National Hot-Rods 2013 WQR 1
No dilly-dallying from Thomas
The opening round of the new World Qualifying campaign attracted a very encouraging 14 car entry which included a debut appearance in the formula for F2 Stock Car racer Andrew Stewart in the ex-Carl Boardley/Willie Hardie Vauxhall Tigra. Stephen McGonigle led the field away in the opening heat, but Davy McKay quickly got up to speed and charged past Robert Forsythe and McGonigle to take it up. A rotation for Mark Heatrick, which resulted in a disqualification for Thomas Dilly, scattered the main pack from which Gary Woolsey emerged in second. The former British Champion chased the leader down over the final stages, but McKay still had everything well under control to record a good win ahead of Woolsey and World Champion Glenn Bell.
The cars lined up for heat 2 in the reverse order within each group that they had stated the first heat. This has been introduced, with the agreement of the drivers, for a trial basis at the first 3 rounds of the series. McGonigle set the initial pace once again, but Ian McReynolds and McKay soon forced their way through to the front with Bell closing in strongly on the pair of them. The battle for the lead reached a climax on the exit of Suffolk turn when the slightest touch from McKay sent McReynolds in to a spin. McKay took the lead, and a black cross, next time round and comfortably ran out the winner and a post race investigation by the steward allowed the result to stand after McReynolds sportingly confirmed that his spin was also due to the fact that his car had been dropping oil.
The grid returned to the average scores line up for the final and it was Dilly who quickly established himself out front in this one. It was a lead the Dungannon man was never to lose as Dilly powered home to a comfortable win, with McKay completing a great night’s work in second which also confirmed him as the top scorer for round 1. A high speed train of Adam Maxwell, Heatrick, Woolsey and Stewart Doak battled over third and that’s how they ran to the finish, with the top eight rounded out by Bell and Keith Martin.
McNiece warms up for World
Stevie McNiece signed off for the World Final in two weeks time with a comprehensive victory in the Stock Rod final. Double heat winner Michael McKendry was the early leader, but McNiece’s Vauxhall Corsa soon eased up onto the back bumper of the white top. Novice McKendry defended his position well for a number of laps, but McNiece bided his time and pounced at Fisherwick bend when the leader ran wide. Once out front McNiece, who finished third the last time the World Final was held at Raceway back in 2008, eased away to take a very comprehensive victory. McKendry finished a fine second, the best showing to date from the newcomer, while Mick Rodgers comfortably held off the challenge of Micky McFall and Stephen McCready to secure third. McKendry had earlier won both heats by quite some distance, with McNiece second in the opener and Frankie Lynn runner-up in heat two.
Uel McMillan demonstrated no signs of rustiness after his recent suspension by charging through the pack to a fine victory in the opening heat. White graders Simon McLaughlin and Darryl Reid enjoyed a real ding-dong scrap in heat two, with yellow roof Gareth McCrory handily placed in third in his pristine Vauxhall Belmont. This one was cut short however after a spin for Thomas Kernohan triggered a pile up at the exit of Fisherwick bend and handed the win to McLaughlin. That taste of success must have agreed with McLaughlin as the white grader set of in determined fashioned at the start of the final and quickly established a handy lead. McCrory was going well again too in second, while a fantastic scrap brewed over third between David Megaw, Steven McKane and Samuel Montgomery. As the laps counted down McLaughlin kept his pursuers at a safe distance to record his first ever win final win at Raceway and earn himself a promotion to the yellow grade next time. McCrory was good value for second, while Megaw just managed to cling onto third ahead of Montgomery and McKane.
McLaughlin's maiden success
Jaimie just in time
Jaimie McCurdy left it late before making his race winning move in the Junior Rod final. The star grader timed his run to perfection to take it up on the last lap with fellow red top Aidan McFerran tight on his tail. The pair had been inseparable all evening, but it was McCurdy who was in front when it mattered most at the chequered flag to claim a popular win ahead of McFerran, with long time leader Calvin Blake relegated to third on that final lap. Earlier in the evening Patrick O’Boyle had been the star of the show in the first heat, the youngster showing the rest a clean pair of heels to win by the length of the straight in his Vauxhall Corsa. Heat two featured a tremendous battle between Peter Stewart, Adam Brogan, McFerran and McCurdy and it was Brogan who was awarded the win after the steward imposed penalties on both McFerran and McCurdy.
Photo's thanks to John Wolsey of Racemart