The Old Time Racing Community-Photographic
Old Time Racing Association is a club for automobile racers of all ages that runs out of Victoria BC at Western Speedway.
OTRA started in 1977 when two local men thought it would be a good idea to restore a stock car from the old ‘stockers’
club which terminated in 1963. At the same time, another local man decided to do the same thing. These three men then brought
their cars to car shows and exhibits. Soon, it became popular and many more people were doing the same thing. The first race
happened in 1978, OTRA was then born. OTRA is the longest continuously running race club in Western Canada. The founders of
OTRA, then continued to start the Wilroc winged and wingless sprint cars.
to local OTRA member #1 , James Campbell, about what it means to him to be a part of a racing community. He defined a racing
community as “a group of people who enjoy racing in both a social and athletic aspect”. He explained that there
was different levels of a racing community, starting with the OTRA group itself, then Western Speedway, and then even larger
on a national level. There is also the difference between racers themselves, and the viewers. Viewers at Western Speedway
are of all ages. Campbell explains that viewers simply “become a part of racing community on that night that they come
to support the racers”. They might not know much about racing, or be regular speedway goers, but they still become part
of the community during that time.
is a tight knit group, a second family where everyone knows everyone. Members are very willing to help one another. The Western
Speedway Community as a comparison is also family based but it is much more diverse with the amounts of money that people
spend. The amount of money you want to spend on racing coincides with what you will race” Campbell states. Different
racing classes are almost seen as a hierarchy, “demo drivers might help out with a sprint car driver, but a sprint car
driver would not help out a demo driver” explains Campbell. Nationally, viewers tend to follow just one driver with
much dedication, “live and breathe Nascar, like a cult” says Campbell.
asked what kinds of people were found in the community, Campbell responded immediately with “rednecks”. After
a minute to think, he responded seriously with “thrill seekers, or anyone who enjoys adventure”. Some outsiders
view these racing members as either “hillbillies or very rich people”. Campbell believes this is merely “somewhere
to go play and have fun with a big group of people”. Anyone can be a part of this community, “you don’t
necessarily need any skills, but you do however need to come in and be able to learn and adapt. Some people only work on cars,
some only drive, and some do both because there is a total range of abilities.”
not only races at Western Speedway, they also race on the island, off island, and as far as the United States of America.
There are usually a few races in Saratoga each year, as well as a weeklong American tour. Campbell has raced in “Victoria,
Saratoga, Penticton, Aggasiz, Port Angeles, Southsound, and Spokane”. He has also crewed in “Las Vegas, Yakima,
Skagit, Vernon, and Williams Lake” as well as watched Nascar racing in many states. When traveling with the OTRA, Campbell
explains that “everyone tries to travel as a group, make sure that
is ok, and meet at locations along the way. Members help out one another at all times. It is like a big family reunion when
we get together; we camp along the way of the racing tour, and spend time together outside of racing.” This does not
happen in most racing clubs, Campbell further explains that “most racers focus on going for the win and nothing else.
OTRA helps out with each other’s cars, shares food and tools, and genuinely cares about one another.”
Campbell where he saw himself in 10 years’ time in the racing community. Campbell “hopes to be watching his children
race if they are old enough, continue to race himself depending on where his family is at.” He also said “he would
definitely include his family in racing,” as he does now with his amazing girlfriend, he hopes to include his children
and future wife in the same way.
asked if he would change anything about the racing community Campbell explained that he hoped for OTRA that the “involvement
in the community and the surrounding area would be more accepting of the race track and work with rather than against them.
This is something people do in life. You wouldn’t take away hockey arenas or baseball fields…you would make more.
People should make room for our entertainment and recreation.” Campbell also hopes that there will be “more racetracks
built, that it will diversify to more people” and he thinks it “should be easier for people to try and experience
racing.” Racing is very expensive, it costs James approximately $200 for one race, unless something breaks or goes wrong.
A sprint car would cost between $1500-$2000 for one race, also if nothing breaks or goes wrong. For a community viewer, it
costs approximately $20 to watch one evening of racing. Racing is a very costly sport.
people may view automotive racing as a high-risk sport which may cause bodily harm or even death. Most view racing as a financial
burden because it is very expensive to race. However, the true OTRA members know that racing is like having a second family
both inside and outside of racing where people are there to lend a helping hand; give support, make friendships and all around