Kallberg earns Wemme Trophy


Last updated 7/25/2023 at 10:55am

Photo provided

The name of Sisters developer and auto racer Curt Kallberg was added to the Wemme Trophy at the Portland Rose Cup Races in July.

The Wemme Trophy is awarded each year to auto racers who "keep the memory of classic automobile racing alive in Portland."

Sisters racer Curt Kallberg's name has been added to the trophy for his significant contributions.

According to selection committee member Jeff Zurschmeide, Kallberg earned the award because he's a "respected racer, he's well-known and liked, and he always shows up well-prepared."

Erik Dolson of Sisters, who has been racing since 1996, credits Kallberg with getting him into the sport.

"He came up to me after I'd been helping people learn how to drive their new BMWs at Portland International Raceway and said, 'You ought to come do some real racing,' so I built my first race car. Racing became a passion for the next three decades."

Mike Smith, Wemme winner in 2022, said Kallberg did a lot of work behind the scenes to promote racing and was always willing to help other racers.

Kallberg has been racing for 50 years. Some would say his skills improved over the years, but his style has remained much the same.

"Built my first (race) car when I graduated from high school in 1971. A man named Racer Brown built my first engine and it was quick. Took it up to Canada to a race and qualified first.

"When we took off, I went over a rise called 'Deer's Leap.' When I came down I hit so hard it ripped the exhaust pipes off the side of the car and punched them through the rear tires. When they pulled my car out of the woods it was wearing a rhododendron the size of a small pickup."

Almost everyone who has run for any length of time with Kallberg has stories to tell. Dolson, who raced side-by-side with Kallberg on tracks up and down the West Coast, talks about how his friend always surprises with a new tactic.

"Even if he didn't qualify well, you knew he was lurking back there behind you, and didn't know what he would do when the green flag was thrown," he said. "I've seen him pass eight cars before the first turn. His car was so loud it actually scared people."

Kallberg was humbled by the Wemme Award.

"There's an amazing group of names on that trophy. Monte Shelton, Bob Ames, Arnie Loyning. John Zupan, Norm Daniels. People who have made huge contributions to racing over the years," Kallberg said.

His own contributions, unlike his cars, were often understated. He organized gatherings of rare cars, and rebuilt significant vehicles.

But perhaps his biggest contribution has been luring new drivers into racing.

In presenting the trophy, Mike Smith remembered the day when Kallberg came up to him and said, "Smith, you're doing good out there." Smith's daughter is now racing as well.


Reader Comments(0)


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Https://www.nuggetnews.com/home/cms Data/dfault/images/masthead 260x100
Sisters Oregon Guide
Spirit Of Central Oregon
Spirit Youtube
Nugget Youtube

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024