Jim Haslam’s involvement with the sport of auto racing began at Victoria’s Langford Speedway in the late 1940’s as the owner of a “Big Car” (Sprintcar) which was driven by his brother George.
With Langford’s closure in 1950, racing moved to Shearing Speedway north of Duncan in mid 1952 and soon after, Langford logger Andy Cottyn began building Western Speedway. As a fellow logger and heavy equipment owner at the time plus being a racer himself, Jim helped Andy with land clearing and construction on the site with the track becoming a reality in May of 1954.
Jim then became a Stockcar owner, his drivers in the 1950’s including Lamont Brooks and Phil Lambrick. He also started “Haslam’s Auto Wrecking” on his property just down from the track which in addition to attracting regular customers and local racers looking for parts, also became an after-race meeting place for both out-of-town and local racers. And through his business, Jim also supplied wrecker service to the Speedway during the late 1950’s and early ’60’s. In 1960, Jim got Billy Foster as his driver and they first ran a ’34 Ford coupe and later in the season a GMC-powered ’33 Chevy coupe built by Bob Vantreight. They finished 5th in points and the following year they finished 3rd with Billy also posting a 3rd in that year’s “Gold Cup” race in Edmonton, Alberta. Also in 1960, Jim was awarded the “Dick Willoughby Sportsmanship” trophy at season’s end, being the 2nd one to receive it after Dave Cooper.
Jim and Billy moved up to the new “Modified Sportsman” class for 1962 in which they captured the #1 spot in Island points as well as Billy posting fast time in their class in the annual “Mount Douglas Hill Climb” in the same car. Jim went on to assist Billy when he moved to the newly-formed “Canadian American Modified Racing Association” (CAMRA) in 1963 and from there to USAC (United States Auto Club) when he became the 1st Canadian to qualify for the “Indianapolis 500” in 1965.
Honoured with a life membership in the “Vancouver Island Track Racing Association” (VITRA) and also a member of the “Golden Wheels Fraternity”, Jim was also involved with his son Roy who had a stellar driving career in the Pacific Northwest.
Jim Haslam passed in October of 1985, leaving a legacy of racing history and memories including a family who have continued in the sport that Jim enjoyed for so many years. His wife Lorraine continued to be involved until her passing with Roy competing well into the 1990’s. And Jim’s grandsons Michael and Robbie are still behind the wheel today, proudly and successfully carrying on the “Haslam” name in Island racing.