‘It’s certainly an adrenaline rush’

North Bay Nugget

The demolition derby is a popular attraction at the Powassan Agricultural Fall Fair. This year marks the fair’s 124th anniversary. Some of the other events that were held throughout the weekend were live entertainment, inflatables, horse pull and an exhibition display featuring a variety of vegetables, baking, crafts, photography and children’s artwork. Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles, The Nugget Picasa / jpg, NB

It’s legalized road rage that spectators love to watch.

The Powassan Fall Fair Demolition Derby is a festival staple and is known for attracting the large crowds.

This year was no exception. More than 600 people attended the Agricultural Fairgrounds, off Highway 11 Sunday to witness adults enjoying a game of real bumper cars.

Don Turner, main technician for Edge Motor Sports, said it’s a popular attraction that doesn’t leave participants nor spectators disappointed at fall fairs across the province.

“It’s certainly an adrenaline rush,” he added. “It’s an event that you can compete in for a couple hundred bucks.”

He said he expected about 15 to 25 cars at Sunday’s event.

“For the driver it’s legalized road rage and for the spectators, well, everyone likes to see a car smashed up,” Turner said.

“You can see the drivers smiling from the stands. Some competitors are quite ruthless, however I’ve seen others who help their competitors get unstuck just so that they can keep on playing.”

However the adrenaline rush doesn’t come without a strict set of rules and guidelines.

He said every vehicle has to be inspected before it enters the competition stage.

“The interior of the vehicle has to be completely stripped, nothing flammable. As well, all of the glass like the windows and lights and loose trim has to be removed.”

0903 nb derby3.NB.jpg Picasa / jpg, NB

Turner said practically the only thing left in the vehicle is the driver’s seat.

He said the air bags must be out, the fuel tank has to be removed – the fuel is stored in a marine steel tank located behind the driver’s seat.

“The battery also has to be removed from the front and put into a secure box and placed on the passenger floor. Drivers have to have access to a fire extinguisher and must have a front seat belt and good brakes in order to compete.”

Turner said the driver’s door is painted white with a number on it.

“Opponents can’t hit vehicles on that side,” he said. “We don’t like to see head-to-head front end collisions as the body takes the brunt of the impact, but we don’t mind seeing a good 45-degree angle hit.”

Turner said he will be checking vehicles for any illegal welding and major changes that have been made to give the driver an advantage.

As a competitor for more than 30 years, Turner knows the attraction people have to the event.

With more than 300 trophies, plaques and titles, he said it was time to hang up his helmet two years ago.

“I started at the age of 12, back when there wasn’t any rules,” he joked. “I didn’t even have my driver’s license and was competing.”

Turner said his passion attracted his wife and daughters to also compete.

“Some women do quite well in this event. They’re calmer and they think, guys just get excited and trash the vehicle.”

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