The action by an owner ("Nye") of a 1998 Corvette which was severely damaged and written off after an accident at a motor track was allowed where the court found that the exclusion for damage caused where vehicles were used in a contest, show or race did not apply.

[2012] B.C.J. No. 1488

2012 BCSC 1053

British Columbia Supreme Court

J.K. Bracken J.

July 16, 2012

Nye purchased a 1998 Chevrolet Corvette and joined a Corvette owner's club in Victoria in 2010. Activities sponsored by the club included slalom and autocross events. Nye registered as a participant in a club event which was advertised as "Driver Training at Western Speedway". This event was not a competition although the rules of the event required each driver to wear a helmet and each vehicle to undergo a safety inspection before participating. The organizers set a track which consisted of turns, controlled stops and manoeuvres around a series of pylons. The speeds involved in driving the course were estimated to be in the range of 60 to 70 kmh.

During the event, Nye momentarily lost control of the vehicle and collided with a concrete retaining wall severely damaging the vehicle. Nye filed an accident claim which was denied by ICBC on the basis that the exclusion for damage to a vehicle being used in a contest, show or race, or an advanced or performance driver training course applied to loss. The court disagreed with the position of ICBC noting that there was nothing in the evidence to support a finding that Nye was participating in a contest, show or race. The event was not timed, and Nye was not competing against any other driver. The court agreed with ICBC that Nye had been participating in an advanced or performance driver training event upon a closed track but noted that ICBC would also have to establish that there existed an element of race or speed test for the exclusion to apply. The court found that there was no evidence that the speeds reached by Nye or other participants in the event were in excess of what might normally be encountered in day-to-day driving and no evidence to support the conclusion that Nye was in a race or speed test.

In the result, the court held that ICBC failed to establish that Nye was operating this vehicle in breach of the Regulation or his insurance policy. Nye was entitled to coverage under the own damage provisions of the policy of insurance issued by ICBC.