CHEK Upside: Racing returning to Island motorsports facilities

CHEK Upside: Racing returning to Island motorsports facilities
WatchAuto racing has returned to Vancouver Island. Westshore Motorsports Park kicked off it's season Saturday, while Saratoga Motorsports Park is targeting July 3 as its opening night.

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It’s a sound that hasn’t been heard since last September, cars racing around Westshore Motorsports Park.

When circuit breaker restrictions were lifted across B.C., track officials went to work plotting a safe return to racing.

“We’ve been in contact with VIHA [Island Health] all along monitoring all the health orders and everything,” says track general manager Daryl Crocker.

“We started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and VIHA let us know what we needed to have in place and we made sure we did it,” he adds.

Saturday marked the season opener for the Langford oval and while the grandstands were empty, it still felt good to be back.

“That feeling of joy is coming back and just happy to be here and seeing everybody out here and familiar faces and just getting back in the grove, it’s a wonderful wonderful feeling,” says racer Tony Kambo.

“We’re lucky that the racers really want to be out here and do what they love to do and they’re just basically working with us any way they can to make sure we can make this happen,” says Crocker.

Fans are what Saratoga Motorsports Park in Black Creek is waiting for.

With restrictions hopefully easing further ahead of the Canada Day long weekend, the owners of the mid-Island facility say the track will be ready.

“July 3, we’re hoping to get some people in the stands and get our first race of the season,” says the track’s new general manager, Pat Monsigneur.

“We weren’t able to do any racing at all last year so we’re pretty pumped up to get going,” adds Monsigneur.

Opening night will also give the chance to show off Saratoga’s multi-million dollar facelift thanks to new ownership.

“From paved infields to the pit pads being polished and level to all the improvements up in the stands … the local community in Black Creek and throughout the Comox Valley have been uber supportive of all the changes that are taking place,” says Monsigneur.

It’s a welcome shot in the arm for both Saratoga and Vancouver Island racing.

“What a lot of fans are thinking is that racing and motorsports in particular here on the Island and of course on the Mainland and throughout the country is kind of closing up and drying up,” says Monsigneur.

“We believe quite the opposite, it’s not dying out, it’s resurging and we’re leading that pack just like a race team should,” he added.

To keep up to date with each track’s COVID protocols and schedules, visit the Westshore and Saratoga Motorsports Park websites.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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