THE 2013 oval racing season at Ballymena Raceway burst into action over the Easter weekend with a championship double header for the Stock Rod formula forming the centrepiece of the action and Bushmills racer Lee Booth made his debut and achieved a creditable third place.
The bitterly cold temperatures did not deter the racers from producing some hot action on the track with visiting drivers from Scotland and the Republic of Ireland joining the best from the province to contest the Yokohama and Irish Open Stock Rod championships.
After two days of tough competition the honours were shared between the home drivers and the visitors with Irish Champion Stevie McNiece clinching the S. McAfee & Son Car Sales sponsored Yokohama Tyres title on Good Friday and Scotland’s Chris Lattka victorious in the Gilmore Engineering Irish Open title on Saturday evening.
The new Speed Stock class made their first ever appearance in the province on Good Friday with Bushmills racer Lee Booth amongst the debutants. Ballymoney’s Adam Brogan finished fifth in the Junior Rod category where victory went to Bradley McKinstry and the GP2 silverware was shared between Jonny Gillespie and Greg McMullan.
In the other classes Randalstown-based racer Andrew Murray marked his return to the National Hot Rods World Qualifying Series with a faultless hat-trick of wins, a feat that was matched by F2 racer Gary Blair in the opening round of the F2 Stock Car Grand Prix Series.
Easter weekend results:
* Stock Rods 2013 Yokohama Championship: 1st. Stevie McNiece, 2nd. Chris Lattka, 3rd. Carl Sloan.
* Stock Rods 2013 Irish Open Championship: 1st. Lattka, 2nd. Sloan, 3rd. Derek McMillan.
* National Hot Rods: 1st. Andrew Murray, 2nd. Andrew Cochrane, 3rd. Keith Martin.
* F2 Stock Cars: 1st. Gary Blair, 2nd. Ryan McCrory, 3rd. Conor Hughes.
* Speed Stocks: 1st. Billy Finnegan, 2nd. James Goldie, 3rd. Lee Booth.
* Junior Rods: 1st. Bradley McKinstry, 2nd. Dean McCrory, 3rd. Aaron Moody.
* GP2 Good Friday Final: 1st. Jonny Gillespie, 2nd. Simon McLaughlin, 3rd. Shane Gault.
* GP2 Easter Saturday Final: 1st. Greg McMullan, 2nd. McLaughlin, 3rd. Mark Turtle.
Racing returns to the Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday evening (April 12) when the Stock Rods race for the coveted Wm. Cooke Memorial Trophy which is currently held by Michael McFall.
Also included in the programme of events is the Grand Prix Trophy for the Open Hot Rods and the Junior Rods Next Gen Cup, with races for the always competitive Group Two Lightning Rod class completing the schedule.
The green flag drops to start proceedings in the Ballymena Showgrounds at 7:15pm.