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Ballymena Raceway 2017 Fixture List Released













The full list of fixtures for the 2017 season at Ballymena Raceway has been released. The venue celebrates its fortieth anniversary in 2017 and that significant landmark will be marked with a special weekend of racing over May 19 and 20. The Irish Open Championship for the National Hot Rods and the Nations Cup for the Stock Rods will provide the main attractions of the weekend, while all the regular Raceway classes will also be in action with a commemorative 40th. Anniversary Trophy on offer.

Another date to pencil into your diary is the weekend of August 25 and 26 when Raceway proudly hosts the ORCi sanctioned Stock Rod Championship of the World for the sixth time. The ORCi Stock Rod class has gone from strength to strength over the past couple of seasons and that momentum looks set to continue into 2017 with another influx of entrants anticipated. As always the Stock Rod class figures prominently on the Raceway roster, with the Yokohama Championship, Shock-Tec Supreme Trophy and the FG Fabrications Series amongst the other prizes on offer.

The BriSCA F2 Stock Cars continue to entertain as only they can and the single seaters are well catered for in 2017. The Teng Tools Series offers a £500 voucher for the winner, while the Stadium Championship winner will receive a set of shocks courtesy of Protech. The F2 Challenge Trophy on June 10 will see the best from England and Scotland clash bumpers with the local stars and the Showgrounds will also reverberate to the rumble of V8 engines that evening as the mighty Heritage F1 Stock Cars make their debut appearance in the province.

The Group Two Lighting Rods, Super Saloons, Junior Rods and Micro F2 Stock Cars all continue as before along with the ever popular National Hot Rods. Over the winter months various options were considered with regard to the introduction of a new formula. The most popular choice proved to be Street Rods, a budget, non-contact class based around the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta models. Interest has been keen to date and the new class will make its debut appearance at the season opener on Good Friday, April 14.

click to view 2017 fixture list

 








Meeting Review - Monday 2nd January 2017

BELL RINGS IN THE NEW YEAR WITH WINTER NATIONAL VICTORY



The bitterly cold weather ensured track conditions were extremely difficult for those hardy racers who braved the elements to compete in the Winter National Championships at Ballymena Raceway on January 2. The drivers demonstrated all their skills in the harsh environment, especially in the headlining National Hot Rod division where the powerful machines proved a real handful. Two entertaining heat races brought victories for Shane Murray and John Christie, but both would be very early casualties in the final which left the way clear for 2012 World Champion Glenn Bell to power home well clear of runner-up Carl Sloan, with Ben McKee in third.

 

In the other classes Micky McFall marked his return to the ORCi Stock Rods with a handsome victory in the final. Ringwood’s Adam Robinson and World Champion Luke Oliver were welcome visitors amongst the 18 car entry where Points Champion Jason Clyde set the pace in heat one. McFall took the honours in the second qualifier to nail down pole position for the final with Alastair Bolton alongside on the front row. It was McFall who set the pace from the start while Bolton and Tim Hazlett argued over second. Eventually Hazlett escaped this battle to close in on the leader over the final laps, but McFall had it all under control to claim a tidy win ahead of Hazlett and Bolton.

 

The F2 Stock Cars provided some great entertainment on the slippery surface with each of their three races providing a different winner. Scottish novice Euan Millar stormed to victory in heat one, the teenager’s first ever F2 win to boot, before Gordy McKee snapped up the honours in heat two. McKee looked well set to claim the final as well until car problems frustrated his charge. This one subsequently developed into a fascinating scrap between Kyle Beattie and Conor Hughes. On the final bend Hughes managed to unsettle Beattie’s car with a last gasp attack which set-up a drag race to the finish. The pair were neck and neck as they hurtled towards the line, with Hughes edging it by a mere 3 hundredth of a second!

 

Group Two Lightning Rods and Super Saloons completed the classes on display at the McCarroll Plant Hire sponsored meeting. David Reynolds and Irish Champion Clive Wilson shared the spoils in the Group Two qualifiers before Reynolds secured his second win of the day with a runaway flag to flag success in the final. Another driver to enjoy a double over the New Year was Mark McEntee as the local lad celebrated his track return with a heat and final brace in the Super Saloon class! It was another familiar face who took the spoils in the second heat for the Super Saloons as Noel Mark rolled back the years to record a good win at the wheel of a Vauxhall Astra borrowed from Gareth Robinson.

Sponsored by: McCarroll Plant Hire

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Meeting Review - Friday 7th October 2016
Stock-Rods 2016 Irish Championship  

 #26 Adam Sloan Crowned Irish Champion

The damp conditions failed to quash enthusiasm at the final Ballymena Raceway meeting of the season on October 7.  The changing grip levels proved an added problem for the drivers to contend with and once again the competitors rose to the challenge to provide an entertaining evening of short circuit motorsport. Headline event on the programme was the Valley Roofing sponsored Irish Championship for the Stock Rod division. A new name was added to the list of winners as Adam Sloan produced a composed drive to claim his first major title, with Jason Clyde and Steven McKane the other podium finishers. There was further good news for the Stock Rod racers as the sport’s governing body, the ORCi, has recently confirmed that Ballymena Raceway will host the Stock Rod World Championship in 2017!

 

In the other classes the Hazlett Tyres backed Stadium Championship was the prize on offer to the open wheel aces in the BriSCA F2 Stock Car division. Christopher Kincaid confirmed his position as the top Stock Car racer in the province at the moment with a flawless flag to flag win in this one. Bradley McKinstry blasted his way through from the third row of the grid to chase Kincaid home, with Ryan McCrory in third.

 

The powerful National Hot Rods were a real handful in the slippery conditions as the Speed Kings contested Round 6 of the Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI. The high level of competition in this series was underlined once more as Gary Wilson became the six different final win so far! Shane Murray was right with the leader over the closing tours, but was penalised two places in the final standings which promoted Keith Martin and Ian McReynolds into second and third. The heat races featured a first ever National Hot Rod win for Jonny McMillan.

 

Super Saloons completed the classes on display and a pleasing field of 15 cars assembled to contest the Parker Car Transport sponsored Champion of Champions event. Recent newcomer Philip Holmes continued his excellent form with a victory in the opening heat before Irish Champion Aaron McGraw claimed the honours in a somewhat scrappy second heat. The final was a close three way battle between Trevor McFaul, Keith Lyttle and Gareth Robinson which was eventually settled in McFaul’s favour.

Sponsored by: Valley Roofing, Hazlett Tyres

Parker Transport

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Meeting Review - Friday 23rd September 2016
#194 Clive Wilson Crowned  Gp2 Irish Champion


Two new Irish Champions were crowned at Ballymena Raceway on September 23 where Clive Wilson and Aaron McGraw clinched the Group Two Lightning Rod and Super Saloon crowns respectively for the first time. The GP2 race has provided its fair share of talking points down through the years and the 2016 version kept with tradition in what was another action packed showing from the GP2 racers! Event favourites Karl Smyth, Freddie Fleck and David Reynolds started at the front of the grid and it was Smyth who occupied the lead spot when the race settled down after some early caution periods. Defending Champion Andy McLeister eventually worked his way onto the leader’s back bumper before the two big rivals crashed out spectacularly after an aggressive move from McLeister left Smyth’s car on top of the wall! All the while Wilson, who had started down on grid 13, quietly worked his way towards the front and the Larne man was in the perfect position to take full advantage of this opportunity which now presented itself. Wilson confidently reeled off the remaining laps in his Vauxhall to secure the coveted Irish title, with Fleck the runner-up. Daniel Rodgers was another who made good progress, coming from grid 12 to finish in third, with the top six rounded out by Graham Young, Steven McNeill and Richard Purdy.

 

The Super Saloon Irish proved to be a far more straight-forward affair as McGraw underlined his superiority by leading from start to finish in his potent Honda to win by the length of the straight. Defending Champion Alistair Christie chased hard in his Vauxhall, but was forced to settle for second on this occasion, while Ballymoney’s Liam Irwin held off a posse of challengers to take the final podium spot in third.

 

The support action was provided by the F2 Stock Cars, Stock Rods and Junior Rods and proved no less controversial. The Stock Rod racers warmed up for their Irish Championship by contesting the Challenge Cup. Johnny McCloy and returnee Raymond Harper shared the heat wins, but it was Scottish visitor Jim Pitcaithly who occupied pole position for the main event after a pair of consistent finishes for the British Champion. The Scotsman led from the start, but was under real pressure from Aaron Moody and Harper. Moody’s perseverance was rewarded when a gap opened up on the exit of turn 2 before Pitcaithly responded with a big squeeze on his rival to maintain his advantage! The prohibited manoeuvre was quickly spotted by the steward who promptly issued a warning to the Scotsman and his actions received a two place penalty in the final standings which promoted Moody into first spot, with Harper a fine second on his track return.

 

The Junior Rods contested their Stadium Championship where Antony Kincaid and Jack Patchett qualified on the front row of the grid. The pair stormed away from the pack in a very evenly matched duel at the front which was eventually settled in the closing laps as the pair negotiated their way through the tail enders. Kincaid was caught up in a tangle with a backmarker which put the Antrim lad out on the spot, while Patchett completed the remaining distance unscathed for a decisive win ahead of Samuel Wilson and Leah Hughes. The Pace Tyres Shoot Out race saw a flag to flag win for newcomer Mark Brogan from Ballymoney.

 

The F2 Stock Cars completed the programme and brought more success for Christopher Kincaid, who warmed up for the defence of his Irish title with victory in the Yokohama Grand Prix! Antrim ace Kincaid began the evening with victory in the opening heat, but a tangle with Bradley McKinstry forced him to settle for a fifth place finish in heat two. Thomas Greer took full advantage of Kincaid’s delay to record a good win in that race and the yellow top set the pace again in the final. Greer led this one until lap 14 before Kincaid scurried through and on to his second win of the night. Gavin Fegan chased the winner home and Greer completed a good night’s work with a solid third place finish.

Sponsored by: Trophies NI, Wilson Motors, Calvin Motorsport, DMAC Coachworks, Harry's Newsagent  LJN deSigns,  LM Autospares, Nicholl Motorsport Nuttscorner Tyres, Pitcaithly Auto Services, RPM Car & Commercial Sales, White Mountain 4x4

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Meeting Review - Friday 9th September 2016
National Hot-Rods 2017 WQR 4 - Impressive Win for JC


There was an autumnal feel in the air at Ballymena Raceway on September 9 where some heavy rain beforehand left track conditions difficult for the opening series of heat races. First out on track were the youngest racers on the roster, the 7 to 11 year old Micro F2 Stock Cars, and the youngsters coped admirably with the wet track as Scott Hosie scampered home for a convincing win. The GP2 racers were next to sample the conditions in the opening qualifying heat for their Golden Helmet Trophy. Karl Smyth provided an indication of what was to come later by clinching a good win. Shea Duff was first across the line in the opening Junior Rod race, but the Crumlin lad was adjudged to have jumped the start which handed victory to Leah Hughes. The National Hot Rods were next on track for Round 4 of the Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI and the powerful machines were a real handful in the slippery conditions. An excellent race ensued though with Stewart Doak and John Christie neck and neck at the line; Doak getting the verdict by a matter of inches. The Super Saloons completed the first round of races with a pleasing 11 cars on display. Colin Clifford steered his sleek Toyota to a clear win in this one.

 

Conditions had improved greatly for the second round of heats where Tyler McClurkin set things off with a good win in the Micros. Smyth extended his winning run in the GP2 class after a breathless race which saw four different leaders on the final four laps! Once again Duff felt the wrath of the steward in the second Junior Rod event. Duff’s misfortune handed a first ever win at Raceway to newcomer Mark Brogan from Ballymoney. Christie went one place better in the Nationals, where the 2013 World Champion led home Jaimie McCurdy, before Philip Holmes marked his Super Saloon debut with a win in their second heat.

 

The track was almost dry for the start of the Ross Hyndman Motors sponsored finals where the Stadium Championship for the Micro F2s was first up. This one developed into a real nip and tuck battle between McClurkin and Cathal McFerran and it was McFerran who edged it with Rhianna Murray from Randalstown the other podium finisher. The GP2 racers lined up for their Golden Helmet with Smyth on pole position after his two heat victories. That was as close as the others got to his Vauxhall Astra as Smyth disappeared at the green flag to complete a faultless hat-trick of wins. The finale of the Gold Roof Series was the feature race for the Junior Rods. Defending Champion Antony Kincaid occupied pole position for this one and immediately stepped into the lead. Matthew Milliken settled into second and chased down the leader going into the closing stages, but Kincaid was equal to the challenge and kept it all neat and tidy to retain his title ahead of Milliken and Hughes. The National Hot Rod final pitted together heat winners Christie and Doak on the front row. Christie made the inside line pay off right from the start, while Doak struggled on the still damp outer track and was rapidly relegated down to twelfth. McCurdy was Christie’s closest challenger, but the Broughshane racer had National Champion Adam Hylands and World Champion Adam Maxwell tight on his back bumper. Their battle allowed Christie a comfortable passage out front and he duly steered his Ford Fiesta home for a convincing win. McCurdy coolly held of his challengers to retain second, with Hylands in third. The Super Saloon final completed the programme of races and was led by Colin Mark until a stoppage was called when Gareth Robinson was involved in a nasty rollover at Fisherwick bend. Mark was still at the head of affairs when the action resumed, but his Vauxhall Astra clipped the wall which provided hope to his pursuers. There were only a few laps remaining however and a relieved Mark was able to nurse his car home for his first final win of the season.

Sponsored by: Ross Hyndman Motors

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Meeting Review - Friday 26th August & Saturday 27th August 2016
#83 Michael Bethune Crowned 2016 Stock-Rod European Champion


Drivers from across England and Scotland joined the province’s racers for an action packed festival of short circuit motorsport at Ballymena Raceway over the weekend of August 26/27.  Main event on the twenty-six race programme was the Gilmore Engineering Stock Rod European Championship where an excellent entry of thirty-three competitors took part in a series of hotly contested races for this prestigious title.

 

Hopes of a local winner were raised when Ballymena based trio Aaron Moody, Steven McKane and Colin McKendry shared the victories in the qualifying heats on Friday evening. However it was current World Champion Michael Bethune from Fife who qualified on pole position for the championship final on Saturday and the Scotsman produced a master class in defensive driving throughout 40 absorbing laps to fend off relentless pressure from both McKane and Moody and claim the title. Moody in particular had the home crowd on the edge of their seats when he pulled his car right up alongside the leader, and fractionally ahead at one point! Bethune used all his race craft to thwart Moody’s advances and at the chequered flag it was McKane who eventually finished as the gallant runner-up, with Moody an excellent third. Later in the programme Niall McFerran produced a storming drive around the outside of the pack to lift the International Trophy in his Vauxhall Corsa.

 

The action in the support classes was just as competitive. The Group Two Lightning Rods competed in six races across the weekend with their World Cup and Irish Open titles at stake. Early pace setters in the World Cup race on Friday evening were Karl Smyth, David Reynolds and Mark Turtle, but the leading trio dramatically crashed out to leave the road clear for Broughshane’s Freddie Fleck to capture the crown. In Saturday’s Irish Open event the heat wins were shared between Reynolds and Keith Lyttle before Nigel Doherty romped to a decisive win in the final ahead of Lyttle and Smyth.

 

The National Hot Rods contested Round 3 of their Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI on Saturday evening. Phillip McCloy recorded his first ever victory in the premier class after a great run in the opening heat, before recent returnee Ian McReynolds grabbed a heat and final double success in his Citroen Saxo.  Another driver to stamp his authority on proceedings was Christopher Kincaid from Antrim. Kincaid, Irish Champion in the F2 class, demolished the opposition with an impressive flag to flag win in the BF Motors Supreme Trophy race after splitting the heat wins with Scott Finlay. In the Super Saloon category Colin Clifford scampered to a brace of heat wins in his Toyota, but did not get things all his own way in the final. Clifford was under all sorts of pressure from Ashley Graham in the closing laps of the Irish Masters race and the pair eventually tripped over each other which allowed Aaron McGraw to sneak through and claim the silverware.

 

The stars of the future were also on view over the weekend with both the Junior Rods and Micro F2 Stock Cars in action. The youngsters raced just as hard as their senior counterparts, indeed the Junior Rod action on Friday evening was particularly fraught with a number of incidents throughout. Joel McPeake and Matthew Milliken grabbed the heat wins and it looked for a long time that the final belonged to Shea Duff. Irish Champion Antony Kincaid had other ideas however and somehow squeezed his Peugeot 106 ahead on the very last bend in one of the closest finishes off the weekend.  The Micro F2s were in action on Saturday evening where Rhianna Murray stormed to a brace of heats wins. Indeed the second heat was something off a white wash for the girls as Rhianna was followed home by Leah Sealey, who had travelled over from Bristol to compete, with another visitor, Staffordshire’s Elexie Bartram, in third! The boys got their revenge in the final however where Tyler McClurkin sprinted home for a good win, with Murray right on the pace once again in second.

Sponsored by: Gilmore Engineering, BF Motors

Wm. Moody & Son Car-Sales & The Dealer

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Meeting Review - Friday 12th August 2016

BriSCA F2 Stock-Cars 2016 Moffett Shield

#935 Dean McCrory claims the Silverware





F2 Stock Car racer Dean McCrory extended his excellent record at Ballymena Raceway with victory in the Moffett Shield on August 12. Last time out at Raceway McCrory romped to victory in the Norman Cromie Memorial Trophy event and once again the D.S. Autos sponsored car was the one to beat around the Showground’s oval. Scott Finlay took an encouraging win in the opening heat before Christopher Kincaid marked his track return with a polished win in heat two. McCrory carded a third and a second place finish in the heat races, but stepped it up a gear in the final where the teenager powered to the front in the opening laps and was never challenged over the 20 lap duration. Irish Champion Kincaid chased hard but had to settle for second, while Sean McFerran underlined the potential of his new car with a good run to third.

 

While McCrory is a regular visitor to victory lane at Raceway the other classes on the programme all produced a first time final winner. Johnny McCloy from Garvagh recorded his first ever final win in the Stock Rods with a flag to flag victory in his budget 16v Vauxhall. Keith Lyttle romped to a heat and final double in the Group Two Lightning Rod division and Stephen Elder was the star of the show in the Super Saloon category where the Ballymoney man racked up an unbeaten hat-trick of victories in his Vauxhall Astra. In the Junior Rod category newcomers Amy Bradford and Ty Richardson upset the form book as the two novices recorded their maiden victories in the class. Richardson accounted for both heat races before Bradford inherited the final honours when on the road winner Antony Kincaid was penalised for a jump start.

Sponsored by: Moffett Family, T McMinn Commercials

& ND Brown Rental Trucks

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Hylands Hednesford Heroics











For the fifth year in a row the prestigious National Championship for the National Hot Rods has been won by a Northern Ireland driver after Adam Hylands clinched the 2016 title over the weekend of August 6 & 7. Six qualifying heats on Saturday at a sun bathed Hednesford Hill Raceway in Staffordshire determined the grid positions for the championship race with Oxfordshire’s Jason Kew the victor in the opening encounter. Scottish star Robert McDonald lifted the flag in heat two before Glenn Bell recorded a maiden victory for his new Edwards Motorsport Vauxhall Tigra in heat three. Warwickshire’s Shane Bland was the winner in heat four and Stockport’s Jack Blood took the honours in heat five while the last qualifier brought a first win with the gold roof for World Champion Adam Maxwell.

 

A consistent set of results earned Hylands pole position for the 75 lap final. Adam put in a sterling effort in his first heat to reach seventh position from a starting position in the back group and followed that up with a pair of third place finishes to nail down the prime grid slot for the final on Sunday afternoon. It was an all Northern Ireland front row too as Adam was joined at the head of the grid by fellow Ulsterman Keith Martin, with European Champion Carl Waller-Barrett and McDonald on row two, followed by Maxwell and British Champion Dave Casey on row three. Hylands controlled this one from the off while Maxwell made good progress to run third before the Maxwell Freight Services Tigra was forced to retire due to a fluid leak. Up front Hylands had everything under control until some obstinate driving from a backmarking Billy Wood hindered the leader’s progress. It would have been very easy for Adam to lose patience and get involved in an incident with the tailender, but the Portadown ace displayed admirable restraint and character to skilfully drive around Wood. Once that hurdle had been overcome Adam confidently reeled off the remaining distance to claim a well deserved victory having led every one of the 75 lap distance. Waller-Barrett and McDonald joined Adam on the podium with Dungannon’s Derek Martin in fourth. The other Northern Ireland finishers were Keith Martin (6th.), Mark Heatrick (9th.), John Christie (11th.), Stewart Doak (13th.), Carl Sloan (14th.) and Gary Wilson (15th.).

 

The NHRPA Championship race followed later in the programme with the grid positions determined by a random draw. John Christie pulled out grid position three for this one and the Crumlin racer quickly took full advantage of that favourable draw to ease ahead of pole sitter Danny Hunn. There was still plenty to do from there however, with Kew, Waller-Barrett and McDonald amongst those trying to chase down the leader’s Ford Fiesta. The car never missed a beat throughout the 35 laps though and showed good pace as John steered it home to an emotional win which was a fitting reward for all the hard work that the team had put into the car. And judging by the reaction from the terraces the car is nearly as big a star as John!

 

Once again a great effort by all the Northern Ireland racers and Ballymena Raceway extend congratulations to Adam and John on their championship victories.

 


2017 Fixtures

Forthcoming Events


Practice Night
Test n Tune Session

Saturday 25th March 2017
(6.00pm-9.00pm)



Grand Season Opener
Friday 14th April 2017 @ 7.15pm


Stock Rods
2017 Yokohama Tyres Championship
National Hot Rods
2017 World Series NI Rd 8
Gp2 Lightning Rods
Street Rods Debut Appearance

Sponsored by
Cirrus Plastics
Polleysport
Yokohama Tyres
Hankook Performance Tyres


Friday 28th April 2017 @ 7.15pm


BriSCA F2 Stock Cars
2017 Teng Tools Series Rd 1
Stock Rods
2017 FG Race Fabrications Race Series Rd 1
Junior Rods 2017 Top Teen Trophy
Gp2 Lightning Rods
Super Saloons

Sponsored by
Sid's Ices
Wilson Auto-Repairs
Teng Tools
FG Race Fabrications

 

 

 

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