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Added: 28 Jun 2017 Category: 2017 Oval Racing
Spedeworth Stock Rod World Final
When I sat down at the start of the season and wrote up the things I was looking forward to in 2017 I have to admit that neither Stock Rod World final was on the list. For me while both Stock Rod classes are capable of putting on some good racing, I felt that both events would be surrounded by a lot of one-up-manship with each promotion trying to out do the other while everyone with an ounce of sense asks why we couldn’t just have one shared Stock Rod Class. My thoughts on the Stock Rods should be well known by this stage, so I’ll not dwell too much on it.

As the Spedeworth World Final got closer the a bit of hype started to gather momentum I became a bit more interested. We’d (NIOvalTV) used the Easter Monday meeting at Aghadowey to get some video footage and photos together to promote the event and it was good to see it all coming together in the run up to the event, it makes it more of an invested interest in how it goes.

The Stock Rod World Weekend came at a busy enough weekend for race fans with Ballymena’s final National Hot Rod World Qualifier the night before giving it a bit of a feel of a warm up meeting for the Speedweekend, like the summer Speedweekends of the noughties. The Nationals points series and final round was extraordinary and it’s unlikely they’ll ever be a final round like it for possible scenarios and lead changes, Shane Murray topping the points in the end with about the top five cars covered by only a few points at the drop of the chequered flag. Another draw for local race goers and car enthusiasts was Carfest in Ballymena on the day of the Stock Rod World, while an All Ireland Autograss round took place at Causeway Autograss, although judging from those I’ve spoken to since there was more Autograss fans went to the Stock Rod World.

There was an uncertain weather forecast for the Saturday of the Stock Rod World which turned out to be a mixed bag of everything, heavy rain, sunshine, thunder and lightning, more sunshine, even when the ProStock European Championship took place late in the evening it finished in better light than it started. Somehow all the Stock Rod races took place when it wasn’t raining and in mixed track conditions which are sure to have led to gambles from some of the drivers.

Curtis Greer won the opening qualifying heat, Jack Grandon won heat two and Marc Morrell won the third heat after Bobbie Johnston was docked for contact but had been first over the line. With the results totalled up Jonny Cardwell had put the 47 car on pole where he was joined by Greer on the front row. Derek McMillan and Grandon shared row two, Morrell and Stuart Smyth shared the third row with defending champion Stevie McNiece on row four alongside 2012 World Champion Chris Gordon.

As tends to happen in World Championships the first start was quickly red flagged after a pile up at the back of the field, while up front Curtis Greer had grazed the wall around the opening bend doing suspension damage and taking him out of the restart.
On the first start McMillan had got on front on Cardwell and after a lot of laps and another stoppage he did it again. While McMillan led and Marc Morrell gave chase further down the field a strange chain of events was unfolding that would ultimately change the outcome of the race, Chris Lattka had been running sixth when suffered a misfire and probably engine failure coming onto the home straight where he lost power and was clipped by Ed Davis, this burst the radiator on the 117 cars which put fluid down on the track making the conditions slippy, in the laps that followed as the cars tipped toed round McMillan backed the pack up and eventually Marc Morrell squeezed through to take the lead, with McMillan being sidelined after picking up a puncture soon after. A stoppage followed and Morrell led defending champion Stevie McNiece for the remainder of the race, when it had looked like the pair had enough of a gap for McNiece to mount a challenge on the outside there was a further stoppage with just a few laps to go. Morrell took the win with McNiece runner up and Jonathan Lattka third.

Also on the night Davy Wright won the ProStock European Championship. The ProStocks once again putting on a great show on a championship night, but disappointingly there was no visiting drivers who made the trip. Scottish ProStock racing I believe is in a bit of a mess with competing promotions, something we can relate to here.

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