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Added: 10 Mar 2018 Category: 2018 Oval Racing
10 Things I'm Looking Forward to in 2018
As has become a traditional part of my pre-season build up, I thought I’d take some time to look at the 10 things I’m most looking forward to in 2018.

1 - The Superstox World Final - Tullyroan Oval 22/9/18
This year everything else race related is taking a back seat to see if I can qualify for the 2018 Superstox World. At the time of writing this my Superstox form is a mix of “finished last”, “didn’t finish” and “didn’t have the car ready” I’m under no illusion that a long and no doubt expensive and challenging season stands between me qualifying for the Superstox World Final. My aim is to have got to grips with driving the Super by then, perhaps not to be lapped 5 times in a race, to stop spinning onto the infield and it would be nice to be up to yellow roof by then and to qualify for the world feeling competent enough in the car to want to take my place in it.
Even if I don’t qualify or do qualify and decide I’d rather stand back and watch, the last Superstox World staged here was one of the best Open wheel World finals I’ve seen, it’ll take a lot to top The last F2 world at Taunton, but it was in the mix for 2nd best. With you love the Supers of put them down as a poor man’s F2, the Superstox World is still most likely the top open wheel title you’re likely to see on these shores, it doesn’t need any build it, this is as big as it gets for local Oval racing fans. I’d consider it a triumph to qualify for it in my first season or a joy to stand and photo, it’s little odds, but it’s definitely number 1 on my list for 2018.

2 - The F1 World Final - Skegness - 15/9/18
In recent years the F1’s have become the focus of an annual trip away for a handful of us, taking in 3 World Finals and the last Wimbledon meeting for the Big League in the past 4 years. Although we haven’t confirmed details at the time of writing, it’s looking like we’re off to Skeggy for the F1 World this year. The last F1 World at Skegness is something of F1 Folklore when Lee Fairhurst came through the consolation and I think off the back row to take the gold roof. Since that Skegness has become Rob Speak’s patch and I’m sure he’ll put on a show for the F1 World.

3 - The Lightning Rod World - /7/18
The news the full summer Speedweekend would be at Aghadowey was meet with the normal moans and groans from me of how meetings at Aghadowey don’t seem to finish that much before midnight and how much I hate travelling up and down that road. Setting aside the Aghadowey factor, local racers have dominated the Lightning Rods in recent years and the gold roof has become a permanent feature on local tracks. Speedweekend World finals here always seem to throw up a few surprises and I’m sure this one will be no different.

4 - The F2 Weekend 9&10/6/18
As things panned out with Autograss fixtures last year I didn’t manage to make it to any of the F2 weekend. This year Autograss fixtures don’t bother me too much and I’ll be much keener to make the effort to see the F2’s

5 - The All Ireland Autograss at Down Autograss 2&3/6/18
Under the current All Ireland Autograss Series constitution Down Autograss and Causeway Autograss host a round of the All Ireland Series on alternate years. 2016 was my first all Ireland round I competed in at Down and I had an off weekend, so provided I still have the car by then I’ll be looking forward to having a better weekend this time around. Even if I don’t have the car it’s a great weekend to go and watch with the best field of cars you’ll see in local Autograss racing all year round. If you’ve never seen Autograss before I recommend this weekend as your starting poi

6 - Shamwreck - Aghadowey 27/5/18
Shamwreck goes North this year to the home track of the Unlimited National Bangers World Champion Steven Bolton. I have to be honest and say I’ve found most of the banger meetings at Aghadowey haven’t been on par with the equivalent meetings at Tullyroan, but it mixes it up a bit. Hopefully it gets a good turn out and hopefully it’s a good day of racing. The Superstox are due to be out that day, but I think it’ll be a day for taking photos instead.

7 - NIOvalTV Superstox Series
The NIOvalTV Superstox series normally goes on my list as a “what else can I add in to make it 10?” point, but last year I think we finally got it right. In 2016 we’d seen numbers drop at our rounds rather than lift and the tyres were all ending up in the same place. We mixed it up last year, tried to do something for the lower graders and spread the tyres over a few places so they couldn’t all be won by the same person. Hopefully we can continue that in 2018.

8 - Northampton Euros on Shale
The European weekend at Northampton has become a bit stale in recent years, so it’s nice to see Deane Wood is trying something different and running it on shale this year. The F2 fixtures don’t suit the NI cars the same for going from Skegness to Northampton and I’m sure the surface won’t either. I’d quite like to make it over to see how it pans out, but with Tullyroan on the Saturday night and the Superstox out I don’t know how feasible that will turn out to be.

9 - An Upturn in Saloon Numbers
The Saloon Stock Cars on their day are a fantastic class to watch, the unfortunate thing is that their day doesn’t come around very often here and what you get left with is the McIvor brothers putting on a bit of a show between themselves. The numbers were on the rise a bit last season and that trend looks set to continue this year. I’m not sure how often I’ll get to see them this season, but they look like a class on the up. Still a shame though nothing could be done to see them around Aghadowey or Ballymena though.

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