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Friday 24th August 2018 - Cancelled


Meeting Review - Friday 17th August 2018


Gooch early leader of Teng Tools Series after Double at Round 1


Steve Gooch is the early leader of the Teng Tools Series for Stock Rods after a heat and final double victory in the opening round at Ballymena Raceway on August 17. Changeable track conditions throughout the evening proved a real challenge for the drivers, with the Rod classes in particular struggling with a damp outside line which stubbornly refused to dry out for the entire meeting.

The F2 Stock Cars made their first appearance at Raceway since April and it was Craig McConnell who continued where he left off on that occasion with another final victory which netted the County Down man the Moffett Shield. The Group Two Lightning Rods contested the final of their Muppet Motorsport Grand Prix Series and produced one of the best races of the night. Pole sitter Jason Darragh led from the start, but was under huge pressure throughout with a lead train of six cars running nose to tail. The Rasharkin racer resolutely stuck to the inside line throughout and claimed his biggest win to date with a superbly executed piece of defensive driving. 

Junior Rods completed the race programme and provided some fraught action, particularly in the heat races. Newcomer Odhrann McGeown marked his first appearance at Raceway with a good win in the opening heat before Jack Morrow sprinted home in heat two. Matthew Drysdale qualified on pole position for the final of the Wash’N’Dash Gold Roof Series and controlled this one throughout to lead home Cole McFall and Ty Richardson.

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Sponsored by: Moffett Family, Teng Tools, Rodney Fleck Specialist Cars, Muppet Motorsport & Wash n Dash



Meeting Review - Saturday 11th August 2018

 Stock-Rods - ***McCready wins the UK Championship***





Stock Rod World Champion Stephen ‘Speedy’ McCready extended his winning streak with victory in the Moody Car Sales UK Championship at Ballymena Raceway on August 11. Two solid results in the qualifying heats earned McCready pole position for the championship showdown, where the Antrim Ace had to fend off a strong challenge from Ballymena’s Aaron Moody to secure the title. An unfortunate coming together amongst the leading cars sent Moody’s Citroen into retirement as Niall McFerran picked up the pieces to follow the winner home with Kurtis Reid in third.

The National Hot Rods contested Round Two of the Simpson Race Exhausts World Series NI with British Champion John Christie in top form to earn a handsome heat and final double success. Heat one winner Carl Sloan chased Christie all the way to the chequered flag in the final, with Derek Martin in third. The thirteen car grid included a track return for 3 times World Champion and Hot Rod legend Norman Woolsey. The Portadown veteran celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday on Saturday and decided to spend it out on the race track behind the wheel of the team’s Vauxhall Corsa which son Gary had raced at Round One! Norman certainly displayed some decent pace and received a warm reception from the race fans for his efforts.

Group Two Lightning Rods and Street Rods completed the race programme. A real nip and tuck battle raged between Richard Purdy and Clive Wilson for the Stewart Commercials backed GP2 Irish Open title and it was Purdy who kept his nerve to land the crown after a faultless performance. In the Street Rod section newcomer Warren Thompson made it six wins on the trot with another impressive hat-trick in his Ford Fiesta.

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Sponsored by: Moody Car-Sales, Foster Forklifts & Plant, Redz Piano Bar & Grill Sid's Ices & Stewart Commercials


Meeting Review - Friday 20th July 2018
National Hot-Rods


Glenn Bell bounced back from his World Final disappointment to take victory in the opening round of the Simpson Race Exhausts Word Series NI at Ballymena Raceway on July 20. Bell looked poised to win the 2018 National Hot Rod World Final until a throttle problem forced him out in the closing stages, but the Portadown racer was back on top form at Ballymena, where his final victory earned him the Richard Turtle Memorial Trophy. An excellent entry of seventeen National Hot Rod competitors arrived for the opening act of the 14 round series which determines the drivers who will represent Northern Ireland at the 2019 World Championship. A new sponsor, Simpson Race Exhausts, has come on board for the latest campaign and the drivers marked the occasion with a terrific show. The National Hot Rod final was undoubtedly race of the night, with some superb side by side Hot Rod racing at its best involving Bell, Adam Maxwell and Adam Hylands.

In the other classes veteran racer Wilfie McNiece rolled back the years to win the Stock Rod Irish Masters after a close battle with Steve Gooch and Aaron Moody. Former Irish Champion Andy McLeister marked his return to the Group Two Lighting Rod division with victory in the MM Recovery Challenge Cup and newcomer Warren Thompson enjoyed a perfect debut in the Street Rods with a dominant hat-trick of wins.

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Sponsored by: Simpson Race Exhausts Greer's of Antrim (Volvo), Townparks Car-Sales & MM Recovery



Simpson Race Exhausts to Sponsor National Hot Rods World Series

Simpson Race Exhausts are the new headline sponsors of National Hot Rods World Series NI, which begins this Friday night (July 20th) at Ballymena Raceway. The feature race final winner at each round of the series will receive a cash bonus courtesy of Matt Simpson at Simpson Race Exhausts. Having taken six of the top eight spots on the recent World final grid, the World Series NI drivers are on a high at present and this deal is sure to give the series a huge boost.

BTCC ace Simpson, also a former National Hot Rods European Champion, is very enthusiastic about the sponsorship package. “It’s great to be supporting the National Hot Rods Series in Northern Ireland. My business started in short oval racing and it has played a big part in my life. I will never forget where oval racing has got me, and supporting World Series NI is a small thank you for all the custom I have received over the years, and of course we always welcome any new or existing customers to our business.”

Darren Black from the NHRPA in Northern Ireland was also full of praise for the deal. “We at the NHRPA can’t thank Matt enough for his kind sponsorship of what will now be known as Simpson Race Exhausts World Series NI. The local series is arguably the most competitive of them all, with top quality drivers on show at every round. Our partnership with one of motorsport’s most recognisable companies in Simpson Race Exhausts can only help the series to develop even more.”

An impressive 18 cars are currently booked in for the opening round of Simpson Race Exhausts World Series NI, where Portadown’s Adam Hylands will begin the defence of his Northern Ireland Championship crown.






Photo's thanks to




Billy Wood is the National Hot Rod World Champion for 2018 after an eventful final at Foxhall Raceway over the weekend of July 7&8. For a long time it looked like Portadown’s Glenn Bell was set to claim the title for a second time until a throttle problem cruelly ended his challenge in the closing stages. Hampshire based Wood was followed home by John Christie with defending champion Chris Haird in third and Derek Martin the second Ulsterman on the podium in fourth position.

Saturday morning brought the Hot Laps qualifying session to determine the World Final grid and it was 2012 winner Bell who took pole position with a lap of 14.43 secs. McDonald joined him on the front row after posting a time of 14.47 secs, with Gary Woolsey on the inside of row two (14.48 secs) alongside English Champion Wood. It was a strong qualifying performance by the Northern Ireland representatives, with John Christie, Derek Martin, Adam Hylands and Adam Heatrick all within the first four rows of the grid, and they were joined on the grid by Mark Heatrick (12), Shane Murray (13), Jaimie McCurdy (22) and Keith Martin (29).

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. Aaron Dew took victory in the opening heat before Adam Maxwell took the honours in heat two and the 2016 World Champion went on to secure his place on the World Final grid with another success in the final.

The World Final was first up on Sunday and it was Bell who stepped off pole to lead, but further down the pack some contact triggered an accident into turn one which caught out several cars. The leaders had circulated again before the track was cleared and the recovering Terry Hunn was subsequently hit very hard by the unfortunate Gary Woolsey on the exit of turn two which brought out the red flags. Hunn and Woolsey were unable to continue, as was Hylands who received damaged in the aftermath of the Woolsey / Hunn smash. Bell led away once more at the restart and quickly settled into a groove which eased him away from the main pack. Wood led the chasers, with Christie in toe, while McDonald and Haird scrapped over fourth. Up front Bell continued to control things comfortably until the sixty lap mark when the Bell Building Tigra appeared to slow. Unbeknown to everyone Glenn was now having to battle with a sticking throttle and trying to control the engine with the ignition switch. He battled on bravely for a number of laps until Wood and Christie both nipped ahead and Glenn eventually spun out on turn two which triggered another caution period. Wood led them away at the resumption and now really had the bit between his teeth. As Christie and McDonald battled over second Wood was able to pull away and calmly reeled off the remaining distance to become the 2018 Champion. Christie was a worthy runner-up, with Haird in third, while Martin nipped through into fourth spot during the closing laps. McDonald crossed the line in fifth, with Adam Heatrick a solid sixth and Mark Heatrick in ninth. Murray, McCurdy and Martin joined Woolsey, Hylands and Bell as non-finishers, while Maxwell made it through from the very back of the grid to eleventh position at the chequered flag.


1 305 Billy WOODS (ENG)

2 962 John CHRISTIE (NI)

3 115 Chris HAIRD (ENG)

4 20 Derek MARTIN (NI)

5 17 Rob McDONALD (SCO)

6 342 Adam HEATRICK (NI)


8 209 Kym WEAVER (ENG)

9 960 Mark HEATRICK (NI)

10 23 Aaron DEW (ENG)

The Betfred Trophy race was next up for the Nationals and Maxwell continued his successful weekend with another flag to flag win in this one. The Nick Thomas Memorial Trophy race rounded off proceedings and provided another Ulster win, this time for the patched-up Hylands.

Ballymena Raceway would like to congratulate Billy on his World Final victory and would also like to applaud the strong set of results recorded by the Northern Ireland National Hot Rod racers over the weekend. The 2018/19 World Qualifying Series in Northern Ireland commences at Ballymena Raceway on Friday July 20.




Ballymena Raceway wishes to inform drivers in the Stock Rod, Group Two Lightning Rod, Street Rod and Prolite divisions about a forthcoming change to their grading procedure. Going forward the monthly grading will now be calculated on or immediately after the 20th. day of each month, with the new grades commencing on the first of the following month. For example the next grading will be carried out immediately after the Ballymena Raceway meeting on 20th. July 2018, with the new grades coming into effect on the 1st. August 2018.

This change will harmonize the grading periods across all our formulas and mirrors the procedure already adopted by our colleagues at Nutts Corner Raceway for the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, Saloon Stock Cars and Junior Rods.


Meeting Review - Friday 27th April 2018



Ian Thompson went home with the Stock Rod silverware on April 27 after one of the closest finishes ever witnessed at Ballymena Raceway! A superb feature race for the Stock Rods developed into a thrilling three way dash to the finish line between Thompson, Niall McFerran and Raymond Harper. Thompson, promoter at neighbouring Nutts Corner Raceway, led from the early stages, while Harper and McFerran made steady progress from the rear of the pack. At the start of the final lap Harper and McFerran were fixed onto the leader’s tail and Harper took to the outside line in a bold effort to grab the glory! Thompson defended for all his worth around that last lap and the pair were still side by side as they exited the final turn. At this point McFerran spotted a gap on the inside of Thompson and got a run on both to make it a three way charge to the chequered flag! The trio were literally inches apart as they crossed the finish line as one, but the decision went the way of Thompson, with McFerran and Harper classified in second and third after a breathless finish.

Craig McConnell saved his best for the BriSCA F2 Stock Car final to leave his rivals trailing in the conclusion of the Simpson Race Exhausts Series. Gavin Fegan romped home to an eye catching brace of victories in the heat races, but when it really mattered in the final McConnell rose to the occasion and quickly edged out a small advantage at the start. Bradley McKinstry and Fegan chased hard throughout, but neither could make any impression on the leader due to the consistency of McConnell’s laptimes as the Bangor man stroked it home for an impressive win, which earned him a brand new exhaust system courtesy of series sponsor Simpson Race Exhausts.

In the Junior Rods newcomer Declan Og McFerran marked himself done as one to watch with a polished heat and final double in the opening round of the Wash’N’Dash Gold Roof Series. Ballymena’s Mark Crawford made great strides from the rear of the pack to claim a hard earned second place finish in the final, with heat two winner Matthew Drysdale in third.

Group Two Lightning Rods and Street Rods completed the race programme at the P.A. Nesbitt sponsored fixture. Points Champion George Esler bounced back to form with a hard fought win in the Group Two division and James Taylor recorded his first ever race win in the Street Rod final.


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Sponsored by:

PA Nesbitt Grass & Machinery Sales & Services

Simpson Race Exhausts & Wash n Dash

Double Happiness Chinese


Meeting Review - Friday 13th April 2018

National Hot-Rods 2018 World Series NI Rd 10
#960 Mark Heatrick takes the Silverware


Friday the thirteenth proved to be no nightmare for National Hot Rod star Mark Heatrick as the County Armagh racer recorded his first final win of 2018 in Round 10 of the Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI at Ballymena Raceway on April 13. It was Carl Sloan who rocketed home in both heat races and led the final for a long way too before Heatrick made his move amongst the backmarkers in the closing stages to claim the silverware ahead of Sloan and Jaimie McCurdy. On an evening of sometimes ill-tempered racing from certain parties the steward was kept busy, with Adam Heatrick, Stewart Doak, Simon Kennedy and John Christie amongst those to receive penalties.

In the Stock Rod division Ashley Graham made it four different final winners in as many meetings at Raceway this term with a hard fought victory in their meeting final. Graham was under all sorts of pressure in the closing stages from a train of cars, but expertly kept his cool to earn his first final win of the season and a new Yokohama tyre courtesy of Nicholl Motorsport. Current form man Kurtis Reid enjoyed success in both heat races.

The Group Two Lightning Rods contested the opening Round of their Muppet Motorsport Series and the yellow grade continued to dominate proceedings. Jason Darragh is the earlier frontrunner in the series after a well judged heat and final double at the opening round, while fellow yellow top David Gillespie accounted for the other heat. The Prolites completed the McElmeel Mobility Services sponsored meeting and brought a second final win on the trot for William Donnell.

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Sponsored by: McElmeel Mobility Services

Muppet Motorsport


Meeting Review - Friday 6th April 2018

#958 Shea Duff storms to Stock-Rod Final Victory



Junior Rod Irish Champion Shea Duff recorded his first ever final win in the senior ranks after victory in the Stock Rod final at Ballymena Raceway on April 6. The talented teenager switched into the Stock Rod category for 2018 after reaching the upper age limit for junior racing and expertly steered his Vauxhall Corsa home to a handsome win in the meeting final. Another relative newcomer to Stock Rods, Andrew Morrow, tasted success in the opening heat before Niall McFerran raced through the field for an eye catching win in heat two.


The Raceway was stubbornly damp in patches throughout the meeting after heavy rainfall earlier in the day and provided a tricky test for all the racers. The F2 Stock Car competitors were also adapting to their new control tyre on the outside rear for the first time and it was Bradley McKinstry who shone brightest in the Twos, with a perfect hat-trick of wins in Round Two of the Simpson Race Exhausts Series.


The Prolites made their debut appearance and it was William Donnell from Larne who wrote his name into the history books as their first ever race winner. Donnell went on to enjoy further success in the final, with Thomas Megarry the other race winner.


Group Two Lightning Rods and Junior Rods completed the race programme at the Sam McKay Contracts sponsored fixture. Adam Graham continued his good start to the 2018 season with a heat and final double in the GP2 class, while a dramatic Junior Rod final saw Ty Richardson capture the Next Gen Cup after long time leader Amy Bradford suffered a heart breaking engine failure in the closing stages.


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Sponsored by: Sam McKay Contracts

Simpson Race Exhausts

Meeting Review - Friday 30th March 2018
Stock-Rods - #17 Stephen McCready wins Yokohama Title


Stock Rod World Champion Stephen McCready demonstrated that he is still the man to beat at Ballymena Raceway in 2018 with victory in the Yokohama Championship on Good Friday. McCready was pushed all the way by Raymond Harper as the pair fought out a race long tussle for the crown, but the World Champion kept his rival at bay throughout to record his first win in the coveted Yokohama event. Harper was a valiant runner-up with Niall McFerran in third.


The National Hot Rods resumed their World Qualifying trail on Good Friday with Round 8 of the Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI. Former British Champion Stewart Doak took full advantage of his advantageous starting position in the yellow grade to rattle off impressive victories in both heat races, but had to settle for second in the final as Glenn Bell rocketed through from the third row of the grid to claim an eye catching win.


Group Two Lightning Rods and Street Rods completed the race programme on Good Friday. A fraught Group Two final initially went the way of Joshua McMullan, but regrettably his car failed the post race checks and was subsequently removed from all results for the evening. After further penalties were applied Richard Purdy was promoted to first position, with Irish Champion David Reynolds in second and Jason Darragh in third. No such dramas in the Street Rods where Philip Porter departed Raceway with the silverware for the second week in a row.

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Sponsored by: Blok51, Bigger Digger Hire

& Polleysport

Meeting Review - Friday 23rd March 2018

Stock-Rods - Reid finds the Speed at Season Opener


The new season at Ballymena Raceway slipped into gear on March 23 where the dry but chilly conditions proved conducive to some quick racing. Before the track action commenced a minutes silence was impeccably observed within the stadium in memory of two friends of Raceway who passed away recently, Michael Thompson, former owner of Deano’s track catering unit, and Alan Connolly, a three times Stock Rod World Champion.


When the green flag dropped it was the Stock Rod division which once again caught the eye, as their keenly contested events produced three different winners. Following heat victories for Ashley Graham and Shea Duff it was Kurtis Reid who scampered home in the feature race for a welcome boast ahead of next week’s Yokohama Championship.


Disappointingly a few late call-offs meant that Craig McConnell and Sam McKay were the only F2 Stock Cars present and the pair duly helped themselves to a very handy haul of points, with McConnell the victor in all three races at Round 1 of the Simpson Race Exhausts Series.


The yellow grade proved dominant in the Group Two Lightning Rod section. David Gillespie kicked off the new campaign with a victory in the opening heat, before newcomer Joshua McMullan impressed with a heat and final double in their other two races. Philip Porter went one better and recorded a perfect hat-trick of wins in the Street Rod section, while the Junior Rods produced some of the closest racing of the night. Ty Richardson steered his new Vauxhall Corsa to victory in heat one before Mark Brogan took the honours in heat two. Brogan repeated the trick again in the final to claim the Top Teen Trophy, and was joined on the rostrum by Matthew Drysdale and Mark Crawford.


The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, was a welcome visitor to Raceway on Friday evening! Councillor Reid had previously attended Raceway last season for the Stock Rod World Championships and Raceway officials and fans were delighted to see him back on Friday evening to present trophies at the council backed event.

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Sponsored by: Mid & East Antrim Borough Council & Simpson Race Exhausts



The promoters and officials at Ballymena Raceway are deeply saddened to hear of the recent passing of 3 times Stock Rod World Champion Alan Connolly.

A proud son of Ballymoney, Alan’s initial interest in oval racing was kindled at his local Aghadowey Stadium, which Tommy Shaw and Billy Hodges had opened for Stock Car racing in the early seventies. Like many before and since young Alan’s initial entry into oval racing was through the Banger class and his first racing licence was duly taken out in 1981. 

In 1985 the Aghadowey promoters took the decision to introduce Stock Rods into Northern Ireland and the fledgling class quickly proved to be a big success. Alan, along with fellow Ballymoney based racers William and Mervyn Doey, signed up for the new formula and were licensed numbers 77, 78 and 79. The three cars were all painted in similar colours and raced regularly at both Aghadowey and Ballymena Raceway, which Tommy Shaw had taken control of during August 1985. Alan did not forget his Banger roots totally however, as he proved a very adept competitor in the annual Destruction Derbies at Aghadowey, and was nearly always amongst the last cars running!

It was no overnight success story for Alan in the Stock Rods, but with determination and effort the wins started to come, and by the start of the nineties Alan had established himself as a red grade driver. The purchase of then World Champion Roy McKane’s Toyota Starlet in early 1993 proved a real step forward for the team, and was underlined when Alan recorded a podium finish in that year’s World Final at Cowdenbeath. A first major title, the Irish, was claimed at Aghadowey Stadium in 1994 during a period of some fantastic battles with big rivals Frankie Lynn and Gregory McMillan. 1997 brought another breakthrough when the National Championship was secured at Hednesford, Alan’s first international success on the UK mainland. By the end of the nineties Alan had added two more Irish titles, plus a Yokohama Championship, to his list of achievements and was now considered a top contender for any Stock Rod crown.

The new millennium ushered in a year never to be forgotten by Alan and his team. The 2000 season began with another Yokohama crown at Easter and then the biggest title of them all, a first World Championship, was captured at Foxhall Raceway in Ipswich. Before the season’s end the European title, on home soil at Aghadowey Stadium, plus the British title at Cowdenbeath in Scotland had been added to complete a magnificent campaign.

By 2001 Stock Rod racing in Northern Ireland was centred at Ballymena Raceway and it proved to be something of a golden age for the class and indeed Alan himself. The World title remained in the province for five years in a row, with Alan’s further wins in 2002 (Northampton) and 2003 (Cowdenbeath) sandwiched between victories for Alastair Calvin (2001) and Glenn Bell (2004). The class produced some great racing during this period, with the likes of Connolly, Calvin, McFall, Best, Bolton, McAfee, McNiece and Bell going at it hammer and tongs. The records show that Alan was still the man to beat around Ballymena however. In 2002 he completed a clean sweep of all the Stock Rod titles on offer at The Showground’s oval, winning the Yokohama, Irish Open and Irish Closed titles, then successfully defended his Irish Open crown in 2003 and added a fifth Yokohama Championship in 2004!

With nothing left to prove in the Stock Rod division Alan now looked for a different challenge. A brief flirtation with Two-Litre Hot Rods preceded a move into National Hot Rods in 2006 at the wheel of the ex-Neal Smith Peugeot 206. Alan had actually raced a few National meetings back in the late nineties, but this was a much more serious effort to crack the elite Rod division. Three final wins in the first six rounds of the 2006/07 World Series suggested that Alan was getting to grips with the task in hand, but unfortunately health problems forced Alan to hang up his helmet in 2007 before we got to see the best of him in a National Hot Rod.

Alan will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the very best oval racers this province has ever produced, a tough, but fair, racer who was well respected by his peers and a hero for many on the terraces.

Aubrey, Tommy and the team at Ballymena Raceway, together with Alan’s former promoter at Aghadowey Stadium, Billy Hodges, extend our condolences to Alan’s family and friends at this sad time.


 Friday 14th September 2018
start time 7.15pm

National Hot-Rods
2019 Simpson Race Exhausts World Series NI Rd 5

BriSCA F2 Stock-Cars 2018 Stadium Championship

Gp2 Lightning-Rods
2018 Irish Championship

2018 Challenge Cup

Street-Rods 2018 Irish Masters Trophy

sponsored by
Simpson Race Exhausts
Cirrus Plastics
BRM Services
Nicholl Motorsport

 Friday 28th September 2018
start time 7.15pm

2018 Irish Championship

BriSCA F2 Stock-Cars
2018 Norman Cromie Memorial Trophy

Gp2 Lightning-Rods
2018 World Cup

2018 Stadium Championship

2018 Gold Cup

sponsored by

Valley Roofing
Ringside Café
FG Race Fabrications
 John Marshall Tractor & Agricultural Sales & Services
Bobby Johnston
Garage Services

Friday 5th October 2018
start time 7.15pm

National Hot-Rods
2019 Simpson Race Exhausts World Series NI Rd 6

2018 Teng Tools Series Final

2018 Irish Championship

Gp2 Lightning-Rods
2018 Golden Helmet Trophy

sponsored by

Teng Tools
Simpson Race Exhausts
Ross Hyndman Motors
Carl Bordley Motorsport
Nicholl Motorsport
Richard Purdy
Auto Spraying



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