Bill Okell clutched the signature checkered flag after winning a race at the SCCA Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships in October 2019. (Photo courtesy Bill Okell)

Bill Okell clutched the signature checkered flag after winning a race at the SCCA Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships in October 2019. (Photo courtesy Bill Okell)

Saanich’s senior race car driver not slowing down

Bill Okell kicks off 2020 season at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California on Feb. 21

Bill Okell may have turned 65 in November, but that’s not slowing him down on the southern California race circuit.

Okell kicks off the 2020 racing season at the western conference Hoosier Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Super Tour, which runs from Feb. 21-23.

While he typically races in the same 1964 MGB Roadster he’s been driving in for 44 years, at the Hoosier SCCA Super Tour, Okell will be racing past the competition in an MG Midget in two production races at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif.

The MG Midget is owned by the Huffaker Engineering race team. After striking out on his own for a year, Saanich’s senior race car driver will once again hit the track as part of the Huffaker team.

He began racing in the U.S. Majors Tour with the team in 2014 and finished 10th in the National Championships which took place at the raceway in Laguna Seca, Calif. Most recently, Okell raced with Huffaker in 2018 and placed fifth, a personal best, at the SCCA National Championships.

He’s looking forward to “getting back behind the wheel of the MG Midget and seeing what [the team] can accomplish.”

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

Okell closed out the 2019 season at the same racetrack in October at the SCCA Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships where he defended his title as the NASPORT Lite class champion and picked up a few more trophies.

The 65-year-old checks in with his family doctor to keep an eye on his physical and mental health, but has no plans to stop racing anytime soon. He’s looking forward to the 2020 season and is already planning ahead for the 2021 National Championships in Indianapolis.


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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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