There’s an Easter extravaganza of short circuit motorsport in store at Ballymena Raceway on Good Friday where the packed schedule includes a National Hot Rod World Qualifying round and a first Raceway appearance of the season for the ferocious F2 Stock Cars.
Two weeks ago it was Andrew Murray who left Raceway with the National Hot Rod silverware following a great display in his Vauxhall Tigra which propelled him to the top of the points chart. Current World No. 1 John Christie had to settle for second place on that occasion and the Ballinderry man, who enjoyed such a successful 2013 campaign, is sure to be right in the thick of the action once again. British Champion Glenn Bell recorded a heat win at Raceway two weeks ago, and the star-studded entry is also expected to include the likes of Adam Maxwell, Mark Heatrick and former British Champions Stewart Doak and Keith Martin, who will all be looking to secure their slot on the World Final grid. Round 8 winner Davy Gurney could well upset the star names once again, with Nigel McCauley, Simon Kennedy and Stephen McGonigle also showing good pace in recent weeks. The National Hot Rods put on a great spectacle at their previous Raceway appearance, with a superb entry of 17 cars on track, and motorsport fans can expect another night of high octane drama from the fastest cars on the ovals.
The Formula Two Stock Cars rock up at Raceway for the first time this season on Good Friday and the question on everyone’s lips is ‘who can challenge Christopher Kincaid?’ Antrim based Kincaid is the undisputed King of the F2 scene in the province and cleaned up all the local honours in 2013, winning the Irish Championship, Points Championship and Raceway Stadium Championship. A number of drivers have ungraded their machinery in a bid to contest Kincaid’s supremacy, with the likes of Ryan McCrory, Sam McKay and 2007 European Champion Craig McConnell amongst those with new cars for the new campaign. Add former Irish Champions Conor Hughes and Gavin Fegan into the mix as well and the stage is set for a very competitive year ahead from the single seaters.
Also on the packed programme of races at the Cirrus Plastics sponsored meeting on Friday evening are the Group Two Lightning Rods, Junior Rods and Speed Stocks. It’s the opening round of the season long Super Pole Challenge Series for the Speed Stocks, with Ballymena’s Noel Hazlett expected to be amongst the leading contenders in his McMillan Autos backed Vauxhall Corsa after a recent final win at Nutts Corner. Junior Rod ace Niall McFerran has started 2014 in imperious fashion and reeled of a hat-trick of victories on his previous visit to the Showground’s oval. Irish Champion Aaron Moody was McFerran’s closest challenger that evening, with Antony Kincaid, Jack Kennedy and newcomer Samuel Wilson also showing up well. Stewart Nicholl, Rodney Stewart and Freddie Fleck shared the GP2 wins between them on opening night, with David and Johnny Gillespie, Daniel Norris and Jason Clyde amongst the places.
The green flag drops to get racing underway in the Ballymena Showgrounds at 7:15pm.
Sponsored by: Cirrus Plastics
Gp2 Lightning-Rod - Vauxhall Astra #69
Gp2 Lightning-Rod Vauxhall Astra #69
Comes complete minus harness, also spare Mk3 Astra shell available.
Contact Nigel on: 07871803372
Classic Hot-Rods - Ford Anglia's #16 & #657
For sale Two Classic Hot-Rods
Ford Anglia #657 is a multiple race winning car, with no expense spared.
Ford Anglia #16 car is brand new and has never turned a wheel, again with no expense spared on this car either.
Both cars are in mint condition and ready to race.
Contact Pat on: 07949503584
Meeting Review - Friday 4th April 2014
National Hot-Rods 2014 World Series Round 7
Impressive Double for Murray
The 2014 season at Ballymena Raceway burst into action on April 4 where Round 7 of the National Hot Rod World Qualifying Series was the main event on the B.E. Flooring / B.A. Car Sales sponsored programme. An excellent entry of 18 National Hot Rods assembled for the resumption of the qualifying series and it was Andrew Murray who departed Raceway as top points scorer for the evening after an impressive heat and final double in his Vauxhall Tigra. World Champion John Christie and blue-top Simon Kennedy followed Murray home in the final, while the other heat victory went the way of British Champion Glenn Bell.
In the other classes Niall McFerran extended his winning streak with another faultless hat-trick of race victories in the Junior Rod category. McFerran has a hat-trick of victories already under his belt at Nutts Corner in 2014 and repeated that performance at Raceway to lead home Aaron Moody and Antony Kincaid in their feature event. The three races for the Group Two Lightning Rods produced a different winner each time, with Stewart Nicholl just holding off the advances of David Gillespie to claim the final silverware. In the Euro Stocks division novice grader Johnny McCloy romped to a brace of victories in the heat races before Stephen McCahon pressed home to win the final in his Ford Sierra. The programme was completed by a set of combined races for the Classic / Retro and Stock Rod classes which produced an opening heat victory for the Classic Hot Rod of Caleb Howard before the pristine Peugeot 205 Retro Rod of Donegal visitor Drew Russell enjoyed success in both the second heat and the final.
Ballymena Raceway are pleased to announce that they will be joining up with a number of tracks to run UK Stock Rods under the ORCi banner. The tracks within the group are Promotasport Raceway International, North East Stock Car Promotions, Autospeed, and the InterSpeed promotions in Northern Ireland at Nutts Corner Raceway and Ballymena Raceway.
Thus, ORC Stock Rods will be racing at Arena Essex, Barford, St Day, Taunton, Nutts Corner and Ballymena. There will also be further racing opportunities at guest venues, and associated venues – including Buxton, Grimley and Ringwood.
The Major 2014 Championships have been allocated as follows:
World – Arena Essex (24 August)
European – Ballymena Raceway (21 June)
British – Taunton (20 July)
Irish Open – Nutts Corner Raceway (22 June)
ORC – Buxton (5 July)
Ballymena Raceway are pleased to announce a new formula called Retro Rods that will race from the start of the 2014 racing season.
We would like to hear from any drivers who have Rally-cars, Sprint Cars, Hillclimb & All Track cars.
The class will cater for Ford 100e, Mk1, Mk2 & Mk3 Escorts Ford Anglia, Capri, Mk1 Fiesta, Ford Sierra, Hillman Imp Mini, Opel Kadett, Manta, Nissan Micra Mk1, Peugeot 205 Riley Elf, Toyota Starlet, Talbot Sunbeam, Vauxhall Chevette, Nova, Firenza & Viva.
If interested in racing in the new Retro Rod class or you have a car that you would like to race that falls within that era and isn't listed above please get in contact with the BMR Promotion.
Meeting Review - Wednesday 1st January 2014
National Hot-Rods 2014 Winternational Championship
Keith Martin retains Winternational Title
Ballymena Raceway ushered in 2014 with a packed programme of short oval racing on New Year’s Day. Unrelenting rain throughout the afternoon made for difficult track conditions at the Gilmore Engineering sponsored event, but as always the racers coped admirably with the weather conditions to put on a good show for the hardy race fans who had braved the elements. Main event of the afternoon was the 2014 Winter National Championship for the National Hot Rods, which was successfully defended by the evergreen Keith Martin ahead of Adam Maxwell and impressive debutant Derek Martin. In the other classes a diverse field of Euro Stocks assembled to contest their Ice Breaker Trophy where victory went to Philip Doherty in his raucous Toyota MR2, while Noel Hazlett resisted a strong challenge from Ricky Shaw to lift the Group Two Lightning Rod Winter Cup. The Junior Rods produced some fine racing once again, with Niall McFerran capturing the Champions Challenge Cup, and the programme was completed by Classic Hot Rods and Stock Rods. It was great to see the Classics back on track again with Kenny Wilson successful in their final after a brace of heat wins for Jackie Harris, while Stock Rod Points Champion Carl Sloan went undefeated through the afternoon in his Vauxhall Corsa.
As the year draws to a close we look back at some of the memorable moments from another eventful season at Ballymena Raceway (pictures courtesy of Ballymena Times, Brian Lammey and Davy Park).
1. Gunner finally strikes on Irish soil
Chris Lattka has been a popular visitor to our shores for many, many years, but despite countless title wins up and down the UK mainland Chris had never lifted a title on Irish soil. That was put right on Easter Saturday at Raceway when Gunner won the Irish Open Championship with a flag to flag win in his Vauxhall Corsa. What a great year it would prove to be for the Scotsman, who would go on to be crowned World and National Champion.
2. Ladies charity run
Fifteen ladies took to the track in borrowed GP2 cars for a special charity event in support of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland at Raceway on April 26. She may have been the youngest lady competing in the event, but sixteen year old Rachel Hamill produced a performance way beyond her tender years to be crowned the Queen of Speed and the ladies raised a tremendous total of £6,313.01 for a very worthy cause.
3. Dominant Darby
Saloon Stock Car World Champion Eddie Darby showed just why he was the World No. 1 with a consummate display on his track debut at the UK Masters on May 11. Darby’s performance was a treat for local oval racing fans as the Englishman displayed the pace and technique that have makes him one of the top names in Saloon Stock Car racing.
4. Christie’s Gold Rush
The final World Qualifier at Raceway on May 31 produced some breathtaking action throughout the evening with John Christie storming through to win the feature race. After playing catch-up for the entire campaign John’s haul of 56 points at the final round not only confirmed his place at the World Championship, but propelled the Crumlin ace to second in the points chart and a guaranteed spot in the top group on the World Final grid. The rest as they say is history!
5. Graham’s still got it
Graham Fegan made one of his all too rare appearances in the BriSCA F2’s for the F2 Challenge Trophy event at Raceway on June 14. Incessant rain attempted to spoil the event, but Graham showed he is still one of the best in the business to clinch the trophy for the second time. Former World Champion Chris Burgoyne finished in a fine second place, with Gavin Fegan claiming the final spot on the podium, to make it a great evening for the Fegan family.
6. Sloan’s wonder weekend
Carl Sloan enjoyed his best season to date in the Stock Rod division and nowhere was that demonstrated better than during our Speedweekend in August where the Kells racer bagged both the Euro Challenge Cup and the UK Championship over the weekend. The King of the North Trophy, Elite Series and season long Points Championship were also captured by Carl who is planning a move into National Hot Rods for 2014.
7. Tucker takes flight!
We couldn’t complete a review of the season without referring to the crash of 2013 at Raceway on August 24 could we? Thomas McCrory and Scottish visitor Stuart Drobinski qualified on the front row for the final, but neither would make it around the first corner, with Tommy almost ready for his pilot’s licence after launching spectacularly over the wall. Thankfully both drivers walked away unscathed from one of those do you remember moments that be recalled for many years to come.
8. Hot Nationals
The National Hot Rods produced some fantastic action at Ballymena in 2013. The resurfacing work on the bends over the winter months offered a real two-line track and the drivers responded with some slick side by side racing throughout the season. With even more new drivers set to join the ranks in 2014 the future looks bright for the premier rod class and Raceway remains one of the top venues to see the class at its best.
9. Liscinda leads the boys a merry dance
Liscinda Smyth made history at Raceway on September 13 when she became the first female racer to be crowned Irish Champion in one of the senior classes. Liscinda started the Group Two Lightning Rod Irish title event on pole position and produced a faultless display in her Vauxhall Astra to lead the 20 lap showdown from start to finish. Once again the GP2 class was one of the backbone divisions at Raceway, with consistent turnouts and close racing that the class is renowned for.
10. Glorious Juniors
There were few classes which produced better racing in 2013 than the youngsters in the Junior Rod division. The class yielded a consistently strong field of cars throughout the year, with a season’s best 18 on track for the Irish Championship at Raceway on October 4. The racing was very watchable too, with Dean McCrory, Aaron Moody, Niall McFerran and Antony Kincaid amongst those catching the eye.
11. Victor’s landmark Irish title
Victor McAfee wrote his name into the history books with a record breaking Stock Rod Irish title success at Raceway on October 11. It was a landmark success for Victor, as both he and another Raceway favourite, Alan Connolly, were tied on five Stock Rod Irish title victories. Victor’s success in 2013 sets a new benchmark of six Irish titles, stretching over 4 different decades, with his other successes occurring in 1988, 1989, 1991, 2003 and 2007.
12. Cripper completes Triple Crown
Christopher Kincaid completed the triple crown of Irish Champion, Points Champion and Ballymena Raceway Stadium Champion for 2013 at Raceway on October 11. Cripper did not get things all his own way at Raceway in 2013, with Graham and Gavin Fegan, Gary Blair and Conor Hughes amongst the other final winners during the year, but Cripper’s RCE car in full flight is a sight to behold for sure.
Thanks for your support in 2013 and Raceway wishes everyone
a happy and healthy 2014!
Meeting Review - Friday 11th October 2013
Stock-Rods 2013 Irish Championship
McAfee claims Sixth Irish Title
The 2013 season at Ballymena Raceway concluded on October 11 with a full schedule of races on the McMillan Travel backed programme. Top of the bill was the 2013 Stock Rod Irish Championship where Victor McAfee executed a remarkable comeback drive to capture the coveted title for a record breaking sixth time. McAfee appeared out of contention as early as lap two when a clash with defending champion Stevie McNiece left both their cars in a tangle at Suffolk bend. McAfee’s car was still fit to continue however and subsequently rejoined at the rear of the pack from where the wily campaigner picked them off one by one to land an improbable win.
Formula Two Stock Car star Christopher Kincaid was also amongst the awards again, winning the Track Championship for the first time to complete a clean sweep of the domestic honours in the province this year. In the other classes Stewart Doak roared to in impressive heat and final double in Round 6 of the National Hot Rod World Qualifying Series after a first ever National Hot Rod win for recent debutant Nigel McCauley in their opening heat. Noel Hazlett was another driver who enjoyed a double success, the Ballymena man racing to a heat and final victory in the Speed Stocks, while recently crowned Irish Champion Aaron Moody collected another piece of silverware in the Junior Rod category.
Aaron Moody produced the drive of his young life to secure the 2013 Junior Rod Irish Championship after a captivating final at Raceway on October 4. Hot favourite Dean McCrory started the event from pole position and led the opening laps until Moody stormed through to the front in his Peugeot 106. A late race caution period tested Moody’s nerve, but the Ballymena lad came through with flying colours to take the chequered flag ahead McCrory and Niall McFerran.
Curtis Greer proved to be the class of the Group Two Lightning Rod field, the 2012 Irish Champion leading the final from start to finish and lifting the splendid Golden Helmet Trophy. In the Stock Rod division Carl Sloan secured pole position for next week’s Irish Championship with a hard fought victory over Victor McAfee and Stevie McNiece in the King of the North Trophy race. The earlier heat victories were split between McNiece and Sammy Graham.
Euro Stocks and 1600cc Lightning Rods completed the programme at the Brogan Car Sales sponsored meeting. Stephen McCahon went through the card undefeated in the Euro Stocks and Alastair Christie romped to a heat and final double in the 1600s after an opening heat victory for Brian McMullan.