A Pitt Meadows race car driver can’t wait to get back on the track, revving up to be part of a road race next weekend close to home.
The Sports Car Club of B.C. is preparing for its next race at Mission Raceway on July 24 and 25, and the wheel-to-wheel action will feature local up-and-coming driver Jason Wesson.
Wesson, 47 has a deep-seeded love for racing – in various capacities – but he’s still deemed a relative newbie in the race car realm and will be competing next weekend in the road race with his 1990 Acura, Integra #217.
The by-day public transit driver said he “can’t wait to get back to racing in front of family and friends again.” Like so many, he hasn’t been on the track much in past months due to COVID restrictions.
The SCCBC was able to hold races late last summer, during the relaxing of the COVID-19 rules at that time, and Wesson had his first race of this season in June, although it was only open to people living in the Greater Vancouver area.
When asked to explain about his past in racing, Wesson had to go back a few decades.
“From a young age racing cars is something that I always want to do,” but other commitments, opportunities, and pursuits kept him from sitting behind the wheel of a race car until more recently.
He got his start almost four decades ago on the seat of a BMX bike.
“BMX racing, I don’t think there is any other way to put it than for the better part of my life it was my life,” Wesson said, noting he tried out other sports as a kid but always loved riding and jumping in bike.
“So when we found BMX racing it was a perfect fit. I raced from the age of 10 until the age of 28 with only very short periods of time away from the sport. I actually became the youngest professional racer in Canada at the age of 15 (a record that still stands as they changed the rules after me) and raced at that level, until I retired at 28.”
He was the track pro and coached at the local track Ridge Meadows BMX for multiple seasons, then returned to the sport as a adult competitor at 38 years old racing locally at first then, progressing to the provincial and national levels, winning my age division multiple times and travelled to the world championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Even though he’s again retired from BMX racing, and his kids, who also raced BMX at some point but have since moved on to other pursuits, Wesson said the Ridge Meadows BMX track will always be his second home “and the people of BMX will always be my extended family.”
Then he entered the world of motorsports in 2003, but admitted, competing in sport bike and motorcycle circles was relatively shortlived. IT only lasting a year and a half.
“Financially it wasn’t the right time in my life to stay involved,” he explained.
Wesson returned to motorsport in 2010, once he discovered that autocross was – at that time being – held by local clubs at the Pitt Meadows Driving Centre. Autocross is a timed event in which a car/driver navigates through a course made of cones.
“It is not a high-speed event with speeds generally reaching a maximum of 100km/h for very brief moments as the courses have many changes in direction and speeds. It teaches you the limits of your car in a very safe environment, by challenging your ability to control a your car at the limit of its traction at speeds less than you travel on Highway #1. It is a great way to dip your toes into the world of automotive motorsports.”
He remained active – on and off – in autocross until 2018, when he finally made my way to high performance driving events at Mission Raceway.
In fall 2019, he made the plunge.
“I decided that it was time that I took the step to achieve a life-long dream of racing cars. My life was at a points where I believed I could take part in car racing at the local club/grassroots level,” he shared.
That’s when Wesson signed up for the Sports Car Club of B.C. race driver training and earned his novice racing licence in March 2020, just in time for the COVID lockdown.
Admittedly, COVID restricted racing, but looking for the silver lining, he said it gave him a chance to purchase, repair, and revive a race car that had been parked since 2012. Since it gave him a chance to get the car ready, to acquire all his safety gear, and to take care of what he calls “off track requirements,” he is now ready and anxious to hit the track and race whenever possible.
“Do I have a passion for speed? I would say it’s more that I have a passion for racing, it’s not just the speed, because racing is more than who is just the fastest. Even in a 35-second BMX race there is strategy that comes into play. In a 20-minute car race, the car can only give you so much traction, braking, and acceleration at any give time, and that changes throughout the race. I have always had a love for controlling and working with cars & bikes to explore their limits,”Wesson shared with The News.
“In racing you can only control your own performance and will only achieve the finish you deserve on any given day by staying on the edge of your limit, minimizing the mistakes when then happen, and keeping a cool head in the moment,” said the athletically inclined guy who took up BMX racing at age 10 and became an expert BMX rider before retiring a few years back.
“In racing your competitors are trying to do the same, for lack of a better way to put it, they are just moving obstacles to what you are trying to achieve. You cannot control them, they cannot control you, yet you have the same goal. You are all searching for perfection and generally in a equal situation he/she who makes the least mistakes wins.”
He doesn’t mind being called a newcomer.
As for aspirations in the racing world, he said he wants to have fun and enjoy every moment he can when at the track. “Whether that is while I am behind the wheel, hanging out with my crew in the pit, or interacting with other wonderful members of the racing community.”
He describes himself as a grassroots racer, racing on a modest budget at the local level and hoping to show other people that they can do the same.
“While racing cars is not cheap, it also doesn’t have to be expensive – if you keep your expectations realistic within the budget you have,” Wesson said, expressing thanks to his wife Nikki Potter, friend and crew chief George Kreuzkamp, fellow racers Bonnie and Kevin Wall, and the local racing community as a whole “for the way they welcome new racers to the club.”
Heading into next weekend’s competition, Wesson said he’s not too concerned how well he places.
“I just want to run a clean race and continue to learn and grow as a racing driver,” he said, noting the results are secondary at this time in his driving career.
“Racing cars is something I have always dreamt of doing since I was a child and I have been lucky enough to now have the opportunity live that dream. So even though I am a competitive person and will try my best, as far as is goes in terms of racing results, it doesn’t really matter, since I’m not in the stands wishing, but in the car driving, I have already won.”
The Sports Car Club is welcoming racers, as well as spectators, back to the track with admission being a donation to the Mission Hospice Society.
Action spans two days. Each regional group will have one race on Saturday and two races on Sunday, with vintage vehicles being driven on Sunday only.
Mission Raceway Park has been around for 69 years, and through the years expanded as both a drag strip for road, motorcycle, and motocross racing, and a rental space for private drifting events.
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