No burning rubber at Hub auto festival
Organizers of the Atlantic Nationals automotive rally coming to Moncton later this week say they won't tolerate the kind of reckless driving and illegal drag racing that took the shine off last year's event.
Several of the participants raced down Mountain Road and performed wheel-spinning 'burnouts' for more than a thousand spectators last July. About 20 people were charged and fined.
- RELATED LINK: 2005 Atlantic Nationals
Bill Doherty, who helps organize the annual celebration of car culture, admits it was a dangerous situation.
"I saw people pushing baby carriages standing beside cars that were doing burnouts," he said.
"I mean, there could have been a part failure, there could have been anything if a car got loose and lost control. There could have been a lot of people hurt or killed, you just never know."
But Doherty says it won't happen this year. He says a zero tolerance policy will be in effect when the show opens on Thursday – and police will be there to enforce it.
"The police have a number of initiatives that they're doing and this year. There is an absolute zero tolerance on speeding, burnouts, any sort of reckless driving whatsoever. And the fines are big."
RCMP Cst. Michel Mercier says the police won't only be patrolling the streets of the city, they'll also be in the air to make sure the rules are being followed at all the venues.
"Having the helicopter supervising, we'll be able to send police officers immediately to any specific area," he said.
In spite of the crackdown, there will still be a special event at the Atlantic Nationals for people who love the smell of burning rubber.
A "Burnout Blitz" will be held at the Riverglade Speedway, in a closed area.
And for those automotive fans who prefer a more suburban style of action, the popular Le Lawns race will be back. It's a gruelling 24-hour event, featuring highly-competitive drivers on lawn tractors.