Kamloops's last racetrack, and why it was abandoned 42 years ago | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops's last racetrack, and why it was abandoned 42 years ago

The Scheidam Flats Raceway in Kamloops, August 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Gradyn Cooper-Robertson
September 05, 2020 - 3:33 PM

You've likely passed this abandoned racetrack in Kamloops dozens of times, and never even noticed it was there.

It's a circular paved racetrack in the grasslands, nestled beside the road only 10 kilometres away from Paul Lake.

There's grass growing up through the cracked pavement, and nothing in sight for miles around. However, it wasn't always so quiet.

An aerial view of the abandoned Scheidam Flats Speedway track, near Paul Lake.
An aerial view of the abandoned Scheidam Flats Speedway track, near Paul Lake.
Image Credit: GOOGLE EARTH

In 1968, a local car club commissioned Dawson Construction to pave a racetrack beside Paul Lake Road, which was on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc land. They set up grandstands and a little concession that sold hot dogs, and Scheidam Flats Speedway was born.

The first race, called the Trophy Dash, took place that same year. 

Scheidam Flats Speedway in Kamloops, 1977.
Scheidam Flats Speedway in Kamloops, 1977.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Marty White

Drivers would come from all over B.C. to race at Scheidam Flats Speedway, among them racing legend Marty White.

Scheidam Flats Speedway in Kamloops, 1977.
Scheidam Flats Speedway in Kamloops, 1977.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Marty White

After an accomplished six years in racing, during which he became one of the first Canadians to win a NASCAR title on American soil, White moved from Langley to Kamloops to retire from racing in 1977.

That same year, White's friend asked him for a favour.

"He had hurt his leg and phoned me, asked me to come race his car," White recalls. He subbed-in for the injured driver in the race at Scheidam Flats, and won. 

Marty White racing at Scheidam Flats Speedway, 1977.
Marty White racing at Scheidam Flats Speedway, 1977.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Marty White

White impressed the car's owner Bob Wills so much that he was asked to compete with the Canadian American Modified Racing Association. His retirement was short-lived, and he's been racing ever since.

The events at Scheidam Flats Speedway were well attended, White recalls. 

"Definitely lots of families," he said. "There were kids running around underneath the grandstands… looking for dollar bills or whatever."

It was the only racetrack in Kamloops, but its life would be short. 

Because Scheidam Flats was run and maintained by local volunteers, when its lease doubled in 1978, the money wasn't available to keep the track operating, White said. 

“That killed it. That was the end of Schiedam Flats,” he said.

Scheidam Flats Speedway in Kamloops, 1977.
Scheidam Flats Speedway in Kamloops, 1977.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Marty White

So, for the last 42 years, the track has been abandoned. 

Although there's no longer a track in town, White still races to this day, travelling to Arizona, Montana, Washington and across Canada for events.

Marty White next to his custom made Silver Bullet Supermodified in Kamloops, 2020.
Marty White next to his custom made Silver Bullet Supermodified in Kamloops, 2020.

His sons Jimmy and Jason carried on the family racing tradition, and every so often the three of them will race together.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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