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

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?

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Everett pulls ahead in Western Conference standings over Vancouver Giants

Langley-based hockey G-Men, who lost 6-5 to Everett Saturday, now prepares to take on Victoria.

Langley Thunder lacrosse teams pocket gold and silver in Richmond

Top finishes for U15 and U13-1 teams at Richmond Romp over the Remembrance Day weekend

Langley Rams downed by Saskatoon Hilltops at Canadian Bowl

Four-time Canadian Junior Football League champions built up an insurmountable lead

VIDEO: Crash on 88 Avenue in Langley

At least one car suffered extensive damage

Extreme weather alert issued by Langley shelter

Gateway of Hope offers homeless warm place to sleep

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

Most Read