Saloon Stock-Cars 2013 UK Masters Championship
The Champ cleans up!
Twenty-nine Saloon Stock Cars arrived for the UK Masters, where the 10 locals were joined by 12 Scots and 7 Englishmen. Amongst the Northern Ireland ranks there was a debut appearance for James Serplus, while English visitors Eddie Darby, Tristan Claydon, Jacob Downey, Ian Elms, George Boult Jnr. and Shane Davies were all making their track debut along with Scotland’s Ross Watters. The qualifying heats were run in graded order with the starting positions reversed within each grade for the second heat and it was Jason Smyth who quickly settled into the lead of heat one. Birthday boy Claydon moved into the lead on lap five, but was quickly demoted by Webster as the action continued at a pace all around the track. It wasn’t long until the yellows were out however when Matty Stirling charged the wall at Fisherwick bend. When the action resumed it was Webster who motored clear again, but Darby, Ryan Wright and Stuart Shevill were making great strides through the field and it was Darby who squeezed ahead 3 laps from home to take the honours ahead of Webster, Wright and Shevill.
It was Wright’s 2012 Irish Championship winning car, in the hands of Downey that went straight into the lead of heat two. Downey looked comfortable out front too, and led this one until 4 laps from home when Webster made his move to the front. This time the Sheffield star would not be caught and coolly completed the remaining laps to claim a well judged win, with Claydon in second, while Wright showed well again in third. Ross Houston felt the full force of Shevill’s bumper on the final bend in this one; Houston’s car almost appearing to levitate across the top of the wall before coming back to terra firma and crossing the finish line after an amazing balancing act!
The points from the heats were tallied together to calculate the grid positions for the closed grid UK Masters Championship and it was Webster on pole with fellow heat winner Darby alongside on the front row. Wright’s super heat efforts earned him a spot on row two alongside Claydon, with Shevill and Boult on row three. Twenty-seven runners survived for this one where the excitement amongst the healthy crowd in the stadium went up another notch as the cars embarked on a slow rolling lap. At the green flag it was Darby who charged into the lead, with Shevill following through in his wheel tracks, but Webster and Wright both lost ground and found themselves shuffled back into the main pack. A wild ride up the wall on the exit of Suffolk bend cost Wright even more time as Darby, Shevill and Ian McLaughlin settled down into the first three places. Darby looked to have the edge on the rest and even a caution period could not disrupt the leader’s stride. When Shevill’s and McLaughlin’s challenge faded it was Stuart Drobinski who moved through into second with Alistair Strachan putting in a sterling drive to force his way into third from a lowly starting position. Neither could catch the flying Darby however as the World Champion added the UK Masters title to his list of achievements after a faultless display. Drobinski and Strachan both performed admirably to finish in second and third, with Boult a fine fourth on his track debut. The honour of top local finisher went to Anthony McIvor in fifth, with the top ten completed by Graeme Shevill, Shane Davies, Tommy McCrory Jnr, Kieran McIvor and Aaryn Triggs.
Stock-Rods 2013 Irish Grand Prix
McNiece's grand finale
Chris and Jonathan Lattka from Scotland, plus Republic of Ireland visitors Alan McCormack and Colm O’Sullivan gave an international flavour to the Irish Grand Prix event. Two reverse grid qualifying heats determined the grid for the GP race and the first of these qualifiers turned into a Scottish benefit, with Jonathan Lattka leading home Chris Lattka, and World Champion Chris Gordon the first local home in third. Micky McFall and defending champion McCormack hotly disputed the lead in heat two and when the two cars touched exiting Fisherwick bend it left the way clear for Chris Lattka to breeze past the pair of them into the lead. Gunner made no mistake from there and was followed home by Stevie McNiece and Carl Sloan. A first and a second were plenty good enough to earn Gunner pole position for the final, with McNiece alongside on the front row. The start was always going to be crucial and it was McNiece who bravely toughed it out around the outside to seize the advantage on the opening lap. Once out front the Irish Champion put his foot down to establish an advantage and gradually eased away from the field to secure yet another title in what is becoming a very productive 2013 campaign. Gunner dropped back into the clutches of the pursuing pack and eventually lost out to Jonathan for second and just managed to withstand a strong challenge for third from O’Sullivan at the line.
Gp2 Lightning-Rods 2013 Masters Series Rd 1
The full Monty
GP2 drivers were contesting the opening round of their Masters Series and it Samuel Montgomery who opened proceedings with a well judged win in the opening heat ahead of Kenny Greer and Stewart Nicholl. Returnee Mark Goldie set the pace in heat two and looked like he might be able to hold on in this one, but Greer had other ideas ad edged ahead two laps from home for a fine win, with Montgomery in second and Lyle Murray third. The final was one of the best races of the night and it was Goldie out front in the early stages once more, before Montgomery eased himself into the front running spot. Any thoughts of an easy win for Montgomery were quickly dispelled by the sight of Jason Clyde looming larger in the leader’s mirrors. Clyde was on a real charge in this one and eased up onto the leader’s back bumper as the lap boards appear. With two to run Clyde made his move around the wide outside and looked like he had the move made at one point, but Montgomery held on determinedly. The pair were still locked side by side around the final tour with a backmarker added into the mix on the final bend too! Montgomery defiantly held on to make it six different final winners from the six GP2 fixtures this year, with Clyde forced to settle for second after a really brave effort around the outside. A Grand National race rounded out the night for the GP2 class and it was Goldie who led this one from start to finish.
Speed Stocks 2013 Fast n Furious Trophy
Goldie's double delight
James Goldie took full advantage of Billy Finnegan’s absence to reel off a heat and final double in the Speed Stocks. Samuel Purdy became the latest debutant to appear in the class, but it was Goldie who set the pace all evening, leading home Lee Booth and Purdy in the heat race, with Curtis Greer and Booth the place men in the final.
Driver of the Day - SSC #1 Eddie Darby
He came, he saw and he went home with the trophy. Darby’s performance was a treat for local oval racing fans as the Englishman displayed the pace and technique that have made him World Champion for the last two seasons. Stayed out of trouble when the bumpers were flying and kept the rest at arm’s length throughout the feature race to ensure that his first trip to Raceway was a very successful one.
Photo's thanks to DPP