At the age of 9, Dave attended his 1st race at Nanaimo’s “Grandview Bowl” in 1965. He was quickly “hooked” and was an avid spectator through the 1971 racing season.
In 1972, he saw an ad in a local Nanaimo paper which read, “Have YOU ever had the urge to RACE?”. It had been placed by the “Mid Island Auto Racing Association” (MIARA) along with a set of rules for their new “Claimer” class in the hopes of drawing prospective new competitors. It was an opportunity that Dave had been waiting for! He bought a 1958 Ford with a 332 cubic inch V8 engine for $25.00 and had Robbie Robertson weld in the rollbars and also drive the car in it’s 1st three races before work called Robbie away. With Danny Downer helping in the pits, Dave drove his 1st three races that year (unfortunately also blowing 3 engines) and finished 24th in points out of 58 cars. For the 1973 season, Dave purchased a 1957 Pontiac with a 261 cubic inch 6 cylinder motor from “Nanaimo Auto Parts” for $75.00. With Rob Moss and Bert Neilson as his crew members, he won his 1st trophy dash along with a few heat races, finishing 35th in the points standings.
1974 saw him in a ’57 Chevy with a 1964 Pontiac 283 cubic inch V8 engine which only lasted until the 1st main event when, with a little “help” it ended up slamming into Grandview Bowl’s concrete wall. A 1955 Chevy sponsored by “Solar Electric” replaced it and with Gerry Flesh as his crew, Dave was 28th in season end points. The “Nanaimo Lakes” car dump provided the next car, a ’56 Chevy, which Dave, Mark Zado and Gord Rafter made race-ready for the 1975 season which ended the year 15th out of 41 cars. This car began the following season but needed a replacement to finish it so he ran Ron Lambert’s old ”A” stockcar, a 1955 Chev. Having his best season to date, Dave and his crew of Rick Bevan, Lloyd Palmer and Jerry Penning won “Most Main Event Wins” and 1st place in points.
Halfway through the 1977 season, car owner Bob Powell needed a replacement driver and asked Dave to step behind the wheel. Dave and his crew of Bob, Kevin Kemp and Bill Drummond won a couple of trophy dashes and Western Speedway’s “Ted Birtwhistle Memorial”, also setting Western’s stock car track record at 20.40. Dave finished 8th in points. While running 2nd in the 1978 “Island Series” standings, a teardown of their car found it illegal resulting in the loss of all points. Despite this setback, they still finished the season with MIARA, winning “Most Main Events” with Dave also serving as a MIARA Director. 1979 was the last year for the Island Series which found Dave finishing 2nd in points, setting the Grandview Bowl track record at 18.40 and also being awarded MIARA “Driver of the Year”. In 1981 he drove the “Island Invitational” race for Skip Holgarth at Saratoga setting fast time and winning the main event. In 1982 Dave and Bob Powell built a new stockcar, running mainly at Western Speedway, but their lone appearance in Nanaimo got them a trophy dash win and a good finish in the main.
Driving a ’68 Chevelle in 1983, Dave was Western Speedway’s “Stockcar Points Champion” (the first time a Nanaimo driver had won it since Ray Pottinger in 1961) capturing 5 trophy dashes and 10 main events and also being awarded a trip to the 1984 “Daytona 500”. Finding a ’34 Hudson Terraplane coupe behind the “Driftwood Cafe” in Campbell River in 1984, Dave and Bob Powell built an “Old Timer”winning main events at Western, Saratoga and “Spanaway Speedway” in Washington State. Dave also finished 8th in that year’s “Canada 200” driving a car for Skip Holgarth and Clive Rompain. In 1994 Dave finished 3rd in points in the 2nd year of the new “Dwarf” car class driving a car built by Fred Stevens and Bob Powell, winning a main event at Western and 2 trophy dashes at Cassidy. He bettered his point standings placing the following year driving the same racer, finishing 2nd.
In 1996 Dave rebuilt the same car’s 1100 Kawasaki GSXR engine and competed in an “Open Competition” race at Hannagan Speedway in Bellingham Washington. Racing against drivers from California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and BC, his pole position start saw him lead from green flag to checkered. In regular competition on the Island he won 4 trophy dashes and 4 main events at Cassidy, again finishing 2nd in points. 1997 highlights included two more “Open” races, one at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Washington and one at Cassidy.
1998 was Dave’s last year behind the wheel (due to growing family commitments) but included 2 main event wins at Cassidy. A final appearance came the following year as a result of Bob Powell and Fred Steven’s new driver Donnie Walker being unable to make the season opener at Saratoga. Dave was well on his way to a clean sweep when, while leading the main event, the car’s throttle linkage broke.