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Street legal racers will drag through Quesnel

Cariboo the scene for inaugural B.C. drag tour
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The BC Dragit Challenge, organized by Mark and Dianne Boutilier, will feature cars like these passing through the Cariboo on a combination drag racing / scavenger hunt event. (Photo courtesy Dianne Boutilier)

Some hot cars will be rolling down the Cariboo Highway on a brand new adventure.

Organizers of the BC Dragit Challenge hope it will become an annual event, if this inaugural year chirps the racers’ tires the way they expect. Mark and Dianne Boutilier are organizers of many auto races and rallies, with a long history in the B.C. racing sector. They were behind a cross-Canada, 35-day vehicle rally for ALS in their ‘53 Chevy truck. They are behind the Cache Creek Drag Races as well, which is why they felt inspired to use that as the start and finish of their latest brainchild.

The BC Dragit Challenge is based on similar events elsewhere in Canada and the U.S. they have taken part in before. B.C. didn’t have one, so they made it happen. It’s part flat-out drag race, part scavenger hunt, all to show off driving and vehicles within a spectacular setting.

The sequence of events starts June 15 in Cache Creek, where the first race occurs, then they hustle up the highway to Prince George for another race the next day. On June 17 they race in 100 Mile House, June 18 the races are at the airstrip in Lillooet, and on June 19 everyone converges back in Cache Creek. There is a broad time allotment for racing at each track, so if you don’t like your first official time, you can give it another go, to a point.

The cars don’t race on the highway, in between towns, but they have to complete some tasks to prove their legality along the way (meaning driving their cars, not trailering them to save wear and tear).

“There have been many such events going on for years in the United States, which intrigued us to the point we wanted B.C. to have its own drag ‘n’ drive event,” said Dianne Boutilier to The Observer. “We are very proud to be the organizers of such a great drag and drive event, the first of it’s kind in British Columbia.”

She is very excited to be passing through Quesnel in two directions. Although this first year has no drag race here, the future is as open as that world class road that flows through the Cariboo.

“We have a few people from Quesnel who are registered for the Dragit - three at least, maybe four, at this point,” said Boutilier. “The Prospectors Car Club has some members in the event, and they are pretty excited about it.”

There are some rules to this, of course, starting with no support vehicles allowed.

“It’s the endurance test of the car and the driver. You can’t trailer it anywhere, and it has to be the same car the entire time,” said Boutilier. “The vehicles have to be street legal. They have to have a working horn, headlights, brake lights, windshield wipers, the whole bit. They have to pass tech inspection at the start, and they have to pass tech at each track.”

If something goes mechanically wrong, there are sponsors in each town for auto parts and repairs.

“At nine o’clock that first day in Cache Creek, you can’t go back to your regular vehicle,” she explained. “You are with your race car and whatever’s in it: your co-pilot, your clothes, any tools you think you might need, you can have a small trailer and some people bring racing tires along, but you can only have that.”

Once you’re on the road, the participants are going to drop the hammer at the designated tracks, all picturesque, no two the same, and then in between they have tasks to perform provable by shooting photos. Some of those checkpoints provide important information for the next task.

“If you miss a checkpoint, you have to go back and get it,” said Boutilier. “If they get to the next stop and you don’t have that picture of you at the checkpoint, you have to turn around and go get it, in each location.”

Winners will be crowned in seven classes at the final race, based on their best time at each race.

Each participant is also given a tourist information package on towns in which they race, and the others they pass through in between. It’s a vehicle love-fest, but also a Cariboo croon.

For more information, look up the BC Dragit Challenge page on Facebook or email bcdragit@gmail.com.

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