When Fort St. John Car Culture and the Peace Region Motorsports Association came together to hold the 1st Annual Peace Auto Fest, the intention was to give car enthusiasts something else to look forward to and be excited about.
“The Fort St. John Classic Cruisers only have their classic show and shine on Canada Day, and we wanted to do something else, that combines the best of both groups,” said organizer Kaylyn Senft.
The Auto Fest, held at the South Taylor Chain-Up on Sept. 7, appeared to be in vain, as it started raining in the morning and looked to continue all day. Instead of ruining the event, the weather confirmed Senft’s hunch that a festival was needed.
“This is a great turnout. Normally if it’s raining we don’t expect too many cars, but today is massive. There are more people here today than most dry days,” said Juan Garcia with the PMRA, and winner of the Auto Fest’s Competitive Class Autocross race.
Indeed, the chain-up was full with cars lined up to put in their best autocross time, and with tents for those not racing to watch. Not a single complaint about the weather could be heard, and the race went off without a hitch. The PMRA designed a track to acomodate the rain, with wider lanes than usual with lots of runoffs to prevent water from pooling in one spot.
“It’s not as quite as fast as normal out there, and pretty slippery, but it’s great. A couple of drivers were getting their tails out and doing some drifting, but no incidents,” said Garcia.
Still, the festival wasn’t as full as it likely would have been without the rain. The show and shine consisted of autocross cars already present, instead of cruisers showing off their classic cars coming to stand around in the rain. The weather also kept many spectators who weren’t already involved in the two groups from coming out, but if all goes as planned, there will be an opportunity for more people to come out next year and in the following years.
“We were so excited about this event and a lot of people booked time off to be here. We want to grow it every year, and could eventually include a burnout or drift competition,” said Senft.
“Hopefully it’s drier next year, but I’m glad we could get the ball rolling. These guys are hardcore, rain or shine, and will come out no matter what. It’s important to have this kind of culture in town, as many people have this passion for cars, but without groups or races there’s no outlet for them. If you’re spending so much time building your car, you want to be able to show it off and do something with it,” Garcia said.
Juan Garcia, Russ Lofstrom
Varga A, Marcus
Show N Shine
Best JDM: Russ Lofstrom, R34
Best Euro: Christopher J. Staverman, Audi
Best American: Colton Roy James, Chrysler 300
1970<: Bob Guido, Mustang
Most Creative: Justin Lagasse, 180SX
Best Craftsmanship: Nathan Fougere, Integra
Best modified: Gene Salinas Casareno, Honda Civic
Beater with a heater: Ryan T. Mucci, Corolla
People's Choice: Russ Lofstrom, R34
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.