At age 66, Fraser Heights racer still has a need for speed

SURREY — Most seniors spend their leisure time gardening, golfing or playing with their grandchildren, but Michael Lensen lives his life in the fast lane.

The 66-year-old was among the oldest competitors at last weekend’s ICSCC Triple Race Weekend at Mission Raceway Park.

The Fraser Heights resident has been racing for more than 20 years, winning more than 12 championships in that time.

Lensen said that it’s funny to see the looks on some of the younger guys’ faces when they see him roaring down the track, as he is usually the oldest driver there.

Even though he has had so much success in the past, this has been a rough season forthe veteran sports car driver.

"I had an infection in my hip and that led to the shutting down of my kidneys," Lensen said. "I was operated on. I’m fine."

Lensen, who couldn’t put any pressure on his left hip or leg, spent about five weeks in Surrey Memorial Hospital, but has recovered over the last couple of months.

"If you ask me now, ‘How do you feel?’ I’d say I feel as if it never happened," he added.

The time off means Lensen is no longer in contention to win any championships this year, but that doesn’t force him to wave the checkered flag on this season.

"That’s all behind us now, and two weeks after my last day in the hospital I was on the racetrack. I won my first race and came in second in my second race and that was the good news, but I was totally spent at the end of the weekend.

"I was so out of shape not having worked out for that length of time. Two-and-a-half months I had not worked out and it certainly showed in my condition at the end of the weekend," said Lensen.

He said that he normally works out four times a week and isn’t tired after most of his events, but after a long stint in a hospital bed, coming back to race was tougher than he anticipated.

"I was totally spent and my wife looked at me and I admitted to her that, ‘I’m dead. I’m toast. I’m so tired,’" Lensen added.

Lensen held the lap record time at Mission Raceway Park for several years, but one of his friends took it from him last season.

However, this year he is hoping to take the record back in his new car – a red Van Diemen RF97 FC.

Lensen likes his Van Diemen much better than his previous car, and said that he was able to modify it to meet his needs.

"It’s a very responsive car, more responsive than the one I used to have. These cars handle well anyway because it’s very light and very nimble to the corners," he said.

"They are absolute hoots to drive and they’re so much fun."

The Sports Car Club of British Columbia played host to the ICSCC Triple Race Weekend as it celebrated its 20th anniversary.

More than 125 racers were expected to participate in the Mission event, coming as far away as Alberta, Oregon and Washington State.

More information can be found at Sccbc.net.

kyle.benning@gmail.com

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