START YOUR ENGINES: Clearwater race track reopening for the first time in 15 years | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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START YOUR ENGINES: Clearwater race track reopening for the first time in 15 years

Merritt Stock Car Association President Dale Calder, her husband and Vice President Jake Mills.
Image Credit: Rusty Clark
October 03, 2020 - 3:30 PM

The Clearwater Speedway will soon see some action again for the first time in 15 years.

With the full support of the property's owner, the Merritt Stock Car Association is working to reopen it for racing once again.

"It's great, inexpensive family entertainment," Dale Calder, president of the Merritt Stock Car Association said. "So far we've had an unbelievable response from the community, people want to volunteer."

A race at the Clearwater Speedway, about 15 years ago.
A race at the Clearwater Speedway, about 15 years ago.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rusty Clark

The Clearwater Speedway was one of many tracks abandoned over the years around the province due to lack of funding. Near Kamloops, the Scheidam Flats Speedway was shut down in 1978 when their lease was doubled. 

However, some tracks died despite the resources being available to operate. 

For example, Vernon's Motoplex Speedway met its end following a lengthy legal battle with the developer of a housing subdivision near the track. It is now under a court order to keep its noise level under 80 decibels, which is impossible to do with race cars. 

READ MORE: Noise limit making it hard to return to the races at North Okanagan's Motoplex Speedway

It's exciting for racing fans that the owner of the Clearwater Speedway supports its reopening, as it's rare an abandoned track gets revived.

In order to get the track operational, though there's a lot of vegetation clearing and track maintenance that needs to get done. 

"We're looking at doing some major clean-up this weekend and possibly another weekend before the snow flies, then be up and running for the 2021 season," Calder said. "We're going to have two two-day events out there mid-summer."

A racing team at the Clearwater Speedway in 1996.
A racing team at the Clearwater Speedway in 1996.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rusty Clark

The events will be scheduled within the Merritt Stock Car Association's racing season. The long term goal will be to have a full racing season out at Clearwater Speedway running in junction with races in Merritt.

Calder said there's a big racing community in Merritt, and the Stock Car Association has been running the Merritt Speedway for the last 30 years.

She's been the Association's president for three years, and racing for 43 years.

"You've got every age group, denomination, you name it. We're all just one big happy race family," she said. "Everybody helps everybody, and it's great."

The work is already underway to clean up the Clearwater Speedway.
The work is already underway to clean up the Clearwater Speedway.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Clearwater Speedway

She said they're always welcoming new people to come out and get involved, and there's plenty of work to be done at the Clearwater Speedway.

The track is located an hour and twenty minutes North of Kamloops, in a rural area just outside Clearwater.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to get the track back up and running, or help out when the track is open can contact the Merritt Stock Car Association or join the Clearwater Speedway Facebook group.

"If you've got small lawn mowers or tractors you can bring and help out, we'll be welcoming you with open arms," she said. "Even if you just want to come out and learn more."

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


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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