ALLANSFORD teenager Jack Bell will step into formula 500 ranks on the back of a career-best junior sedans season.
Jack, 17, cleaned up at the Junior Sedan Promoters Association (JSPA) presentation night in Warrnambool on Saturday, taking home the three major awards on offer.
His success started by winning the JSPA A grade aggregate points title with 190 points, well clear of Penola’s Jack Gartner on 152.
He also earned the Victorian driver of the year trophy and took out the drivers’ driver of the year award, voted on by his counterparts.
Jack said he hit the track about 20 times during summer, winning six features and placing a further 12 times. He said consistency was the key to his campaign.
His best result was a runner-up effort in the Victorian title at Portland, while he placed eighth in the Australian title at Esperance, Western Australia.
“I had a few good results last year. I was always in the top five or top eight and got a couple of wins,” he said. “But this year I’ve definitely been more consistent and committed myself to it a lot more and it’s definitely paid off.”
Jack, who admitted to being “really slow” when he took up the sport, said he completed much of the maintenance on his Datsun Sunny by himself.
“It takes a fair bit of time to learn everything, how it all works,” he said.
“It’s about keeping everything up to standard, doing your basic maintenance. It’s time consuming, basically. I didn’t really have a crew chief, I did it all on my own.
“Obviously dad (Gary) and my brother (Billy) helped out but as far as being at home in the shed, all of the time I was doing it myself.”
The Bell family has sold its two cars since the season finished. Billy will concentrate on football and basketball but Jack is about to start a formula 500 career.
The metal fabrication apprentice said he was excited about the step-up but was not putting pressure on himself to achieve results in his rookie season.
“As long as I’m doing the best I can I’ll be happy. I’m doing it for fun. My expectations, I’m setting them pretty low. I’ll take it as it comes,” he said.
“We’ll do speedweek and we’ll probably do as much racing as we can to learn as much as we can. It’s the same deal as the juniors, you have to do it to learn it.”
Jack said the popularity and competitiveness of formula 500s drew him to the class.
“It’s the way a lot of people go and it’s such a competitive class,” he said.
“There are so many people around here and with speedweek, it attracts a lot of drivers. If you want to become a good driver, you’ve got to race against the best.”