The eagerly awaited F2 British Championship speed-weekend at Nutts Corner Raceway recently lived up to all expectations.
Drivers from all corners of the UK joined locals to create an outstanding weekend that will be remembered for many years to come.
Saturday evening saw a gruelling 5 heats format adopted for the Brisca F2 Stock Cars, each driver took part in three heats in the hope of gaining as many points as possible towards the grid for Sunday afternoon’s British Showdown.
The qualifying campaign kicked of with a bang when the yellow flags were required in the early laps of heat one when the visiting duo of Stephen Forrester and Jamie Conway tangled together.
Local ace William Murray was the pace setter at the restart holding a healthy gap ahead of Billy Finnegan and that is the order they finished.
Heat two was won by local teenager Bradley McKinstry, ahead of Craig McConnell and Gavin Fegan.
An incident-packed third head was won by Chris Burgoyne followed by Ryan McCrory but this wasn’t to be the end result however as the race steward penalised both Burgoyne and McCrory for jump starts.
Jon Palmer was promoted to the top step of the podium as a consequence.
Heat four wasn’t without incident but in comparisons to the previous encounter it was a somewhat more subdued affair. At the chequers it was Kilrea’s Thomas Greer ahead of Murray and England’s Luke Wrench who snatched the final step on the podium.
Come heat 5 the rain had arrived and the now slippery track offered a fresh challenge to many however white grader Geroege Campbell appeared to adapt well and held the advantage for much of the race.
Finnegan with his troubles in heat 3 behind him was on a charge and eventually made his way to the top spot in time to take the flag ahead of Graham Fegan who showed some fine pace in the tricky conditions.
Campbell secured an excellent third place finish which proved to be enough to qualify him through to the main event.
With all the points totalled and verified it was Murray who found himself on pole position for the main event, the 2016 Gilmore Engineering Brisca F2 Stock Car British Championship.
Burgoyne who featured consistently on Saturday was rewarded with an outside front row starting slot, while Palmer, McCrory, Marshall, Wrench, McConnell and Finnegan completed the first block of starters.
At the fall of the green flag Murray made a text book start making it safely around the first behind in the top spot.
Burgoyne had safely negotiated the river bend also and was soon in chase of the rapid yellow grader Murray.
As the laps ticked away the gap between Murray and Burgoyne decreased until lap 6, when Burgoyne made a charge for the front. Campbell was a spinner on the home straight and showing no sign of removing himself from harms way the race was brought under suspension.
Burgoyne anticipated the restart to perfection and avoided any onslaught into the first bend, Murray continued to feature comfortably in second with Palmer still there in third.
The second race suspension was called on lap 15 when McKee become stranded on turns 3+4 after a visit to the concrete, the restart line was similar to the previous one with the top three unchanged, however a notable addition to the fray was Portglenone’s young gun Sean McFerran who found himself in fourth ahead of Graham Fegan.
Burgoyne’s restart was again flawless getting a clean break again ahead of Murray, Palmer was a retirement soon after the green promoting Sean McFerran to third.
This is how it would stay for 3 laps until Graham Fegan and McConnell barged their way into the top four ahead of McFerran.
The scene was now set for a showdown to the finish, as the cars were about to go rolling for the restart Murray was disappointingly forced to retire with car troubles.
Burgoyne used all his experience to perform yet another top flight start steering himself clear of danger, the bumpers were flying in behind with Graham Fegan, McConnell and Wrench all swapping paint before the yellows were dramatically called again.
As the last lap board appeared it was becoming clear Burgoyne was home and dry however the final podium steps weren’t to decided until a spectacular last bend reshuffle.
Burgoyne stormed home to a truly emphatic victory, it was McConnell who emerged as the popular runner up with the home crowd, while Gavin Fegan claimed third spot giving the local support more to celebrate.
The top 6 was completed by Wrench, Murphy and Graham Fegan.