The 2017 inductees to the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame join president and 1996 inductee, Neil Montgomery (second from right) inside the museum at Western Speedway after Saturday’s ceremony. From left are Darren Yates, Jim McKay, Johnny Sutton, Ken Osman, Wally Lum and Scott Aumen. Don Descoteau/News Gazette staff

Auto racers, supporters celebrated at Langford track

Family was always present for newest Hall of Fame inductees

The importance of family was a common theme running through the proceedings at the 2017 Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Museum induction ceremony Saturday at Western Speedway.

The Hall officially grew by six on Saturday, with longtime sprint car drivers Scott Aumen and Darren Yates, Pro-4 and mini stock star Jim McKay and champion karter Johnny Sutton joining the drivers category, and key behind-the-scenes men Wally Lum and Ken Osman installed as builders. Each in their own way touched on the support of family – often one’s extended family – that is critical in this sport.

“It’s a community on its own,” reflected Osman, who observed much in his years overseeing the pace car and trophy presentation programs at the track. “You’ve got families – moms and dads and kids working together and learning.”

McKay, who met hundreds of people over multiple decades driving and crewing in different classes of racing, pointed out how even competitors can be quick to offer help to keep a driver on the track. “I think for most people that’s what racing’s all about, is the people you meet, even more than the competition,” he added.

These days Aumen and his wife are helping their twin boys in their racing endeavours. He recalled how his dad didn’t give him technical advice “per se,” but before the many road trips, “he always made sure the truck had gas and the trailer was ready.”

Yates, whose mom was front and centre in the crowd, said later that driving competitively is not something a person can do without a supportive spouse or partner.

And Sutton got a little choked up when talking about how his dad, Johnny Sr., was a driving force behind getting him started in racing, helping build the karts that would carry the son to multiple championships and being there for him all the way along.

Jennifer Smith, representing sponsor O’Dell Slinger Service, started the ceremony off by presenting Hall president Neil Montgomery a cheque to help cover the cost of the event. Speaking of family, Montgomery, in 1996, was named to the Hall 12 years prior to son Trevor’s induction, and younger son Jeff continues to enjoy success on the track.

Western Speedway track announcer Cole Sorenson, whose knowledge of racing history belies his young age – he’s just 17 – reminded those in attendance that the season gets underway this Friday and Saturday (April 14 and 15). He’ll be reporting on track activities once again for the Gazette in upcoming issues through the summer.

For more about the Hall of Fame, visit victoriaautoracinghalloffameandmuseum.com or go to allfun.bc.ca/home for schedule and other information on Western Speedway.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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