslen from Riske Creek in the Stampede Hit to Pass Friday night at Thunder Mountain Speedway

Thunder Mountain celebrates Stampede weekend in style for 60th anniversary

It was an historic weekend for Thunder Mountain Speedway as they celebrated their 60th anniversary.

It was an historic weekend for Thunder Mountain Speedway as they celebrated their 60th anniversary in style with back-to-back days of racing.

Friday featured the crowd favourite Hit to Pass, Smoke Show and King of the Hill, while Sunday evening’s action saw the Tri-City Series Street Stock Race and All Class Invitational put the rubber to the pavement.

More than 1,000 spectators lined the track Friday as carnage ensued throughout the night in the Hit to Pass.

The Smoke Show, and King of the Hill – where anyone can enter their own car in a one-on-one race – also delighted.

“It was excellent for the 60th anniversary at Thunder Mountain,” said past president of both TMS and the Tri-City Series Tim Westwick.

“Can’t thank the volunteers and the executive, race fans and sponsors enough. Zero complains from anyone.”

Friday’s Hit to Pass saw Williams Lake’s Gordan Bettles bring home the checkered flag in the main event, followed by Lincoln Astelford in second. Dylan O’Hanley brought home the third-place finish in what was a chaotic race, which saw a light drizzle on the track make things interesting for drivers.

Ken Waslen, Jason Howlett, Harley Astelford, Brian Bettles, Alfred Jack, Cal Bradshaw and Melvin Christopher rounded out the rest of the field and finished in order of names, respectively.

On Saturday at the Tri-City Series, Williams Lake’s Arnie Kunka proved he was not one to mess around with.

Westwick said he’s been working hard on a new car in preparation for this year’s racing season.

“He’s been working for a long time on this car,” he said. “I think it’s the first brand-new car he’s ever owned. His whole WOF racing team have been working on it.”

Byron Hesselgrave of Quesnel was also a surprise finisher in second place as he made some early morning repairs to his car and didn’t get any practice laps in before race time.

“He went out there and got fast time,” Westwick said.

From out of town, Ryan Wade of Kelowna placed third.

Also impressive was Jason Shapansky of Kamloops, Westwick added.

“He pretty much calls Thunder Mountain his home track now,” Westwick said. “He won the qualifier race — that was one of the biggest wins for him and he ran a pretty good race and finished in the top 10 so that was impressive.”

Another racer Westwick said who put on a good show was Billy Beasley in the No. 51 Camaro.

“He was extremely quick and was a contender but had some mechanical problems and dropped out but he’s a force to be reckoned with in the series. It’s the first time he’s moved up to street stocks,” Westwick said. “And Dan Mellon, he’s his crew guy and he’s kind of a car whisperer in B.C. If there’s a fast car out there Dan’s had some advice on it.”

Williams Lake’s Tyler Yuill also made an impression on fans and the TMS executive as he raced for the first time ever in a street stock.

“He ran a very smart, clean race and finished in the eighth position,” Westwick said.

“All in all it we had some of B.C.’s top drivers and clean racing and safe racing. And it was exciting.”

Westwick and the TMS executive thanked Rob Zimmer of Zimmer Auto Group in Kamloops — a former top-three championship place runner — Lordco and Finish Line Racing Products for their support for running the event.

And to Bruce Bentley in Quesnel, who sponsor’s the track’s fast time from Bentley Motosports, Bob Lowen, the TMS president, Lynn Dunford and all of TMS. It was a very professionally-run show.”

The Tri-City Series is now looking forward to its second race of the season in Prince George, coming up Saturday, Aug. 12.

“We expect an even higher car count at that race,” Westwick said.

“It’s going to be big.

“Thanks to all the guys that came from all over the province this weekend — Victoria, Penticton, all the out of town competitors were super appreciative.”

Williams Lake Tribune