Friday, June 14, 2024

Westshore Motorsports Park saw its last burnout this past weekend


Formerly known as Western Speedway, the track that stole our hearts and our hearing has closed its doors for good.

Whether it was a demolition derby, a total destruction night, a deuce coop showdown or a monster truck rally, the folks behind Westshore Motorsports Park provided some of the best entertainment on the whole of Vancouver Island.

After 68 years of hosting races, the beloved Speedway in Langford had its last race dubbed the ‘Last Lap’ on Saturday, September 17th. The grandstand predictably sold out so the last hurrah was broadcasted as a livestream for fans to be able to hoot and holler along with the crowds from the comfort of their homes.

“As far back as I can remember, Western Speedway (that’s right, Western Speedway) has been a big part of my life,” mused Darrell Midgley, Operator of Western Speedway in a post on Facebook. 

“As a young child growing up, I remember the excitement that would build in anticipation of upcoming Saturday night racing.” 

“At the time, my family operated the facility; we were the first ones at the track and the last ones to leave each night. My seven-year old self never wanted to miss a minute of it.”

Midgley’s family’s time at the race track came to a temporary end in the early 80s. 

However, they came right back a short time later to run the place and this time Darrell was old enough to be his father’s right hand man. 

It was then that Darrell Midgley learnt the passion, drive and respect for the craft of racing. With the support of his friends and family he got into the driver’s seat himself and honed his skills as a race car driver.

In 2007, Darrell Midgley took over the operations of the Speedway. 

“I thought I knew what was coming, but mother nature had other ideas. In 2007 I think we had 9 rainouts and just about every one of them was on a big show night!”

Sadly, the property was sold in 2019 to Bastion Development Corp and Strand Properties which are based out of Vancouver.

However, according to Midgley they were very fair to deal with and allowed racing at the Speedway for another two years.

“I really feel that the impact the Speedway has on the local community has been horribly underestimated,” said Midgley. “The speedway is much more than what happens on Saturday nights!”

The Speedway was a haven for people young and old alike. It even allowed people to get their motorcycle safety training on the Speedway via the Vancouver Island Safety Council.

“Losing the track is a huge loss not just for the current generations, but also for the future generations that will miss out on all things racing.”

“This has been quite a ride, and I’m unbelievably sad to see it come to an end. I would like to take this moment to thank every competitor, fan, employee, and volunteer that has made the Speedway something so very very special,” said Midgley to conclude his heartfelt post on Facebook.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to operate this facility.”

Curtis Blandy

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