Untitled Document


MEETING REVIEW

Friday 25th & Saturday 26th August 2017

Stock Rods

The thirty-nine cars present were split into three groups for the qualifying races on Friday evening. Defending Champion Luke Oliver headed the entry, with Scotland’s Jim Pitcaithly and James Gray expected to figure prominently as well. Spare a thought though for Autospeed driver Simon Vincent who left his base down in the south of Cornwall to travel over for the event, a road trip of over 600 miles! Unfortunately for Simon his towing van broke down just over the halfway point near Preston and despite frantic efforts no replacement could be sourced which meant the team had to reluctantly head back home again.

 

A damp and slippery track greeted the drivers for heat one where Groups A and B were in action. Levi Robinson and Graham Moore were early casualties in this one as Jason Clyde took full advantage of a front row starting slot to dart into the lead. Moore was in the wars again later when a tangle with Niall McFerran sent the #25 car hard into the wall at turn 3. Out front Clyde kept it all nicely under control for a tidy win, while Stephen McCready made good ground around the outside to claim second from grid twelve, with Pitcaithly in third.

 

The rain had arrived in style for heat two which featured Groups C and A. Steve Gooch took up the early running from pole sitter Trevor Calvin, with Josh Murray a spinner in this one. Gooch mastered the tricky conditions to run out as commanding winner, with Micky McFall in second.

 

Groups B and C were on track for the final heat. The rain had relented by this stage, but the track was still damp for what proved to be a fraught encounter as the drivers battled for those precious points to make the grid. McFall had gained a fourth and second from his two heats which meant McCready needed third or better in this one to tie down pole. Clyde was well in the hunt too after his first heat victory, and fourth or better would put him on the front row. Mark Turtle led until lap 7 when Johnny McCloy squeezed through in his Nova. McCready motored through a couple of laps later to begin the chase after the leader and eventually eased his way to the front on lap 12. There was drama in the main pack near the end as Raymond Harper got spat into the wall at the entry to turn 3, but there were no problems for McCready who eased home for a good win that confirmed him on pole for the big race. McCloy was an excellent second, but star of the show was undoubtedly Steven McKane. The former British Champion missed his first race due to a clutch problem, and started this one dead last on grid 25. A stellar drive propelled McKane to third in the final result, with the top six rounded out by Gray, Adam Sloan, who was docked two places for contact, and Clyde.

 

Saturday’s conditions were much better for the drivers, and the dry track certainly meant the new champion would have to be a master of all situations over the weekend. A last chance race was scheduled to begin with from which the top six finishers would join the back of the World Final grid. However with only seven of the eleven cars available to run it was agreed that all seven would proceed directly into the World Final, rather than one driver missing out. That gave a grid of 35 cars for the blok 51 sponsored final, where McCready and McFall shared the front row. Clyde sat on row two along with the first of the visitors Gray. Gooch and Sloan were next up, with the top ten positions filled by McCloy, Calvin, Alastair Bolton and Ian Thompson.

 

McCready executed a perfect getaway to lead at the green flag as McFall dropped into second. The pair soon eased out a slight advantage over Gooch and Gray while Clyde dropped to fifth in the early skirmishes. The race continued at blistering pace with McCready a few cars lengths up on McFall, while lap 13 proved unlucky for Gooch as he pulled up into retirement. A tangle at turn four left Thompson’s car in a dangerous position and a race suspension was called to move his stricken car to safety. At the resumption McFall made a concerted effort to take the lead, but McCready defended his position resolutely and gradually began to tease out a gap. There was no stopping the Antrim man now and McCready clinically completed the 40 lap distance to triumphantly claim the World title after a masterly performance. McFall was a valiant runner-up, with Falkirk racer Gray in third. Harper made great progress from grid position 15 to finish in fourth position, with the top ten rounded out by Clyde, Scottish duo Calvin and Leon Stewart, McFerran, Wilfie McNiece and Bolton.

The International Trophy race rounded out proceedings for the Stock Rods and developed into a keen duel between McKane and Aaron Moody. There was little to separate them, but Moody edged ahead in the closing laps to claim a fine win in his Peugeot, with McKane and McFerran next across the line.

 

Group Two Lightning Rods

First up for the Group Two racers was their World Cup Trophy on Friday evening. Roof colour starts were the order of the day for this one and it was the yellow grade which proved dominant. Keith Lyttle scuttled home to a clear win in the opening heat and Brian Edgar took the honours in heat two. Those results determined the starting positions within each grade for the final and it was Darryl Reid who burst through to take it up in the early stages.  William Donnell gave spirited chase, but Reid would not be caught and held on handsomely for a surprise win, with Donnell in second and Clive Wilson the best of the star grade in third.

 

On Saturday evening two reverse grid qualifiers were used to determine the grid for the Irish Open Championship. Kenny Carson rolled his Vauxhall Astra at the start / finish line in heat one after a heavy impact with the fence and the restart didn’t go much further before Donnell and Denver Logan tangled on the exit of turn two which brought out another caution. Johny Gillespie kept his cool amongst the mayhem to lead homer Ricky Purdy and David Reynolds. Graham Young and Rodney Stewart enjoyed brief spells out front in heat two before Wilson powered through to take a fine win ahead of Paul Nesbitt and Stewart. When the points were tallied it was Nesbitt on pole for the final, with Reynolds for company on the front row. Nesbitt made a swift getaway to open out a slight advantage over his pursuers which were led by Wilson. The front pair were very evenly matched and Wilson could never quite claw back that initial gap to the leader despite his best efforts. Nesbitt kept it neat and tidy all the way to the flag for an excellent win, with Wilson and Purdy the podium finishers.

 

National Hot Rods

Nineteen cars arrived for Round 4 of the Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI on Saturday evening where the regular runners were joined on track by Victor McAfee. The local favourite was back on his home track for a one-off outing in a borrowed car and performed creditably in the unfamiliar machinery. Simon McGonigle led them all away in heat one, where Shane Murray was an early casualty after a touch in turn one. Mark Heatrick was on a charge from the blue grade and motored through on lap 5. Fellow blue grader John Christie followed Heatrick home in this one, with Derek Martin in third. McGonigle led until half distance in heat two before Christie managed to chase him down, with Heatrick prominent again in second and Davy McKay in third after a good showing. The heat winners shared the front row for the final, with McKay and Gary Woolsey on row two. Heatrick made a clean getaway while Christie managed to drop into second ahead of Woolsey and a fast starting Adam Hylands, but a subsequent touch with Derek Martin cost British Champion Hylands a lot of time and earned Martin a two place penalty from the steward. As the race entered the closing stages there was little to separate the front pair, with Woolsey also well in the mix at this stage. Suddenly Heatrick’s Tigra coughed and spluttered which was all the invitation Christie needed to nip ahead and secure his second win of the night plus the Anderson Racing Engines Trophy. Woolsey looked much more like his old self after a strong run to second, while Jaimie McCurdy and Murray benefited from Martin’s penalty to be classified in third and fourth.

 

Street Rods

Gareth Robinson unveiled his pristine Peugeot 206 on Saturday evening and christened the car with a maiden win in the opening heat. Tyler Broggy secured a flag to flag win in heat two and Robinson nipped ahead of Shannon Morrow on the final lap to grab second. The heat winners occupied the front row for the final where Robinson got the drop at the green flag. Broggy kept the leader in his sights throughout and closed onto the back bumper for the final lap, but Robinson kept it all under control to take his second win of the night. Broggy was a close second, with Morrow, Norman Mitchell, Louise Donnell and Richard Nicholl the remaining finishers.

 

Junior Rods

A splendid turnout of seventeen Juniors contested their National Championship on Friday evening. The heat races were run in graded order starts and it was Andrew Woods who led them all away in heat one until a fast moving Mark Brogan took over out front. Brogan made no mistake from there in his Citroen Saxo to lead home Josh Gooch and Jaimie Hunter. Brogan led heat two as well until lap four when Cole McFall muscled his way to the head of proceedings. Joshua McKinstry worked his way onto the leader’s tail and the pair eventually fought it out side by side in a grandstand finish. McKinstry got his nose ahead by a whisker at the line after one of the best races of the night, with McFall a very close second and Samuel Wilson in third. Those heat results determined the grid for the final and placed McKinstry and Brogan on the front row. McKinstry stepped off into the lead straight away and would never be headed after a strong drive which netted him the National Championship. Wilson chased hard, but had to settle for second, with Brogan well to the fore again in third. Stuart Percy, Matthew Milliken and Shea Duff rounded out the top six after another great showing from the youngsters.

 

F2 Stock Cars

A disappointing field of F2s saw George Campbell continue his excellent recent form with a clear win in the opening heat. Campbell made a good fist of leading the second heat as well, but was eventually chased down by Sam McKay on the last lap, where McKay went in with the bumper to dislodge the leader on the final bend. As the pair scrabbled for traction on the exit of the turn an unfortunate touch between them sent Campbell spearing into the wall and up and over onto his roof, while McKay came to rest about six foot short of the finish line! Through it all appeared Graham Fegan from nowhere to steal the win, with Christopher Kincaid in second. That accident in heat two reduced the field even further for the final where Fegan breezed home for a straightforward win which earned him the Supreme Trophy, with Antony Kincaid the only other finisher.

 

Photo's thanks to DPP

Many Thanks to Speedweekend Sponsors

Blok51, Wm Moody & Son Car-Sales, Ballymena Barber Company, Trophiesni

Muppet Motorsport, Crawftune Race Engines & Simpson Race Exhausts

click for Official Results (25.08.17 & 26.08.17)

 

 

 

 

The information provided on this website is © Ballymena Raceway 2017, unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission.