Car-loving students from four Surrey schools are back on track – the drag-racing track, that is.
After a two-year hiatus, races in Mission this spring involve after-school racing clubs from Frank Hurt, Guildford Park, Lord Tweedsmuir and Queen Elizabeth secondary schools.
On April 29, students revved their engines at the track for the first time since COVID stalled everything.
One of only a few such clubs left in the school district, Frank Hurt Drag Racing Club spun off from the school’s automotive program.
“It’s nice to be back into the swing of things,” said club volunteer Gary Klose, a retired district EA and tradesperson.
“It’s been difficult this year, because of COVID and how it hit, it’s been hard finding kids to get involved. We lost a few years due to COVID.”
Video of the racing action is posted to vimeo.com.
Frank Hurt’s main drag car is a hornet-coloured 1980 Malibu, which Grade 12 student Sukhman Gill finally got to drive on April 29. Prior to that, Gill, who has his ‘N’ license, had only test-driven a few of the club’s other slower, less-powerful vehicles.
“I’ve taken automotive classes since Grade 8 and always wanted to join the drag racing club because it’s just more time spent around the cars,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in cars and now (with races starting up again) I have an opportunity to work on them more. I just want more experience.”
Membership in the club has led students to become Red Seal mechanics and work in high-performance shops, in dealerships or for large companies, maintaining fleet vehicles.
At Frank Hurt, the auto shop has been there “pretty much since day one of the school opening,” Klose said during a tune-up session at the garage.
For students, the Malibu is a magnet.
“The Malibu has a 383 stroker (engine) and it’ll lift the front wheels off at full power,” Klose explained. “So we tune those down for the kids before they get behind the wheel. There’s a rule for the school races, that they cannot go faster than a 12-second quarter-mile. If they go under 12 seconds, we get a fine.”
The April 29 gathering in Mission was supposed to be the start of the race season, but organizers turned it into a practice and test-run day, to iron out any kinks accumulated during the two-year hiatus.
“This is a safe and controlled environment for students to learn about this stuff and that’s rare,” Klose said. “We make sure the kids are caught up on their studies, and if I hear that they’re racing on the streets, they’re done.”