GREENFIELD - Start your engines!
The roar of the dragsters will return to the South Shore Airport in Greenfield this summer with five scheduled race weekends beginning at the end of this month.
Jack Johnson, vice-president of the Nova Scotia Drag Racing Association (NSDRA), who has called the airport its home for the last 18 years, said after dealing with restrictions for so long it will be nice to get back to normal.
"Obviously, after two years of COVID-19 we're very excited and looking forward to a full season without having to have a limited number of racers and having spectators in the stands which is absolutely huge. It's going to be very exciting," he commented.
No races took place in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions. In 2021, the racers were able to compete on four weekends, but with no spectators. The final weekend, scheduled for September was pushed ahead because of rain to October and spectators were allowed to attend. However, the rain again wreaked havoc on the weekend and no racing was able to be held. However, not all was lost.
"The awesome thing about our spectators and people who come out to support our track, even on that Saturday morning as it was raining and it was clear we weren't going to be able to race, people were still coming through the gate and paying their admission just because they wanted to be there," he said.
"This gives us pretty high hopes for this year."
On a normal race day, a visitor can expect to be among 700 and 1,000 spectators. The number of racers can range anywhere from 100-120 vehicles on the opening weekend to as many as 170-200 vehicles during the summer race weekends coming from across the Maritimes.
Johnson said fans will see everything from sleds and motorbikes racing to the ordinary car that you see every day on the street to the 290 km/h dragster that will zip down the straight in about seven seconds.
None of this is possible without the support of the fans, racers, volunteers and sponsors throughout the racing season and Johnson, without being biased, believes they have the best of everything in Greenfield.
He said this was no more evident than in recent weeks that the Region of Queens Municipality was working on selling the airport and the NSDRA was going to have to work out a deal with the new owners.
"The outpouring of support from the fans and businesses was just incredible," he remarked. "We had so many calls from people asking what they can do to help. It really showed how much support we have across Queens and Lunenburg counties and even from across the province."
The NSDRA signed an agreement with new owner Gerd Limke, CEO of Liemke Ventures Limited for which Johnson said they "are very happy to have a three-year deal with the new owner."
The season will kick off with opening weekend May 28-29 followed by racing July 1-3, Aug. 5-7, Aug. 26-28 and winding up with the season finalé, Sept. 23-25.