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Saturday 10th June 2017

F2 Stock Cars

Twenty-one cars were on track for heat one where yellow grader Sean McFerran stepped into an immediate lead. McFerran displayed a good turn of speed to keep his pursuers at arms length throughout this one for a flag to flag win. William Murray burst through from the blue grade to chase McFerran home, with 2016 winner Nathan Maidment in third. Track conditions were changeable in heat two where intermittent rain added an extra dimension for the racers to contend with. Scottish visitor Wullie Draegar led initially before Mark Rainey edged to the front on lap 3. Rainey put in one of his best performances to withstand strong pressure from Maidment for many laps before the Somerset based racer sneaked ahead just 3 laps from home. Rainey attempted to regain the lead with a do or die move into Fisherwick bend, but overcooked it and spun. His stranded car was subsequently collected by a number of others including Gordy McKee, who ended up hanging precariously perched on the race wall! A caution period was called to remove the damaged cars which set up a 1 lap shoot-out to the chequered flag. Maidment controlled this restart perfectly to mark his first appearance at Ballymena with a race win, while Bradley McKinstry nipped ahead of Gavin Fegan on the last bend to snatch second.

The points scored in the heat races determined the starting positions within each grade for the Challenge Trophy race. McFerran was top points scorer in the yellows and immediately darted in to the lead, with Maidment, Dean McCrory and Gavin Fegan all in hot pursuit from the blue grade. McKinstry had made great progress from the reds and was already into the top six when a caution period was called with a car stranded on the exit of turn four. McFerran brought the cars round on a slow rolling lap, but the leader bogged down slightly at the green flag and was pounced upon at Fisherwick bend as McKinstry took maximum advantage of the situation to emerge with the lead. Maidment, Christopher Kincaid and Luke Wrench battled over second which played right into the leader’s hands as McKinstry teased out his lead with every passing lap. Kincaid eventually broke free of the squabble to begin the chase after the leader, but McKinstry had everything under control and swept home for a well deserved win. Kincaid and Wrench completed the podium finishers, with the top six rounded out by Murray, Maidment and McFerran.

Stock Rods

Former Super Saloon racer Ashley Graham made his Stock Rod and there was also a first appearance for 1300 Stock Car racer Peter Greer amongst the 21 car entry. Kurtis Reid continued his pleasing recent form by leading the opening heat a long way before a caution period wiped out his advantage. Michael McFall nipped ahead at the resumption to snatch the honours in this one ahead of Steven McKane and Jason Clyde. Reid set the pace again in heat two until Raymond Harper motored ahead on lap 5. Harper soon had Aaron Moody for company and the pair were very evenly matched, with Alastair Bolton going well in third. Proceedings were brought to halt when Jack Kennedy’s Corsa flipped onto its side at the entrance to Suffolk bend during an incident which earned Stephen McCready a disqualification. Moody was all over Harper again at the restart, but the former British Champion displayed all his experience to keep his nose out front with Moody a very close second and Bolton in third.

Like the F2s the points scored in the heat races determined the starting positions within each grade for the final. McKane and McFall shared the front row of the blues and looked like the pre-race favourites from there. That’s how it proved as well and the pair were running nose to tail in first and second spot by lap 4. Gradually McKane managed to stretch out a small lead as the laps progressed, and McFall now had his hands full with Moody who had joined the party as well. Indeed there were great encounters in play up and down the field, but up front McKane had made this one his own and rattled off the remaining laps to claim the Shock-Tec Supreme Trophy. McFall and Moody were next to reach the chequered flag, with Clyde, McCready and Harper rounding out the top six.

Group Two Lightning Rods

Two reverse grid qualifying heats determined the starting positions for the MM Recovery backed Challenge Cup. After one false start the action got underway in heat one with Adam Graham the first to show. The leader was coming under increasing pressure as the laps ticked by however and eventually David Nesbitt squeezed through at Fisherwick bend with just three laps remaining. Richard Purdy followed through in Nesbitt’s wheel tracks, with George Esler in third. Kenny Carson was on the front row of the grid for heat two and took maximum advantage of that starting slot to lead from start to finish. Paul Nesbitt was equally secure in second, with Matthew Curran in third. When the points were added up it was the Nesbitt lads, David and Paul, on the front row, with Clive Wilson and Esler on row two. Pole sitter David Nesbitt was ambushed at the green and quickly dropped to third, behind P. Nesbitt and Wilson. These three pulled clear with Broughshane’s Matthew Curran in tow and a ferocious battle developed with nothing to chose between this quartet. Paul Nesbitt still held sway entering the closing laps when David Nesbitt made a brave effort to swop around the outside of both Wilson and the leader! It set up a grandstand finish which could have gone any way on the run to the flag, but it was Paul Nesbitt who kept his advantage, followed by David Nesbitt and Wilson in a very close finish.

Heritage F1 Stock Cars

The Heritage F1 Stock Cars made their debut appearance in the province and even though only 4 cars were present they created a mighty noise each time they took to the track as their V8 engines opened up down the long straights at the Showground’s oval. Coventry’s Mike Shirley roared to victory in both of the heat races, but it was Martin Makim from Preston who secured the Irish Grand Prix title after a great run in the final at the wheel of his Wainman Senior car from 1979. Shirley was forced back into third in the final, behind runner-up Sam Makim, with Anthony Whittaker in fourth. The demonstration runs from the Heritage F1s certainly whetted the appetite of local fans and a return visit would certainly be attractive if better numbers could be assured.

Micro F2 Stock Cars

The youngsters in the Micro F2 Stock Cars made their first appearance at Raceway in 2017 and the 7 to 11 year olds put on three entertaining races with 12 cars in action, including English visitor Joelan Maynard. Randalstown lass Rhianna Murray romped to victory in the opening race ahead of Jack Morrow and Tyler McClurkin, then brought race two to a halt with a spectacular rollover! Rhianna emerged unscathed and was back racing at Nutts Corner the next day! McClurkin dominated the restart to lead home Maynard and Joshua Murray, then doubled his tally with another polished victory in the third race. Morrow was a close second, with Maynard showing well again in third.

Photo's thanks to DPP

Ballymena Raceway would like thank all the meeting Sponsors

RW Signs, MM Recovery, Redz Piano Bar & Grill

& Shock-Tec

click for Official Results (10/06/17)





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