As the first baby born in Victoria on New Year’s Day of 1924, Geoff Vantreight Jr. became the newest member of Gordon Head’s pioneer “Vantreight” family. Following in his father’s footsteps, Geoff also became a farmer, planting and tending crops which included daffodils, his growing of which would eventually lead to him becoming the largest daffodil producer in Canada.
Geoff’s interest in local auto racing began when he started attending “Langford Speedway” to watch his cousin, Jerry “the Jeep”, compete in the “Big Car” (Sprintcar) class. Another cousin, Bob, was also involved and Geoff’s interest in the sport grew to the point that in 1955 he began sponsoring a Stockcar at recently-opened Western Speedway, a 1934 Ford coupe fielded by 3 brothers, Mike, Roy and Lloyd Newton. A special “Sponsor’s Race” was run that season in which sponsors could get behind the wheel of the cars they supported. Geoff chose not to enter, but got one of his employees, Alan Smith, to take his place. Al found he very much liked the experience and the following year Geoff bought the car from the Newton brothers and put Al behind the wheel. Their new leisure-time partnership had a good start with them finishing 8th in points for the 1956 season. Steadily improving his driving skills year by year, Al captured the #1 spot in the Stockcar standings for 1960.
When the “Vancouver Island Track Racing Association” (VITRA) launched it’s 1st major invitational race meet in 1961, Geoff stepped up to sponsor it which included donating it’s trophy and the annual “Daffodil Cup” was born, the inaugural one drawing in excess of 8,000 spectators. He followed this up with donating and sponsoring the “Strawberry Cup” in 1964. Both races are still run annually at Western. Geoff purchased one of four new “Super Modified” sprintcars built by Grant King and Jimmie Isacson in 1964 with which Al set many new track records throughout the Pacific Northwest on the “CAMRA” (Canadian American Modified Racing Association) circuit.
As well as fielding the Modified again in 1965, Geoff began sponsoring Al’s younger brother Roy who was a rookie in Western’s “Jalopy” class. Roy soon became a winning driver, eventually taking over his brother’s seat in the “Vantreight Daffodil Special”. Geoff also added another Jalopy and it’s crew to his sponsoring list that year, this one driven by another of his employees who was also a close neighbour, Albert Smith (no relation to Al and Roy).
Geoff’s racing involvement grew even larger in 1966 when he along with several other Victoria businessmen purchased Western Speedway from track owner Andy Cottyn and formed “Western Speedway (1966) Ltd”. He would hold it’s office of President for the next 16 years.
In 1970, Geoff also began sponsoring car builder Mike Currier and driver Ron Hancock in the local “Super Stock” class.
In addition to his induction into the “Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame” in 1986, Geoff was also inducted into the “Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame” in 1998. Here is a link to his page on their website: https://www.gvshof.ca/inductees-2/all-inductees/11-builders/41-geoff-vantreight-1998.html
Geoff Vantreight passed in May of 2000.