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Added: 27 Oct 2013 Category: 2013 Oval Racing
2013 - #51 – Tipperary Raceway (SORA) – 26/10/13
If you’d have told me at the start of the season that I’d have been at Tipperary for the Stock Rod European and NHR Euro Challenge, I’d have told you that you were mad. Firstly going by the original fixtures it would have clashed with Tullyroan’s Gala night, secondly I wasn’t terribly impressed the last time I went a few years back and thirdly as a result of that trip I went on to rub a few people up the wrong way on facebook after last year’s NHR European (which I’d streamed and watched online) and from that I figured I may not have been terribly welcome back. However, a lot has changed since the start of the season, the promotion at Tipperary has changed hands and is now run by the SORA club, which for a club in it’s infancy, it seems to be finding it’s feet quite well and the right noises were coming from those who have gone to Tipperary throughout the season, that in addition to the recent change of the Gala night at Tullyroan and everything feel into place to give Tipperary another chance.

My first impressions of Tipp, upon my first visit was that no one seemed to have a clue what was going on, from a fans perspective at least, there was no race order, no programme, start times and end times were a bit vague too, and I’m pleased to say the simplest and yet most effective of fixes has been applied to change that, on arrival at the track we got a programme with a race order, and right away you feel a bit more informed as to what is going on, and more so as a fan it’s creates a great first impression that the new promotion is making a real effort to turn the corner.
Things have changed for the photographers as well, you can now get out onto the infield again, and I managed my first trip onto the Rosegreen infield, which I think is only the 4th track this year I’ve been on the infield of.
Racing wise the Stock Rod European was the big event and there was around 45 Stock Rods in attendance. Colm O’Sullivan took heat one, Jonny Cardwell was awarded heat two after being spun out late on and I assume the Gurling rule came into play, heat two had been a bit of a DD with around 15 cars involved in a pile up before the cars had reached the start line upon the initial attempt to run the race, the race was rescheduled and the drivers given time to work on their cars ahead of the re-run, which also featured a few big smashes. Alan McCormack took heat three which along with a good finish in heat two put him on pole for the final and from pole in the final he went on to take the win with William O’Donovan second and Jonathan Lattka third.
In the Nationals there was an opening heat win for Tom Casey who led Dave Casey across the line, heat two went the way of Glenn Bell who was followed closely by John Christie. In the final it looked early on as though it would be Dave Casey’s race as he built up a decent lead, but lap by lap the chasing pack of Adam Maxwell, Glenn Bell and John Christie chipped away at Casey’s lead and as they closed Casey got caught up and went the wrong side of a backmarker which allowed Maxwell through and into the lead with Christie and Bell also getting through. The lead pack then got bunched up behind backmarker Eddie Wall and lap after lap struggled to get around the 420 Merc, eventually Christie made his way through to the lead and it was he who finally got up the inside of the 420 machine and got some clear track ahead to race off into. Christie went on to take the win with Bell second and Dave Casey third, Maxwell fourth.
The 2 Litre hot rod had a demo run which attracted ten cars including Shane Murray and Adam Hylands who between them account for nearly every major in the class in 2013 (all bar the European). Hylands took an opening heat win, which was stopped short when Murray and McClure came together, the latter ending up on his side in the wall. Heat 2 went to Stephen Emerson and the final, also run over a short distance due to time restrictions, was won by Hylands.
In the Lightning Rods there was an opening heat win for Ben McKee before Jordan Rochford won heat two and the final.
The Juniors seen a number of NI Junior Rods joining the locals, and I’m not sure what the difference in spec is, but the NI cars weren’t really on a par with the locals although Niall McFerran and Anthony Kincaid did get up amongst them a few times. Ian Roirdan won the final.
I don’t think it’s right that I finish my write up without mentioning the food, while I’m no qualified food critique, I’m pleased to say the portions have improved and the price has come down since the last time I was there.
So there you have it, the promotion has improved, the value for money for the food has improved and you now get a programme, Tipperary looks like it’s on the up again, which is good to see, because it makes a nice wee road trip without having to fork out for a boat crossing.

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