A week after the last race was held at Westshore Motorsports Park, work was well underway to remove much of what racing fans have come to call familiar sights over the years.
With a deadline of Oct. 31 to have the property cleared for development work to begin, general manager Daryl Crocker and a team of volunteers were hard at work Saturday (Sept. 24) carefully removing as much fencing, billboards, and concrete blocks as they could.
“I’ve said it time and time again, there is no community like the racing community,” said Crocker. “But it has been sad, really sad, I have to be honest.”
The work has been an emotional challenge for the people doing it. Almost all have long been part of the southern Vancouver Island racing community which has called the park – formerly known as the Western Speedway – home.
In the days since the track fell silent, some fans and racers have stopped by to say one final goodbye, or even to chip off a piece of the victory square where many a victor celebrated over the years.
Crocker said the goal is to salvage as much as they can, both for the historic value of each and every item, but also as a cost-saving measure to allow a new track to be built as quickly as possible once a suitable location is found.
While the first week since the end of racing has focused on items lining the oval track, later in the project work will begin on taking apart the largest, and perhaps most important part of the speedway – its grandstands.
“We are actively putting together a plan to dismantle them in a safe manner,” said Crocker. “Getting the grandstands out and eventually erected on a new site will be huge. Once the grandstands are there, you can sell an event … the grandstands are kind of the key to it all.”