A “CTV” news reporter once asked Bill Okell why he had raced the same sportscar for over 40 years, to which Bill replied, “It’s like wearing a good old pair of shoes that just fit comfortably and just keep lasting and lasting”.
From the time he purchased his 1964 MGB roadster from Victoria’s “Metro Toyota”where he discovered it sitting on their used car lot, Bill has always considered the car as an ongoing project to “get the most out of”.
The early 1970’s was a time to compete in the “International Conference of Sports Car Clubs” which Bill did, racing throughout the Pacific Northwest and finishing 3rd three times in the “E Production” championship from 1978 to 1981 plus a 4th placing in the 1980 “E Improved Production” class. This advanced to Regional SCCA (“Sports Car Club of America”) “E Production” titles in 1985 and 1986 with 2nd place finishes in 1984 and 1988 as well as four invitations to the SCCA “Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships” at California’s “Sonoma Raceway” where his best finish was a 4th in 1987. Bill continued to race his MGB, as well as cars for other parties over the following years at many prestigious events, adding many victories and good finishes along with several track records to his driving resume, a high point of which was his competing at the “Indianapolis Motor Speedway” in the SCCA “National Championships” where he finished 12th in the “GTL” race and 22nd in “F Production”.
As well as developing his race driving skills, the early 1970’s were also a time to begin to hone his motorsports broadcasting skills, working on a contract basis at CFAX radio and writing articles for the Flynn family at the “Sportscaster” weekly newspaper which led to submissions in the “West Coast Sports” and “Island Sports” publications plus spare time reporting for CHEK TV as well as continued air time with CFAX radio. More opportunities subsequently arose over the following years with the covering of local drivers Lance Wade and Gary Smith’s NASCAR “Winston West” programs and acting as their media rep at Japan’s “Motegi” race track. Landing a TV motorsports reporter’s position with the “Toronto TV Sports Network” saw Bill interviewing drivers at the 2002 “Molson Indy” in Vancouver.
NASCAR’S “Motor Racing Outreach” program approached Bill as a candidate for their chaplaincy program which he has been involved in for the past 20 plus years, his highlight in this endeavour being his giving the Christian message at the funeral of Roy Smith at the “Bear Mountain” arena in Langford.
Bill continues to broadcast auto racing results for CFAX radio, occasionally covering professional golf and CFL football, while also covering local drivers such as Josh Reaume on the “NASCAR Camping World” truck series.