“STANDING ON THE OUTSIDE” – J&S DRILLING’S JOHN McLELLAN
While the sport of speedway continues to grow rapidly at the entry and intermediate ranks, the elite level of the sport is also expanding, thanks notably to a growing body of team owners who have an insatiable desire to win both in business and on the racetrack.
J&S Drilling proprietor John McLellan was first drawn into the sport after a simple sponsorship approach from Perth racer, Ben Ellement who lived down the road from John.
“Prior to 2011, I was just a fan and I’d go to the speedway and the drags, but after Ben approached me I started getting more involved and really enjoyed having someone to watch that I’d helped out, and then he won the 360 State Title in Collie and that really got me hooked. And from there I started buying equipment, starting with an engine from Scott Inglis who I’m still with today.”
John is a self-confessed “old-school businessman” who believes in the power of a handshake and loyalty to his word, and has built a very successful business over the last forty years on those two principles, undertaking some massive drilling assignments in West Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland including the Perth tunnels, the Adelaide to Darwin railway and extensive offshore drilling projects.
“We’ve got a mission at J&S Drilling to “set the standards in the industry” and we want to carry that on into our speedway team. We started J&S Drilling Motorsport in 2014 and my goal was always to give an opportunity to young talent and not long after I noticed young Kaiden Manders and was really impressed with him, so I watched him run a Speedcar for a few years with Keith McAllan and then I put him in a Sprintcar.”
John’s belief in young talent paid dividends very quickly, when Manders claimed back to back 360 National Titles in the last two seasons.
“The 360 Titles were brilliant and a huge reward for us all. Now for me, an open Sprintcar Australian Title would be the ultimate goal, and we will keep contributing to the sport and doing our best to present it the way it deserves to be presented.”
John’s focus now however is to finish off the team’s first World Series Sprintcars tour, with the introduction of Portland, Victoria’s Brock Hallett taking over the seat of Lockie McHugh.
“It’s a shame things didn’t work out with Lockie, but now we have Brock Hallett joining us for the remaining rounds of World Series and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he goes.”
“He was 4th quick in qualifying on his first time at the Motorplex in a Sprintcar last weekend. He’d won a Formula 500 Australian Title there but it’s a different story in a 410 Sprintcar,” John laughed.
“He was a bit unlucky at the start of the A-Main after a tangle and then had to restart from the back, but then he drove up to 7th before he got caught up in another minor crash, but he and Keith are communicating well and he’s really happy with how the car feels so we’re looking forward to seeing how he goes for the last four rounds.”
The next round of QSS World Series will be hosted for the first time in the championship’s 33-year history by Esperance Holden Speedway this Friday February 14.
Photo courtesy of Aidan Skraha