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Added: 27 Jul 2017 Category: 2017 Oval Racing
DMC Summer Speedweekend
I think it’s fair to say that Speedweekend’s have become a bit too frequent in recent years and some of the magic has gone from them, but the July weekend at DMC was the original Speedweekend and the first in Northern Ireland to be branded a Speedweekend back in 2005 when Nuttscorner Oval hosted the 2.0 Hot Rod World Championship for the first time.

Twelve Summer Speedweekends and four stagings of the 2.0 Hot Rod World on have seen a lot of changes within the sport at home, including the Speedweekend itself and this year the format was a split of Heats for the World final at Aghadowey and the final at Tullyroan, a format last used I think in the mid 90’s when Ballymena and Portadown staged the World between them.

It would be fair to say I’m not a fan of splitting a speedweekend between two venues, for the most part it has given a good day and a bad day at any of the previous DMC stagings, I don’t think it fits in the box of what I’d call a Speedweekend either if it’s not all at the same place. While I’d still prefer it had all been staged at one place (Tullyroan), this year’s summer speedweekend was the best of the split venue weekend’s there has been as yet, so the format of splitting the heats and final of the big race across the two days must have worked.

In the run up to the weekend I have to admit I was quite sceptical about what sort of weekend we’d end up with, the 2 Litre numbers have rarely troubled double figures this season at home, looking at Spedeworth’s turn outs they haven’t been staggering there either, I often overlook Scotland’s 2 Litre’s as I still don’t see it as a Hot Rodding Nation and despite having a reasonably healthy scene at Tipperary a lot of them seem to get a nosebleed coming over the border. While on one hand it looked like it could provide a really open field for racing, on the other it was hard to see where the interest would be within it and how full a grid of cars would we even end up with. Controversially, but within the rules, Wayne Woolsey who hadn’t raced in 2017 prior to the World and Glenn Bell who had only done a meeting or two at the end of last season had scored enough qualifying points to find themselves eligible to race for the weekend, along with Joel Richardson who borrowed back the ex Shane Murray RCE 106 he’d sold earlier in the year to compete, this all added a few more expected front runners to the field, adding a bit more hype to the build up.

I think it was some sort of Karma that led me to get stuck behind a vintage tractor run on the way to Aghadowey and having crawled through Portglenone my “Summer Speedweekend” mood wasn’t helped any by the torrential rain that hung over Aghadowey when I arrived, but the forecast said it would clear, we got lucky with the weather for the Stock Rod world and I hoped it would happen again for the 2 Litres. Sure enough just before start time the rain cleared up and the track dried as the night went on and while there was a few times we looked to the clouds to see what the weather was about to unleash on us, we got away with only a few drops.

The Stock Rods got the dubious honour of being first on track in the drying conditions and World Champion Marc Morrell made a blistering start driving round the outside of the field, until either something went off on the car or the track dried out and suited everyone else’s setup better and the 23 car went backwards. Shane McMillan was the eventual winner of heat one, Rodney Fleck later took the second heat and Curtis Greer cruised to victory in the final.
At the June Speedweekend the ProStocks struggled for numbers on the Sunday after their European which had been on the Saturday night. For this Speedweekend the Irish Championship for the class was split over the two days with just two heats on the Saturday night and the final on the Sunday. As has been the tradition since they arrived on the scene the ProStocks served up some great racing on the Saturday night with heat wins going to Adam White and Robbie Wright.

The heat results had put Adam White on pole for the final which was a bit of a roundy roundy affair as can sometimes be the case when the fastest man is on pole. White took the Irish Championship followed home by Dan Shannon and Joe Largey.
The reverse grid race for the DMC Gold Cup was a much more lively affair with action aplenty and Dan Shannon coming out the eventual Winner.

The Lightning Rods were second on track for their opening qualifying heat for the European Championship and it was still a drying track, Vince Litter taking the win by a comfortable margin. After being called to race control to provide video footage for review from the second 2 Litre heat, I watched the second heat from race control for what was a much more action packed race than their opening heat, Mark McCambridge the eventual winner having just prevented Jordan Rochford from driving around him in the closing laps.
Vince Litter and Rochford filled the front row of the grid for the European Championship which was the last race of the night at Aghadowey. Litter went wide around the shed end allowing Rochford up the inside where he went on to build up a lead of around half a lap over Ben Furness by the end of the race with Roger Dormer third, it wasn’t a classic.

The Irish Open Championship was up for grabs for the Lightning Rods on the Sunday, Vince Litter again the opening heat winner, Rochford won the second heat to give him pole for the final, but it was former World Champion Scott Cochrane who took the win.

There was a good turnout of Ninja Karts and the youngsters put on some great racing over the weekend as they raced for their National Championship at Aghadowey on Saturday night and their Irish Open Championship on Sunday at Tullyroan. Lexi Finney won the opening heat for the class at Aghadowey and set the tone for a weekend of visiting drivers taking the wins. Kasey Jones followed up a heat two win by converting a pole position for the final into a win leading home local racers Daniel Stewart and Corey Sterling.

At Tullyroan Daniel Stewart broke the visiting domination when he won the opening heat before Toby Parfitt won the second heat and the Irish Open final with Aaron Ward and Kasey Jones second and third.

The star attraction for the weekend was the 2 Litre Hot Rod World Championship, the opening heat required a rolling start on a damp track and Feargal McNally converted a front row start to an opening heat win, it wasn’t the most eventful of opening heats with the biggest talking point being a non finish for Wayne Woolsey.

What heat one lacked in drama heat two certainly made up for. Joel Richardson started on pole and looked like he would drive off into the distance, but that wasn’t to be when he pulled onto the infield mid race presumably with mechanical failure, that left fellow local favourite Stephen Emerson in the lead while a pack including Wayne Woolsey, George Turiccki, Dave Leech and Glenn Bell battled for second, the battle was to become more significant with 2 laps to go when Stephen Emerson’s car died on the pit bend, Emerson had just lapped Brian Cherry who seemed unsure as to whether to unlap himself and the battle for second got caught up behind them with Glenn Bell the quickest to react passing four cars (including Cherry) in what was possibly the move of the weekend to go through from fourth to the lead, taking the win a lap later. It was a tough race for fancied runners with Emerson recording a DNF, Richardson recording a DNF and Wully Hardie recorded a DNF and was then loaded for the weekend following an incident with Gavin Botfield.

With a lot of fancied runners having run into trouble in the opening two heats it was already starting to look like two finishes would get you well up the grid and pole would most likely go to whichever of Glenn Bell or Feargal McNally could finish furthest up in the third heat. Brian Cherry made it three out of three for the local drivers in the heats while chaos reigned further down the field and a last bend crash caught Stephen Emerson, Dale Fewings, Ryan McClure, Nick Ross, Lee Carlin to name a few. Bell had got the better of the finishes collecting a few black crosses on his way but the dockings weren’t enough to cost him pole ahead of McNally.

Unlike the previous 2 Litre Hot Rod World final staged at Tullyroan this one took place in dry, sunny, pleasant conditions. Bell and McNally shared the front row of the grid with Alexander and Sean Dynes on row 2, Brian Cherry and Dave Leech on row 3 while further back Wayne Woolsey started inside row either and Joel Richardson was quite a few rows further back still.
From the off Bell took the lead while the outside line struggled to get across, as the race settled down Bell led with Alexander second followed by Cherry, Turiccki and Leech while Wayne Woolsey had made his way up to sixth within the opening laps. In the laps that followed Woolsey made his way up to third before a race caution period for George Turiccki who had retired on the outside of turns one and two. Bell led on the restart with Alexander second and backmarker Jock Campbell between himself and third place Woolsey. Within a few laps Woolsey was by both Campbell and Alexander and was now chasing down Bell. Over the next few laps the lead pair broke away from the Alexander until Woolsey started to challenge for the lead which slowed the pair up and brought Alexander and then Leech back up with them. Just over ten laps from home Woolsey made the move that would determine the outcome of the race, getting up the inside of Bell on the run into turn one but making contact with the number 9 machine and picking up a black cross in doing so, the move left Bell on the outside where he dropped to fourth behind Alexander and Leech. Woolsey pulled away throughout the remainder and crossed the line first only to be docked two places, Alexander fended off the challenge from Leech for second to claim the win and become Scotland’s first Hot Rod World Champion with Leech across the line third getting promoted to second and Bell fourth.

In the revenge race there was a win for Allen Cherry before Alexander also claimed the Irish Open title leading home Bell and Ryan McClure

The 1300 Stock Cars joined the action for the Sunday only racing for the Irish Masters title. Calvin Blake taking both heat wins before Peter Greer took the win in the final, leading home Jon McQuillan and Adrian McKinstry.

















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