Hoosier Race Tyres
World Series England Round 3
Birmingham, 23rd September
Results as seen trackside, to be confirmed.
Heat 1: 565 209 48 844 55 3 174 155 162 305 491 95 152. Dnf 23 15 172 421.
Heat 2: 92 162 844 115 113 3 174 491 27 95 964 155 59 118. Dnf 42 421. DQ 316.
Heat 3: 92 27 42 209 55 115 316 48 305 23 113 152 59 118 172. Dnf 964 565 15.
Final: 92 209 162 42 48 305 844 55 565 23 491 113 15 316 155 172 118 3. Dnf 115 95 152 421 59 174. DQ 27.
Hankook Performance Tyres
World Series Northern Ireland Round 5
Ballymena, 15th September.
Heat 1: 75 994 342 82 54 940 199 20 9 962 960 998 944 409 18 nof
Heat 2: 342 82 962 940 54 960 199 20 994 998 944 995 409 18 nof
Final: 342 82 940 994 54 962 20 199 9 70 943 998 944 960 409 995 18. (amended 16/09)
Hoosier Racing Tyres
World Series England round 2
Ipswich, 28th August
Murray’s manic Monday
Graham Brown. A massive Bank Holiday crowd basked in hot sunshine and saw three races with three different winners, but may well have gone home talking more about the number of crashes, yellow flags and penalties than any other aspect of the racing. At the end of it all though, it was Gavin Murray who made off with the final honours, Murray being chased home by Stuart McLaird and Mikey Godfrey.
There was a fair entry of 27 cars for this, round two of the 2018 series, with former 2.0 Hot Rod racers Lewis Shelley and Danny Smith (the former 2.0 world champ of course, in the beautifully re-fettled ex-Dave Garrett car) the latest recruits to help swell the grids.
The opening heat started pretty much as it meant to go on, with Steve Dudman going off at the first turn and then getting collected by Alistair Lowe, who somehow managed to get underneath Dudman’s car. Unsurprisingly, this was grounds for a very early yellow flag.
The restart had Terry Hunn out front but again not going all that far before another caution, this time brought on by Aaron Dew’s Ginetta ramming the barriers at turn three, Chris Crane and Paul Gomm both rotating at the same spot.
Hunn was still leading from McLaird, Shaun Taylor and Layton Milsom for the next attempt, Milsom falling back as Lee Pepper, Danny Smith and Murray all got by. Murray had relegated Smith as well and Kym Weaver was just trying to do the same when the pair touched along the back straight, sparking off the biggest crash of the day. Smith spun across the shale backwards, the car then coming off the infield and straight into the path of the chasing pack, Smith’s car taking an enormous full chat impact from Dick Hillard, whose smashed Tigra careered on into the wall, with Jason Kew, Carl Waller-Barrett and Godfrey all involved as well to some extent. A yellow for this little lot was obligatory, although Weaver’s disqualification for causing it came as a bit of a surprise, not least to the driver, who promptly put his car away for the day.
Hillard and Smith’s racing was unfortunately all done for the day, with the left front corner of Dick’s car a complete mess, as indeed was the left rear of Smith’s, the back axle looking like it was half dragged out of the chassis – not good.
All of this had taken place before they’d even breached half distance but the rest of the race remained comparatively incident free. Murray chased down McLaird and passed him five laps from home, with Milsom and Chris Haird also putting McLaird behind them before the chequers. Winner Hunn was still a fair way up the road by then, with Murray having to relinquish his second spot when the steward handed down a two place penalty for contact.
Heat two was a good deal less disjointed.
The new-for-this-season shake up in the second heat grids had placed Lowe on pole but he got jumped at the start by Billy Bonnar, the Scot scooting into the lead with Paul Frost following him past Lowe’s race tape special a lap later.
Hunn wasn’t going to have any say in this one as he spun to a stop by the start line with a flat, and the race became all about deciding who was to go after Bonnar and Frost. Lowe battled with Colin Hitch initially before Hitch was forced sideways at turn three, various minor collisions in the wake of this sending McLaird glancing off the wall and getting Crane black crossed.
Repeated blue flagging of Lowe didn’t get anyone else past him but some argy-bargy exiting turn two did in the end, with Crane moving up to third four laps from the finish but far too late to bother the two front runners, Bonnar and Lowe remaining safely clear of the rest.
With Murray on the front row it always looked like the final might be a bit of a gift for him, but those arrayed around him weren’t giving anything away, with Frost turning pole into an immediate lead and McLaird filling Murray’s mirrors every step of the way. Three laps in, Murray found a way past down Frost’s inside exiting turn four, McLaird following him through and Frost then disappearing from the leader board after a coming together with Pepper.
McLaird stayed right with the leader for many laps but, eventually, Murray began to inch away from him. By that point Godfrey was firmly established in third with most of the interest centring on the places battle involving Bonnar, Hunn, Colin Smith, Chris Haird and Kew. Bonnar’s car was backfiring, slowing him up momentarily in the turns but, despite repeated blue flags and a nine car queue forming up behind him, it was a long time before Hunn was eventually able to make an outside pass stick. That opened the floodgates and the Scot got swamped by the following pack soon after that but this was only shortly before he went a lap down to the leader, who was all but home and dry with five laps to go.
Indeed, the only changes in the order came after the flag, with Hunn, Shaun Taylor and Waller-Barrett all getting hit with penalties for contact some while after the finish. GB
Heat 1: 39 48 115 95(X-2) 113 155 491 316 174 27 92 118 13 nof. DQ 209 964 15.
Heat 2: 844 316 15 27 23 305 95 162 174 964 55 491 155 152 113 92 118 13 nof.
Final: 95 113 27 115 491 39(X-2) 174 162(X-2) 23 15 964 305 155 844 92 152(X-2) 13 nof.
Penalties: 15 disqualified from heat one for causing crash. 209 disqualified from heat one for crossing white line and colliding with 565, causing crash. 964 disqualified from heat one for overtaking under yellow flags. 95 dropped two places in heat one for contact with 23. 39 dropped two places in final for persistent contact. 152 dropped two places for contact in final, forcing 305 onto shale. 162 dropped two places for contact in final on 491. Note that all results & penalties are subject to official confirmation.
Hankook Performance Tyres
World Series Northern Ireland round 4
Ballymena, 26th August
Colin Adair reports: Round 4 of the Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI at Ballymena Raceway on August 26 produced the fourth different final winner of the new campaign as John Christie claimed the honours in the feature race. For a long time however it looked as if Round 3 winner Mark Heatrick was about to record back to back final wins until his Heatrick Demolition Tigra dropped out of the running in the closing stages. The same pair had earlier split the victories in the two heat races.
Nineteen competitors arrived at Ballymena where the Nationals were supporting the ORCi Stock Rod World Championship, which was won comprehensively by Northern Ireland’s Stephen McCready. On a weekend when Stock Rods were centre stage it was perhaps fitting that the most intriguing name on the National entry list was Stock Rod royalty in these parts, Victor McAfee. Now this was not Victor’s debut in Hot Rod racing, but you needed to be of a certain vintage to remember the last time he raced a National as it was back around 1979 or 1980! The McMillan Team had very kindly offered Victor a run out in the Tigra used most recently by Christopher Kincaid at the National weekend and the Ballymena garage proprietor certainly acquitted himself well in the unfamiliar mount.
Unfortunately we lost Phillip McCloy before the start, a clutch problem apparently sidelining his Peugeot for the evening. That left 18 runners for heat one where, in a welcome change from recent tradition at Ballymena, the track was actually dry, and stayed that way for the entire evening! Stephen McGonigle led them away in the opener, but trouble quickly brewed in the red grade which ended with Shane Murray’s Ginetta backward into the wall at the entry to turn one, an incident which would earn Keith Martin a two place penalty in the final result. The drama didn’t end there either as Ian McReynolds rotated on the exit of turn two a lap later which brought out the yellow flags to let everyone catch their breath a while. The blue grade is always fertile ground when looking for potential winners in Northern Ireland and so it proved again here as Mark Heatrick quickly made his way to the front of the pack by lap 5. Once into clear air the Heatrick Demolition Tigra really stretched away from the rest, as Mark punched in a 15.1 second lap which would prove to be the best of the entire evening. Behind the winner fellow blue-grader John Christie picked his way around McGonigle and Davy McKay to net second at the flag, with Derek Martin the best of the reds in third after another eye catching run. Gary Wilson, Gary Woolsey and McKay rounded out the top six in this one.
McGonigle made a good fist of leading heat two, with Andrew Stewart and McKay running nicely too in second and third. Christie led the blue grade contingent this time, while back in the reds a quick spin on the exit of turn two cost Derek Martin a lot of time. McGonigle continued to hold sway beyond the half way point before Christie swooped around the outside on lap 12, with Heatrick now hot on his heels. Ian McReynolds had been running well in fifth spot until his Citroen Saxo was pitched into the wall at the entry to turn one. It looked for all the world as if something broke on the car as McReynolds turned in, and he certainly wasn’t going any further now with a wheel off following that argument with the wall. The yellow flags were therefore required to allow the stricken #977 car to be removed which left us with a three lap sprint to the chequered flag. Christie managed this with aplomb, despite the close attentions of the eager Heatrick, while McKay enjoyed one of his best runs for a while to nail down third ahead of Woolsey, Murray and Adam Heatrick.
960 943 54 342 199 669* 70 998 977*
962 940 20 82 994 995 35 18 996* (* Did Not Start)
A win and a second place finish apiece meant a tie between Heatrick and Christie for pole in the final. The rule for this situation determined that Heatrick secured pole position due to his better result in the first race, with Christie alongside on the front row. McKay and Woolsey occupied row two, with Hylands and Martin on row three. Stewart, McReynolds and Stewart Doak were non starters in this one which left fifteen runners for the Anderson Racing Trophy final.
That was quickly reduced to fourteen however as Adam Heatrick ground to a halt out by the wall between turns one and two on the opening lap. Uncle Mark had made a swift getaway to lead, while Christie squeezed down in front of McKay to grab second, and gave a close inspection to the rear of the leader’s Tigra during the early laps. Woolsey and Hylands were next in line until the British Champion had to contend with a real moment after a touch from the following Derek Martin at the exit of turn four. Adam did a sterling job just to keep the thing out of the wall and pointing in the right direction, but lost a handful of places to Martin, Murray and Jaimie McCurdy in the process. Up front Heatrick had now eased himself into this one and started to pull away slightly from Christie, with Woolsey comfortably able to sit with the front two as well. As the laps ticked down Christie edged back up onto the back bumper of the leader and a close finish looked on the cards. All of a sudden however a pop and a bang signalled that everything was not well with the leader’s Tigra and Christie was through in a flash as the unfortunate Heatrick coasted to a halt behind nephew Adam’s car. Christie reeled off the remaining 5 laps to claim a second win of the night which earned him the handsome Anderson Racing Engines trophy, while Woolsey looked much more like his old self after a very competitive run to second place. Derek Martin was third across the line, but that earlier incident with Hylands earned him a two place penalty, which promoted McCurdy and Murray to third and fourth. Hylands was next up behind the demoted Martin, with Wilson, Keith Martin, McKay, Simon Kennedy, McGonigle and Kenny McCann the remaining finishers. Colin Adair
Hankook Performance Tyres
World Series Northern Ireland round 3
Aghadowey, 19th August
Darren Black reports: Portadown's Mark Heatrick was the man on form at Aghadowey Oval last Saturday night, when he scooped a heat and final double at the third round of Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI for National Hot Rods. Perfect weather conditions led to some fast and furious racing all evening, with the other heat win falling to the new Ginetta of reigning NI Champion Shane Murray.
From the original booking list of 20 cars we lost Nigel McCauley to a cancellation in the run up to the event, whilst Phillip McCloy encountered problems in practice and didn't make the track at all during the meeting proper. Veteran Sticky Torrens then had his throttle jam during the heat one installation laps, his subsequent trip to the wall on the Brown Trout Bend causing significant damage to his Fiesta and rendering his night finished.
With Ian McReynolds suffering maladies too, 'only' 16 made the grid for the opener with Kenny McCann leading them away in his Corsa. Mark Heatrick then challenged and took over out front, but he was soon under pressure from Shane Murray's Ginetta before they were all brought up short by a yellow flag thrown when Andrew Stewart lost a wheel on the exit of turn four which sent him spinning into the wall.
At the resumption of hostilities Murray again challenged Heatrick on the outside, but he couldn't quite make it stick which allowed another Ginetta, in the hands of Gary Woolsey, to grab second at the flag behind the victorious Heatrick. Murray, leading red grader Derek Martin and Jaimie McCurdy filled the top five.
McReynolds rejoined the fray for heat two, replacing Stewart in another 16 car field. Davy McKay led them off from McCann, before the same trio of blue tops, Murray, Woolsey and Heatrick, moved past to assume the top positions. British Champion Adam Hylands, McCurdy and Martin were making great strides from the reds once again, but the lead trio were to remain out of their grasp all the way home. Murray thus took his new mount's second victory in as many meetings out of the box, ahead of Woolsey, M Heatrick, Hylands and McCurdy.
With M Heatrick and Murray tied on points, it was Mark who took pole position as he had claimed the better heat one finish. Woolsey shared the second row with D Martin, with Hylands and McCurdy occupying row three. Heatrick and Murray headed to the first corner side by side, with Shane gamely hanging on before dropping into third behind Woolsey. As he looked for a way back past the NW Developments Ginetta, Heatrick banged in what would be the fastest lap of the race to make good his escape out front. Mark was a straight ahead before Woolsey mannerly stepped aside to allow the harrying Murray a way past to second, Shane quickly getting the hammer down to erode into Heatrick's advantage.
A squabbling backmarking trio of Gary Wilson, Simon Kennedy and McCann was the last thing Heatrick needed ahead of him, and by the time he had cleared them Murray was right on his case and the battle for the lead was well and truly on. Murray looked outside, then inside, then outside again as Heatrick switched into defensive mode to thwart each attack. Now Woolsey, McCurdy and D Martin joined the fun too, and for the remaining laps we were treated to an excellent five car lead battle. The slightest of errors from Woolsey into turn one left a gap that a switched on McCurdy soon filled, but up front Heatrick had covered every base to come home to his second win of the night, the Ross Hyndman Motors sponsored silverware and his Hankook prize too. Murray was great value in second, ahead of an impressive McCurdy, Martin, Woolsey and Hylands. Darren Black
Heat 1: 960 940 70 20 199 994 54 962 996 998 342(X-2) 82 943 18 995 nof.
Heat 2: 70 940 960 54 199 20 996 994 962 342 18 998 82 977 995 nof. Dnf: 943.
Final: 960 70 199 20 940 54 994 996 342(X-2) 82 977 998 943 995 18 nof. Dnf: 962
Hankook Performance Tyres
World Series Northern Ireland round 2
Ballymena, 29th July
Colin Adair reports: Derek Martin captured a long overdue final win when Ballymena Raceway hosted Round Two of the Hankook Performance Tyres World Series NI on July 29. Martin slipped ahead of pole sitter Adam Hylands on the opening lap of the feature race and controlled things from the front to lead home Hylands and Adam Heatrick. The earlier heats brought victories for Hylands and Glenn Bell.
An improved showing of eighteen competitors gathered for Round Two, David Kernohan the only absentee from the original booking list. The weather once again threw a random element into the mix on the evening, just like the opening round in fact. Heavy rain in the hours prior to start time created a sodden track, but the rain had ceased when racing commenced, which left everyone with some headaches on setup as the meeting progressed and track conditions improved.
There was no real dilemma for heat one however as a totally wet track greeted the runners in this one. Kenny McCann headed the field away before Conor McElmeel confirmed just how tricky conditions were with a quick spin on the exit of turn two. Nigel McCauley emerged from the yellow grade group to head the chase after McCann, but blue graders Adam Hylands and Glenn Bell were also on the move and making rapid progress towards the front. Further back Mark Heatrick had been progressing very nicely too from the red grade until he came across a notch of cars which included Andrew Stewart, Phillip McCloy and Davy McKay. Heatrick appeared to misjudge the speed of this group completely and slammed into the back of McKay entering turn one, which caused a ripple effect throughout the pack and resulted in Stewart being tipped into a spin. That unsurprisingly earned Heatrick a disqualification from this one, while up front McCann continued to hold sway until half distance before Hylands breezed through. Bell followed suit on lap 14 to set up a straight fight between the pair to the flag, but there was further drama to come which would end with John Christie on the naughty step alongside Heatrick. Christie had been side by side with Shane Murray for a few laps and went very hot into turn 3 in an attempt to drop down in front of the Northern Ireland Champion. That part worked out OK, but Christie could not scrub off enough speed to avoid Gary Woolsey, who was immediately ahead of the pair. The resultant contact between the pair knocked Woolsey’s Ginetta into the back marking Sticky Torrens, who had been trying his best to keep out of everybody’s way on the outside! The messy episode ended with Torrens spun at turn three and Christie disqualified as the main cause of the incident. None of this had any effect on the leader however as Hylands swept home for a tidy win, with Bell in second and McCauley in third. Derek Martin finished as the best of the reds in fourth, while fifth place for McCann represented one of his best results to date.
By the start of heat two there were the first indications that the track had started to dry, on line anyway. That was certainly backed up by the lap times too. Only three drivers broke the seventeen second barrier in the opener, Hylands, Bell and Mark Heatrick, but all the frontrunners would post low-sixteen second laps this time around. Carl Sloan did not appear for this one, and the grid was reduced to sixteen cars when M. Heatrick pulled off with a problem during the installation laps. The sixteen remaining runners were led away once more by McCann, with McElmeel next up. McCann continued to lead until lap seven when a caution period was required with the Torrens Fiesta beached on the edge of the football pitch in a dangerous position at the exit of turn four. With Sticky’s car moved to a safe location the action recommenced, minus the unfortunate McElmeel, who could not find a gear again on the rolling lap and was forced to withdraw from a promising position. That caution period had wiped out McCann’s advantage and Bell wasted no time making his move to the front. Hylands kept the leader honest right to the chequered flag, but Bell was always in control and confirmed his first win of the new campaign. Hylands was a close second, with a fast finishing Martin in third, followed by Christie, Murray and Jaimie McCurdy.
54 20 940 342 4 962 943 960* 669*
9 199 18 977 343 70 64 75* 69 (* Did Not Start)
A win and a second place finish apiece meant a tie between Hylands and Bell for pole in the final. Protocol dictates that Hylands better result in the first race earned him pole position, and how important that inside line starting slot would prove to be. Bell was therefore outside row one, with Martin and McCurdy on row two, followed by Woolsey and the impressive McCann on row three. Stewart joined Heatrick and Sloan as a non-starter in this one to leave fifteen runners.
Track conditions had continued to get better throughout the meeting and as the National final was the last race on the card the drivers had a real decision to make regarding how much of a dry set-up to commit with. The lap times would end up around mid- 15 seconds for this one, which indicated how much the track had cleaned up. Off line however the surface was still very slick, as Bell discovered to his cost at the green flag where he dropped down to eighth by the end of the opening tour. Polesitter Hylands was having difficulties of his own and ran a little deep betweens turn 3 and 4 on the opening lap. Martin needed no second invitation to take advantage of that opportunity and immediately sliced into the lead, while Hylands had to be on guard to prevent a racy Adam Heatrick, who had started on grid seven, following suit. Martin looked comfortable out front and steadily edged a slight advantage over Hylands, who still had Heatrick for company, with McCurdy, Ian McReynolds and Woolsey slightly further back.
Sticky’s eventful evening continued when his Fiesta struck the wall a glancing blow along the start - finish straight, and a caution period was called to move the stricken car to safety. That eroded any advantage Martin had built up, but the leader was quickly back on it at the resumption to gain some breathing space once more. As the laps ticked down Hylands was able to match the pace of the leader, without ever being close enough to mount a serious challenge, as Martin stroked it home for a morale boasting win ahead of the forthcoming National Championships. A quick flick through the record books revealed that Derek’s last final win in the World Series occurred in October 2015, which indicates that Derek spends most, if not all, his time in the red grade, and how hard it is for anyone to win a final from back there!
Hylands was good value for second, which confirmed the current National Champion as top points scorer for the evening, while Round One winner Heatrick picked up another healthy haul of points in third. After that difficult opening lap Bell really got his head down and produced a storming recovery drive to salvage fourth place at the flag, with the top ten finishers completed by Murray, Christie, McReynolds, McCurdy, Woolsey and McCauley. Colin Adair
Heat 1: 54 9 4 20 18 940 199 342 977 943 343 nof. DQ: 960 & 962
Heat 2: 9 54 20 962 70 199 342 940 977 18 343 nof.
Final: 20 54 342 9 70 962 977 199 940 4 943 64 343 18 nof.
Hoosier Racing Tyres
World Series England round 1
Aldershot, Sunday 23rd July
Wood draws first blood in déjà vu event
Graham Brown Billy Wood took the honours from the final in the first round of the 2017-18 English World Series just as he did at the same event last year. The ‘back to work’ meeting featuring a different winner to every race, with former 2.0 Hot Rod ace Chris Crane and one-time 2.0 world champion Lee Pepper also topping the podium. Wood was chased home in the main event by Crane and Aaron Dew.
Although the entry wasn’t huge – just 20 - there were still quite enough cars and as I’ve remarked before, there’s an argument for saying that this is almost the perfect number of NHRs for this track. But that ‘respect’ everybody is always craving was much in evidence and only one penalty all afternoon pretty much told its own story.
All that said, there were quite a few drivers who gave the meeting a miss. Once again, and I know I’ve said this before too, they’ll be well aware they’ve got to drop two rounds anyway and obviously their thinking is that this will be one of them. But it has allowed others to steal a march on them and there is of course, no guarantee that those who skipped the meeting will score well at all the ones they do choose to race at…
A welcome addition to the grids for this year is Billy Bonnar, the Scot re-joining the English series after some seven years away, while Rob McDonald has gone in the other direction to bolster the Scottish series. Missing from the pits however was ‘ever present’ Dick Hillard, who has decided to take a rest from UK racing in favour of doing the 2018 series in South Africa.
A new season usually brings some rule revisions and this year is no different, with the adoption in England of the successful Northern Irish system of having the starting line-up drawn within grades and the order reversed for the second heat.
A very dodgy weather forecast looked to be coming true as the rain began spitting as the cars lined up for heat one. And, following a false start when Paul Gomm failed to move at the first time of asking, it was raining properly by the time they got underway for keeps. Fortunately it never came to very much, and it was Paul Frost’s Ginetta that set the early pace before Pepper, Crane and Wood all latched onto him.
A somewhat hasty re-joining manoeuvre by Shaun Taylor following a spin totally wrong footed the leader, Frost getting out-fumbled by all those immediately behind him as they swarmed around Frost and Taylor. It was the impressive Crane who emerged onto the back straight with the lead although Wood and Pepper were still right there too, the trio continuing to squabble over the lead all the way to the flag.
Bonnar’s return to racing south of the border was curtailed in this one by his being red-and-white flagged for running around with very bent steering.
The sun was out for the second heat, which was lacking Mikey Godfrey from the line-up due to a persistent misfire.
Pepper made the most of what was now a front row all to himself as he led them away with Crane in hot pursuit. Frost ran third for a time before retiring to hand the spot to Taylor, who promptly lost it to Colin Smith before having to pull up himself with rear bodywork jammed on the tyres – Stuart McLaird would later be penalised for causing that.
Half distance came and went with the lead pair still locked in combat but Smith, McLaird and Wood were about to join them for a fight to the finish. McLaird dropped back in the last couple of laps, while Crane almost but not quite found a chink in the leader’s defences, and a last minute lunge up the outside by Wood failed to unseat any of those ahead.
Chris Haird had been steadily hunting down the lead pack and got home fifth in the end, although he was probably lucky to finish, the world champ having had a major altercation with a big marker tyre almost in sight of the flag.
With Haird at the head of the second group on the grid for the final, his chances of taking the win certainly looked to be passing fair. In fact the race was won and lost inside the first fifty feet, with row two starter Wood making a demon getaway which took him underneath pole sitter Crane as they charged turn one, Wood’s yellow Tigra blasting into the lead he wasn’t to lose as they headed down the back straight.
Crane clung onto the back of Wood’s car like a limpet for a long time but, with the rain spitting again, the leader’s car appeared to just get better and better and the rest simply dropped back a few more feet with each passing lap.
In the end it became all about the battle for the places, with Crane at the head of a quintet comprising Dew, Jason Kew, Haird and Carl Waller-Barrett. Haird was probably expected to break free from this to go after Wood but it looked as though the #115 was still suffering some after effects of its encounter with the earth mover tyre and he eventually stepped aside to let CW-B have a go at breaking the stalemate ahead of them, which he couldn’t.
Wood eventually took the flag almost a quarter of a lap to the good with Crane still second and, after a solid afternoon’s work, about to leave Rushmoor as the new season’s points leader.
Billy was suitably upbeat following the win and said, “I do like it here (Aldershot), it’s a great little track – you’ve just got to keep it sensible, keep it smooth and try not to tear the wheels off!” GB
Heat 1: 15 305 155 23 316 174 162 48 491 39 209 115 113 55 29 152 nof.
Heat 2: 155 15 491 305 115 55 23 209 113(x-2) 174 162 48 333 844 152. nof.
Final: 305 15 23 174 162 115 48 209 55 491 113 155 316 39 3 152 844 nof.
Penalties: 113 dropped two places in heat two for contact with 152. Note that all results & penalties are subject to official confirmation.
CRL World Series Ireland, round 1
Tipperary, 15th July
Heat 1: 970 261 955 925 61 803. Dnf 777, 982.
Heat 2: 261 955 925 803. Dnf 970.
Final: 261 925 955 803. Dnf 61
(heat 1 amended after NHRPA investigation)
Hankook Performance Tyres
World Series Northern Ireland round 1
Ballymena, 14th July
Colin Adair reports: The new World Qualifying Series in Northern Ireland hit the road at Ballymena Raceway on July 14 amidst changeable weather conditions. Derek Martin and Glenn Bell shared the heat wins, but it was Adam Heatrick who stormed home to success in the final which also earned him the Richard Turtle Memorial Cup.
Less than two weeks after the chequered flag had fallen on the 2017 World Final and the province’s racers assembled at Ballymena to begin their quest for a spot on the 2018 World Final grid. The class received a welcome boast during the run-up to the opening round with the news that Hankook Performance Tyres had extended their sponsorship of World Series NI for another year. NHRPA confirmation that the province would be allocated a record ten spots on the grid at the 2018 World Final provided further proof to the strength of the class in Northern Ireland right now, so it was therefore a slightly disappointing entry of 15 cars which assembled for Round One. That should have been higher of course, but for some genuine tales of woe amongst many of the no shows from the original 22 car booking list. A few were undoubtedly put off by the weather; it began raining around 4 o’clock and was still chucking it down at start-time; while others were awaiting bits and pieces to finish their car preparations. Andrew Stewart had set out for Ballymena, but broke down enroute, while Christopher Kincaid got the length of the stadium before apparently damaging his mount getting it out of the transporter!
Amongst those present the most interesting entrant was Nevin ‘Sticky’ Torrens, making his first competitive appearance in Northern Ireland for well over thirty years! For those unfamiliar with his story Sticky was one of the driving forces behind the introduction of Hot Rod racing to Northern Ireland back in the mid-seventies, and was a regular competitor in the class until 1983-ish. Compared to some of his illustrious compatriots Sticky’s success rate was modest, an Irish Open win in 1976 his biggest victory, but he always remained a firm favourite with the local crowds, where his outgoing personality and relaxed attitude to racing proved almost universally appealing. The lack of characters in our sport currently is often lamented; well we certainly have one of the biggest back with us now! It’s going to be a steep learning curve however, as a space framed chassis, 16v engine and Hoosier Tyres were not part of the equation back in the seventies, never mind tyre logging sheets, transponders and raceivers! Another very welcome returnee was Gary Woolsey, the former British and National Champion back behind the wheel of his immaculately turned out Ginetta after a year’s sabbatical, and it was good to see Nigel McCauley back on track as well.
Light drizzle and a sodden track greeted the competitors for heat one. Kenny McCann led them away in this one, while Carl Sloan lost a lot of ground in the early stages after a touch with Adam Heatrick. Worse was to follow for Keith Martin when the 2005 World Champion’s Tigra was squeezed up the wall at the exit of turn two while the pack worked their way around the back marking Torrens. A piece of Martin’s bodywork came to rest on the track after the tangle, and required a caution period to retrieve, which eliminated Martin from the resumption. This one didn’t go much further before the yellows were required again after Torrens knocked a marker tyre out on track after a grassy excursion. Derek Martin took full advantage of a rare start in the blue grade to ease ahead on lap 6 and Glenn Bell followed through a few laps later to run second, with Shane Murray in third. As the laps wore down Bell closed in on the back bumper of the leader and was looking for a way past when the lapboards appeared. Martin kept it all neat and tidy however to stifle the threat and record the first win of the campaign, with an eager Bell second and Murray in third.
The rain had finally eased by the start of heat two, but the track was still soaking wet as the green flag dropped. McCann held sway until lap 4 in this one when Torrens tripped up the leader at the entrance to turn 3 while being lapped. The unfortunate incident also delayed Phillip McCloy and Sloan amongst others, and earned Sticky an early bath in this one. McCauley nipped ahead at this point with Adam Hylands in tow. The National Champion recorded a non-finish in heat one, but looked very racy this time around and pulled of a tidy move around McCauley to take things up on lap eight. Hylands wasted no time stretching out a handy lead as McCauley found his mirrors filled by Bell. For a number of laps Bell bided his time patiently, while McCauley pushed on harder and harder to maintain his advantage. Something had to give and sure enough McCauley clipped the wall on the exit of turn two after getting a little too close to the limit, which was all the opportunity Bell needed to grab the spot. It was way too late to do anything about the leader however as Hylands zipped home for an impressive win, well clear of Bell, Heatrick and D. Martin.
9 342 962 940 343 75 18 69
20 70 199 54 998 994 4
Bell’s brace of second place finishes in the heats tied down pole position for the final, with heat one winner Martin alongside on the front row. Heatrick and Murray occupied row two, with John Christie and Jaimie McCurdy next up on row three. All fifteen entrants were able to start the feature race where the winner would also receive the Richard Turtle Memorial Cup. This award was introduced back in 2015 in memory of Richard, who sadly passed away in November 2014. Richard had raced on and off in the National class from the late seventies until the early nineties and represented Northern Ireland at the World Championship in 1991.
Track conditions were the best they had been all evening by final time, but still far from ideal for any meaningful side by side racing. The silhouette of a dry line was visible by this stage, and that resulted in a full gambit of tyre choices up and down the grid. Some stuck with four wets, others went with the two and two option and there were rumours that some brave souls gambled on four slicks!
The problems for those on the damper part of the track was evident right from the green flag as outside row starters Martin and Murray lost ground in the opening exchanges. Bell immediately sprinted into the lead, but just as quickly disappeared when the Bell Building Tigra pulled up abruptly at the end of lap one. That left Heatrick in the hot seat, with Christie up to second already, followed by McCurdy, Murray and Woolsey. Heatrick set a brisk pace up front and started to edge clear of Christie, who in turn was beginning to drop those battling over third. Hylands was the other one to watch at this stage as he motored around Woolsey and Murray to latch onto McCurdy’s tail. Up front Heatrick had developed a useful gap over Christie, but was already starting to encounter backmarkers as the different tyre strategies came into play. Hylands initial charge had started to fade by half distance as D. Martin began to impress after his sluggish getaway. Martin eventually worked his way past McCurdy to snatch third, while leader Heatrick’s pace had now dragged him onto a train of cars that included Hylands, Woolsey and Murray. This heavy traffic allowed Christie to close in on the leader until the front pair were eventually running nose to tail as the lap boards appeared. Woolsey and Hylands yielded to the leaders, but Murray steadfastly stuck to the drier line, no doubt wary of being railroaded down to the back of the chain if he moved onto the wet section of track. Heatrick therefore was forced to patiently sit behind and cover the inside, playing the odds that it was going to take something extra special for Christie to go right around the outside of him on a damper section of track! It was a strategy which required restraint, as Heatrick could easily have lost patience and attempted a clumsy move to shift Murray. Instead Adam demonstrated admirable self control and coolly took the chequered flag after a professional performance. Christie was good value for second, and such was the pace of this pair that they lapped everyone up to fifth! D. Martin recovered well to finish third, no doubt rueing that tricky start, while McCurdy was a solid fourth. Murray was the last one to finish on the lead lap, with K. Martin and Woolsey in sixth and seventh respectively after Hylands received a two place penalty from the steward. Simon Kennedy, McCloy and McCann filled places nine to eleven, and final finisher Torrens got his name on the scoreboard as well to conclude his eventful re-introduction to National Hot Rod racing on a positive note. Colin Adair
Heat 1: 20 9 70 342 199 962 940 18 343 998 75. Dnf 4 54 994 69. 15 cars racing.
Heat 2: 54 9 342 20 962 70 994 199 940 343 998 75. Dnf 4 18. DQ 69.
Final/Richard Turtle Memorial: 342 962 20 199 70 994 940 54(x-2) 998 343 18 69. Dnf. 9 75 4.