HPDE – 2021 Year End Comments
For those that don’t know me, I’m Bill Van Ocker, and I’ve just completed my 3rd year as chief instructor for the NJ chapter’s high performance driving events, or HPDE. It’s been a great few years for me in the new role, including the challenges that we faced having to adopt lead-follow instructing for a period due to Covid19 safety restrictions.
I’m rather honored with the CI role, given the NJ chapter’s long history. I’ve come to learn that our chapter was the first BMW club in the US to organize a performance driving school, way back in 1974. So that means we just completed our 48th year running such events. Having instructed with most chapters in the NE, I truly believe that we have one of the best HPDE programs in the business, along with an outstanding pool of instructors. I’ve also been fortunate to have learned the ropes from 2 incredible mentors that served before me, Blake Smith and Barry Stevens. These are certainly huge shoes to fill, but feel privileged to continue their legacy.
You’ve probably heard the story before, but I’m one that came to the track for looking for fun, and have stayed because of the welcoming family of car enthusiasts. Over the years I’ve met all sorts of cool & interesting folks, and have developed some lasting friendships. I certainly love the track part of events, but I honestly come for the friends in the club.
The biggest challenge that we face in the future is improving the attendance at events. There’re a multitude of reasons for drop over the recent years, but I would like to welcome anyone who has an interest, or even curiosity, to give it a try. Even attending a single event will offer an exciting & beneficial education. I look forward to having you come join us…and I assure you that you’ll have a great time.