Big plans on horizon for Nakusp Hill Climb

Plans that began last year to hold a race up the Hot Springs Road are coming together, said race planner Guy Duchaine.

Plans that began last year to hold a race up the Hot Springs Road are coming together, said race planner Guy Duchaine.

Since the idea’s inception, volunteers including Duchaine and Dr. Donato Desandoli, have been educating themselves about what it takes to stage a road race. Last year, organizers volunteered at the Knox Mountain Hillclimb to get some on-the-ground experience to understand what’s involved. The group is going again this year to volunteer and learn more, particularly about the details like waivers and forms.

At the moment, the Nakusp group is busy getting their business plan together in order to present it to the Ministry of Highways. Duchaine said they are hoping to present their plan to the Ministry on Dec. 15.

The Ministry piece is only one of several. Duchaine said safety is key, as is crowd control, but one of the biggest hurdles is determining how to run the race without interfering with the regular operation of the Nakusp Hot Springs.

“We don’t want to be a hindrance to the hot springs,” said Duchaine, who is proposing that all entrants will pay for two entries to the hot springs as part of their race fees. He hopes this will not only offset the cost of any lost admissions, but also promote the hot springs to the racers.

But how will people get up to the pools during race days? Duchaine said the road will be opened between events, which he said would be held all-day Saturday and Sunday.

The organizer would like the weekend involve the whole town, with a dance to be held and possibly vintage and specialized cars shown downtown as well. Duchaine, a former military man, is thinking big, and would like to get the 408 Squadron to bring their helicopters to the party too.

“To put a thing like this together takes a lot of people,” he stressed. Involving high school students is another part of the plan, said Duchaine, who would like to see the route signage be built by the NSS woodwork classes, and get the metal shop involved in creating the start and finish line frames. Dr. Desandoli said he would like to lend a race car to the school and rebuild it with them as an educational experience.

These are only a few ideas that the group has got going to involve the town as much as they can. The public are welcome to come to the Nakusp Hillclimb upcoming meeting and share their thoughts and suggestions, said Duchaine.