Back in the heyday of Vancouver Island stock car racing, Donald Carmichael of Ladysmith was the one to beat.
He only raced for five years but his record was enough to get him inducted into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Museum on April 6 this year.
In the winter of 1966, Carmichael and his friend John Davis built a 1953 flathead Ford two-door sedan into their first race car. In the 1967 race year he finished eighth in the point standings and was named Rookie of the Year.
Carmichael mostly raced at Grandview Bowl but also raced at Western Speedway and Oyster River.
In 1968, he raced a 1955 Chevy sedan with a hot-rodded 261 Pontiac motor. He was third in points 1968, second in 1969 and first in 1970. In 1971 he was first and points champion.During his racing years he won many trophies and main events, including the Kenny Cook Memorial, and the Corby Cup.
Carmichael is not related to another Hall-of-Fame Island racer, Fraser Carmichael. Many people ask but though they share the same last name and both raced stock cars on the Island. In fact, they were once announced as brothers at a race at Western Speedway and Don had net even met Fraser at the time.
They became friends and raced together many times. Fraser was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
Don’s best memory?
“I never rode her on the roof, I always kept her on four wheels.”
Born in Ladysmith, he retired from racing when he purchased the Ladysmith Welding and Truck Repair business on the site of what is now Extend Rentals and Home Hardware.
Don has been retired for several years and still lives in Ladysmith, close to family and his four grandchildren.