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Added: 30 Dec 2019 Category: Older Oval Racing
Classes Introduced to NI in the 2010s
As we come to the end of the decade I thought it was worth having a look back at how the classes in the local sport have grown throughout the 2010s. Some of the newly introduced classes survived, some of them didn't and we also lost the ProStocks, Reliant Robins and I think the Production Cars from the line up that we came into the decade with.

The 1300 Stock Cars were introduced to Nutts Corner Raceway in 2012 in a move that many choose to forget was how Spedeworth under Deane Wood got into the picture of local racing. In 2014 The 1300’s were introduced at DMC and while being the same class they initially ran separate points and championships and had to book in like visiting classes to race at the “other” promotion. In 2015 In a move pushed by the drivers the class came back together and the numbers improved.

Prior to the arrival of the 1300 Stock Cars thee 1400 Stock Cars had been established as one of the classes at Aghadowey. I only seen the class once and I don’t think they’d anything great in numbers but it did include the legendary “Banjo”

1600 Lightning Rods were the entry level class at Aghadowey Stadium when it opened in 2010 In all but name they were Group 2 Lightning Rods and they raced together on occasions when the promotions were working together. After the closure of Aghadowey Stadium mid 2013 the 1600 Lightning Rods went to race at Ballymena until the end of the season and I think the plan was to absorb them into the Gp 2 Lightning Rods for 2014, however as the class was made up mostly of drivers who hadn’t wanted to race at Ballymena there was calls for the class to be re-introduced at Aghadowey when it opened in 2014 as Aghadowey Oval under the DMC banner, and so with a few tweaks to the rules Thunder Rods came to be. The Thunder Rods enjoyed full grids in their early days and now sea-sea between big grids with carnage and a lot of damage and lesser grids with little action.

At the Tullyroan Oval November meeting at 2018 the Back 2 Basics Bangers made their first appearance in NI with a line up made up of National Banger, ProStock and Rookie Banger drivers and had a decent turnout. They were then given quite an ambitious schedule for 2019 and never reached the highs of that first meeting again. The class does have potential if they had less meetings.

EuroStocks were another of the classes introduced at Aghadowey Stadium, a sort of anything goes budget class that seen some different thinking in terms of cars in it which included Toyota Supra’s and MR2’s. When Aghadowey Stadium closed the class then went on to Ballymena were it was rebranded as Super Saloons. I think The class ceased racing in 2017

The Micro F2’s came along after the Ninja Karts and I think were starting to appear at the end of 2013. I think the class was dreamt up here and the early cars were definitely built here. Like the Ninja Karts there early seasons seen the best of the car numbers.

After impressing at the 2012 Ipswich Speedweekend the Ninja Karts came along in 2013 at Tullyroan and introduced a new feeder class for the juniors. Not surprisingly, it was mostly the children of existing racers that went into the class at the start, names such as McFall, Woolsey, Dilly, Nicholl, Heatrick to name a few. The early years probably had the largest number of karts and the greatest variance in machinery. The rivalry between Adam McFall and Matthew Nicholl was also the subject of a BBC NI documentary on “True North”. The first of the drivers from the early Ninja kart years will move up into senior classes in 2020.

After gaining traction on Spedeworth tracks and unaffiliated tracks in RoI the Rookie Bangers were introduced to DMC Tracks in 2016 for a their first meeting and have added a few more each season ever since. They fit in somewhere between ProStocks and National Bangers with a decent mix of cars and plenty of crashing but without the big follow ins and trains you’d see in the National Bangers.

Street Rods were almost the last throw of the dice at Ballymena Raceway to introduce a new class before they moved to Nutts Corner Raceway after Ballymena closed. A budget front wheel drive class, which on paper should work but at the time of writing they haven’t really taken off (that I’ve seen).

Slick Cars were introduced in 2011 at Ballymena with the idea of getting old cars out of barns, some practice opportunities for other Hot Rod classes and somewhere to run anything that didn’t fit within the rules of the other Rod classes. In 2012 the class went on to become Open Hot Rods and included meetings at Aghadowey and Tullyroan for an Open Hot Rod Championship. The class seldom had more than a handful of cars and while it had potential to bring in all sorts of machinery the only non oval car that I believe raced in it was Keith McClelland in a Rally prepared Starlet.

On the back of a change in ProStock rules in 2012 and when things were getting a bit tit for tat between the promotions, the Speed Stox were introduced at Ballymena. Speed Stox were pretty much the old ProStock rules and made up of cars that had been outlawed from the ProStocks. At a time when ProStocks were getting upwards of 30 cars at every meeting the Speed Stox never really took off and I think only ran for two seasons.

Superstox returned to Northern Ireland in 2013 when Tullyroan Oval took an association with Spedeworth. The class was initially mostly locally converted F2 and initially F2 drivers. The class has got into the 20’s in numbers. Since their re-introduction the Superstox has staged major championships including two World Championships.
Aghadowey Stadium also had it’s own equivalent of the Junior Rods, Lightning Rods and it’s own Banger class, I don’t know if they were known as anything other than that, but they disappeared when the Stadium promotion ended.

Aghadowey Stadium when it was open also had it's own Lightning Rod, Banger and Junior type classes.

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