Bumper weekend of Raceway action at Ballymena and Nutts Corner

National Hot Rods contest Round 13 of the World Qualifying Series at Ballymena Raceway on Friday evening.
National Hot Rods contest Round 13 of the World Qualifying Series at Ballymena Raceway on Friday evening.

The Saloon Stock Cars take centre stage at Nutts Corner Raceway this weekend with a full programme of championship events.

The Moira Road circuit hosts the 1ke Engineering sponsored Irish Masters on Saturday evening before the destiny of the Irish Open Championship and John Griffiths Memorial Cup are decided on Sunday afternoon.

Scottish Champion Luke Grief tops the entry list and the Stenhousemuir based ace will start as one of the hot favourites for honours. The Scottish challenge is as strong as ever, with Graeme Shevill from Motherwell, the hard charging Ross Watters from Leven in Fife, Falkirk based Alan Ainslie and Glen Heeps from West Lothian all booked in to compete. English interest will be provided by Jacob Downey from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, Basildon’s Ian Elms and Shane Davies form Gravesend in Kent.

The local entry will be spearheaded by the McIvor brothers, Anthony, the current Irish Champion, while older brother Kieran has been in great form at Nutts Corner this term with three final wins to his credit. Both are relishing the prospect of a big grid of cars this weekend and the chance to mix it with the UK mainland stars. Seasoned campaigner Stuart McCammon is another local hope, along with Robert Mawhinney and Ryan Patton.

There’s a full programme of support races over the two days, with the ever popular F2 Stock Cars, Stock Rods, 1300 Stock Cars, Group Twos, Super Saloons, Junior Rods and Micro F2s all on display. Saturday’s meeting, which is promoted by Ballymena Raceway, features the Stock Rods racing in Round 5 of their Grand Prix Series, with visiting drivers from the UK mainland expected on the grid for this one as well.

Saturday’s programme is completed by races for the F2 Stock Cars, Group Twos and Junior Rods, while Sunday’s support racing includes the F2s and Juniors once more, plus 1300 Stock Cars, Super Saloons and the increasingly popular Micro F2s for 7 to 11 year olds.

The Formula Two Stock Cars have been on cracking form all season as they build towards their British Championship at Nutts Corner over the weekend of June 11 and 12. Christopher Kincaid and Gavin Fegan have been the men to beat in recent weeks, but the likes of Craig McConnell, Sean McFerran, Conor Hughes, Bradley McKinstry and Ryan McCrory will provide stiff opposition. In the Stock Rod division Jack Kennedy has won every final to date in 2016 at Nutts Corner and the impressive teenager will no doubt be searching for more silverware this weekend. Points leader Jason Clyde is another in fine form, while Aaron Moody, Niall McFerran and Matthew McKinstry cannot be discounted either.

Antony Kincaid is the one to beat in the Junior Rods at present, while Irish Champion Andy McLeister from Ballymoney is expected to figure prominently in the GP2 category, while Ashley Graham will look to extend his winning ways in the Super Saloon division. The 1300 Stock Cars will attempt to upstage their big brothers on Sunday, with the likes of Curtis Greer, Jon McQuillan, Bradley Woods, Ivan Elliott and Irish Champion Ryan Stewart all likely candidates for honours.

The action at Nutts Corner Raceway gets underway at 6:30pm on Saturday evening and 2:00pm on Sunday afternoon.

NATIONAL HOT RODS

Meanwhile the National Hot Rods continue their World Qualifying campaign at Ballymena Raceway on Friday evening (May 20) when the Showgrounds oval hosts the penultimate round of the PC Paints and Components World Series. Also on the programme at the Cirrus Plastics sponsored fixture are races for the ORCi Stock Rods, plus Group Two Lightning Rods and Super Saloons. The Stock Rods contest Round 4 of their National Grand Prix Series. The first race gets underway at 7:15pm.