Bill produces faultless drive to claim Hot Rod ‘clean sweep’
It was horsepower rather than pedal power on display at Ballymena Raceway on May 9 where the feature event at the Bevan Motorsport sponsored meeting was Round 12 of the National Hot Rod World Qualifying Series.
It proved to be a night to remember for Bill McCurdy from Broughshane, who led every single lap of all three races to record his maiden victories in the premier class with a faultless hat-trick in his Peugeot 206cc.
The Junior Rods contested their Next Gen Cup where Niall McFerran turned pole position into another resounding victory in the final, his seventh in a row since the start of the season!
It proved a successful night for Ballymena drivers in the other classes, as David Gillespie took his first final win of 2014 in the Group Two Lightning, while Noel Hazlett made it three wins out of three in the Speed Stocks Super Pole Series.
NATIONAL HOT RODS
Sixteen National Hot Rods contested Round 12 of the World Qualifying campaign and it was Bill McCurdy who set a brisk pace out front in the opening heat. Back in the main pack Stephen McGonigle was sent spinning out at the entry to Fisherwick bend which earned Derek Martin a disqualification from the race steward.
The incident proved no distraction to McCurdy however, who confidently completed the distance well in front to register his first ever victory in the National Hot Rod division.
McCurdy was quickly up and running again in heat two and once more the rest were never able to catch the Broughshane man, who rattled off another flag to flag victory. McCurdy completed a perfect set of results with another dominant victory in the final, with former British Champions Keith Martin and Stewart Doak second and third and World Champion John Christie fourth.
Final: 1st. 1st. Bill McCurdy, 2nd. Keith Martin, 3rd.Stewart Doak, 4th. John Christie, 5th. Andrew Murray, 6th. Glenn Bell
GROUP TWO LIGHTNING RODS
Stewart Nicholl led for the opening laps of heat one before David Gillespie stamped his mark on proceedings to take a comfortable win ahead of Nicholl and Jason Clyde.
Form man Matthew Curran looked set to add another race win to his tally in heat two. Curran led this one until the final lap when his car stuttered on the back straight which allowed Broughshane’s Freddie Fleck to squeeze through for a win ahead of Gillespie and the unfortunate Curran.
The final was a tussle between the two heat winners. Fleck got his nose ahead at the beginning, but Gillespie bided his time before making his move and pulling away for a comfortable win. Clyde’s Vauxhall Astra punched in some quick laps to motor into second by the flag, with Fleck in third.
Final: 1st. David Gillespie, 2nd. Jason Clyde, 3rd. Freddie Fleck, 4th. Matthew Curran, 5th. Noel Hazlett
EURO STOCKS/SPEED STOCKS
Shaun Arbuckle made the journey from County Donegal well worthwhile by posting a fine brace of victories in the two heat races. Those results positioned Arbuckle’s Honda Civic further back on the grid for the meeting final where the extra traffic hindered his hat-trick ambitions. Instead it was Bobbie Johnston and Mark Frew who fought over the silverware in this one.
Frew got a run up the inside of his rival on the final bend, but Johnston just had enough in reserve to hold on for his first final win in the Euro Stocks. Frew was a close second, with Stephen McCahon in third. Noel Hazlett proved to be the class of the Speed Stocks entry, winning all three events in his Vauxhall Corsa.
Final: 1st. Bobby Johnston, 2nd. Mark Frew, 3rd. Stephen McCahon, 4th. Stephen Doherty, 5th. Philip Doherty, 6th. Noel Hazlett
The qualifying heats for the Next Gen Cup were contested in roof colours and the victories were shared between Niall McFerran and Robert Mawhinney.
Those heat results determined the grid positions for the final and placed McFerran on pole position, with Adrian McConnell alongside on the front row, followed by Peter Stewart and Mawhinney on row two.
At the green flag McFerran made the perfect start to pull away from a mighty tussle involving McConnell, Aaron Moody, Stewart and Mawhinney. A caution period was required following an incident at Suffolk bend and Antrim’s Antony Kincaid made a superb start at the resumption to motor through from third to first.
Once into his stride however McFerran quickly restored normal service and scampered around the outside of Kincaid to retake the lead and gradually pulled away for another handsome win.
Next Gen Cup: 1st. Niall McFerran, 2nd. Aaron Moody, 3rd. Antony Kincaid, 4th. Jack Kennedy, 5th. Robert Mawhinney, 6th. Peter Stewart
RETRO RODS/CLASSIC HOT RODS
Donegal visitor Drew Russell took the chequered flag in both events in his attractive Peugeot 205, with the Classic Hot Rod Mark Two Ford Escort of Desie Howard tracking the winner on each occasion.
May 29 is the date of the next meeting at Ballymena Raceway, with F2 Stock Cars, Saloon Stock Cars, Speed Stocks, Euro Stocks and Group Two Lightning Rods on the schedule.