Newly crowned National Hot Rod European Champion Adam Hylands is assured of a warm reception when short oval racing resumes at Ballymena Raceway on Friday evening (April 24).
Hylands beat off the best from Holland, England, Scotland and the Republic of the Ireland, plus all the top names from the province, to capture the coveted European title at the Lochgelly Raceway in Scotland last weekend and Friday’s meeting at Raceway will be the first opportunity for local fans to welcome the new champion back home to the province.
The National Hot Rod racers return to World Qualifying action on Friday evening as Raceway hosts Round 10 of the PC Paints and Components World Series NI. John Christie from Crumlin occupies top spot in the rankings at present, but just one point separates leader Christie and second place Glenn Bell from Portadown. The top eight drivers in the series go forward to represent Northern Ireland in the World Championship at Ipswich later in the season, and while Hylands late arrival into the series has left him out of contention for an automatic berth this time around there are still plenty of other contenders battling to confirm their place on the World Final grid.
Northern Ireland Champion Andrew Murray, runner-up to Hylands at the European last weekend, currently sits in third spot while Gilford’s Nigel McCauley pushed himself right into contention with a brace of victories at Raceway on Good Friday. Crumlin’s Adam Maxwell and Carl Sloan from Kells are both right in the mix as well, along with Stewart Doak and Derek Martin. Former British Champion Gary Woolsey and Broughshane’s Jaimie McCurdy are just outside the automatic qualifying positions at present and will be anxious for a good points haul at Raceway on Friday evening.
Also on the packed programme of races at the Cirrus Plastics sponsored meeting on Friday evening are the Stock Rods, GP2 Rods, Euro Stocks and Junior Rods. The Stock Rod men contest the opening round of their big money Supreme Series, where sponsor Hill Contracts have put forward a generous £500 prize for the winner! Steven McKane was crowned Yokohama Champion at Raceway on Good Friday and the Ballymena based racer will be keen to continue his strong start to the new campaign.
The young chargers in the Junior Rod section make their first appearance of the season at Raceway to contest the opening round of their RPM Car & Commercial Sales sponsored Gold Roof Series and it’s also the opening round of the 2015 National Series for the GP2 Rods.
The green flag drops to get racing underway in the Ballymena Showgrounds at 7:15pm.