Shop Class presents Belt Sander Drag Races

Belt sander drag race participants
Belt sander drag race participants(n/a)
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 2:26 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - In New Bern Sunday, many gathered to discover how one man’s hobby turned into a growing competitive sport, where participants looked to Black & Decker, Makita, and even Craftsman for a leading edge.

The Shop Class, LLC, owned and operated by Maurice Howland, presented the 2023 Belt Sander Drag Racing event for the third year in a row.

The event was held at the Shop Class in New Bern and had around 20 competitors from around the area.

The sport started in the 1980s in Washington State and has grown in numbers each year with fans and participants. Belt sander drag racing is practiced worldwide under the International Belt Sander Drag Race Association which this event was in accordance with. Howland says they had trophies for three classes: stock, modified, and best decorated.

Howland also says there are very specific rules for the racing, just like any other sport.

“Rules are very specific, the track size is very specific. This is the width and height of the track, so your belt sander must fit in there to run and then they are hooked to cords. One switch operates both of them, so they both power at the same time. Then we have cord ladies, who bring the cords back each time,” Howland said.

Competitors such as Pete Frey, come back year after year to test their belt sanders, enjoying the sport and atmosphere.

“It’s the people. This is a really great group of people here, the most creative people you’ll ever meet,” Frey said.

Shop Class picks a beneficiary every year and this year donations will go towards the art programs of New Bern and West Craven High Schools.

The event also featured Hot Buttered Grits Band, Tanja’s Hella Fat Food Truck, and Brewery 99.