How gearheads once convinced Kamloops to let them drag race on a city street | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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How gearheads once convinced Kamloops to let them drag race on a city street

Dave Stobbe's race car was built in 1969. He still has it.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Dave Stobbe
September 11, 2021 - 8:30 AM

A drag race strip in Kamloops B.C. once attracted hundreds of race cars and thousands of spectators in the early 1980s.

Headed by avid race car driver Dave Stobbe, the Kamloops Sports Racers convinced the city to let them run the 1/8th mile strip on McGill Road.

Stobbe, who had been racing cars on farm roads in Abbotsford since he was sixteen, initiated the movement after moving to Kamloops.

“In the early eighties there was basically no place to race in the immediate area,” Stobbe said. “We found the city had built an industrial area on McGill road and they hadn’t sold any lots yet. I thought it was a good place to try racing, blocked the road, unloaded the car and made a run.”

Stobbe said he called some friends and they approached the city. In September of ’82, the city approved their request to have a drag racing event.  Three weeks later, they hosted their first race.

“Council gave us permission for a single race and money we made would go to help the hospital purchase new X-ray equipment," Stobbe recalled. “Within three weeks we built a portable tower and installed guard rails, barricades and wiring for a borrowed timing system. There must have been up to 5,000 fans but I wasn't paying attention, I was racing."

Stobbe said cars came in from Kamloops, Kelowna and Salmon Arm to race, and the event was so successful approximately $4,000 was raised for the hospital. He said the event was so popular the city approved more races for the following few years.

“We did four or five races until ’85 when we were shut down," he said. “Until then we pretty much had free reign of that whole area. Things ran really smoothly. I think we had about three accidents but nobody got hurt. Things got too big and too fast and a real track opened in nearby Ashcroft in ’86. The property is now covered with warehouses."

Stobbe still has his race car that he built in 1969.

READ MORE: Kamloops's last racetrack, and why it was abandoned 42 years ago

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