Ken Keating is first off a friend of mine that i had the opportunity to meet while he was sending stories and photos to ISN back in 2009.I have had many,many people shoot for ISN over the years but only really had made a genuine friendship with a few. Ken is a what you see is what you get guy, his East Coast charm and honesty will be the first thing you notice when you meet him. A true legend in motor sports photography with a massive passion for not only the sport but the community it represents.I couldn’t let that track close without giving this man his due.This article was written by him for him and left untouched by me. Please , if ALL who reads this could give this man a huge round of applause for all the time,energy,passion he gave to Western Speedway. A second part will be done tomorrow using his photos in a photo essay format. Please enjoy and comment if you feel like it.
Scott Harrigan, owner ISN
My first experience with racing was in 1964 – 65. The local Ford dealer, my employer, sponsored a 1948 Mercury that we raced in a made over gravel pit in Plymouth near Yarmouth Nova Scotia and oddly enough the owner was Bob Brooks, a well known photographer. In the following years the promoters built a beautiful high banked paved track on the exhibition grounds just outside of the town limits. This opened the way for higher speeds, newer cars, and better racing.
Our car of choice was a 66 Studebaker powered by a Ford 289 motor and driven by Allan Christie . My duties included making sure the service was done and to get it to the track for Saturday night racing. I never had the opportunity to race competitively but I did do some lap testing. I remained a race fan after leaving my home-town even though I was away from racing for several years. In 1971, I moved to Vancouver Island and as a fan could go to the local track at Saratoga Speedway, near Campbell River. When we first moved to the Island I worked at Woss through the week and lived in Fanny Bay on week ends. That
work was with Canadian Forest Products Englewood Railroad that was the last logging railroad in North America. After a severe accident they pulled up the tracks so it no longer exists.
I had done some photography professionally and after moving to Victoria and somehow found my way to Western Speedway, the oldest track in Western Canada. The new highway was completed in the late 70s so getting to Victoria was somewhat easier
and I fell in love with the City. While there on weekends I got a job taking photos for Imagery Beyond, a Company that brought outstanding concerts and individuals to The Royal Theatre and McPhearson Playhouse.
Check out this list of people I had the opportunity to see and meet. The Beach Boys.Neville Brothers,Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Nana Mouskouri twice, The Moody Blues, Rich Little, Bob Hope, Frank Mills, Jefferson Airplane, Barbara Mandrell, and Johnny
Bagpipes Johnso. He was a local comedian and claimed Langford as his home. I also had an opportunity to work with him setting up a Christmas Bazaar to benefit needy families around that area. What a treat and experience with Bagpipes in that area. You just never knew what he would come up with next.
In mid June 1991, I and now with a Company I called Illusion Photography, was invited to Western Speedway to organize trophy presentations with the trophy girls and do race photography. This marked the beginning of Illusion Models and they remained there until my health failed me around 2018. We started the first “Miss Western Speedway Pageant” in 1994; expanded to Cassidy Speedway in 1995, and included Saratoga Speedway in 1996 with the same programs. This task proved to costly, and organization difficult, plus the closure of Cassidy; helped our decision to remain at Western Speedway
Illusion continued to follow racing at Western Speedway while we continued to submit photos and stories to Inside Track Motorsport News Magazine based in Toronto as well as other publishers and web sites.
They published not only our images but articles written about our local racers. The stories of local Sprint Car Champion, Trevor Montgomery, has been told in Inside Track Motorsport News and the Goldstream Gazette. This is particularly rewarding to me as no one had ever won four consecutive Championships, with the N.S.R.A., and Trevor was the first Canadian to have won a title in this type of racing and just to be a part of this, in writing and in print, cannot be replaced.
A very good friend of mine and talented photographer, Glen Duckmanton, started a web page called Pacific Motorsport News and we watched and pasted news of Canadian drivers from all race tracks we could find. That site also had what we called “Street Scene” and contained all kinds of articles about racing and car shows or anything we could find for car enthusiasts. Keep in mind we were dealing with print film at the time so it was not as easy to produce then as it is today with digital photos. I also had some tips and info from other great photographers like Robert Hunter and Barrie Goodwin.
We were very much involved in racing, organizing the Trophy Girls, taking photos, and locating local singers to sing our National Anthems at each race. These duties were added in 2008 and featured singers that competed in the Victoria Idol and other competitions bringing great talent to the track. Michelle Schultz sang the Anthem for all of the major and minor sports teams in Vancouver and Jenny Rhodes performed both the Canadian and US Anthem with perfection at Western as did so many others. It was such a treat to work with so many talented people like the photographers, singers, and Trophy
Girls that totalled around 130 girls alone. We were lucky to work with a radio personality from Nanaimo, a BC Lions Cheerleader, “Miss Veda” the Snohomish County Co-ordinator for the Miller Cold Patrol plus the Miller Genuine Draft Poster Girl and she appeared for the Dirt Cup at Cassidy as well as the Gilette – Thrifty Foods 200 at Western Speedway at a
Trophy Girls made their own legends such as Rachelle, Bethany, both Jenny’s, Jess, and so many more that clocked in on so many events rain or shine.
The year 2006 saw the addition of writing for various web sites, magazines, and souvenir programs with the intent to bring the latest news and stories from the local track to the fans throughout the Province. In 2009, part way through the season, I was asked to do some infield reporting and driver interviews. This was new to me and a learning experience; one I saw little success with it but I did get to meet several drivers that I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Events like the old Gilette – Thrifty Foods 200 allowed me to meet legends such as Roy Haslam for my first time. Other legends like The Tire Frier, Mr. Excitement Scott Aumen, Gary Kershaw, Tim Christie, Trevor The Tornado Montgomery, The Hurricane Jeff Montgomery, Roy Smith, and of course “The Lady From Sooke” Lois Pollard Grant and her whole family including her parents and her own kids and Brother Larry. Other legends was Keith Cahill who won several events in Demo Racing at the events in Vancouver plus Demo Championships at Western. Another great driver was “Smokin joe Liberatore” who captured the hearts at Cassiy as well as Western.
So many people, so many races, so many events have entered my life because of
racing. As mentioned, we had the opportunity to hang out with Geoffrey Bodine for a week in Nassau Bahamas as he was a celebrity judge for a pageant our trophy girls took part in. Harry Gant appeared at Western Speedway so we were pleased to know and meet another true Nascar legend.
Illusion Photography began as a small stock library, in 1989, by myself and David Morey. We began by submitting photos to the established magazine, post card, and calendar companies with the hopes of our photos showing up on their products. Our first attempts produced many rejections, however in late 1990, Canadian Greeting Cards, based in London Ontario, published seven of our images that eventually were distributed across North America. Following this success Wagner & Teldon, based in Vancouver, chose to publish our images and have done so eight consecutive years using photos taken around Vancouver Island along with collector car images. I had the great privilege of being asked to go on assignment, through Teldon, to shoot the cover photo for the Arch Diocese of Victoria’s 125th Anniversary calendar. This, of course, is the one and only. This success was followed by Beautiful British Columbia Magazine, Peacock Post Cards, Vancouver Island
Postcards, and several race magazines including Inside Track Magazine out of Washington and Inside Track Motorsport News based in Toronto.
Illusion Photography has been successful with food plate images for restaurant menus, weddings, calendar and magazine images, while most successes are a result of racing; a field that is thoroughly enjoyed. The list of credits has grown substantially from its humble beginnings, with new challenges, adventures, requirements, and technology all having a part of this growth. Illusion Photography remains a small enterprise operating on a part time basis, always remembering the people that have been instrumental in growth; the racing fraternity that has shown so much support, and the firms that have published our works.
On August 9 2004, my then wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Now at age eighteen, she knows sprint cars, Hornet cars, Monster Trucks, and would rather watch Nascar than cartoons and also shows skill and imagination when she uses a camera too. She says she wants to carry the Keating name on and I certainly hope she has as much success that I have had, meets as many people that I have, and finds a new race track to hang with. I also hope she has more luck than I had as they pulled up the rails in the logging camp and I loved running the big power of the locomotives plus our beloved race track.
Western Speedway had a name change to Westshore Motorsport Park and as of September 2022 is also gone. Maybe that new track will be in shape and the many families and race people can again live the good life. I must also thank all of the promoters, General Managers, and all of the race people I had to work along and with and the opportunities I had to meet very talented drivers, dedicated Trophy Girls in rain or shine, and people over so many years.
Written & Submitted by:
ILLUSION PHOTOGRAPHY & ILLUSION MODELS:
Established in 1990, by Ken Keating and David Morey, Illusion Photography has submitted photos to national and international
publishers for magazines and post cards. Published material achievements are listed below:
• Canadian Greeting Cards:
• Canadian Forest Products:
• Peacock Post Cards:
• Vancouver Island Post Cards:
• Beautiful British Columbia Magazine:
• Photo Digest Magazine:
• Inside Track Magazine (Toronto & Washington)
• Stock Car Racing Magazine:
• Performance Racing News:
• Open Wheel Racing News:
• Arch Diocese of Victoria:
• Wagner and Teldon Calendars:
• Western Speedway:
• Cassidy Speedway: