Norm Shaw raced his #60 spec Miata around the track at the Mission Raceway. (Brent Martin/martinsactionphotography.smugmug.com)

Langleyite races for the fun of it, not necessarily to win

At 70, retiree Norm Shaw still loves climbing behind the wheel to race his Miata.

As a 60th birthday present to himself, Norm Shaw took up racing.

Ten years later, the 70-year-old Walnut Grove retiree is still on the track, but more interested in driving than he is in the final race results.

“It is about having fun,” he said. “I no longer worry too much about where I am in the championship standings, but more concerned with being able to race wheel-to-wheel-to-wheel with another Miata, regardless of finishing position,” Shaw told the Langley Advance.

That said, last weekend – while running his customized spec Miata at the Mission Raceway – he earned a third, fourth, and fifth place ranking – results that sit just fine with him.

“Last weekend was an opportunity to make sure the car was back in shape following a fairly heavy collision with a concrete wall the previous race,” he explained.

.

How it all began

Shaw jokingly blames his daughter for getting him behind the wheel to race, although he admitted he’s always been interested in the sport and cars, in general.

“Retirement seemed a good time to take on an activity that falls on many guys bucket list,” he said. “My youngest daughter and I took the Sports Car Club of B.C. driver training course together in her Miata.”

Not long after that, he bought the automobile from her, and turned it into a race car.

“I chose to build what is called a spec Miata, since it seemed to be one of the most popular classes in North America,” he said, noting that economics was also a factor in his pick.

The car looks like a Miata sports car, but he insists it is fully race prepared with stripped interior, full enclosed roll cage, fire system, and racing suspension.

Behind the wheel of said vehicle, he won the Miata championship in 2012, and had a couple seconds and thirds since then.

.

Days of being champ a thing of the past

“The ability is probably not there to be winning all the time now, so it is simply racing,” he said. “As I said – not the championship driven driver anymore – out to have fast, safe fun.”

Last year, for instance, he partnered with three other spec Miata drivers to build a car for the champ car races at Laguna Seca.

“It was a lot of fun sharing a car and driving as a team. That may be the kind of racing that I will enjoy over the next few years,” Shaw said.

“We are competitive and that is why we race, but it is not necessary to win all the time, but it is necessary to actually race car to car.”

While his goals have changed since he first started racing a few years back, so too have his abilities.

Similar to other older racers, he just wants to get out there and race, stay “reasonably competitive” with other cars, and experience other race tracks.

“I keep racing to keep active and feel alive,” he said.

Shaw has a varied history. He worked in the forest industry for 15 years, then took a two-year break to skipper a sailboat in Europe and the Caribbean, before returning home to a teaching position at BCIT until he retired 11 years ago to “consult and practise retirement and race.”

Shaw comes from what he describes as a generation that was – out of necessity – more involved with building cars, maintaining them, and ultimately racing them.

“The current generations have much more complicated and expensive cars, which do not encourage tinkering and modification to race,” he said, noting a decline in the motor-sport field. “They are more likely to participate in lapping days or video simulation.”

.

More dangerous driving to races

Admittedly, even though he said the sport is not really dangerous, his wife, Margaret, is “very nervous” watching him race.

“If there is one misconception it is that racing is dangerous. Club racing, which we do, is not like the professional racing on TV. Contact may be penalized, and everyone is going the same direction. And everyone is trained so actions are totally predictable. The most scary part of a weekend is getting on the highway where cars are actually coming towards you at speed,” he concluded.

He’ll be back out on the Mission track racing again July 14 and 15, as well as July 28 and 29.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

rhooper@langleyadvance.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Just Posted

Ex-Nanaimo man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Abbotsford music festival

James Allen Redden, 50, found guilty of three charges

Langley rower takes silver at Lucerne, Switzerland

Andrea Proske quit a good job to take up the sport at a relatively late age. It worked out.

14-year-old pilot attempts to break Guinness World Record at Langley airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab wants to become youngest pilot with fewest hours logged to fly solo

Langley’s Brunsch bunch

It’s all relative for lacrosse-playing brothers who are teammates

Lower Mainland cools down as heat wave lifts

Environment Canada predicts temperatures in the mid to low 20s

Stolen sunshade puts damper on Lower Mainland woman’s pet-relief effort

Broken umbrella taken from White Rock lawn ‘within 10 minutes’

One dead after fatal motorcycle crash on BC’s Highway 11

Mission RCMP are investigating a crash that claimed one life

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Teen killed by train remembered for his love

Friends and family share stories of young Crescent Beach train victim

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

Most Read