George Wade was less than a year old when he attended his first auto race, and he’s never left the track since.
Wade, 62, grew up in Jordan River where he was immediately immersed in the racing culture, attending races with his family almost every Saturday at Western Speedway.
When Wade was 16, he and his four brothers decided they were going to give it a try themselves, and entered their first race in 1972.
“We were called Wade Brothers Racing,” Wade recalled. “I was on the crew so I would work on the car in the shop and get it ready for the race.”
They continued to race together until 1979, travelling throughout the U.S. and even as far as Japan for the sport. Then his nephew started racing in 1985, and Wade stayed on the crew until 1999.
Wade explained that one of his most memorable races was in 1991 at the first Montana 200, and the grand prize was $10,000.
“Everyone said we were crazy. They thought it was a far way to go for a race and that we weren’t prepared enough, but we went there and we won,” said Wade.
In 1998, Wade decided to move to the U.S. to turn his hobby into a career. He worked as a general manager at Evergreen Speedway in Washington State for four years, a promoter for a speedway in California, and now works as a manager at Wentachee Valley Super Oval in Washington.
“I worked a lot of different jobs throughout my life and now for the last 20 years, I get paid to do what I love. There’s not a lot of people who can say that,” Wade said.
Although he doesn’t participate in the actual racing today, he will still help out with his nephew’s car from time to time. His favourite part about being at the races now is all the memories and friendships that go along with it.
“The friendships are second to none. It doesn’t matter where you go, we are like a big family,” Wade said. “I love everything about racing. The excitement, the comradery of it, everything. It’s in my blood.”
In recognition of Wade’s life-long dedication to the sport, he will be inducted into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The first of its kind in Canada, the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame was established in 1984, and honours and preserves auto racing on Vancouver Island.
Simply pursuing something he loves all these years, Wade never expected an award like this to come to him.
“To have your peers think you’ve contributed enough to the sport to be inducted in to the hall of fame … it’s such a huge honour.”