The Saloon Stock Cars take centre stage at Nutts Corner Raceway this weekend with a full programme of championship events for the heavy metal brigade of the ovals. The Moira Road circuit hosts the Whitemountain 4x4 sponsored Irish Open Championship on Saturday evening, starting @ 6.30pm
National Points leader Danny Colliver tops the entry list and the Londoner will start as one of the hot favourites for honours with former British Champion Luke Grief also being one to watch. The Scottish challenge is as strong as ever, with Barry Russell from Brechin, the hard charging Ross Watters from Leven in Fife, Perthshire based Ian McLaughlin, Aaryn Triggs from South Lanarkshire and Falkirk pair Alan Ainslie and Glen Heeps all booked in to compete.
The local entry will be spearheaded by Ryan Wright from Cullybackey. The three times Irish Champion is relishing the prospect of a big grid of cars this weekend and the chance to mix it with the UK mainland stars. Defending Irish Open title holder Ross Houston from Waringstown will not give up his crown without a fight however, while the Coleraine based McIvor brothers, Kieran and Anthony, are enjoying their best season to date with Anthony currently residing at the top of the Irish Points table. Seasoned campaigner Stuart McCammon is another local hope, along with Matthew Stirling, James Serplus and Colin Jones. Saturday night will also see 1300 Stock Car NI Champion Curtis Greer make his class debut.
There’s a full programme of support races at Saturday nights meeting which is promoted by Ballymena Raceway, the F2 Stock Cars will contest the Randall Motorsport Super Cup with the Stock Rods, GP2 Lightning Rods & Junior Rods completing the lineup.
The Twos have been on cracking form all season with Christopher Kincaid and Craig McConnell still very much the men to beat. Keep an eye on F2 newcomer Billy Finnegan however, who is really getting to grips with the single seaters now and took his first win last time out.
In the Stock Rod division Andy Scott secured the final honours at their previous outing, while star men Wilfie McNiece and British Champion Steven McKane are never far from the front. Former Junior Rod starlet Niall McFerran has impressed since his debut a few weeks ago and a first final win cannot be far away for the teenager.
Antony Kincaid is the one to beat in the Junior Rods at present, with Jack Kennedy and Sam Wilson, providing some stiff opposition, while young Joshua McKinstry has been catching the eye as well over recent weeks.
Andy McLeister left with the GP2 silverware last time out and will be plotting a repeat performance in his Vauxhall Astra.
The Euro Stocks will compete at Sunday’s meeting with Gold Cup winner Ryan Nixon hoping to extend his winning ways as the Euro Stock division contest their King of the Corner title.
DON'T MISS IT!!
Sponsored by: White Mountain 4x4 Land Rover Specialists & Randall Motorsport
MURPHY STRIKES GOLD AT NATIONAL HOT ROD WORLD FINAL
photo's thanks to mkpics.net
It was a case of everything but the gold roof for our National Hot Rod racers at Foxhall last weekend where Shane Murphy wrote his name into the history books as the Republic of Ireland’s first ever oval racing World Champion. The Cork man was joined on the podium by three of our Northern Ireland stars, Andrew Murray, Glenn Bell and Adam Maxwell, as the province’s racers secured 5 places in the top ten of the World Final and also recorded victory in 4 of the 5 National Hot Rod support races over the weekend after a great effort all round.
There was drama before the track action even began when Jaimie McCurdy withdrew from the World Final on Friday due to a family matter, the teenager’s spot on the grid going to Simon Kennedy. Saturday morning brought the Hot Laps qualifying session to determine the World Final grid and it was Murphy who took pole with a lap of 14.65 secs. Murray joined him on the front row after posting a time of 14.71 secs, with Bell on the inside of row two (14.76 secs) alongside defending champion Chris Haird. The rest of the National Hot Rod action on Saturday centred on the support cars and the battle to grab the last spot on the World Final grid via the Wild Card race. Mark Heatrick inherited victory in the opening heat after the car of on the road winner Jason Copper failed post race checks, while victory in heat two went to Scotland’s John Sibbald. The heat winners occupied the front row for the Wild Card race and it was Heatrick who made the break at the green to dive into the lead. European Champion Adam Hylands quickly breezed up behind the leader however and the pair fought out a tough race long battle which was eventually settled by the steward, with race winner Hylands demoted in the final result which handed victory, and that World Final spot, to Heatrick.
The World Final was first up on Sunday and it was Murphy who stepped off pole to lead the opening stages of the CP Dynes sponsored feature race, before a caution period was required with international entrant John van den Bosch stranded on the turn. 2013 World Champion John Christie was a retirement at this point with axle troubles and at the restart Bell pulled off a good move to take over out front. Gradually however Murphy closed back in on the tail of the Northern Ireland Champion and eased ahead to take the lead once more. Murphy pulled steadily clear over the remaining distance to confirm a comprehensive victory, while Murray nipped ahead of Bell in the closing laps to snatch the runner-up spot and record his best ever finish in the World Final. Bell was forced to settle for third, with Maxwell an impressive fourth, like Murray his best result in a World Final. Derek Martin brought his Tigra home in eighth with Stewart Doak in tenth to make it 5 Northern Ireland drivers in the top 10 finishers, while World Final rookies Nigel McCauley and Kennedy both made it all the way to the chequered flag in eleventh and nineteenth place respectively. Conditions had worsened by the start of the World Final Revenge race where McCauley made light of the wet track to power home for a dominant win, before Maxwell rounded off the afternoon with a fine win in the Nick Thomas Memorial Final, with Hylands the runner-up.
Ballymena Raceway would like to congratulate Shane on his World Final victory. Shane is well respected by his peers and we have no doubt will prove to be a fitting holder of the gold roof. We would also like to applaud the fantastic set of results recorded by the Northern Ireland National Hot Rod racers over the weekend. Once again you were a credit to the province and your success underlines the strength in depth that the formula currently enjoys in Northern Ireland. Raceway would also like to send our congratulations to Scott Cochrane from Portadown on winning the Spedeworth Lightning Rod World Final over the weekend. 970 was definitely the number to have your money on!
McLeister Regains Top Spot in Gp2 National Series
It was all change again at the top of the Group Two Lightning Rod National Series following Round 3 at Ballymena Raceway on June 12. Early pacesetter Andy McLeister regained top spot after a string of top 3 finishes in his McLeister Motorsport Vauxhall, with Jason Clyde dropping to second and Nigel Doherty up to third. Top points scorer at Round 3 was Keith Lyttle who jumps up to eighth overall in his DG Auto Engineering Peugeot.
Round 4 of the National Series takes place at Raceway on August 7.
Stock-Rods 2015 British Championship - McKane is the new Champion
BriSCA F2 Stock-Cars 2015 Challenge Trophy - Graham takes third Title
It proved to be a great night for the province’s oval racers at Ballymena Raceway on June 12 where the two main prizes on offer both remained in Northern Ireland. Steven McKane from Ballymena enjoyed his biggest success to date after a dramatic win in the Stock Rod British Championship. McKane squeezed ahead of long time leader Derek Conner on the very last lap of a pulsating final to grab the British title, and was followed home by Wilfie McNiece from County Armagh and Larne’s Gareth Bevan to make it a clean sweep of the podium position for Northern Ireland drivers.
Another local driver with cause for celebration was Belfast ace Graham Fegan who trumped a star-studded line-up to capture the F2 Stock Car Challenge Trophy for a third time. Fegan dealt a telling blow on main rival Christopher Kincaid at the first bend of the final and then set a relentless pace out front to steadily pull away from the field for a dominant win. Antrim’s Ryan McCrory came on strong in the closing stages to grab the runner-up spot at the chequered flag, with Scottish Champion Chris Burgoyne in third.
The Heritage F2 Stock Cars made their first ever appearance in Northern Ireland and provided the local fans with a fascinating glimpse of how Stock Car racing used to look in a bygone era. Jack Bunter and Pete Welland split the heat wins before Nigel Finegan just kept a rapidly closing Welland at bay to secure their Irish Challenge Cup. Group Two Lightning Rods completed the classes on display and after a brace of heat wins for Keith Lyttle it was Matthew Curran who strolled to victory in the meeting final.
#54 Adam Hylands adds to growing collection of Awards
European Champion Adam Hylands added the Richard Turtle Memorial Cup to his growing collection of National Hot Rod awards at Ballymena Raceway on June 5. Hylands led the feature race from start to finish, but had to resist a strong challenge from John Christie over the closing laps before securing the silverware, with the final spot on the podium filled by Gary Wilson. As well as the Richard Turtle Memorial Cup the winner also received four new Hoosier Tyres courtesy of event sponsors Townparks Car Sales and Greers of Antrim VOLVO.
Another racer with good cause for celebration was Wilfie McNiece who left the Raceway £500 richer after victory in the Hill Contracts Supreme Series for Stock Rods. Following heat wins for Adam Sloan and McNiece the points were tallied up over all the races in the series to determine the grid positions for the shoot out decider. The results placed McNiece on pole with Gareth Bevan alongside on the front row and it was McNiece and row two starter Steven McKane who quickly settled down into the front running positions. After a flat out battle of speed between the pair it was McNiece who coolly kept his rival at arm’s length to claim the big money prize and head into next week’s British Championship event at Raceway in the best possible manner. Yokohama Champion McKane was a gallant runner-up, with Bevan the best of the rest in third.
On a perfect dry evening that produced some fast racing at the Showground’s oval the line-up of classes in action was completed by the Group Two Lightning Rods, Euro Stocks and Junior Rods. Once again the Group Twos continued to throw up a variety of winners as white grader Keith Lyttle became the fifth different GP2 final winner at Raceway in 2015! The earlier heat races brought success for Darryl Reid and Andy McLeister. Irish Champion Stephen Doherty was the class of the field in the Euro Stocks division where his Honda motored away for a convincing win in the final. Aaron McMullan’s immaculate Honda Civic accounted for the heat event.
The youngsters in the Junior Rods put on their usual energetic showing with Samuel Wilson just holding sway over a fast finishing Antony Kincaid to secure his first final win at Raceway in 2015. Wilson also accounted for one of the heat races, with the other win falling to Matthew Milliken.
Sponsored by: Greer's of Antrim, Townparks & Hill Contracts
McCauley still out Front in National Hot-Rod Track Championship
Nigel McCauley continues to lead the McConville Recovery Specialists Track Championship for National Hot Rods at Ballymena Raceway, but the Gilford racer has seen his lead reduced to just 10 points by Jaimie McCurdy following the latest round on May 22. Final winner McCurdy was the top scorer in the Nationals that evening to cement his second place in the table, while Carl Sloan moves up into third after a good points haul at World Qualifying Round 13.
The Track Championship covers all nine National Hot Rod fixtures at Ballymena Raceway in 2015, with the highest points scorer being crowned Track Champion and collecting a prize of £500 courtesy of McConville Recovery Specialists.
Round 4 of the series takes place at our next Raceway meeting on Friday June 5, where the National Hot Rods will compete for the Richard Turtle Memorial Cup.
Driver of the Day - #199 Jaimie McCurdy wins WQR 13 Final
The mild spring sunshine produced a pleasant backdrop for some very fast short circuit motorsport action at Ballymena Raceway on May 22, where the full schedule of races was concluded in efficient fashion by 10pm. The racers took full advantage of the favourable conditions to produce some close competition, with the twelve race programming producing no less eleven different winners! F2 Star Graham Fegan was the only driver to carry the chequered flag twice during the evening, but his hat-trick hopes were ruined in the final by Christopher Kincaid who powered away from the field to clinch overall victory in the McGill Motorsport Series. It proved to be a good night for the Antrim based Kincaid family as Christopher’s younger brother, Antony, was also celebrating after an emphatic win in the Junior Rod Supreme Championship.
Another driver on top form was Jaimie McCurdy from Broughshane who took a significant step towards qualification for this year’s National Hot Rod World Championship with a determined final win on Friday evening. McCurdy was also the top points scorer at the meeting, which earned the teenager the PC Paints and Components Driver of The Day award, and puts him in a strong position to secure the remaining slot on the World Final grid with only one qualifying round remaining.
The Eco Flame Boiler Services backed fixture also included races for the Group Two Lighting Rod division and once again the victories were spread around in this budget formula. Mark Turtle and Matthew Curran split the heat wins before Stewart Nicholl made it four different final winners from their four outings at Raceway this season.
Sponsored by: Ecoflame Boilers & Service & McGill Motorsport
Rain failed to dampen the spirits at Ballymena Raceway on April 24 where the oval racers coped admirably with the tricky track conditions to produce an absorbing set of events for the fans to enjoy. Top of the bill was Round 10 of the PC Paints & Components World Series NI for the National Hot Rods. Before their opening heat newly crowned European Champion Adam Hylands and Scottish Open Champion Glenn Bell were given a lap of honour in recognition of their successful exploits in Scotland the previous weekend and the pair received a warm reception from the home fans. That’s as good as it got for Adam unfortunately, as the new Champion was caught up in an incident during the first heat which brought a premature end to his evening. It proved to be that sort of night for the Nationals, with incidents and talking points a plenty in all three races. One man that avoided most of the drama however was Tommy Maxwell from Antrim, who recorded a heat and final double victory which earned him the Driver of the Day accolade. The most popular win of the evening undoubtedly went to heat two winner Keith Martin, a fitting reward for all his hard work in getting the 994 car repaired after his spectacular crash on Good Friday.The Stock Rods contested the opening round of their Hill Contracts Supreme Series and the 1400cc class is certainly starting to recapture some of its former buzz as the drivers served up some harum-scarum stuff throughout. If you thought Martin’s crash was a big one on Good Friday, well young Matthew McKinstry matched that and raised the stakes again in his Stock Rod! McKinstry produced the most spectacular moment of the evening when the seventeen year old from Nutts Corner flipped his Vauxhall Nova into an enormous multiple rollover. Thanks to the stringent safety rules of oval racing the plucky seventeen year old thankfully emerged unscathed, which is more than could be said for his sorry looking car! It was another teenager, Adam Sloan, who romped to his maiden successes in the heat races before Sammy Graham opened his account for the season in the final.The Junior Rods made their first appearance of the season at Raceway to contest the opening round of the RPM Car & Commercial Sales Gold Roof Series. Joshua McKinstry and Shea Duff split the heat wins before Duff motored home to a well judged win in the final ahead of Antony Kincaid and Jack Kennedy.Group Two Lighting Rods completed the classes on display and produced a different winner from each of their three races. Brian Edgar and Darryl Reid recorded victories in the heat races with Andy McLeister the runner-up in both. McLeister turned the tables in the final however to take home the silverware, with Jason Clyde and Nigel Doherty the place men in this one.
Sponsored by: Cirrus Plastics, Hill Contracts & RPM Car & Commercial Sales
HYLANDS FLING! – ADAM CROWNED EUROPEAN CHAMPION IN SCOTLAND
Adam Hylands announced his arrival on the National Hot Rod stage with a splendid victory in the European Championship at the Lochgelly Raceway in Scotland on April 18. The twenty-four year old from Portadown, who only made a full-time switch from the 2-Litre Hot Rod division into the elite National Hot Rod section at the start of the season, beat the best from Germany, Holland, England, Scotland and the Republic of the Ireland, plus all the top names from Northern Ireland, to capture the coveted crown. Three consistent results in the qualifying heats earned Hylands pole position for 45 lap European showdown where the Portadown powerhouse had to be on his metal to withstand some concerted pressure from Scottish star Robert McDonald over the opening stages. McDonald’s challenge gradually faded however as Hylands exerted his authority on the race to ease his Vauxhall Tigra home for his first major title win in the National Hot Rod division. On the road runner-up Jason Kew from Oxfordshire received a three place penalty from the officials, which promoted Andrew Murray and Stewart Doak into second and third positions to make it a clean sweep of the podium places for drivers from the province. The Northern Ireland dominance continued the following day when Portadown’s Glenn Bell captured the Scottish Open title!Ballymena Raceway would like to congratulate all the National Hot Rod racers from Northern Ireland on their fantastic set of results over the weekend. Our new champions are sure to receive a warm welcome home when Raceway hosts Round 10 of the PC Paints and Components World Series NI on Friday evening.
Meeting Review - Friday 3rd April 2015
National Hot Rods 2015 WQR 8 - Edwards Motorsport Trophy
McCauley wins Heat & Final Double
The temperature may have been cool, but the track action was certainly hot as the new season at Ballymena Raceway was ushered in with the usual mixture of thrills and spills on Good Friday. Nigel McCauley was the big winner in the National Hot Rods as the Gilford man finished the evening as top points scorer at Round 8 of the PC Paints & Components World Series NI. The other heat brought a victory for Andrew Stewart, while race two featured a horrific crash for former World Champion Keith Martin.
A very encouraging entry of 22 cars took to the track for the Yokohama Tyres Stock Rod Championship and it was local lad Steven McKane who fought off the stiff completion from England and Scotland to clinch the title for the first time. Scotland’s Derek Conner was runner-up in his Vauxhall Corsa with the podium positions completed by Wilfie McNiece.
F2 Stock Car Irish Champion Craig McConnell enjoyed the perfect start to his Raceway campaign with a faultless hat-trick of wins in the opening round of the McGill Motorsport Series. The Bangor man also posted the fastest F2 lap of the evening to earn himself the £50 Hot Lap bonus, and was followed home in the feature race by Mark Rainey and Gary Blair.
Group Two Lightning Rods and Euro Stocks completed the programme at the Gilmore Engineering sponsored opening fixture. Mark Turtle collected the Group Two silverware after a brace of heat wins for Johny Gillespie, while Stephen Doherty motored to a heat and final double success in the Euros.
Ballymena Raceway is thrilled to introduce McConville Recovery Specialists as the title sponsor for our National Hot Rod Track Championship in 2015. The Track Championship will cover all nine National Hot Rod fixtures at Ballymena in 2015, the World Qualifying Rounds on April 3 & 24, May 22, August 7 & 22, September 11 and October 9, plus the Richard Turtle Memorial Cup on June 5 and the Irish Masters on July 17, with the highest points scorer being crowned Track Champion and collecting a prize of £500. Based in the heart of Mid-Ulster McConville Recovery Specialists operate a quick and professional 24-hour call out service that covers the entire province. Their dedicated and efficient team provides a swift and reliable response to any emergency, accident or motoring situation, including misfuelling, flat battery / jump starts, wheel changing and lock outs. Full details of all the services provided by McConville Recovery Specialists can be found on their website www.mcconvillerecoveryspecialists.co.uk and their all important emergency contact number is 07842424436. In addition the top 3 finishers in the overall Track Championship will receive trophies which have been kindly presented by SHP Engineering.The promotion would like to sincerely thank John McConville and Sonny Howard for their support of National Hot Rod racing at Ballymena Raceway in 2015.
Ballymena Raceway 2015 Season Preview
The start of the 2015 season at Ballymena Raceway is now just around the corner with a total of sixteen meetings planned during the year at the Showground’s track. The new season roars off the starting grid on Good Friday (April 3), with regular meetings scheduled right through the year until the season finale on October 9. Things haven’t been standing still over the winter months at the Showground’s oval with additional resurfacing works on both bends completed during the closed season. That’s sure to see the lap times tumble even further at the Raceway during 2015 and those times will be even more significant to the drivers this year with the introduction of our Hot Laps reward scheme for 2015. At each meeting during the season one class from the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, National Hot Rods and ORCi Stock Rods will be selected to receive the Hot Laps reward and the driver who records the fastest lap time over the course of the evening will receive a £50 bonus. Full details of the scheme are now available on our website, while the drivers will get a first opportunity to sample the new track surface at our test evening on March 28.As far as the fixture list for 2015 is concerned the promotion has decided to streamline the number of classes on the roster, with the 2015 programme based around our core classes of National Hot Rods, BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, ORCi Stock Rods, Group Two Lightning Rods, Euro Stocks and Junior Rods. Unfortunately that means no space on the programme for the Open Hot Rod or Speed Stock classes, which both sadly struggled with low grids, and reluctantly the Saloon Stock Cars will also not feature at the Raceway in 2015 following the well documented issues with the safety wall at their 2014 Irish Open meeting. The council and Raceway management continue to examine potential solutions which will allow the Saloons to return to the Raceway in the future, but for this season it has been decided to temporarily suspend the class from our schedule. Our colleagues at Nutts Corner Raceway have kindly picked up the slack to ensure that the Saloon drivers still enjoy a full schedule of fixtures for the year ahead and have also graciously granted us use of their excellent track to host the Saloon Stock Car Irish Open Championship on July 4. The simplification of our line-up will mean a much more settled feel to each and every meeting at the Raceway this season, but we still have room for a few new features along the way too! Most notable is expected to be the development of our Mini Twos class for the 6 to 11 year old age group. One of the Twos was demonstrated by Declan Og McFerran at our New Years Day meeting and since then we are delighted to say that orders for these cars are now well into double figures. Further demonstrations will take place at both Ballymena and Nutts Corner throughout the year as more cars are completed, with a view to a permanent introduction when numbers permit. At the other end of the sport’s time line we take a step back into the rich history of the F2 class at our meeting on June 12 when we welcome along the Heritage F2 Stock Cars for their first ever visit to the province. This formula reflects the early years of the sport, with the cars built in line with the F2 specifications from the 1960s, and is sure to provide a great trip down memory lane for fans and drivers alike. That’s not the only first at the Raceway in 2015 either, as we plan to welcome along the circuit racing Legend Cars for a track debut on September 18.The season gets underway with our traditional Good Friday meeting on April 3 where the Stock Rods compete for their Yokohama Championship. The National Hot Rods resume their World Qualifying trail that evening too and the Speed Kings return to Raceway for another World Qualifier on April 24. The month of May will see racing on May 8 & May 22 before the Raceway proudly hosts a special memorial race for the National Hot Rods on June 5 in honour of former National star Richard Turtle. One week later, on June 12, the Raceway presents a double bill of championship action where the Stock Rod British Championship and F2 Challenge Trophy will both be settled. Other dates for your diary include the Irish Masters Championship for National Hot Rods on July 17 and our double-header over the weekend of August 21 and 22, where the feature event is the Stock Rod UK Masters. This weekend is sure to provide some hectic action from the 1400cc rods, while the fine programme of support races includes another World Qualifier for the National Hot Rods, the Group Two Lightning Rod World Cup and the F2 Stock Car Supreme Championship, making these two days of short oval racing not to be missed. During September Raceway will host the Irish Championship races for the Junior Rod, Euro Stock and Group Two divisions, before the Stock Rods resolve their domestic championship on October 2. The Raceway season is wrapped up on October 9 and what a spectacle lies in store that evening where the packed race card features the Group Two Golden Helmet Trophy, always one of the most keenly contested races of the year, plus the Euro Stocks Champion of Champions. The Stock Rod Challenge Cup and Junior Rod Top Teen Trophy are also up for grabs, while the National Hot Rods are back on World Qualifying duty to provide a fitting conclusion to another season of short circuit motorsport at Ballymena Raceway. Are you ready to go racing in 2015?
We are delighted to announce further details of our Hot Laps reward scheme for 2015. One formula has been selected to receive the Hot Lap bonus at each and every one of our meetings during the season, with the driver who sets the fastest lap time during that meeting collecting a £50 prize. The Hot Lap rewards have been split equally between the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, National Hot Rods and ORCi Stock Rods, with each class competing for this extra reward on five occasions during the campaign. The Saloon Stock Cars have not been forgotten about either and will collect a Hot Lap bonus when we host their Irish Open Championship at Nutts Corner on July 4.
Ballymena Raceway would like to sincerely thank all the individuals and businesses who have stepped forward to support the Hot Lap programme for 2015.
BriSCA F2 Stock Cars
National Hot Rods
Ross Park Motors
BriSCA F2 Stock Cars
National Hot Rods
National Hot Rods
ORCi Stock Rods
Ross Park Motors
Saloon Stock Cars
National Hot Rods
KR Photo Imaging
BriSCA F2 Stock Cars
BriSCA F2 Stock Cars
NI oval TV
ORCi Stock Rods
Wm. Moody & Son Car Sales
National Hot Rods
ORCi Stock Rods
Hayes Filling Station
ORCi Stock Rods
BriSCA F2 Stock Cars
ORCi Stock Rods
Ballykeel Valet Service & MOT Preparation
#54 Adam Hylands unveils his new NHR Tigra
plus National Hot-Rods 2015 Spec. now available
Adam Hylands unveils his new National Hot Rod after a very successful 2 Litre Hot Rod career, Adam is set to transfer his winning ways to National Hot Rods and is set to debut his car @ Ballymena Raceway on Good Friday. Despite the ultra competitiveness of Northern Ireland World Qualifying series, Adam is still hopeful that he can get on the grid for the big one at Ipswich. Without doubt the NHR #54 machine will be one to watch.The new National Hot-Rods 2015 Specifications & Rules are available by clicking on the link below.
Gp2 Lightning Rods 2015 Specifications are now available to view with the Ford Escort Mk5/Mk6, Focus Mk1/Mk2 Peugeot 206, Vauxhall Astra Mk5 and VW Golf Mk3 now added to list of eligible cars permitted to race. Other additions to the rules allow drivers to lighten Flywheels if they wish with engine mountings being free.
The eagerly anticipated 2015 fixtures are now available to view and what a line up of events we have for you. The new season blasts off with a practice night being held on Saturday 28th March starting @ 6pm and finishing around 9pm. The Raceway season begins proper the following week on Good Friday night (3 April) with the National Hot Rods contesting 2015 World Qualifying Round 8.Full season preview will be added shortly.
The Junior Rod formula will see a new lower age limit being introduced for 2015 racing season with drivers now being allowed to race from their 10th Birthday.Some minor changes to the 2015 Specifications will see no competition shocks allowed with cars now being permitted to run the Stock Rod type rear panel as a bumper.
The new 2015 Euro Stock Specifications are now available for viewing by clicking on the link below.2015 will see the Euro Stock formula run a 15" rim with the introducing of the TOYO T1R Tyre with the following sizes being permitted for use to suit gearing: 195/55/15, 195/50/15 or 205/55/15. Any driver may use tyres which they have stockpiled up until the end of July 2015. The introducing of this rule will hopefully see all the cars evenly matched and help bring more drivers on board with the price for the T1R tyre being very reasonable. Other changes to the rules will allow drivers to run negative camber on the driver's side front wheel with positive or negative camber also being permitted on the rear wheels.
National Hot-Rods 2015 Winternational Championship
Clean Sweep for young McCurdy
Photo thanks to
Gilmore Race Photography
It was a full speed start to 2015 at Ballymena Raceway with a packed programme of short oval racing on New Year’s Day. Persistent rain during the afternoon made for difficult driving conditions throughout the exciting schedule of races, where the main event was the Winter National Championship for the high speed National Hot Rods. Jaimie McCurdy enhanced his growing reputation once again to secure the Gilmore Engineering backed title with a faultless hat-trick of wins in his Vauxhall Tigra, the Broughshane teenager followed home in the final by European Champion John Christie and 2014 winner Keith Martin. Another driver to register a perfect hat-trick of wins on New Year’s Day was Johny Gillespie, who stormed through the day unbeaten to collect the Group Two Lightning Rod Winter Supreme Cup. In the other classes a diverse field of Euro Stocks assembled to contest their Winter National Championship where victory went to Lester McCloy, while Steven McKane was back on form to lift the Stock Rod Challenge Cup in his rapid Vauxhall Nova. The Junior Rods produced some fine racing once again as Niall McFerran signed off on his junior career in fine style by capturing the Challenge Cup on his last outing in the formula. The programme was completed by the F2 Stock Cars where Conor Hughes took the final honours after splitting the heat wins with Sam McKay.
Ballymena Raceway was saddened to learn of the death of former National Hot Rod racer Richard Turtle on Friday 14th. November 2014. Richard, or Dick as he was better known around the ovals, had been ill for some time and passed away peacefully on Friday morning at the Macmillan Unit of Antrim Area Hospital. Dick was a fine servant to National Hot Rod racing in Northern Ireland for many years, where his well turned out cars and press on driving style made him a very welcome and popular addition to any race grid. Dick made his Hot Rod debut way back in 1976 when the Hot Rod class in Northern Ireland was still very much in its infancy. A rather unwieldy Volkswagen Beetle was Dick’s unusual choice of mount, but the car was not really suited to oval competition and Dick called time on this unsuccessful venture at the end of the season. After a spell away Dick was eventually coaxed into returning by the persuasive influence of fellow Cullybackey based racer Sticky Torrens. A Ford Anglia was readied for the 1979 season and this proved to be a much more suitable car for the job, with Dick enjoying a number of heat wins and earning his first final victory in 1980. A new Anglia was prepared for the 1982 season and this car performed admirably, propelling Dick to red roof status for the first time in his career.For the 1983 season Dick unveiled a stunning home built Ford Escort Mk.II and the Holbay powered machine set a blistering pace right out of the box, winning numerous heats and finals in the early part of the season. No mean feat amongst a field of cars that included the likes of Ormond Christie, Davy Evans, Norman Woolsey and Leslie Dallas. It proved to be Dick’s best season to date, with victory in the King of Aghadowey race one of the highlights, and Dick was also immensely proud to be a member of the Northern Ireland team which raced against England in the test matches that year. It was not a season without its problems however. A jammed throttle resulted in a big crash at Raceway, which left the chassis twisted, and a further crash at Shamrock Park finished the car off completely. A replacement shell was purchased and a new car built by Dick and his team within a week. Dick had only just got his new car going to his liking when it was also heavily damaged in another crash at Portadown. Worse was to follow when the car burst into flames while Dick and the crew worked on its repair at the garage! It required the services of the Fire Brigade to extinguish the blaze, but the car was left a complete write-off. With the Irish Championship just around the corner it looked like Dick would be an absentee from the biggest domestic race of the season, but in stepped Davy Evans and Norman Woolsey to lend a helping hand. Davy offered Dick his old Vauxhall Chevette shell and Norman lent him an engine to get him onto the grid for the Irish where Dick put in a storming drive to bring the unfamiliar car home in third place. Indeed Dick also played a hand in the outcome of the race, as he lent his Goodyear Blue Streak wet tyres to eventual winner Norman Woolsey and these proved just the ticket on a very wet night at Raceway! Dick continued to campaign a Ford Escort Mk. II during the 1984 and ‘85 seasons, but somehow could never recapture that dazzling form of 1983 and eventually decided to take a break from Nationals at the end of the ’85 season. The oval racing bug never really left him completely however and Dick eventually returned to the National Hot Rod class towards the end of 1989 at the wheel of a Norman Woolsey prepared Toyota Starlet. This proved to be the most successful spell of Dick’s career with a first ever international title collected, the NHRPA Masters, at the Knockhill Tri-Oval in Scotland during 1990. Dick also fulfilled a lifetime ambition by qualifying to represent Northern Ireland in the 1991 National Hot Rod World Championship where his Toyota Starlet, decked out in the colours of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (a very popular children’s television series at the time), carried him home in a creditable eighth position. A controversial Irish Open Championship later in the year saw Dick lose the final win on a jump start penalty and by the end of the season the car was sold as Dick made a switch over to kart racing. While that proved to be the end of Dick’s racing days on the ovals he always kept a keen interest in what was happening on the Hot Rod scene and was a welcome guest at Raceway’s 30th. anniversary dinner back in 2007. Indeed Dick was very keen to get a run out in a modern National Hot Rod that weekend in the former drivers’ race, but was left frustrated after he jumped into Neville Stanley’s Peugeot 206cc only to find his legs were too short to reach the pedals in big Nev’s car!
Unfortunately Dick’s deteriorating health over the last few years made any trips a difficult task and Dick finally lost his battle with cancer on Friday morning. Ballymena Raceway offers our condolences to his wife Rosie, stepchildren Gary and Sharon, and all of Dick’s family and friends at this sad time.
Meeting Review - Friday 3rd October 2014
National Hot-Rods 2015 World Qualifying
Record breaker McCurdy
It proved to be a record breaking conclusion to the Ballymena Raceway season on October 3 where sixteen year old Jaimie McCurdy from Broughshane wrote his name into the record books as the youngest ever Northern Ireland driver to win a race in the elite National Hot Rod division. The teenager went through the programme undefeated in his Wilson McCurdy Haulage Vauxhall Tigra to claim a perfect hat-trick of wins in Round 6 of the PC Paints and Components World Series NI. McCurdy led home British Champion Glenn Bell and Crumlin’s Adam Maxwell in the feature race and his impressive performance earned McCurdy the Driver of the Day award. It proved to be a great night all round for drivers from the Garden Village of Broughshane as another Braid man, Freddie Fleck, confirmed his place in the record books as well! Fleck added his names to the list of Group Two Lightning Rod Irish Champions for the first time after a faultless flag to flag victory in his Vauxhall Astra. Stewart Nicholl tracked the winner throughout the second half of the race, but had to settle for second with Johny Gillespie in third. Christopher Kincaid stamped his authority on the F2 Stock Car division once again with a crushing victory in the Ross Hyndman Motors backed Stadium Championship. Bangor’s Craig McConnell followed Kincaid home with Ryan McCrory in third, while Mark Rainey collected the award for first white or yellow roof driver home in sixth. Rainey completed a successful evening with a fine brace of victories in the two support heats.In the other championship events at the Curtis Toyota sponsored season finale Garvagh’s Stephen Doherty bounced back from the loss of his Irish Championship crown to record an emphatic hat-trick of victories in the Euro Stocks Champion of Champions event and Daniel Rodgers captured the Group Two Lightning Rod Golden Helmet Trophy.
Simon Kennedy saved his best until last to secure the final honours at Round 4 of the PC Paints and Components National Hot Rod World Series NI on September 12. A superb entry of nineteen National Hot Rods participated during the evening, with series debutant Mark Heatrick making up for lost time with a comfortable brace of wins in the heat races. Heatrick was hot favourite to make it a perfect hat-trick of wins in the final, but had to be content with an eighth in the feature race as Kennedy confidently held off a late challenge from Adam Maxwell to take the silverware. His final win, coupled with a pair of second place finishes in the two heat races, confirmed Kennedy as top points scorer for the round and earned him the Driver of The Day award from series sponsor Rodney Wallace of PC Paints & Components.In the other classes on display at the Ricardo Imaging Photography sponsored fixture Junior Rod Irish Champion Aaron Moody went through the card unbeaten to secure the Champion of Champions award. Patrick O’Boyle and Liam Wilson were the place men in this one.Jason Darragh roared to a pair of heat wins in the Group Two Lightning Rod division which earned the novice a move up to the yellow grade for the final. Darragh was an early casualty in this one as Mark Turtle eased his way to the front to finish well clear of Paul Dunn and David Wilson.The Euro Stocks warmed up for their Irish Championship next week with an encouraging 13 cars in attendance. Stephen McCahon and Trevor McFaul split the heat wins between them and it was McCahon who got his nose ahead once again in the final to claim his second race win of the evening. McFaul followed the race winner home with Johnny McCloy motoring through to third at the chequered flag.
Meeting Reviews - Friday 22nd August & Saturday 23rd August 2014
Ultimate Speedfest Winners All Round
The province’s oval racers were put through their paces during two days of tough competition at Ballymena Raceway’s Speed Fest event on August 22 & 23. All in all twenty six races were contested over the two days with a number of championship titles decided during the course of the weekend. Biggest winner was F2 Stock Car star Conor Hughes from Antrim. The F2s were the top performers in the slippery conditions on Friday evening where Hughes drove superbly to dominant the Supreme Championship event. Christopher Kincaid, Gavin Fegan and Craig McConnell kept the fans royally entertained with a superb battle for the remaining podium positions which eventually went the way of Kincaid and McConnell. Hughes run of success continued on Saturday evening as the 2010 Irish Champion found himself in the right place at the right time to capture the Irish Masters title when long time leader Christopher Kincaid blew his engine in the closing stages. While the Formula Twos were the stars of the show on Friday evening it was the National Hot Rods which took centre stage on Saturday. In ideal conditions for Round 3 of the PC Paints & Components World Series NI the drivers put on some terrific hard and fast racing, with Glenn Bell coming through to take the honours in a breathtaking final after Ian McReynolds had dominated the heats. The Group Two Lightning Rods marked their twentieth anniversary with a double header of title events over the weekend. It wouldn’t be the Group Twos without a bit of controversy and that duly arrived in the World Cup event on Friday evening when on the road winner Noel Hazlett was penalised by the race steward for contact with early race leader David Gillespie, which meant the title went to Johny Gillespie instead. Saturday’s Irish Open event saw Jason Clyde take a resounding flag to flag victory in his Vauxhall Astra. The Euro Stocks also enjoyed a brace of title events, with Philip Doherty successful in their Irish Grand Prix on Friday evening before Points Champion Lester McCloy took the honours in the Gold Roof Challenge on Saturday. An excellent Irish Masters event for the Junior Rods on Friday evening completed the quota of championship events where Peter Stewart reeled of an impressive hat-trick of wins in his Vauxhall Corsa.