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Added: 26 Jul 2011 Category: 2011 Oval Racing
2011 - #23 – Nuttscorner Oval - 23/7/2011
The biggest weekend in the Northern Ireland oval racing calendar arrived. The 2011 Speedweekend kicked off, with the 2 Litre World final qualifying heats, the Lightning Rods British Qualifying heats, The ProStocks Irish Open Championship, The National Hot Rods, Juniors and Robins all in action.

To be honest with my involvement with Nuttscorner Oval in the build up of this event alongside my involvement in the 2 Litre Hot Rod website, this was probably as excited about a meeting here as I’ve ever been. Sure, Nuttscorner has been running Speedweekends since 2005, and even before that but not branded as a Speedweekend, the world has even been at it twice before, but the addition of running the 2 Litre Hot Rod site added a new dimension, the sort of anticipation you grow out of over the years, when you’ve seen it, watched it, bought the t-shirt and have stuck the programme away in the loft.

Who knows when it is due back in 3 years where we will all be, how healthy the sport will be, how healthy the grids will be, how expensive travel will be to put together the same field of cars, and for me what promotion will be running it, It’ll certainly come as a kick in the stones if the next 2 Litre World to be staged here is done so at a promotion I don’t attend, and if it is, I’ll likely not be the person running the 2litre site by then either. All these factors just made this weekend more special with all the factors coming together.

Aside from the politics, Saturday night was always going to be the story of how the grids were going to be formed. Adam Hylands took the opening heat, inspired by the fact we’d trophy girls, while Wayne Woolsey came home second ahead of John Christie. Will Reed, Andrew Murray and Richard Poulter had all impressive drives that stood out for me.
While everyone in heat 1 has their stall set out, it isn’t really until heat two you start to get an idea how things will pan out. Andrew Murray retired with mechanical gremlins while running well up and John Christie had changed an engine between heats and just wasn’t setting the same pace he had done. David McMemeny took the second heat with Adam Heatrick second and Derek Martin third. Woolsey and Hylands had fought through from the back to eleventh and twelfth, and a definite benchmark was set.
The final heat took place under the floodlights with Denver McLean leading home Gareth Hagan, after Jason Wilks had run most of the race in second and pulled out in the closing stages. Gary Wilson was third on track, but docked 2 places for closing the gap between the groups on the start, this promoted Shane Murray to third and most significantly Will Reed to fourth, giving him pole for the big race, leaving Hylands, McMenemy and McLean tied for second which would then be drawn.

In the lightning Rods Harry Skoyles became the first visiting driver to take a win over the weekend taking the opening heat win, while Brendan McConnell took the second heat and Gordy McKee took the final heat of the night. When all tallied up, the results would put McConnell on pole and Stephen Emerson on the outside.

In the Nationals, Gary Woolsey had what looked to be an expensive day, blowing one engine in practice and another in heat one, side lining him for the remainder of the meeting. Adam Maxwell took all three race wins with lights to flag victories, while the final looked like the only race anyone was on terms with him.

The ProStocks put out a field of over thirty cars for the opening heat, including the Gold top Ally McDonald and fellow Scot Craig Jones. Needless to say, the numbers didn’t stay in the 30s for long. Ryan Stewart led home Billy Finnegan Jr and Willy Stewart in the opening heat, while heat two went to Ryan Abernethy.
The final became one of the races of the night, with a decent grid of cars taking the green flag and within a lap 10 of them were sitting on the infield and out of the race. On the restart Finnegan hit the front followed by Ryan Stewart, and it looked as if the two would disappear and leave everyone, and briefly they did, until they came together on the back straight and both spun onto the infield. Stewart rejoined well down the order while Finnegan was out. Thomas Agnew soon took up the lead, and was the next to fall victim of being leader, he put in a hit on a backmarker while he was being closed down and got caught up with the backmarker, allowing Alan Haugh into the lead. More carnage followed and with a few laps remaining 8 cars took the final restart with Stewart back up to fourth, and it looked as though the race had come back to him. When the flag dropped Stewart didn’t get going, and was out. Haugh went on to take the win, Ryan Abernethy got through into second with Dan McReevy third, having been spun and recovered in the closing stages. This was contact racing at it’s very best.

In the Robins there was an opening heat win for Jimmy Beattie, with Rab Stewart taking the second heat and the final. Ryan Wright provided much of the entertainment after losing a wheel and briefly continuing with 2 wheels!
Derek McMillan took a heat and final double in the juniors with Jordan Rochford taking the win in the other heat.

The only thing that screwed me up a little was the dogs dinner that was made out of my meticulously prepared programme.

Heat 1 Group 2 .... I think

Heat 2 Group 1 ... I'm sure

Same Group, different angle

Defending Champion Jason Wilks

Richard Poulter

Gareth Hagan and Leigh Nicholl

Davy Parkhill's Robins debut

The ProStocks Line Up

Action from the ProStocks

ProStock Gold Top Ally McDonald

Lightning Rods

Lightning Rod Heat 2 lines up

National Hot Rods Line Up

National Hot Rods lead group

Gary Woolsey's nigh ends
More Photos on

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