Saanich race car driver Bill Okell (left) and JK Skinner of R&P Motorsports, owner of the car Okell raced in, pose with a trophy after a weekend of racing in the Confederation of Autosport Car Clubs Championships. (Brent Martin/Martin’s Action Photography)

Saanich race car driver Bill Okell (left) and JK Skinner of R&P Motorsports, owner of the car Okell raced in, pose with a trophy after a weekend of racing in the Confederation of Autosport Car Clubs Championships. (Brent Martin/Martin’s Action Photography)

Saanich race car driver nabs GTU title, new hardware at Mission Raceway Park

‘Satisfying win’ on Canadian circuit after U.S. season cut short for Bill Okell

During what turned out to be a rain-filled racing weekend at the Mission Raceway Park in the Fraser Valley, Saanich-based driver Bill Okell, 65, took home the Grand Touring Under (GTU) points title at the Confederation of Autosport Car Clubs Championships.

Okell took part in two GTU races on Sept. 26 and one on Sept. 27 in Mission, and the rain didn’t slow him down – in fact, he said the conditions were “well suited” to the 1990 Mazda Miata he was driving. The car was on loan from R&P Motorsports, though Okell typically races in a 1964 MGB Roadster that he’s had for 45 years.

READ ALSO: Saanich race car driver shifts gears as pandemic cuts U.S. season short

In the first race, Okell placed second as former GTU champion Branko Turic sped into first place in his Volkswagen Rabbit which broke down shortly after, forcing him to drop out of the last two races. With the first-place car out of the running, Okell slid into the top spot in the final two races which gave him enough points overall to take home the GTU points championship. “This really was a satisfying win [in] a racing year, that really looked like it wasn’t ever going to happen,” he said.

Okell’s plan to make waves at the 2020 Sports Car Club of America U.S. Majors was dashed when the border between Canada and the U.S. closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the initial disappointment, he set his sights on the Canadian racing circuit – not only so he could keep doing what he loves, but also to keep his long-term sponsors engaged.

READ ALSO: Five being inducted into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame

“This late-season effort allowed our racing program to maintain momentum as we approach the next season which, I hope, will get underway in late January at U.S. Auto Club Speedway” in California, said Okell, who will be 66 in November.

He hopes to do well in the 2021 Western Conference tour as his sights are set on qualifying for the national championships set to take place in Indianapolis next September. In his 2017 appearance at the national championships, Okell took part in two races and placed 17th and 22nd.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Auto racingSaanichSports

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

 

Saanich race car driver Bill Okell sped around the track at the Mission Raceway Park in a 1990 Mazda Miata on Sept. 26 and 27. (Brent Martin/Martin’s Action Photography)

Saanich race car driver Bill Okell sped around the track at the Mission Raceway Park in a 1990 Mazda Miata on Sept. 26 and 27. (Brent Martin/Martin’s Action Photography)

Just Posted

Victoria police are asking for people's help identifying the suspect of a sexual assault that occurred early Oct. 29. (Black Press Media file photo)
VicPD searching for suspect in sexual assault incident

A woman was sexually assaulted at the 800-block of Cormorant Street just before 4 a.m. Oct. 29

Artists, activists and supporters stand at the ‘More Justice, More Peace’ mural in Victoria’s Bastion Square after the letter ‘S’ was painted over in black. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
ACAB removed from Victoria’s More Justice, More Peace mural

New message points to VicPD, City of Victoria for silencing BIPOC voices

Sooke’s Paul Larouche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Retiring local politicians Carole James and Andrew Weaver will receive annual payouts estimated at $87,000 and $34,000, respectively, under the pension plan for outgoing MLAs in B.C., according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (Black Press Media file photos)
Taxpayer watchdog howling over outgoing MLAs’ pension payouts

Carole James, Andrew Weaver among Island MLAs whose pensions are calculated by taxpayers federation

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Second driver not found after Sooke Road crash snarls evening traffic

Two vehicles involved in rear-end crash Wednesday evening

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Adam Ireton holds his son Weston, along with Kristen and Beckett as they celebrate Weston's last day of treatment for lukemia. (Kristen Ireton photo)
799 days: ‘Super’ Weston defeats cancer

‘Weston is disease-free now, so we will be going into a period of checkups and things until he’s 18’

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read