Burpengary resident, Jacob Hook, is officially one of the best junior speedway riders on the planet.
The 15-year-old shone on the sports’ biggest stage recently, competing at the FIM Speedway Youth World Championship in Poland.
Jacob was one of just three Aussies to qualify for the event, having finished second in the under-16 250cc Solo Speedway Championship in Mildura earlier this year.
“This was my first time competing at international level, and is definitely the highlight of my sporting career,” Jacob said. “It allowed me to see if I have what it takes to become a professional.”
Arriving in Poland with his family in late June, they brought engines over from Australia and purchased second-hand frames and wheels in order to put the bikes together before practice and qualifying.
“Mum, Dad and I have been staying in a unit complex in Gdansk,” he said. “The weather is great being summer over here, and a lot of the locals speak English so we’re doing pretty well.”
Starting strongly in the first semi-final in Gdansk, Jacob finished equal second and lost the runoff to end up in third place, qualifying him for the World Final held in Torun.
There were five heats in the final event, with Hook claiming two wins, one second place and two third place finishes to go through to the semi-final stage.
He finished third in the race, with his total of 11 points placing him sixth in the world. Fellow Queenslander, Keynan Rew, finished fourth with 15 points.
“I was nervous and excited going into my first race, but when my helmet went on and the alarm sounded to start the race it was just adrenalin,” Jacob said.
“I would’ve loved to make the final four, but sixth at my first international event is pretty cool.
“I feel like I have achieved everything I hoped for, and the contacts and friends that I have made on this adventure sets me up if I want to return to Europe and race professionally.”
Growing up in Deception Bay and moving to Burpengary at age 10, Hook’s passion for the sport was sparked by receiving a motorbike for his tenth birthday in 2014.
He started racing that year on a 125cc junior speedway bike, and as he says, “the rest is history”.
“As soon as I had a go on a slider (speedway bike) I knew this is what I wanted to do,” he said.
Hook now competes regularly at the North Brisbane Junior Motorcycle Club at Nudgee and the Ipswich Switches Junior Speedway Club, as well as interstate events at least once a month. He is also a member of the Burpengary State Secondary College Sports Innovation program, providing resources and support for high achieving students.
“The support from friends, family and sponsors for this trip has been exceptional,” he said. “All motor sport is expensive, so without financial support we would not be able to represent our country. There is the cost of bikes, freight, accommodation, van hire, flights et cetera to try and manage.”
Anyone interested in supporting Jacob can contact him via Facebook messenger through his page Jacob Hook Racing.
“I would love to travel overseas and race professionally,” he said. “I will keep practicing, racing and improving here in Australia, and the contacts that I have made on this trip will hopefully help me get back overseas.”