It will be heaven for car fans this weekend when the Route 99 Cruz-In Club hosts the three-day Route 99 Cruz-In.
The event kicks off Friday evening, Sept. 14 with a Poker Run from the Old Mill Plaza to Seton Lake and the Lillooet Airport and back. That’s followed Saturday by the Cruz-In Car Show on the REC Centre lawn. The weekend culminates with Drag Races at the Lillooet Airport on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Cruz-In Club member Wayne Cook told the News he anticipates a big turnout.
For example, he said one car club is bringing in 14 vehicles for the car show.
“Al Koop and I just went down to Mission Raceways to their old time drags about a month ago and we were wearing our shirts. Every second person stopped us to ask about the Cruz-In because they’ve heard what a great time people have in Lillooet or because they were here last year,” said Cook. “Last Friday night, I was down there, too, and I had lots of people stop me and tell me they’d see me here.
Indicating the growth of the event, Cook said 100 entry forms were printed for the car show, up from the 75 of previous years. “We ran out of forms and had to print more; this year we’ve got a lot of people calling and apparently there are more people entering for the races online. This year our number could double from the year before.”
The Cruz-In Poker Run departs from the Old Mill Plaza at 6 p.m. Friday. After touring through the Hop Farm, it will head down Moha Road towards Main Street before turning onto Park Drive, Pine Street and onto Columbia as far as Lillooet Secondary School. After cruising along Eagleson Crescent it returns to Main Street and proceeds south across the railway tracks, down Station Hill and on to the Naxwit Picnic Area on Highway 99 South. After taking in the view at the Seton Lookout, the drivers will return via Highway 99 South, cross the Bridge of the 23 Camels, turn south on Highway 12 and go to the Lillooet Airport. They will then return to Lillooet and proceed along Main Street until turning off for Summers Street and Foster Drive on the VLA. They then return to the Old Mill Plaza.
Saturday’s car show will feature hot rods, classic cars, motorcycles and newer vehicles. Some car shows do not permit entries from post-1972 vehicles, but the Lillooet show does not have that restriction.
One major improvement for this year’s drag races is the result of a generous donation from Emil Anderson Construction, which donated a huge pile of ground-up pavement.
“We needed something better than just driving on gravel up at the airport because those expensive cars have slicks that aren’t very thick. Rocks going through hot tires aren’t appreciated,” continued Cook. “We have enough now that we have a three-lane road, the whole end paved; they donated probably 700 tons and the trucks to do it. They were very helpful. Patty Reynolds brought up some equipment, spread it all out with a grader so it looks like it’s all paved up there.”
Because of its own fund-raising efforts, the club has also been able to purchase timing lights worth approximately $20,000. In previous years, the club had rented its timing lights.
As another sign of the encouraging growth of the Cruz-In, the number of event sponsors is also increasing.
Cook notes that the car event brings visitors and money to town, and since it is no longer held in conjunction with the Apricot Tsaqwem Festival. “that gets spread around>”
Since Ashcroft shut down its drag racing track, Cook and other members of the Lillooet Club are hoping that Lillooet will become the interior version of that.
“”We’ve had other groups asking us to do other weekend races besides this one. They would look after doing most of the organizing and we would do the hosting. We’ve got lots of options now that we have our own timing system.”