‘Spectator-less events not benefiting association’: Drag racing PRO says sport struggling financially due to Covid restrictions

Executive member of the Antigua and Barbuda Drag Racing Association, Renee Edwards-Ambrose. (Social media photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

The prolonged suspension of competition brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and, by extension, the recent wave of cases, could further stagnate the return of drag racing and planned renovation of the track located at North Sound.

This is according Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the association (ABDRA) Renee Edwards Ambrose, who said the body loses money whenever it puts on a test and tune event, as they are not allowed to have spectators at the North Sound Raceway.

“At the end of the day, if we were to put on a test event, we would be significantly in the red and we can’t be pulling money from where we don’t know we are going to find it. One of the things we are trying to do as well is educate our fraternity, as that in itself will contribute to whether or not we will be able to host anything in terms of events at the North Sound Raceway,” she said. 

There has been no competitive races at the track since early 2020 with the government granting permission for only test and tune. The body is, however, not allowed to have any patrons at those events and with the recent upsurge in cases, gatherings have been further reduced from 25 to 10.

Ambrose said the association has been actively campaigning for its members to get vaccinated against the deadly virus.

“We need our drivers to actually have an event so if we don’t have a significant amount of drivers, or drivers who would significantly contribute to the running of test events, then it doesn’t make any sense for us to open the race track because just to prep the track, a drum of track bite is $2,500, and then we still have to clean, cut the grass and all these different things,” the driver and mechanic said. 

As for needed repairs on the track, Ambrose said simply that without spectator fuelled events, the association will not be able to generate the funds needed to carry out the repairs.

“I spoke to the president over the last couple of days and asked, ‘cap what’s going on?’ He said that if we can’t utilise it and if it’s a case where we don’t have the money to support that [repairs] coming in from test events where we are able to have spectators that will help to fund that, then it doesn’t make any sense to pull from money we really necessarily don’t have,” she said.

In September last year, the drag racing fraternity was caught unawares by the resignation of its then president, Gene Mason. Vice President, Denelle Richards, assumed the lead role.

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