GLENN Bell was presented with one slender opening in England last weekend - and the Portadown driver made the most of the small opportunity to gain top spot and, ultimately, capture a fourth World Championship crown of his racing career.
The 22-year-old race ace entered Ipswich’s Foxhall Stadium with a Stock Rods treble by way of experience on the big stage. However, the added pressure connected to the high-profile National Hot Rods final served to inspire Bell rather than disrupt his performance.
A field featuring 30 of the discipline’s top drivers - including competitors from South Africa and Holland alongside the United Kingdom entry list - lined out in pursuit of the coveted crown.
Bell’s determination allowed the Portadown man to return home with the main prize.
“I started 14th in the final following qualifying but was up to fifth then eventually on the bumper of the leader, Malcolm Blackman,” said Bell. “Blackman was the defending champion and is extremely experienced so I had to just try and place him under pressure.
“The wet conditions restricted my chances to move past but he left one gap and I just pushed on and managed to get ahead.
“Once I crossed the line it was an incredible feeling and took some time for me to actually realise I had won and for everything to sink in.
“It is a top class in the sport and always my goal after moving from the stock rods.
“My parents were in the crowd and it was just a brilliant weekend.
“Having started 14th, I felt my only chance of success was a change in the weather so I was praying for rain and, thankfully, it arrived to help level out the field.
“I will never turn away completely from the Nationals but have been weighing up a switch to the Two-Litre Hot Rods and winning the World title is a nice way to sign off if that is how everything ends up.
“I had the trophy in my room then it was great taking it home on the boat.”
Stewart Doak, also from Portadown, was another familiar name on the final entry list.
Portadown’s Adam Maxwell and Mark Heatrick also enjoyed wins in the class support programme.
PORTADOWN’S Wayne Woolsey battled up to second in the Two-Litre Hot Rod British Championship.
MARK Madill, another Portadown ace, bounced back from his British qualifying frustration to win the Two-Litre Hot Rod Revenge meeting.
Adam Hylands, also from the town, crossed the line in second following a determined drive.
DAVID Hearst picked up heat success but was then forced to retire from the Lightning Rods British final following an accident.
PORTADOWN’S Lee Johnston suffered engine trouble in the Stock Rod European Cup.
RACING will feature at Tullyroan Oval and Ballymena Raceway this weekend, with top-class drivers confirmed for both venues.
At Tullyroan, the Speedweekend bill includes European Championship prizes across the Two-Litre Hot Rods and Lightning Rods - with Portadown’s Wayne Woolsey and Jordan Rochford set to feature, plus David Hearst from Tandragee.
Glenn Bell, the recently-crowned World champion, will start as favourite for National Hot Rods glory but can expect a tough challenge from other Portadown favourites such as Stewart Doak and Gary Woolsey.
Dave Morrison, a British champion, will be out to impress in the ProStocks challenge - with racing scheduled tomorrow (Saturday) across the packed programme from 4.30 ahead of Sunday’s 1 o’clock show time which will include the Caravan Destruction Derby.
For further information visit www.tullyroanoval.com.
Five formulas will pack out the Ballymena Raceway racecard tomorrow (Saturday) from 7.15 across the Stock Rods Irish GP, GP2 Lightning Rods Challenge Cup, Junior Rods Next Gen Cup, 1300 Stock Cars Iron Man Trophy and Open Hot Rods Golden Helmet Trophy.