Andrew on top of the world

SALOON Stock Car Irish Champion Andrew Stewart stunned the mainland drivers with a storming comeback drive to capture the CRH Designs sponsored World Masters Trophy at Ballymena Raceway on Saturday evening.

Eleven visiting drivers from England and Scotland were in town for the event and it was Sheffield based brothers Steven and Shaun Webster who set the pace with a victory apiece in the qualifiers. The brothers were out front in the trophy race too, but hesitation at a race resumption allowed Stewart to grab the initiative and the County Armagh man seized his opportunity with both hands to become the first Northern Ireland winner of this event. 2005 World Champion Shaun Webster had to settle for second with Scotsman Stuart Shevill in third.

In the other classes at the CRH Designs sponsored fixture there was a final win for the evergreen Kenny Carson from Ballymena in the Group Two Lightning Rods, Lee Johnston from Portadown took the Stock Rod spoils and Crumlin's Adam Maxwell reeled off a hat-trick of wins in the F2 Stock Car class.

SALOON STOCK CARS

Former World Champions Steve and Shaun Webster and current Scottish Champion Robbie Burgoyne headed the 23 entries for the World Masters. The Webster brothers split the qualifying heats between them, Shaun leading home Steve in the first, before Steve took the honours in heat two just ahead of Cullybackey's Ryan Wright.

Steve Webster and Scotland's Steve Honeyman occupied the front row for the final with polesitter Webster setting the early pace. The entire field was then brought under caution conditions after an incident on track and when the green flag dropped again to signal that racing could resume the frontrunners were all very slow to react.

Local drivers Tommy McCrory and Andrew Stewart took maximum advantage of the leaders' tardiness to blast through to the front of the pack and despite Webster's best efforts it was Stewart who held on to claim a famous win. Webster was a frustrated second, with Stuart Shevill from Motherwell the best of the Scottish entrants in third.

Heat One: 1st. Shaun Webster (Sheffield), 2nd. Steve Webster (Sheffield), 3rd. Stuart Shevill (Motherwell)

Heat Two: 1st. Steve Webster, 2nd. Ryan Wright (Cullybackey), 3rd. Stevie Honeyman (Falkirk)

World Masters Trophy: 1st. Andrew Stewart (Portadown), 2nd. Shaun Webster, 3rd. Shevill, 4th. Honeyman, 5th. Steve Webster, 6th. Robbie Burgoyne (Airth)

STOCK RODS

The 18 entrants included the Vauxhall Nova of Scottish visitor Jonathan Lattka, but the star names were forced to settle for the minor placings this time. Stevie McNeice recorded victory in the opening heat race, before Thomas Morrison registered a maiden victory for his new Vauxhall in heat two. John McMillan forced the early pace in the final before Lee Johnston burst through from the pack to seal a well deserved first final win of 2010. Bobbie Johnston followed his namesake home with Irish Open Champion Raymond Harper in third.

Heat One: 1st. Stevie McNeice (Enniskillen), 2nd. Lee Johnston (Portadown), 3rd. Michael McFall (Craigywarren)

Heat Two: 1st. Thomas Morrison (Ballymoney), 2nd. Freddie Laffin (Coleriane), 3rd. L. Johnston

Final: 1st. L. Johnston, 2nd. Bobbie Johnston (Glenarm), 3rd. Raymond Harper (Nutts Corner)

GROUP TWO LIGHTNING RODS

Stephen Doherty was in top form in the heat races as the Garvagh man romped to a brace of victories in his Vauxhall Astra.

Those two victories however earned Doherty an instant upgrade to a spot further back on the grid for the final which handed the advantage to Ballymena’s Kenny Carson. After an early battle with Gareth McCrory, Davy Parkhill and Liscinda Smyth it was Carson who pulled cleared to claim the silverware, with Doherty forced to settle for second ahead of Smyth in third.

Heat One: 1st. Stephen Doherty (Garvagh), 2nd. Kenny Carson (Ballymena), 3rd. Liscinda Smyth (Portglenone)

Heat Two: 1st. Doherty, 2nd. Carson, 3rd.David Gillespie (Galgorm)

Final: 1st. Carson, 2nd. Doherty, 3rd. Smyth

F2 STOCK CARS

Adam Maxwell followed up his double victory of the previous week by going one better this time to record a faultless hat-trick of wins. The Crumlin driver was in top form and won all three races at a canter. Antrim’s Conor Hughes followed Maxwell home in the final, with Irish Champion Craig McConnell in third.

Heat One: 1st. Adam Maxwell (Crumlin), 2nd. Craig McConnell (Bangor), 3rd. Gavin Fegan (Belfast)

Heat Two: 1st. Maxwell, 2nd. Fegan, 3rd. Kyle Beattie (Aughnacloy)

Final: 1st. Maxwell, 2nd. Conor Hughes (Antrim), 3rd. McConnell

NEXT MEETING

The next fixture at Ballymena Raceway takes place on Friday 21st. May 2010. A World Qualifying Round for the National Hot Rods is on the programme that night, together with Round 2 of the Group Two Lightning Rod Grand Prix Series. Races for the F2 Stock Cars, Classic Hot Rods and Junior Rods complete the programme, with the first race getting underway at 7:15pm.