Skip to content

‘’Demo Dummies: Film depicts crash culture at Vancouver Island speedway

Film focused on Langford’s former Western Speedway now showing on YouTube
A demo car at the Demo Championship at Westshore Motorsports Park in Langford. The event was the final demo race at the track. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

The end of Western Motorsports Park was a devastating blow to thousands of motorsport participants and fans – not just in Langford and the West Shore communities, but across the entire region, according to racer and racing fan Brandon Carlson.

Carlson grew up around the track – commonly known as Western Speedway – and watched as his father worked as a mechanic on the cars of Darrell Midgley, whose family was a big part of the racing culture at Western Speedway and took over operations there.

“The end of the speedway was really sad,” said Carlson.

“It was a big part of a lot of people’s lives and when it closed, it was like a hockey arena closing in a small town. It was a tough thing to take.”

But one sub-section of the speedway’s fans found a modicum of solace with the launch of a documentary film called “DEMO DUMMIES, Hit-to-Pass-Racing.”

The film, directed by Todd Harris, chronicles some of the more insane moments of the speedway’s existence – specifically, the demolition-based hit-to-pass racing that was a regular feature at the track.

Hit-to-pass racing was an adrenaline-pumping motorsport in which drivers who were arguably inclined to meanness entered stock vehicles in a special racing format in which drivers were obligated to make contact with another vehicle at least once per lap. Drivers who completed the most laps won the bulk of the money for the race, and prizes were also awarded for the last car that could still roll along under its own power.

Sound crazy?

Well, it sort of was.

Keith Hansen (also known as Doctor Death) was a regular at the speedway hit-to-pass races and summed up his mindset during his appearance in the documentary.

“I want to hit you so hard to break your car and get you out of the race and go on to the next guy. There’s no better pleasure. You get in your car and like anything goes,” Hansen said. “If I ain’t hitting anyone, I ain’t having fun.”

He explained that the sport was ideal for those people who were too ill-tempered to play hockey or football.

READ ALSO: ‘Like the death of a family member’: One year after final Western Speedway season start, racers begin to mourn