Saanich racer returns to MGB post-crash

Sixty-year old sports car racer Bill Okell won a pair of Nasport Lite races at the Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, in Monterey

Sixty-year old sports car racer Bill Okell won a pair of Nasport Lite races at the Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif. on Saturday and Sunday.

It was a major success not just because he gained valuable points in the Sports Car Club of America series that he’s won twice in the last three years, but because it was his first time back in his modified 1964 MGB since he ’totalled’ it during a race in Mission back in September.

“To go down and finish strong at the course I did so well at last year, that was great for me,” Okell said.

The West Saanich resident Okell competes in two separate Sports Car Club of America series’. The other its he U.S. Nationals, for which he sits third in the qualifying standings. The next stop in the latter series is July 4 in Portland. A podium finish will keep Okell on track to qualify for the U.S. National final in Daytona, a race he’s unsure he’ll drive in as it’s at the Daytona International Speedway. In that series Okell drives an MG Midget with the Huffaker Engineering team from San Francisco. The Midget is more powerful than his MGB but still the equivalent to ‘throwing a brick in the air’ on a speedway such as Daytona.

“Daytona is a banked oval, not exactly what the MG Midget is built for. Are we going to be competitive there? Probably not, but we’ll see where we’re at after we race in Portland,” Okell said.

For now, Okell is happy to have overcome the latest obstacle, and will keep on racing.

“What I took away from this weekend is that I didn’t crash,” he laughed, “I’m (relieved) just being able to put the car back together and be competitive. I’m 60, so there’s this stigma because I crashed, ‘Am I done racing? Is this it?.’ But I feel fine. I’m not done.”

Okell’s next Nasport race is in September.

reporter@saanichnews.com