Randy Wiebe checks the carburetor on his boomer car. The 50-year-old has spent much of his life at Western Speedway and is the only legally blind driver on the track.

Randy Wiebe checks the carburetor on his boomer car. The 50-year-old has spent much of his life at Western Speedway and is the only legally blind driver on the track.

Blind racer ‘drives by braille’

Legally blind, Randy Wiebe has spent the past few decades ripping around Western Speedway racing in the demolition derby

When Randy Wiebe was told he would never get a driver’s licence, he knew that wouldn’t keep him from driving.

Being legally blind has stopped him from driving on public streets, but he has spent the past few decades ripping around Western Speedway racing in the demolition derby.

When it comes to driving, Wiebe’s jokes: “I drive by braille, if I hit something I just steer the other way.”

The first time he ever drove a car was at the speedway in a demo derby race.

“I was 18 and I was scared as hell,” Wiebe said. “I lasted a lap and a half and then the car spun out and that was that, but I was hooked.”

While his father was never too fond of Wiebe’s passion for speed and destruction, he did get encouragement at home.

“My mom was supportive. I could hear her yelling from the stands when I was on the track,” the driver remembers with a huge grin. “That was the coolest thing ever.”

Being blind doesn’t mean Wiebe is left fully in the dark, but he does have limitations.

“I see at 20 feet what normal people see at 200 feet,” said Wiebe, who was born with the condition.

As he’s never had regular vision, it’s difficult for him to describe how he sees the world. However, his doctor explained that it would be akin to “someone who spins around 20 times fast and then tries to focus on a clock.”

After every race, his car does get more and banged up. But, after many years, Wiebe has only ever had minor injuries, including broken ribs and broken thumbs.

“I have never had a car fire, but I do wear a two-layer fire-proof suit,” Wiebe said. “The suit gives you an extra 30 seconds in a fire. It doesn’t sound long, but when you are in a fire that’s a long time.”

Now at 50, Wiebe thinks it time to get out of the driver’s seat, but he’ll never give up on his passion for cars.

“Oh God, I could quit smoking easier than I could quit racing,” said Wiebe looking at his cigarettes on the table. “The body just doesn’t handle it as it used to.”

Instead of driving in the demolition derby, he’s bought a boomer car and found a driver for it. It took Wiebe a year to transform the 1981 Camero into a boomer car. Wiebe oversees the crew in the pit on race nights. Boomer races are always held on the same night as demolition derby.

“Some people do drugs to get high, I race cars to get high, it’s such a rush,” Wiebe said.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

A speedway of opportunity

Randy Wiebe moved to Langford in 1967. He experienced his first car race at Western Speedway and knew at the ripe age of five, that he too, would drive race cars.

When he wasn’t watching cars at the track, he was at home playing with toy cars.

While he’s legally blind, he can see the races but, when the cars go towards the back stretch, it gets a bit tougher for him to see what’s going on. He always brings binoculars with him to the track.

“I see kids come in the pit after the races looking to get autographs, I see myself doing that 45 years ago,” Wiebe said.

He’s been blind since birth and has never let it stop him from from anything he’s wanted to do.

“Don’t let it slow you down, everything is possible,” Wiebe said. “I have never taken the easy way out, I have always had a job. I have nothing to complain about.”

Over the years, Wiebe has earned more than 40 trophies, the last trophy he won was in September 2010.

Just Posted

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

A pub patio in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Patio and picnic dining could mean a free meal for Greater Victoria patrons

Local celebrities pick up the tab with latest Greater Victoria chamber contest

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) Saturday announced a COVID-19 exposure at Oak Bay High School. (Black Press Media File).
Oak Bay High School subject of COVID-19 exposure

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) said possible exposure happened June 9-10

St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read