If it has a motor and a set of tires, Al Hartley has probably watched it race.
The huge auto racing fan is hoping to do what he can to save Spallumcheen’s Motoplex Speedway and Event Park, currently embroiled in a legal dispute with a neighbouring community and land developer.
No events are scheduled at the speedway this year, and none have been held at the track since a Travel Trailer Day of Destruction in June 2015, which drew a capacity crowd. A second such day slated for the fall of 2015 was cancelled by management.
Hartley has started a Facebook page called Save the Motoplex Speedway to gauge interest in the facility.
As of Tuesday, more than 2,800 people had joined the page.
“It all came from a discussion I had a year or so ago, fooling around on a B.C. race car website and, six months later, I decided to start a page,” said Hartley, 47, a Peachland resident who works at a West Kelowna mill.
“I’m extremely pleased with the response. Overwhelmed, in fact.”
The goal of the page is to “see if there is enough interest from racers, fans and sponsors to save the facility.”
Hartley would love to be a part-owner of the facility and is trying to put together a team of investors to make an offer to the current owners, Okanagan Aggregates.
“The location is great, very central, and every driver I’ve talked to says it’s the greatest track in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the three best tracks in Canada,” said Hartley.
However, nothing will be done until after the track’s legal matters are settled.
The owner of the Lawrence Heights development – located across Highway 97 and up a hill from the speedway – as well as four residents of the neighbourhood initiated legal action because they claimed noise from the track was negatively impacting their lives.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled in April that the track’s owners must pay Lawrence Heights $100,000 in damages and ordered the track to limit the noise to 80 decibels during events.
The ruling is under appeal from the subdivision owners, who are seeking more than $6 million in lost revenue.
If the decibel level ruling is maintained, Hartley said his would-be investors would not be interested.
“If the speedway can’t run late-model races, the investors aren’t interested,” said Hartley.
The speedway was a regular stop for a number of years on the Canadian NASCAR series, a race that drew full crowds to the facility.