Untitled Document

RACEWAY PAST

1990's

 

Season 1990

Changes are afoot at the helm of Raceway as co-promoter Gordon Bland stands down from his partnership with Tommy Shaw. Local man Aubrey Arbuthnot takes his place.The new promoting team attempt to introduce a new formula to the Raceway schedule. Economy Cars are a cheap, contact class but the hoped for numbers do not appear on track and the class never gets off the ground.Raceway Stock Rod drivers Roy McKane and Harry Clyde secure the Scottish Open and UK Challenge titles at Armadale Raceway.

Norman Woolsey retains his British Grand Prix title at Raceway and adds the European crown at Cowdenbeath.Raceway can boast two World Champions again as Wilson Hamilton successfully defends his Super Rod crown at Hednesford and Davy McCall wins the National Hot Rod version at his first attempt ahead of fellow countryman Keith Martin.

Ormond Christie claims his third British title in National Hot Rods at Arena Essex. Health problems for the Raceway veteran shortly afterwards would force him off the tracks for a period.Newly crowned World Superstox Champion John Mickel attends Raceway for the Irish Open Championship. After dominating the two heats the Cambridge superstar is hit by mechanical gremlins in the final handing the title to Ian McKnight.Norman Woolsey puts on a supreme performance during the Irish Open Championships for National Hot Rods in August winning both heats at Raceway and the final at Aghadowey Stadium.World Champion Hamilton beats ex-promoter Gordon Bland to the flag in the final of the Irish Open Super Rod Championship at Raceway.

Season 1991

The season opens in majestic fashion at Raceway on Easter Tuesday with no less than four reigning World Champions in attendance – Davy McCall (National Hot Rods), Wilson Hamilton (Super Rods), John Mickel (Superstox) and Melly Cooke (Stock Rods). The main event on the programme is the inaugural Yokohama Tyres Stock Rod Championship where victory goes to local ace Roy McKane.Hamilton adds the European crown to his ever-growing list of titles.

During May the final of the National Hot Rod British Championship is staged at Raceway with victory going to Robin Sloan.The Spedeworth 1600 Hot Rods make their debut at Raceway.McKane becomes the first Ulsterman to win the World Stock Rod Championship at Hednesford Raceway during July.At the same meeting Hamilton from Limavady is crowned World Super Rod champion for the third year in a row.During August Raceway stages the qualifying heats for the Irish Open Championships in the National Hot Rod and Saloon Stock Car classes. Locals Keith Martin and Richard Turtle win the rod races while the saloon heats go to English visitors Danny Semaru and Conrad Self. Martin wins the hot rod title at Aghadowey the following evening after Turtle is penalised for a jump-start. Local lady racer Heather Campbell secures a surprise victory in the saloon event.Norman Woolsey and Wilson Hamilton lift their respective National Championships at Hednesford Raceway in September.English visitors John Mickel and Gary Lambert seal a one-two finish in the Irish Open Superstox Championship.Super Rod legend Hamilton retains the Irish Open title at Raceway.With numbers dwindling in both classes the promoters decide to run the National Hot Rods and Super Rods together at domestic meetings.

Season 1992

Before the season starts there is a blow to Raceway when Super Rod multi-champion Wilson Hamilton retires to concentrate on a new business venture in England. Portadown driver Errol Magill buys his car.At the opening Raceway meeting of the season Roy McKane retains the Stock Rod Yokohama Tyres Championship.The Stock Rods are back at Raceway in May for the final of their British Championship where English visitor Mark Willis leads home local drivers McKane and William McCullough.Saloon Stock Car World Champion Ernie Burgoyne attends Raceway to compete in qualifying heats for the European Championship. Ernie has to settle for third in the final at Aghadowey Stadium behind Conrad Self and Lester Bartram.Raceway creates history again as the first track in the province to stage a World final for one of the major formulas. The final of the Superstox World Championship is held during July where a full house witnesses a win for local ace Ian McKnight ahead of 1990 winner John Mickel.

Norman Woolsey is back to his best for the Irish Open National Hot Rod Championships in August, winning both qualifying heats at Ballymena and the final at Aghadowey Stadium.English visitor Lester Stacey wins the Irish Open Super Rod title at Raceway.Glarryford based McKane retains the Stock Rod World championship title at Wisbech then announces his retirement from the sport.Ballymena plays host to the qualifying heats for the 1600 Hot Rods European Championship, the first international event to be staged for the formula in the province. English visitors Steve Smith and Dave Longhurst take the wins at Raceway before Smith lifts the title the following evening at Portadown ahead of local driver Gary Wilson.

Season 1993

National Hot Rods are dropped from the Raceway programme due to lack of numbers.Roy McKane reverses his retirement decision and is on the grid at the start of the new season. The comeback doe not last long however and despite a third Yokohama Tyre Championship win in a row at Easter the World Champion reverts back to his original plan and hangs up his helmet again. Alan Connolly purchases the championship winning Toyota Starlet.Ballymena driver Brian Robinson dominates the Superstox National title at Raceway during May.Defending Champion Paul Liquorice heads an all-star entry of visiting drivers for the World Saloon Stock Car Championship that is being held in the province. English star Roy Fuller wins the qualifying heat at Ballymena and goes on to lift the final itself at Aghadowey ahead of John Halifax and Steve O’Dell.

Raceway drivers Frankie Lynn and Alan Connolly finish second and third in the Stock Rod World Final at Cowdenbeath.Despite no regular racing for National Hot Rods in the province, Norman Woolsey manages to cause an upset at the World Final, when the Portadown class stalwart outruns the English favourites to secure the title for the third time at Ipswich in July.Defending champion Dave Longhurst, South African driver Frank Boontjes and Dutch champion William Woestenberg are among the entries as Raceway hosts qualifying heats for the 1600 Hot Rod World Championship. Davy McCall and Keith McClelland win the Ballymena heats before McClelland secures the World crown at Shamrock Park Portadown the following evening.


Season 1994

Raceway promoters introduce a new entry-level class to the programme. Known as Lightning Rods the cars are cheaper than the national class of the same name and are an immediate hit with healthy car turnouts.A new name is added to the Yokohama Tyres Stock Rod trophy when William McCullough acquires the title at Raceway on Easter Tuesday.Mike Johnston lifts the British Superstox title at Raceway during April.Over thirty visiting drivers arrive in the province for the World Stock Rod championship including defending champion Tick Steward and Dutchman Mark Van de Kerkhoven. No one can match the speed of McCullough however as the Cullybackey ace lifts the title at Raceway ahead of Alan Connolly and Melly Cooke.National Hot Rods return to Ballymena for a one-off outing to contest qualifying heats for their European Championship. English drivers Steve Skitmore and Dick Hillard take the spoils at the Raceway heats, but Portadown veteran and class stalwart Norman Woolsey collects the title at the Aghadowey staged final ahead of Skitmore and Jeff Simpson. Raceway plays host to their second World Championship of the season when the Super Rod version is up for contention. Local driver Colin McFarland lands the crown ahead of English visitors Alan Robinson and Hoss Parry.William McMaster is crowned the inaugural Irish Lightning Rod champion at Raceway.Raceway Stock Rod star Frankie Lynn looks set to win the British title at Birmingham as he leads going into the final lap, but is forced to free-wheel home when his Vauxhall Nova runs out of petrol half way round the lap, dropping him to second behind Brian Smith.

Season 1995

Broughshane Stock Rod driver Gregory McMillan starts the season in tremendous form with victories in the Yokohama Tyres Championship at Raceway and the Irish Open Championship at Aghadowey.World Stock Saloon Champion Harry Burgoyne is at Raceway to contest qualifying races for the British Championship and the Scottish star goes on to collect the title at Aghadowey Stadium ahead of Gordon Alexander and David Hearst.

English star Paul Poulter captures the Superstox British title at Raceway in May.

The National Hot Rods are back in the province to contest an Irish Open Championship and in a close finish at Aghadowey victory goes to Norman Woolsey from Dick Hillard and Colin White. Frankie Lynn wins his first international title in Stock Rods when the Cullybackey driver clinches the National Championship at Hednesford. Lynn would be crowned Irish Champion as well before the end of the season. World champion Frank Birch captures the Super Rod Irish Open title at Raceway ahead of Mick Robertson.Micky McFall is the new Irish Lightning Rod Champion.

Season 1996

After disappointing car turnouts for a number of years the promoters decide to axe the Super Rod formula from the Raceway programme.Cullybackey’s Frankie Lynn adds his name to the list of Yokohama winners in the Stock Rod division.Lynn adds the Irish Open title at Aghadowey on May Day Monday, followed home by Alan Connolly and Mark Barber.

A limited number of National Hot Rod fixtures are included on the Raceway schedule as interest in the class grows with the introduction of the cheaper 16V engines.One of the returning drivers is Ormond Christie and the Crumlin superstar snatches a sensational victory in the World Final at Ipswich, passing long-time leader Andy Steward on the final bend.

Raceway hosts the qualifying heats for the 1600 Hot Rod World Championship during September. Davy McCall and Davy Kidd share the spoils in the heats, but neither would make the chequered flag in the final at Portadown as Keith Martin storms to a popular victory ahead of Wayne McClure and Gary Wilson.Davy Neill wins a stormy Irish Lightning Rod Championship at Ballymena despite never leading a single lap of the race. Early pacesetters William Bell and John Pickering collide to leave defending champion Micky McFall at the head of the pack. On the final lap the race leader is spun out by Victor Wray, who continues to take the chequered flag, but is subsequently disqualified for his actions, handing the win to a surprised Neill.

Season 1997

Further National Hot Rod fixtures are added to the Raceway schedule as interest in the formula increases. 1600 Hot Rod drivers Keith Martin, Robin Martin and Alvin Doak are the latest to make the switch over to the national class.

Pete Honeyman from Scotland becomes the first overseas winner of the Stock Rod Yokohama Championship.Raceway stages qualifying heats for the European Stock Saloon Championship in May. Ronnie Wright and Winston Weir take the wins, with Wright and Willie Barnes the victors of the Portadown heats. The final at Aghadowey Stadium ends in uproar when a retired Diggy Smith jumps into the abandoned car of Dave Bunning to remove race leader Wright, handing the title to Scottish driver Harry Burgoyne.

Raceway favourite Ormond Christie secures a record fifth victory in the National Hot Rod World Final at Ipswich.Alan Connolly wins the Stock Rod National Championship at Hednesford.National Hot Rod star Keith Martin takes his Renault Clio to victory in the European Championship at Tipperary.Mike Johnston clinches the Irish Superstox Championship at Raceway for a record third time.

Season 1998

A new paddock area at the Fisherwick end of the arena replaces the traditional pits at the Suffolk Street end as development work in the Showground gathers pace. At one time there were fears the stadium may be lost to stock car racing altogether before the promoters and the local council reach agreement.Almost twenty years after the Stock Car class split the two factions are united once again as the Ballymena Superstox join forces with the BriSCA Formula Two Stock Cars from Nutts Corner. The Superstox will eventually fall into line with the regulations of the Formula Two category.To cement the new arrangement World F2 Champion Rob Speak and Scottish driver Robin Drysdale are among the entry for the first Raceway meeting on Easter Tuesday. Speak dominates the two heats in his Elite built machine, but has to settle for second in the final behind rising star Ian Thompson.Speak is one of three reigning World Champions in action at the opening meeting, the other two being Ormond Christie (National Hot Rods) and Chris Lattka (Stock Rods).The main event of the opening fixture is the Yokohama Tyres Championship for Stock Rods, which is won by Alan Connolly.

A host of visiting Saloon drivers headed by World Champion Diggy Smith descend on Raceway for the heats of the British Masters. Local driver Winston Weir wins the title at Aghadowey Stadium where Scottish star Harry Burgoyne injures a number of ribs and breaks his ankle in a support race crash.F2 legend Speak is back at Raceway in June for theF2 Challenge Trophy and makes no mistake this time by claiming victory ahead of Craig Finnikin and Stu Young. Raceway Stock Rod star Andrew Murray captures the British title at Cowdenbeath.Stock rod driver Frankie Lynn is runner up in the World Final at Ringwood, while other Raceway representatives Ronnie McMillan, Alan Connolly and Andrew Murray finish fifth, seventh and eighth respectively.John Steele is the new Lightning Rod Irish Champion.Ian Thompson clinches the Stadium Championship for the F2 Stock Cars.

Season 1999

Micky McFall starts the season with a win in the Stock Rod Yokohama Championship before adding the Irish Masters at Aghadowey on May Day.A healthy turnout of Saloon Stock Cars arrives at Raceway for the first set of qualifying heats for the British Masters. Gordon Alexander and David Hearst share the wins at Raceway with Alexander again and Neil Williamson the victors in the Portadown qualifiers. The final at Aghadowey Stadium turns into a Scottish whitewash as Alexander romps home ahead of fellow Scots Kenny Purdie, Stuart Shevill, Alex Wilson and Barry Jones.Graham Moore secures a famous win in the F2 Irish Open Championship at Raceway during June, just holding off the battling Davy McCrory and Rob Speak.Keith Martin beats World Champion Colin White to the chequered flag in the Thunder 500 at Ipswich.McFall continues his good form in the Stock Rods with victory in the National Championship at Hednesford.The top names in National Hot Rod racing are at Raceway in September for a World Qualifying Series Super Round. World Champion Colin White is the star attraction, but it is his brother Keith who claims victory in the main race ahead of Simon Bentley and Jock Burgoyne.

Ronnie Wright secures the Saloon Stock Car Irish title at Raceway ahead of David Hearst and Richard Forsythe.

Super Rods return to Raceway to contest their European Championship with the laurels going to World Champion Hoss Parry. Despite crossing the line in third position Amos McCloy is declared Irish Lightning Rod Champion after the first two on the track, Chris Foster and Micky McFall, are both docked one position for infringements during the race.

 

 

 

 

 

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