A bus trip to Nanaimo to take in his very first auto race in 1932 sparked 15 year old Ron Mayell’s interest in the sport and in 1935 he became a Safety Inspector for the “British Columbia Automotive Sports Association” (BCASA).
With the opening of Langford Speedway in 1936, he got his chance to get behind the wheel of a racecar the following year in the “Big Car” (Sprintcar) class. In a duel for the lead with 1995 “Hall of Fame” Inductee Jack “Digger” Caldwell, their two cars collided with Ron’s car flipping end-over-end 3 times followed by 3 barrel rolls. Awaking from a brief period of unconciousness, the young driver’s immediate concern was not his injuries, which included a badly injured arm and hand, but the fact that his no-nonsense Scottish mother would learn of his accident. Returning from a few days of unannounced recuperation in Seattle, he found he had only made a bad situation worse, his mother having read the newspaper accounts of his mishap. Promising her that he would never again set foot in a racecar, Ron carried on with his racing involvement that same year of 1937 by becoming Secretary of the association that sanctioned the races at Langford.
In 1946 he accepted the position of Starter at the Speedway and in 1948 attended the meeting which saw the birth of the “Vancouver Island Track Roadster Association” (VITRA). With the opening of Western Speedway in 1954, Ron became it’s first official Starter as well as serving as President of VITRA. He retained the Starter’s position for the next 2 years before stepping away and taking on the Timer’s position, one which he would hold along with that of Head Recorder, for many years. Using his “jack of all trade” inventive and electrical expertise, he fashioned a timing device from an electric motor and two British “Austin” car odometers along with an electrically-generated light beam which recorded each car’s lap times during time trials. This unit was used for many seasons at the track.
Ron was Secretary of VITRA in 1966 (a position he would hold until 1969) and with the purchase later that year of the Speedway from Andy Cottyn, he became a shareholder in “Western Speedway (1966) Ltd.”, also holding it’s role of Secretary during 1975.
Ron dusted off his starter’s uniform for Western’s 25th anniversary celebration in August of 1978, and later handled the flags for the “Old Time Racers Association” (OTRA) for several years, teaching it’s drivers a pre-race start manouver he had used back in the day in which the cars criss-crossed in front of and behind him, missing his outstretched green and checkered flags by less than a foot!
Ron was a regular attendee at the “Hall of Fame” induction ceremonies (which included his own in 1987) following his retirement from racing, an indication of his lifelong love of the sport. His funeral service following his passing in 2004 included his request of a few laps around Western’s oval by his hearse which was led by a restored vintage Stockcar, followed by a stop in “Victory Square” in front of the grandstands.