Ballymena Raceway welcomed in 2016 with a packed programme of short oval racing at the New Year’s Day Winter National Championships.
The honour of the first race win of the New Year went to track stalwart Brian Edgar in the GP2 division, but it was another Ballymena based driver, Johny Gillespie, who would go on to secure the GP2 title with an immaculate heat and final double in his Vauxhall Astra.
Another local driver on top form was Stock Rod British Champion Steven McKane who went through the card unbeaten in his Vauxhall Nova to claim a faultless hat-trick of wins.
In the showcase National Hot Rod division the evergreen Keith Martin added another title to his impressive list of successes.
Martin split the heat wins with Kells racer Carl Sloan and the pair occupied the top two spots in the final, with 2015 winner Jaimie McCurdy in third.
F2 Stock Cars and Super Saloons completed the classes on display at the McCarroll Plant Hire sponsored meeting.
Track Champion Craig McConnell scorched to a brace of victories in the F2 Stock Car division to earn pole position for the final but his hat-trick hopes were dashed by Conor Hughes as the Antrim racer breezed through to capture the Winter National crown after a determined drive.
Philip Doherty was the star of the show in the Super Saloon division.
The Garvagh based racer began the afternoon with a second place finish in the opening heat behind Ryan Nixon’s Ford Puma and took the chequered flag in the second qualifying race to earn pole position for the final.
Doherty dominated the feature race in his Toyota to lead home Points Champion Johnny McCloy and Irish Champion Alistair Christie.
National Hot Rods 2016 Winter National Championship: 1st. Keith Martin, 2nd. Carl Sloan, 3rd. Jaimie McCurdy, 4th. Christopher Kincaid, 5th. Ben McKee
F2 Stock Cars 2016 Winter National Championship: 1st. Conor Hughes, 2nd. Craig McConnell, 3rd. Ryan McCrory, 4th. Kyle Beattie, 5th. George Campbell
Stock Rods 2016 Winter National Championship: 1st. Steven McKane, 2nd. Adam Sloan, 3rd. Aaron Moody, 4th. Jason Clyde, 5th. Niall McFerran
GP2 2016 Winter National Championship: 1st. Johny Gillespie, 2nd. Mark Turtle, 3rd. Jason Clyde, 4th. Rodney Stewart, 5th. Brian Edgar, 6th. Terrance McLeister
Super Saloons 2016 Winter National Championship: 1st. Philip Doherty, 2nd. Johnny McCloy, 3rd. Alistair Christie, 4th. Aaron McGraw, 5th. Ryan Nixon, 6th. Colin Clifford
The Raceway action on New Year’s Day was kindly sponsored by McCarroll Plant Hire, Cloughmills, with additional prizes for the National Hot Rods donated by CRL Clive Richardson Limited.
The new season of oval racing will commence at Ballymena Raceway on Good Friday (March 25) and full details of all the 2016 fixtures will be released shortly on the official Raceway website www.ballymenaraceway.com