Riley Lejeune is on track to keep the family’s racing legacy alive.
The nine-year-old Colwood resident recently picked up a pile of trophies, including the Dirt Cup, by accumulated the most points overall in the novice class during the two-day event on June 21 and 22 at the Skagit Speedway in Burlington, Washington. The win marked Lejeune’s first checkered flag in the five events he’s competed in since he took up racing in 2018.
“Riley was born into a racing family,” explained his mother, Jessica Lejeune, a teacher at Westmont Montessori School in Metchosin where Riley will start Grade 5 in September. “He was born a week after his father, Richard Lejuene won the Wilroc Lite Series at Western Speedway in 2009.”
Riley’s grandfather, Rolly Lejeune, has a strong connection to the local racing scene that dates back to when he started building engines when he was 14. Rolly and his younger brother, brother, Russell, were familiar faces at tracks on Vancouver Island and in Seattle in the 1960s and ’70s. Russell opened Lejeune Performance Shop in Esquimalt in the 1970s, and Riley’s father, Richard, started working there in 1999. Although Richard sold his car and retired from racing in 2016, he keeps his hands in the game working as Riley’s pit crew chief.
“Having my dad as pit crew chief is pretty cool,” Riley noted.
“I really like competing and the thrill of winning,” he said when asked what he most enjoys about racing. In addition to playing lacrosse with the Juan de Fuca Whalers, Riley’s other interests include custom painting racing vehicles. “I just started that recently and really enjoy it.” His favourite subjects in school are physical education and mathematics.
His mother said there’s a lot of travel involved because all of the races Riley can compete in are held in the United States. The family is grateful that the owners of Riley’s car, Gary Isacson and Randy Price, are friends of the family. “We’re fortunate that Wayne’s Trucking sponsored Riley’s helmet,” she noted. “You need a professional grade helmet to race.”
Riley hopes to get in at least two more races at Skagit this summer. “I’d like to get a winning streak going.”