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Commodore driver to Ford man's rescue


Southern boys put aside marque rivalry to get Eddie Bell back in BNT NZ V8s race at Manfeild

BNT NZ V8s Ford Falcon racer Eddie Bell had a weekend of minor niggles at Manfeild, even having to get a kick-start from a Holden Commodore driver to restart the finale after officials red-flagegd the race.

But he’s moved one spot higher in the points standings, putting the Independent Fisheries Ford into seventh place.

“(In qualifying) we didn't get what the car was capable of but it’s just so close between everyone now," Bell said.

He started race one 15th and drove spiritedly to finish eighth: "we had a pretty good car in the rain."

Though race two, in fine weather on Sunday morning, started with him being spun round and falling to last place on lap one, Bell produced another strong drive, carving his way through to finish 10th.

After three laps of the reverse grid finale, he had moved from 16th to sixth, but the Ford’s left rear tyre was deflating and he began to struggle.

Officials stopped the race after Paul Pedersen's Falcon hit a marshals’ post and Bell knew his Ford wouldn’t start again if he switched off the ignition.

He had to weigh that against the lengthy delay causing the engine temperature to climb dangerously if he let the V8 idle.

Enter fellow South Islander – and Holden Commodore driver, John Hepburn – to rescue the Ford. Bell switched off the motor and Hepburn gave him a push to get started when the race went green again.

Bell nursed the car home to 11th. "It would have been interesting to see where we could’ve finished if we’d been able to press on," he said. "But I owe Johnny considerable thanks and a favour."

Bell says that overall the weekend was “a mixed bag. We picked up a spot in the championship but there were a lot of 'what ifs?'.

“On other the side of the coin I'm reasonably pleased with the luck we had. It could’ve been worse. We picked up seventh for the round."

With just the March 14-15 final round to go at Pukekohe, Bell is seventh in the championship.

"It would be nice to finish in the top 10 in our first full season. Next year I would like to press on. You always want to improve."

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