At the age of 15, 2003 Pioneer award winner Hugh Burkmar first became interested in auto racing and joined the “Vancouver Island Track Roadster Association” (VITRA) which back in 1950 held their meetings in the basement of the home of local racing car builder and former driver (and 1992 Inductee) Jack Smith.
Subsequently taking a few years off from racing to marry and start raising a family, Hugh then rejoined racing by sponsoring a Jalopy in 1958 and a Stockcar the following year through his Bay St. “Shell” service station just down from the Point Ellice bridge. He then re-joined the now “Vancouver Island Track Racing Association” in 1960 as both a car owner and sponsor, purchasing a Stockcar formerly built and driven by Digger O’Dell and had Doug Rose behind the wheel. Hugh and Doug along with their crew of Al Price and Bob Allison won the “Best Looking Car” award that season. Selling the car to Gary Kershaw in June of 1961, Hugh became a Safety Man at Western in 1962 and a Technical Man in 1963. He then served two consecutive terms as President of VITRA in 1964 and 1965 and in addition looked after ticket sales for the closed circuit telecast of the 1965 “Indy 500” race at Victoria’s “Royal Theatre” which featured Victoria’s Billy Foster as a competitor.