Support pedal pushed for T-Bay racetrack

By Carl Clutchey
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chronicle-Journal

Thunder City Speedway could soon become a year-round operation in wake of a $200,000 provincial turbo boost.

Announced on Wednesday, the funds for the Oliver Paipoonge business are to offset the cost of installing bleachers around the facility’s oval, red-clay racetrack, as well as for improved lighting and a new sound system.

“These upgrades will help establish year-round racing events for the Thunder Bay area, including dirt track, snowmobile, go-cart, monster truck, canine and equestrian racing,” a provincial news release said.

The funds were unveiled by Conservative MPP Kevin Holland (Thunder Bay-Atikokan).

The Highway 130 speedway, which is currently in its second spring and summer season, “has been a welcome addition to our area and the fan excitement has been building,” Holland said in the news release.

Speedway manager Todd Robinson said Thursday the bleachers, which are already in place, can seat 4,000 people.

Robinson estimated that about $100,000 has recently been invested into the speedway, in addition to the $200,000 the province kicked in.

Races usually attract more than 100 entrants. Most racers are in it for fun, Robinson said, but the Half-way Motors Group & Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. event held in June heats up competition, with a total purse of $80,000.

The provincial money announced this week was flowed to the Thunder Valley Development Corp., which is overseen by speedway owners Norman and Louis Nadin.

“Targeted investments like these . . . help Northern businesses expand operations and contribute to the sustainability, prosperity and growth of the North’s tourism industry,” Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford (Kenora-Rainy River) said in the news release.

According to a provincial backgrounder, the province has provided $685 million to Northern businesses and community projects since 2018.