Bell rings up yet more success at Raceway meeting
It was another evening of fast stadium motorsport at Ballymena Raceway on Friday, where National Hot Rod British Champion Glenn Bell got his World Qualifying campaign back on track with a heat and final double.
Bell languished down in tenth position in the points chart at the start of Friday’s qualifying round, but left the Raceway with a stack of points following a strong showing in his Vauxhall Tigra.
The Group Two Lightning Rods contested their Grand National Championship where Johnny Gillespie’s evening went from despair to delight! The local racer ended the first race in the wall after a tangle, but bounced back when it mattered most to earn a hard fought victory in the final.
In the other classes at the Edwin May Ballymena sponsored fixture Stephen Doherty was crowned Euro Stock Irish Champion and Niall McFerran clinched the silverware in an all action Junior Rod final.
NATIONAL HOT RODS
Fourteen competitors contested round 4 of the World Qualifying Series and it was British Champion Glenn Bell who powered his way to the front in heat one.
Bell looked well placed to add another victory in heat two after chasing down long time leader Simon Kennedy in the closing stages. World Champion John Christie had other ideas however as the gold top nipped ahead on the very last bend to steal a popular win by the narrowest of margins.
Stewart set the pace in the 25 lap Anderson Racing Engines supported final, but Bell eventually closed in and motored through for his second win which confirmed him as top points scorer for the evening.
Heat One: 1. Glenn Bell (Portadown), 2. Adam Maxwell (Crumlin), 3. Andrew Stewart (Portadown). Heat Two: 1st. John Christie (Ballinderry), 2nd. Bell, 3rd. Simon Kennedy (Dungannon). Final: 1st. Bell, 2nd. Maxwell, 3rd. Stewart
GP2 LIGHTNING RODS
Daniel Norris continued his excellent late season form with another polished drive to victory in the opening heat.
Stewart Nicholl steered his Vauxhall Astra to victory in heat two ahead of Matthew Curran and it was impressive newcomer Curran who set the pace in the Grand National Championship race.
A four car battle developed for the lead between Curran, Nicholl and the Gillespie cousins, David and Johnny, before Curran dropped out and Johnny Gillespie surged to the front. A real family tussle ensued over the final three laps but Johnny Gillespie coolly kept everything under control to capture the Grand National Championship in his Vauxhall Astra.
Heat One: 1st. Daniel Norris (Ballymena), 2nd. Freddie Fleck (Broughshane), 3rd. David Gillespie (Ballymena). Heat Two: 1st. Stewart Nicholl (Kilrea), 2nd. Matthew Curran (Broughshane), 3rd. Curtis Greer (Cullybackey). Grand National Championship: 1st. Johnny Gillespie (Galgorm), 2nd. D. Gillespie, 3rd. Nicholl
William McFaul Jnr. left the rest trailing on his way to a comprehensive brace of victories in the heat races.
The grid for the Irish Championship final was formed on the basis of points scored throughout the season and pitted Lester McCloy and Stephen Doherty together on the front row. The pair quickly settled down into the front running positions at the green flag and were soon joined by McFaul.
The trio engaged in a heated battled from which McFaul emerged in front, but his overtaking manoeuvres had caught the eye of the steward and the Garvagh driver was penalised two positions in the final results. Doherty was therefore confirmed as 2013 Irish Champion.
Heat One: 1st. William McFaul Jnr (Garvagh), 2nd. Stephen Doherty (Garvagh), 3rd. Lester McCloy (Coleraine). Heat Two: 1st. McFaul, 2nd. Philip Doherty (Garvagh), 3rd. S. Doherty. 2013 Irish Championship: 1st. S. Doherty, 2nd. McCloy, 3rd. McFaul
Once again the youngsters produced some dramatic action as Peter Stewart just held off a hard charging Aaron Moody to register victory in heat one. Stewart set the pace in heat two as well, before Jaimie McCurdy breezed through in impressive fashion to secure a good win in his Vauxhall Corsa.
The final had incidents aplenty with Darren McGraw and Moody both forced to retire following an unfortunate clash during the closing stages. Niall McFerran kept out of trouble to scoop the final silverware after a great drive, with McCurdy in the frame once more in second and Jack Kennedy in third.
Heat One: 1st. Peter Stewart (Moneydig), 2nd.Aaron Moody (Ballymena), 3rd. David McKinnon (Ballymena). Heat Two: 1st. Jaimie McCurdy (Aughafatten), 2nd. Niall McFerran (Rasharkin), 3rd. Antony Kincaid (Antrim). Final: 1st. McFerran, 2nd. McCurdy, 3rd. Jack Kennedy (Nutts Corner)
The championship trail continues at Ballymena Raceway on Friday evening (September 27) with two Irish Championships and a National title set to be decided.
The 1300 Stock Cars battle it out for their National Championship where it is anticipated that visiting drivers from the UK mainland will line up alongside the best from the province. The Speed Stock and 1600 Lightning Rod classes contest their Irish Championship events and both races are expected to be very keenly contested.
Also on the programme will be the Group Two Lightning Rod King of the North Trophy and Stocks Rods, with the first race getting underway at the Curtis Cars sponsored fixture at 7:15pm.