Five students from Pleasant Valley secondary school in Armstrong had a thrilling weekend recently at the 1/4 mile drag racing track in Ashcroft.
The event marked a revival for the school dragcar that had last been used in the 1996 to 2000 school years. The 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix was affectionately nicknamed “Big Red” by the original student builders in 1996 for its shiny red coat of paint.
“I was surprised to find Big Red scattered in pieces around the school shop when I returned to teach at PVSS six years ago,” said automotive instructor Peter Tujik. “It took over two years of work and scrounging, to put the car back together in running order without a budget.”
Two years ago a group of students made a commitment to raise funds for racing by rebuilding a donated car with a blown motor. Last fall, they hosted a car show at the school with the aid of local car clubs. The PVSS PAC also helped with funds to update safety equipment on the race car.
“While much of the mechanical systems like the brakes and engine have been completely rebuilt in the past year, the exterior of the car looks exactly as it did when it was last raced 12 years ago,” said Tujik. “This includes decals from several sponsoring companies that no longer exist in the north end of the valley.”
The car races in the High School class of bracket racing where students require an “N” licence and school registration with the BC High School Motorsport Association. They are limited to elapsed times of 12 seconds or slower down the 1/4 mile track, but do not need to have elaborately built race cars to compete. Student Kyle Tyrrell proved this point by successfully racing his Honda Civic.
Big Red has gone back into storage for the time being until government contract negotiations with teachers move ahead and teachers resume extra-curricular activities again.
“I hope future students of PVSS can enjoy opportunities to race a fast car in a safe environment and keep racing off the streets,” said Tujik. ”Big Red will be waiting.”