Ballymoney champion at Ballymena Raceway 2016

GP2 Irish Champion Andy McLeister from Ballymoney will be searching for more silverware when the new season starts at Ballymena Raceway on Good Friday (Gilmore Race Photography). INBM13-16S
GP2 Irish Champion Andy McLeister from Ballymoney will be searching for more silverware when the new season starts at Ballymena Raceway on Good Friday (Gilmore Race Photography). INBM13-16S

GP2 Irish Champion Andy McLeister from Ballymoney is expected to be in thick of the action!

It’s all systems go for the new Stock Car racing season at Ballymena Raceway on Friday evening (March 25) where the eagerly anticipated opening fixture blasts off the starting grid at 7.15pm.

Top of the bill on Good Friday is Round 8 of the National Hot Rod World Qualifying Series and it promises to be another thrilling season for the fastest cars on the local ovals, with a fierce battle raging to determine the drivers who will represent the province in this year’s World Final.

Mark Heatrick occupies top spot in the rankings at present, but only 16 points separate leader Heatrick and Keith Martin in fifth!

European Champion Adam Hylands, Derek Martin and Adam Maxwell are all in the leading pack as well, with Glenn Bell, Gary Woolsey and Stewart Doak amongst those looking to make up ground on the leaders.

A further seven qualifying rounds will be contested over the coming weeks before the top nine drivers in the points table at the end of the series go forward to represent the province in the 2016 World Final.

At the National Hot Rod’s last Raceway appearance on New Year’s Day it was 2005 World Champion Martin who motored home to victory in the Winter National Championship.

Jaimie McCurdy and Carl Sloan will harbour hopes of a strong performance on Friday evening to boast their qualifying bids, with Nigel McCauley and Track Champion Gary Wilson from Ballyclare also expected to be in the thick of the action.

Completing the packed programme of races on Friday evening are the Stock Rods, Group Two Lightning Rods and Junior Rods.

The Stock Rod men contest their 2016 Yokohama Championship which is currently held by Steven McKane from Ballymena.

The class looks set to go from strength to strength in 2016, with the likes of Jason Clyde, Rodney Stewart and Tim Hazlett joining the ranks.

The GP2 drivers compete for the Challenge Cup with Irish Champion Andy McLeister from Ballymoney expected to figure prominently, while the young chargers in the Junior Rod battle it out for the Top Teen Trophy.

The green flag drops to get racing underway in the Ballymena Showgrounds at 7:15pm.

PICTURED: GP2 Irish Champion Andy McLeister from Ballymoney will be searching for more silverware when the new season starts at Ballymena Raceway on Good Friday (Gilmore Race Photography).

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