Randy Wiebe checks the carburetor on his boomer car. The 50-year-old has spent much of his life at Western Speedway and is the only legally blind driver on the track.

Blind racer ‘drives by braille’

Legally blind, Randy Wiebe has spent the past few decades ripping around Western Speedway racing in the demolition derby

When Randy Wiebe was told he would never get a driver’s licence, he knew that wouldn’t keep him from driving.

Being legally blind has stopped him from driving on public streets, but he has spent the past few decades ripping around Western Speedway racing in the demolition derby.

When it comes to driving, Wiebe’s jokes: “I drive by braille, if I hit something I just steer the other way.”

The first time he ever drove a car was at the speedway in a demo derby race.

“I was 18 and I was scared as hell,” Wiebe said. “I lasted a lap and a half and then the car spun out and that was that, but I was hooked.”

While his father was never too fond of Wiebe’s passion for speed and destruction, he did get encouragement at home.

“My mom was supportive. I could hear her yelling from the stands when I was on the track,” the driver remembers with a huge grin. “That was the coolest thing ever.”

Being blind doesn’t mean Wiebe is left fully in the dark, but he does have limitations.

“I see at 20 feet what normal people see at 200 feet,” said Wiebe, who was born with the condition.

As he’s never had regular vision, it’s difficult for him to describe how he sees the world. However, his doctor explained that it would be akin to “someone who spins around 20 times fast and then tries to focus on a clock.”

After every race, his car does get more and banged up. But, after many years, Wiebe has only ever had minor injuries, including broken ribs and broken thumbs.

“I have never had a car fire, but I do wear a two-layer fire-proof suit,” Wiebe said. “The suit gives you an extra 30 seconds in a fire. It doesn’t sound long, but when you are in a fire that’s a long time.”

Now at 50, Wiebe thinks it time to get out of the driver’s seat, but he’ll never give up on his passion for cars.

“Oh God, I could quit smoking easier than I could quit racing,” said Wiebe looking at his cigarettes on the table. “The body just doesn’t handle it as it used to.”

Instead of driving in the demolition derby, he’s bought a boomer car and found a driver for it. It took Wiebe a year to transform the 1981 Camero into a boomer car. Wiebe oversees the crew in the pit on race nights. Boomer races are always held on the same night as demolition derby.

“Some people do drugs to get high, I race cars to get high, it’s such a rush,” Wiebe said.


A speedway of opportunity

Randy Wiebe moved to Langford in 1967. He experienced his first car race at Western Speedway and knew at the ripe age of five, that he too, would drive race cars.

When he wasn’t watching cars at the track, he was at home playing with toy cars.

While he’s legally blind, he can see the races but, when the cars go towards the back stretch, it gets a bit tougher for him to see what’s going on. He always brings binoculars with him to the track.

“I see kids come in the pit after the races looking to get autographs, I see myself doing that 45 years ago,” Wiebe said.

He’s been blind since birth and has never let it stop him from from anything he’s wanted to do.

“Don’t let it slow you down, everything is possible,” Wiebe said. “I have never taken the easy way out, I have always had a job. I have nothing to complain about.”

Over the years, Wiebe has earned more than 40 trophies, the last trophy he won was in September 2010.

Just Posted

At the age of 95, local bowler shows no signs of slowing down

Olive Olmsted has bowled for more than 55 years

Colwood wins Victoria Flower Count for a five-peat

The 43rd annual Flower Count had over three billion blossoms counted in total

Royal Bay junior boys bring back lacrosse banner

The Ravens sent three teams to the provincial championships

Langford fundraiser for kidney disease is a success

Maureen Hobbs thinks B.C. Transplant says it best: “Live life. Pass it on.”

Preschool group helps release fish into Glen Lake

The number of fish released correlates to the number of fish caught per year

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

Most Read