When I’m 64? Bill Okell still drives sports cars – Victoria News

Bill Okell doesn’t see age as a deterrent to going out and doing what he loves.

The now 64-year-old Saanich-based racer believes that as long as his doctor tells him his reflexes, hand-eye coordination and strength are better than the average person his age, it’s good to keep going. to drive sports cars.

If he did not run as much this year as last year – more a factor of economy than physical limitations – when he went out on the track, he made the most of his opportunities. The end of his qualifying season saw him make a third trip to the Sports Car Club of America National Championships, held for 2018 at Sears Point in Sonoma, Calif., October 15-21.

His best results came at Button Willow Raceway in California in April, when he set a new lap record in the GT Lites class and placed first in his division. The experience gave him confidence in his own abilities, he said, and reminded him to trust his teammates at Huffaker Engineering to set up the # 7 red Austin Healey Sprite and advise him on the best way to approach the course.

“I don’t run as fast as the other guys,” Okell said. “But it was one of those weekends where I was applying new principles and strategies to things like corners and acceleration. I had to believe my mind was wrong and the car was right.

At the national championships he will race both in the F Production class and in the GT Lites, with the same car, but with added weight in the latter category.

Saanich’s Bill Okell (7) raced at Button Willow Raceway earlier this season. There, he set the lap record in the GT Lites category in May. Photo by Cali

While last season was a very successful one for Okell, winning an SCCA Western Conference Championship title and posting several solid finishes along the way, it was a rather expensive race considering the number of events he and the ‘team participated. In addition to the cost, he was heading to the 2017 National Championships, held at the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he placed 12th in GT Lites and 22nd in F Production, after being hampered by transmission issues.

Okell, who has also driven his own MG Midget a few times this season, will prepare for the national championships with a trip to Mission Raceway Park this weekend, driving a friend’s Honda. He hopes to build some momentum there before returning to Sears Point, an opportunity he believes keeps him doing what he loves.

“I’m 64 and just lucky to be able to keep doing this and to be in touch with such professional people, whether it’s people who help me locally or the Huffaker team.”

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