Bill Okell clutched the signature checkered flag after winning his race on Oct. 27 at the Sports Car Club of America Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships in California. (Photo courtesy Bill Okell)

Saanich race car driver sets track record, wins two races in California

Bill Okell turns 65 in November and looks forward to next racing season, senior discounts

Saanich race car driver Bill Okell, 64, picked up two more trophies while racing in California at the end of October and set a new record in the process.

Over the weekend of Oct. 26 and 27, Okell took part in the annual Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships at the Buttonwillow Raceway near Bakersfield, Calif. This was his first time at the track in many years and his first time driving his own race car on the track.

Okell entered the 2019 race as the two-time defending champion and left with his title intact. He raced in the NASPORT Lite class and won both his races in the same 1964 MGB Roadster he’s been racing in for 44 years.

On Saturday, he took part in the short race and on Sunday, the day of the main events, raced in a 15 lap event. In the process, he broke the Buttonwillow Raceway track record in the NASPORT Lite class by averaging 81.5 mph. He pointed out that this isn’t his personal record as he was racing on old tires.

In the past, Okell also set and held the NASPORT Lite track record at Sacramento’s Thunderhill Raceway Park, Monterey’s Laguna Seca Raceway and San Francisco’s Sonoma Raceway.

2019 has been a good year for Okell. In April, he was inducted into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame and after placing third at the British Columbia Historic Motor Races in Mission, B.C. in August, he was awarded the Chairman Trophy for his enthusiasm and beautiful car.

READ ALSO: Saanich driver races to Chairman’s Trophy in Mission

“This really has been a good year – from a personal perspective and an auto racing perspective,” said Okell proudly.

He noted that his sponsors and supporters both locally and nationally are owed a big thank you.

Okell will turn 65 on Nov. 18 and is looking forward to getting senior discounts. Not much else will change, he explained. He’ll keep checking in with his family doctor to keep an eye on his physical and mental health, but he’s not slowing down.

Okell will continue to train in the off-season and work on much needed repairs for his car to prepare for the 2020 season of the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour. He also has his sights set on the 2021 national championships in Indianapolis.


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Bill Okell clutched the signature checkered flag after winning his race on Oct. 26 at the Sports Car Club of America Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships in California. (Photo courtesy Bill Okell)

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