The Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame may no longer have a home at the former Western Speedway, but all of its artifacts are safe and sound.
President Dave Ferguson said he and his team initially put out a call in the summer for volunteers with safe storage space, but in the end decided it would be best to simply store the items in a pair of shipping containers.
“We know where everything is, it’s secure and everything is dry, that’s the main thing,” said Ferguson. “It’s very important to keep the history, that’s why we went through the trouble of doing what we did.”
While the lion’s share of the museum’s artifacts – ranging from hundreds of photographs to actual racing uniforms and helmets, to trophies and even complete race cars – are being stored by Ferguson, some of the items were returned to their original owners or their families when the museum closed in September along with the Western Speedway itself.
He said the items returned to families and original owners were done so with the understanding they would be displayed at a future version of the museum, whenever it is able to open.
Ferguson said that as it stands, the plan is for a museum to be co-located with a new race track and spiritual successor to the Western Speedway, which is being developed by the Vancouver Island Safe Speed Association. The hall of fame does not have the funds to rent their own standalone space, he said.
In November, VISSA president Steve Copp said the search for a new location to build the speedway successor was making progress, but potential deals where still in very early stages.
While exact details of the new track complex won’t be known until a suitable property has been secured, beyond including a space for the hall of fame, the current vision calls for the classic oval track, as well as a road race track, drag strip and space for go-karting and motocross events, and potentially even a campground.
The total project cost is estimated to be in the $15- to $20-million range.
The hope is to have the new facility open for racing by summer 2024.
Ferguson said there is also the possibility some items may be loaned out for temporary display in other Vancouver Island motorsports facilities. but those talks are also in the early stages.
While the museum may be closed for the time being, the hall of fame still plans to host an induction ceremony sometime in April 2023. Full details for the ceremony are set to be released at a later date.