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Added: 01 Nov 2012 Category: 2012 Oval Racing
Superstox Return to Northern Ireland
So Superstox are returning to Northern Ireland, and join the line-up of classes at Tullyroan Oval, I’m sure it is a hot topic which will have much debate over the winter. There is valid arguments that this will take numbers away from the F2 class, but also a valid argument that there is potential racers out there who don’t fancy going into F2’s and see them as too expensive, or too much travelling.
I’ve mixed feelings on the arrival, on a personal note it’ll be great to see Open wheeled racing at my regular haunt, but on the other hand I’m still a BriSCA fan at heart, although one that is increasingly frustrated by the lack of support NI gets from the governing body and the increasing price of the class which is going through quite a dull period with few rivalries.

My introduction to Stock Car racing came from my dad racing F2’s, as I grew up we went to a lot of F2 meetings and very rarely would we attend a Superstox meeting, in fact I think I might have seen the class as many times at Yarmouth while on holiday in the 90’s as I would have done at Ballymena or Aghadowey and I’d never seen them at Portadown, for that reason I'm a bit disapointed the F2 empire couldn't extend to Tullyroan.

If I’m not mistaken at the start of 1998 the Superstox and F2’s merged in Northern Ireland and it was thought this would bring two classes with low teens numbers together and make one decent class, at a time when Superstox were undergoing a major overhaul in their rules. The vision of what would happen seemed misguided, and in reality only a few Superstox drivers continued in F2, and it wasn’t until the wire and post fence was replaced with a wall at Nutts Corner that the numbers really started to pick up.
At the time of the merger between F2’s and Superstox, they were a very similar beast, both running the big wings and avon tyres. Superstox then went through a radical rule charge outlawing the big wing, heavier weight limits, steel rims shoed with Hoosier rubber.

While I’m not speaking as an expert in Superstox racing and I’ve only seen the class on a handful of occasions in recent years, what I have seen of them I find encouraging. In comparison to F2 the Superstox look to have a much stiffer setup, the cars don’t look as though they have been glued to the track like the modern day F2, and the racing has looked less predictable, and there is a wider variety in chassis being used.
Right now Superstox look like a class going somewhere, in recent years they’ve had the odd meeting at Northampton and have become established in Scotland and now return to Northern Ireland, where hopefully they will thrive.

So where does it leave F2 in Northern Ireland? In my opinion it changes nothing, I looked at most of the F2 field and think they are mainly F2 men, they’ve done the big meetings on the mainland and I can’t see a mass exodus to Superstox on the cards, I think anyone who does make the switch will be drivers who are discontent where they are now. Maybe it’ll cause those running the class to better protect their assets and do something to keep drivers on board, listening to the drivers and fans and reducing meetings if that is what is required. There has certainly been missed opportunity to better the class in recent years, a continuation of the shale would have offered a cheaper entry level to the class for example, and last season Ballymena didn’t even run a stadium championship for them, they are very much a class expected to be there, but not rewarded for doing it, they never top a bill and it was only this year when the DK championship put a bit of money their way in terms of a series. Maybe it’ll even cause BriSCA to sit up and take notice and we’ll get our first major championship for the class since 1995.

How successful will Superstox be? There is every likelihood that Superstox can be very successful, the class will offer and alternative to anyone disillusioned by F2 and is something that various enquiries have been made about in the past, so I envisage we’ll probably get off the mark with 6-10 cars for the start of the 2013 season, and from there hopefully new blood will come into the sport and in to open wheeled racing and the class will grow and develop. Hopefully we can get some visiting drivers over for the opening meeting to help launch the class and attract a bit more interest. Hopefully in years to come we’ll see another Open Wheeled World Championship staged in the province.

Can Supers and F2’s thrive together? Well only a few years ago many people claimed there was no room for the ProStock class and it would destroy the Gp 2’s, in 2012 both classes had healthy fields of cars at most meetings, time will tell if F2’s and Supers can both flourish in the future.

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