The damp conditions at Ballymena Raceway on Friday evening proved a real test for the drivers of the high speed National Hot Rods.
A record entry of 20 cars took to the track for the penultimate round of the PC Paints and Components World Qualifying Series.
Mark Heatrick romped to a brace of victories in the heat races and led the early stages of the final too, but it was Adam Maxwell who eventually emerged victorious to secure his first win of the current campaign.
Each of the three races produced a different winner, with Johnny McCloy and Shane Gault accounting for the heat races before Ahoghill’s Tim Hazlett staved off the combined advances of Wilfie McNiece and Jason Clyde in a humdinger of a final.
The Group Two Lightning Rod racers contested Round 2 of their Terraclean Series and it was Daniel Norris from Ballymena who took the silverware home for the second meeting in a row. Super Saloons completed the classes on display where Irish Champion Alistair Christie did it all the hard way around the wide outside to snatch the victory from long time leader Mark Frew on the run to the flag.
NATIONAL HOT RODS
A record entry of 20 cars arrived for Round 13 of the World Qualifying Series and the driver who set the pace in the heat races was Mark Heatrick, the County Armagh driver rattling off an impressive brace of wins to secure pole position for the final. A hat-trick of wins for Heatrick looked probable when the pole sitter seized the advantage from the off, but it soon became apparent that all was not well beneath the bonnet of the Heatrick Demolition car and Adam Maxwell needed no second invitation to motor through into the lead on lap 5. Derek Martin followed the same path and there was little to separate the pair throughout a keenly contested duel. Maxwell dealt with backmarkers expertly to ease home for his first win of the current campaign.
World Series NI Rd 13: 1st. Adam Maxwell, 2nd. Derek Martin, 3rd. Keith Martin.
Dorset’s Levi Robinson joined the locals on a satisfying 15 car grid for the meeting which counted as Round 4 of the UK wide Grand Prix Series for the Stock Rods. Garvagh’s Johnny McCloy relished the slippery conditions in heat one and never put a wheel out of place on his way to a first ever win in the Stock Rod category. Heat two saw Shane Gault charge into the lead with Tim Hazlett in hot pursuit. Gault knows the quick way around Raceway and the Glarryford man confidently kept everything under control to claim a good win. It was Hazlett’s turn to get the jump at the start of the final and the Ahoghill racer soon eased out a slight advantage over the chasing pack. Irish Champion Wilfie McNiece was on a charge and worked his way up to second with Jason Clyde following through in third. McNiece caught the leader three laps from home and Clyde joined in for the final tours to set-up an entertaining 3 way battle for the lead which Hazlett resolutely controlled to earn a hard fought win.
Grand Prix Series Rd 4: 1st. Tim Hazlett, 2nd. Wilfie McNiece, 3rd. Jason Clyde.
GP2 LIGHTNING RODS
Cullybackey’s Darryl Reid notched up a clear win in the 18 car opening heat and also featured heavily in heat two where a race long battle raged between Reid, Danny Norris and Rodney Stewart. Freddie Fleck joined in for the closing stages as well to make it a four way scrap for the lead and it was Norris who kept his nose in front to claim the victory ahead of Stewart and Fleck. The results in the heat races determined the positions within each grade for the final and it was yellow grader Norris who quickly settled in to the front running spot once again before the race was interrupted by a caution period following a tangle between Harry Gilmore and Mark Turtle. At the resumption Norris was immediately under severe attention from Stewart until Stewart got out of shape at Fisherwick bend in the closing laps which allowed Norris to make his escape and claim his second final win in a row.
Terraclean Series Rd 2: 1st. Daniel Norris, 2nd. Rodney Stewart, 3rd. Andy McLeister.
Steven Elder motored home to a clear win in the opening heat, but a blown engine put pay to his chances of a repeat performance in heat two where Irish Champion Alistair Christie slithered his way to victory ahead of Aaron McGraw and Ashley Graham. Mark Frew held sway at the start of the final with Liam Irwin his closest challenger and the lead pair were joined by McGraw and Christie to set up a four way battle at the front over the closing stages. Christie was still at the back of this queue with 3 laps remaining, but the Irish Champion sat it out on the wide outside to blast past them all for a superb win after one of the drives of the night.
Final: 1. Alistair Christie, 2. Mark Frew, 3. Aaron McGraw.