The slippery track conditions at Ballymena Raceway on Friday evening provided a real challenge for the competing drivers.
Top of the bill was Round 10 of the PC Paints & Components World Series NI for the National Hot Rods where newly crowned European Champion Adam Hylands and Scottish Open Champion Glenn Bell were given a warm reception by the race fans following their successful exploits in Scotland the previous weekend.
The National Hot Rods provided enough drama on their own to fill an entire meeting, with incidents and talking points a plenty in all three races. One man that avoided most of the drama however was Tommy Maxwell from Antrim, who recorded a heat and final double victory which earned him the Driver of the Day accolade.
The Stock Rods contested the opening round of their Hill Contracts Supreme Series and the 1400cc class is certainly starting to recapture some of its former buzz as the drivers served up some harum-scarum stuff throughout.
Matthew McKinstry produced the most spectacular moment of the evening when the seventeen year old from Nutts Corner flipped his Vauxhall Nova into an enormous multiple rollover. Thanks to the stringent safety rules of oval racing the plucky teenager thankfully emerged unscathed, which is more than could be said for his sorry looking car!
It was another teenager, Adam Sloan from Kells, who romped to his maiden successes in the heat races before Broughshane’s Sammy Graham opened his account for the season in the final.
The Junior Rods made their first appearance of the season at Ballymena Raceway to contest the opening round of the RPM Car & Commercial Sales Gold Roof Series. Joshua McKinstry and Shea Duff split the heat wins before Crumlin based Duff motored home to another well judged win in the final ahead of Antrim’s Antony Kincaid and Jack Kennedy from Lisburn.
Group Two Lighting Rods completed the classes on display and produced a different winner from each of their three races.
NATIONAL HOT RODS
Seventeen cars participated in the opening heat where Tommy Maxwell produced a tidy drive to claim a flag to flag victory in his Vauxhall Tigra.
A caution interrupted second race brought a popular win for Keith Martin, who was involved in a massive crash at Raceway on Good Friday, but had worked tirelessly to repair his severely damaged car and that hard work was repaid with a well judged victory.
The final was a cracking race, with tight battles throughout the field. Heat one winner Maxwell, Gary Woolsey, Andrew Murray, Jaimie McCurdy, Derek Martin and Glenn Bell were all involved in a fierce scrap at the front and it was Maxwell who held his nerve to rake up his second win of the evening and claim the Driver of the Day award.
Murray set the fastest lap time of the evening and collected the £50 Hot Lap bonus from Charlie Hamilton of Ross Park Motors in Kells.
World Qualifying Round 10: 1st. Tommy Maxwell, 2nd. Derek Martin, 3rd. Jaimie McCurdy, 4th. Glenn Bell, 5th. Adam Maxwell, 6th. Stewart Doak
Eleven competitors contested the opening round of the Hill Contracts Supreme Series where eighteen year old Adam Sloan from Kells rocketed home to his first ever win at Raceway in the opening heat. Sammy Graham led the early stages of heat two before Sloan nipped through in his Vauxhall Corsa to snatch his second win of the night.
Sloan’s hat-trick hopes were dashed in the final however after an early tangle with Wilfie McNiece. The race was brought to a premature end following a massive rollover for Matthew McKinstry, with Graham declared the winner.
Hill Contracts Supreme Series Rd 1: 1st. Sammy Graham, 2nd. Richard Taylor, 3rd. Gareth Bevan, 4th. Wilfie McNiece, 5th Matthew McKinstry, 6th. Fergus Bevan
GROUP TWO LIGHTNING RODS
White top Brian Edgar revelled in the damp conditions to sail home for a polished flag to flag win in the sixteen car opener before Cullybackey’s Darryl Reid clinched his first win of the 2015 season in heat two.
Following a brace of runner-up finishes in the heat races, Ballymoney’s Andy McLeister was never headed all the way to the chequered flag in the final.
GP2 Final: 1st. Andy McLeister, 2nd. Jason Clyde, 3rd. Nigel Doherty, 4th. Daniel Norris, 5th. Stewart Nicholl, 6th. Kenny Carson
The young chargers made their first appearance of the season as Joshua McKinstry and Shea Duff shared the heat wins. Local lad Cole McFall led the early laps of the final before Duff breezed through in his Nova to take his second win in the opening round of the RPM Car & Commercial Sales Gold Roof Series.