National Hot Road title decider on agenda at Raceway resumes

Ballymena Raceway hosts the final round of the National Hot Rod World Qualifying Series on Friday evening (June 6) where the outcome of the Northern Ireland Championship will be decided.

Carl Sloan from Kells is poised to make his National Hot Rod debut this weekend.

The driver who emerges with most points at the completion of the gruelling 14 round series is crowned Northern Ireland Champion for 2014 and the winner also receives the significant prize of a guaranteed prime starting spot within the front group of the grid at the National Hot Rod World Championship, which is staged annually during July at the Foxhall Raceway in Suffolk.

Current points leader Andrew Murray will start the showdown as hot favourite.

Murray has displayed superb form throughout the campaign in his Tullymore Road Motors backed Vauxhall Tigra and heads into the final round with a comfortable advantage over his nearest rivals, British Champion Glenn Bell and World Champion John Christie.

If Murray falters, however, both Bell and Christie still retain an outside chance of snatching the crown, so every position gained on track could potentially be critical to the final outcome!

In total seven drivers go forward to represent Northern Ireland at the World Final, with Portadown pair Mark Heatrick and Stewart Doak, Crumlin’s Adam Maxwell and 2005 World Champion Keith Martin from Dungannon joining Murray, Bell and Christie as the province’s representatives.

All will be aiming to finish the qualifying campaign on a high note at Friday’s fixture, but last time out at Raceway the star names were forced to play second fiddle to Bill McCurdy from Broughshane.

McCurdy, a newcomer to the National Hot Rod scene in 2014, raced to an emphatic hat-trick of wins in the Wilson McCurdy Haulage Vauxhall Tigra.

There should be further local interest on the grid this weekend, with Carl Sloan from Kells hoping to make his debut in the premier National Hot Rod division.

Also on the race card at the McCarroll Plant Hire sponsored meeting are the Speed Stocks which contest round 5 of their Super Pole Series.

It was Irish Champion Billy Finnegan Jnr. who took the honours at the previous round in his Honda Civic, but Ballymena’s Noel Hazlett, Rodney Stewart from Cullybackey and Antrim’s Jason McCreight will all be gunning for glory in this one.

Group Two Lightning Rods, Junior Rods, Stocks Rods, Retros and Classics complete the busy schedule, with the first race getting underway in the Ballymena Showgrounds at 7:15pm.