Races will go on this weekend at the Penticton Speedway but under a new set of guidelines.
Under direction from Interior Health (IH) and Dr. Bonnie Henry’s office, the crowd has been limited to 50 people, not including pit crews. As of Friday, July 17, all 50 tickets have been sold for the July 18-19 event, and no further guests will be allowed on the premises.
This comes after resistance from IH put the races on hold, earlier this week.
Speedway owner Johnny Aantjes expressed frustration at the decision. On average, the speedway attracts about 4,000 fans.
“I’m disappointed, to say the least, I’m frustrated. I’m looking around and I’m seeing so many instances where, particularly the beaches and the parks, where nobody is enforcing physical distancing, and there’s a lot of people in a small area,” said Aantjes.
Unlike the speedway, he explained, where they plan on enforcing physical distancing and implementing certain measures to help lower the risk for those involved.
With just 50 spectators in the stands, Aantjes said they can’t come close to covering their costs, yet, the races will go on.
“Racing is a part of mental health for a lot of people too, it’s an outlet for people; you need something that’s in a safe, restricted area that people can get out and do their thing. And we think it’s necessary, it has to happen,” he said.
Races will include Hornets, Street Stock and Hit-2-Pass events, with the Hit-2-Pass vehicles towing boats and trailers as they race.
The Western News will be live-streaming the main Hit-2-Pass event on our Facebook page, which will take place between 8:15 and 8:45 p.m. Saturday night.