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Added: 21 Mar 2011 Category: Older Oval Racing
And the Year Was .... 2002
Back in 2002, Brianís Stockcar pages had been around for a full year, back then a year seemed like a long time to have an online presence, now it feels like the blink of an eye. The site went through another hat full of designs, and even became NIF2, by the middle of the year.
Perhaps the most significant development was that I now had a digital camera, probably a life changing purchase.

In 2002, my site was to be accompanied by John Wolseyís NI Oval Racing website, in representing our sport online.
Johnís site hasnít been touched in years, but it is still worth a visit to look back over driver listings and events at the time, the address is http://niovalracing.5u.com/

On the local F2 scene, the F2ís made an early trip to Tipperary for a one off meeting, with George Fegan taking the win in the Irish Challenge Trophy.
A week later, and still before our domestic season got underway, Graham Fegan and Ian Thompson were both in action at Cowdenbeath, the venue for the 2002 World final, and one of many trips our cars would make there throughout the season. By the time the Northern Ireland season had started, Ian Thompson had already half a dozen mainland meetings under his belt, and consolation and Grand National wins, while getting closer and closer to a Cowdenbeath final win.

As is traditional, at Easter the Northern Ireland season kicked off, and Alan Connolly took the Yokohama tyres championship at Ballymena on Easter Monday. A week on the F2ís kicked off, Gary Grattan made his F2 debut in the HCD Diamond Chassis that Rob Speak had won the 95 world in, which had been in the hands of Jeff Minish and Gary Beggs previously, while Saloon ace Winston Weir also made his local F2 debut, he too having already been out at Cowdenbeath. George Fegan took the opening race of the year, and Gavin Fegan took the final. The following night Ian Thompson took a heat and final double at Cowdenbeath.
From April through to the Irish Open in June, Ian Thompson, Graham Fegan, Craig McConnell and Gary Beggs took 26 race wins between them, with only Decky McFerran and Raymond Percy taking the flag anywhere.

In June, the Irish Open and the Challenge championship brought the best of the sports names to the province, boasting World Champion and European Champion, Daz Kitson, National Points and British Champion Barry Goldin, Scottish Champion Bryn Tootell, not to mention Bill Batten, and the first trip to the province for Scottish Superstar Gordon Moodie.
The Challenge Trophy was up first, and it was English man Sean Ward who took the opening heat, before Beggs and Thompson took heats two and three. In the final it was a comfortable win for Batten, leading home Graham Kelly, with Thompson the top local driver. Daz Kitson won the Grand National.
The Irish Open at Ballymena the following night, just took over where the previous night had left off, Kitson took the opening heat, Goldin took the other heat, before Kitson took the Irish with McConnell the top local driver in sixth. Stuart Kelly rounded out the trip with the Grand National win.

Over the Summer Thompson, and McConnell continued to win races, but some different and some new faces took the chequered flags too, with final wins for Davy McCrory, Trevor Moore, Jason Winning, and a few heats for Gary Grattan.

Away from the F2ís, Davy McCall won the National Hot Rod World title at Ipswich.

Like most years, NI fans made the trip to the World final looking for some hope, that maybe this year the gold roof would come back across the Irish Sea. Thompson had been flying at Cowdie most of the season and looked like the best hope weíd had in several years, Graham Fegan wasnít far away in the Scottish Championship, showing that with a little more fortune it could be done, he even took the meeting final on the night before the world.
With some of the Dutch entry not making the trip, we got an extra two places in the world final. Gary Beggs and Darren McKinstry, joined Ian Thompson, Craig McConnell and Jeff Minish as our world championship entry.
Minish was the first to exit following a first bend pile up, McKinstry was the next to fall, literally, he ended up shiny side up in the first few laps. McConnell spun out, Beggs kept going, and Thompson picked up a commendable sixth, despite a damaged front wheel. Kitson who was the pre-race favourite had got caught up in traffic while leading, which allowed Burgoyne through, who took the lead and went on to take the title, becoming the first Scottish winner since 1990.

After the world final, Graham Fegan won the next 4 finals, including the F2 Irish Closed championship. Davy McCrory took the Ballymena track championship, with Gavin Fegan and Trevor Moore taking the other two final wins.
Dacky McFerran took a hat-trick of wins at Letterkenny where the F2ís went for a one off meeting.

As the season drew to a close, the sad news was that Portadown would not be back in 2003.

Facts about 2002
Davy McCall won the National Hot Rod World Championship, leading home Keith Martin.
Davy McCall won the National Hot Rod National Championship
Gary Woolsey won the National Hot Rod British at Ballymena
John Murray won the 2L Hot Rod World at Portadown
Alan Connolly won the Stock Rod World Championship
Chris Burgoyne won the F2 World at Cowdenbeath
Daz Kitson won the F2 Irish Open
Graham Fegan won the F2 Irish Closed
Ian Thompson won the F2 Irish Points.


My Site at the start of 2002

John Wolsey's site

Ian Thompson was well travelled in 2002

Kitson and Goldin in action

One of the nicest cars of 2002

Skeggy Speedweekend action

NHR World Champion Davy McCall

Stock Rod World Champion Alan Connolly

Speak's Gold Top F1

F2's line up at Ballymena

NI Cars arrive at the F2 World

McKinstry's F2 World comes to an end

2002 World Champion Chris Burgoyne

The new elite broke cover at Cowdie

The F2's went to Letterkenny
More Photos from 2002 on Flickr

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