Oldest Speedway in Western Canada Shuts Down After 68 Years
Fittingly, a local 85-year-old racer piloted the last lap at Westshore Motorsports Park.
Western Canada's oldest speedway, Westshore Motorsports Park, closed down after 68 years of operation on Sept. 17, reports The Province. Founded in 1954 as Western Speedway near Victoria, British Columbia, the 4/10ths-mile oval has hosted racing royalty throughout its history, including Janet Guthrie, Bobby Allison, and Roger Ward.
“Drivers who have raced here have done it all,” track general manager Daryl Crocker told The Province. “This was known as the place to come to prove yourself.”
Saying goodbye to a historic, beloved track always hurts. For Westshore, it only made sense to honor its history by bringing in someone who raced on its opening night to drive its honorary final lap: 85-year-old Jim Steen.
The track was still dirt when Steen raced there in 1954, and Steen's sons and grandsons have now raced there as well. According to Matt Lamont on YouTube, who filmed Steen's final lap, Steen had competed in at least one race every year the track was open. Steen completed the track's final lap in his No. 34 stock car, and it may have been one of the slowest laps he's ever completed there, as you can see he wanted to savor the moment.
The final weekend was jam-packed with 12 classes of racing and a sell-out crowd, as Crocker told The Province that they wanted everyone to have a chance to race at Westshore one last time.
Fans are understandably heartbroken to lose their home track. According to The Province, Western Speedway was sold in 2020—and changed its name to Westshore after that in 2021—and will soon be turned into a housing development and business park. Next year may be quiet for local racers, but they hope to have a new facility up and running by 2024. The Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is also located at Westshore and will put its archive into storage until a new site can be secured, per the Victoria News.
Western Speedway itself was founded following the closures of the Langford and Shearing speedways in order to give local racing enthusiasts somewhere to go, according to the Victoria News. Here's hoping that history repeats itself and Victoria-area racers find another home once again.
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