Bill Okell (left) stands with Tedd McHenry, past president of the Vintage Racing Club of British Columbia, while receiving his Chairman’s Trophy. (Photo courtesy Bill Okell)

Saanich driver races to Chairman’s Trophy in Mission

Bill Okell has driven the same race car for 44 years

What do you see yourself doing when you’re 64? Saanich race car driver Bill Okell has been racing since the mid ’70s. His 64th birthday has come and gone and he has no plans to quit racing anytime soon.

Okell is no stranger to trophies and he spent the summer racing all over the west coast of North America, however, his most recent race and subsequent award were extra special because they were close to home. He was invited to race in the annual three-day British Columbia Historic Motor Races (BCHMR) at River’s Edge Raceway Park in Mission. After placing third overall, he was awarded the Chairman’s Trophy.

The award is given the the driver with the nicest car and the most spirited performance, explained Ian Wood, the BCHMR chairman. The winner’s Canadian racing history is also taken into consideration.

READ ALSO: When I’m 64? Bill Okell is still racing sports cars

Okell drove his 1964 MGB — the same one he’s raced in for 44 years — in several races at the event between Aug. 9 and 11. All the cars entered in the race must be at least 25 years old and the races are accompanied by banquets and community building events.

The event drew 47 drivers from all over the west coast of North America and, despite the unpredictable weather, Okell was the top finisher from Victoria. He was also one of the 17 drivers who qualified for the final 25-mile Jim Latham Memorial Classic Race on Aug. 9. Okell finished third in a close race.

Wood said that the criteria for the Chairman Trophy award is purposely vague. Okell was selected for the award not only for his skill and enthusiasm, but because his car is “a work of art,” Wood explained.

READ ALSO: Saanich driver posts best-ever finish at sports car nationals in U.S.

In April of this year, Okell was also inducted into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame alongside five other members of the local racing community. Recognition like the Hall of Fame induction and the Chairman Trophy mean a lot to Okell because they come from his peers. He’s humbled by the acknowledgements.

After celebrating the award and his success at the BCHMR, the 64-year-old has now turned his sights to the NASPORT Championships which will take place in California in October. He pointed out that he is the defending champion having won the race twice in the past.

He meets with his doctor for two physicals each year and has been given the green light each time. He feels that doing what he loves and staying motivated “keeps the old age away.” Okell plans on at least 10 more years of racing because it makes him feel young.

“I haven’t peaked yet,” he said. “I’m still getting better.”


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A young Bill Okell is pictured in his racing gear. (billokellmotorsports.com)

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read