Maybe it wasn’t the perfect end to the season, but it wasn’t a perfect season to begin with. The team at DTRA tried hard to put up a full racing schedule but there were a few hiccups along the way: meetings rained off, called off at the last minute and generally disrupted by COVID restrictions.
This meeting was a bit different to or usual “go fast, turn left” as in it would be our first ever TT (tabletop) meeting, and included two right turns and a jump. We successfully tested at the track in August but the prospect of jumping an almost 200Kg. motorbike built for the road can always produce surprises. And it certainly did.
Being confident that we had a good set up for the bike, Jack Bell was immediately consistent but also thought he could have an even better pace. We made a few changes following practice and in Race 1 Jack led over the line with a three second cushions, half a second a lap quicker than the next man, George Pickering on the Indian. With that in the back pocket we knew we could run confidently through the next two races and been able to pick a good starting position in the Final.
But what happened afterwards was to affect the rest of the weekend and the championship: Jack got a good start of Race 2, commandeering the lead into Turn 2.
Leah Tokelove on the other Indian FTR also made a good start in third place, but on turn 2 she hit the bales on the inside of the corner and, after a collision with another rider, she ended up stuck underneath her own bike. Paramedic and marshals were quick on the scene but unfortunately the injuries sustained proved too serious to be treated trackside and, after stabilising, she was airlifted to hospital. We now know she’s stable and conscious and we wish her a speedy recovery.
Unfortunately, the ambulance stock of medicines and oxygen was so depleted that the meeting couldn’t carry on safely, so Race Direction had no other option to cancel the remaining racing schedule. Not how we wanted to finish the season, but we accept and respect the fact that everyone safety comes first.
This meant that Jack had enough points to be declared 2021 DTRA National Hooligan Champion. This is the first championship for this bike and team combination and the third running for a Ducati Scrambler.
DTRA offered to pick up the remaining heat and final the following day, but this will not count towards the championship as racing must take place on the day scheduled.
On the Sunday with perfect weather the pace was good but a bit of a war of attrition: in practice and heats George Pickering first broke a chain on the FTR, then Chris Northover snapped a belt on the Scout, whilst we continued trouble free.However that was not to last: in the Final Jack and George battled in the first lap, neither being particularly mindful of the fact that the racing carried no points.
The crowd was duly entertained for a lap and a half until both of them simultaneously lost drive on landing from the jump: both of their chain came off the rear sprocket. The mechanics run onto the track and managed to get both going again but only to cover 50 meters as the race was red flagged.
The race was declared based on the order of the last completed lap. Jack therefore took home his third victory of the 2021 season, and his fourth podium.
He also finished the Pro class with a 2nd place in the final just behind Gerard Bailo, the 2019 champion having flown in to Greenfield from Spain especially for the TT round. This result meant that Jack finished runner up in the Pro class in his rookie year.
As a team we couldn’t be prouder of Jack and the hard work he put in: he trained hard off track and raced hard on track, hitting a successful streak at the right moment which proved crucial. We also have to thank all our sponsors, partners and friends, in particular Devitt Insurance that has been with us from the beginning.
A last one-off meeting with the Dirt Track Events Series is scheduled for the 10-11 October at King’s Lynn on their open day. The bike will undergo further development in the winter as the Devitt X Vanoni Ducati team look to keep their momentum going into the 2022 season.
Jack Bell (Devitt X Vanoni Ducati Scrambler #93)
2021 DTRA National Hooligan Champion
“I’m really happy to have won the Hooligan championship on the Devitt X Vanoni Ducati Scrambler. Winning this on my first season in the class is a dream! We have shown real determination and consistency throughout the season. I can’t thank Max Vanoni enough for the effort that has been put in to this season. I feel we have many more special moments ahead of us and I look forward to them. Massive thanks to all the sponsors for helping us out I am really grateful for the support! 2021 Hooligan Champion!”
Photo credit: Braking Point Images