Gillespie seems man to beat at Raceway

Jaimie McCurdy from Broughshane finished third in the National Championship last weekend (Gilmore Race Photography)
Jaimie McCurdy from Broughshane finished third in the National Championship last weekend (Gilmore Race Photography)

Newly crowned National Champion Gary Woolsey aims to extend his winning streak when Ballymena Raceway hosts the opening Round of the World Qualifying Series for Northern Ireland on Friday evening (August 7).

National Hot Rod ace Woolsey lifted the prestigious National Championship at the Hednesford Raceway in Staffordshire last weekend, with fellow Portadown racer Stewart Doak the runner-up and Broughshane teenager Jaimie McCurdy a splendid third on his debut appearance at the track.

It was a dominant show of strength from the province’s drivers, with Crumlin’s John Christie and Carl Sloan from Kells also finishing in the top six.

A fine turnout of National Hot Rods is anticipated at Raceway on Friday evening as the drivers begin their campaign to claim one of the nine slots available on the 2016 World Final grid.

Also on the race programme at the Broughshane Car Dismantlers sponsored fixture are the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, Group Two Lighting Rods, Euro Stocks and Junior Rods.

The F2 Stock Car men compete for the coveted Norman Cromie Memorial Trophy, which is currently held by Antrim ace Ryan McCrory.

The trophy has been presented annually by the Cromie family since 1984 to remember Norman Cromie from Rathfriland, who competed in the 1300 G.T. Stock Car class at Raceway during the early eighties, and has been won by many of the sport’s top stars down through the years including Willie McGaffin, Jack Adams, Ian McKnight, Mike Johnston, Ian Thompson and Graham Fegan.

Ballymena racer Johny Gillespie is the man to beat in the Group Two division at present, with Broughshane’s Jason Clyde, Garvagh’s Nigel Doherty and Ballymena veteran Kenny Carson also expected to be in the thick of the action.

In the Junior Rod ranks Antony Kincaid and Jack Patchett have enjoyed some great battles throughout 2015, with Shea Duff, Samuel Wilson, Joshua McKinstry and Cole McFall also performing well in recent outings.

The Euro Stock frontrunner is Trevor McFaul.

The Garvagh man left Raceway unbeaten last time out after a faultless hat-trick of wins in his potent Honda and will be aiming for a repeat performance on Friday evening.

The green flag drops to get racing underway in the Ballymena Showgrounds at 7:15pm.