National Hot Rod ace Bell has been in great form recently, winning the prestigious National Championship at the Hednesford Raceway in Staffordshire at the start of the month, and the Portadown powerhouse followed that up with a final win in the opening round of the World Series last weekend.
Bell faces stiff opposition in the ultra competitive National Hot Rod division however, with European Champion John Christie from Crumlin sure to be a leading contender.
Christie was top points scorer at the opening round in his rapid Vauxhall Tigra and will be hoping to consolidate his position at the top of the points chart.
Current Northern Ireland Champion Andrew Murray is enjoying his best season in the National class, while Gary Woolsey has returned to the local tracks following a season racing in the English Series, and the former British Champion will not be afraid to ruffle a few feathers in his NW Developments Vauxhall Tigra.
Another fine turnout of National Hot Rods is anticipated at Raceway on Friday evening, with Kells based Carl Sloan and Jaimie McCurdy from Broughshane both expected in the line-up.
Sloan has now completed his provisional licence period at the back of the grid and will be able to take his place amongst the main pack at Raceway which may well bring him into contention for some strong finishes.
Sixteen year old McCurdy is the youngest competitor in the elite National category and Friday’s meeting at Raceway will be only his third outing in the Wilson McCurdy Haulage Vauxhall Tigra, but his progress to date has already marked the teenager down as one to watch out for in the future.
Also on the race programme at the Ramble Inn sponsored fixture are the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, Group Two Lighting Rods, Speed Stocks and Junior Rods.
The F2 Stock Car men compete for the coveted Norman Cromie Memorial Trophy, which is currently held by Gavin Fegan.
The trophy has been presented annually by the Cromie family since 1984 to remember Norman Cromie from Rathfriland, who competed in the 1300 G.T. Stock Car class at Raceway during the early eighties, and has been won by many of the sport’s top stars down through the years including Willie McGaffin, Jack Adams, Ian McKnight, Mike Johnston, Ian Thompson and Graham Fegan.
The Speed Stock drivers contest Round 6 of their Super Pole Series on Friday evening. Ballymena racer Noel Hazlett is the man to beat in his Vauxhall Corsa, while Cullybackey’s Darryl Reid, a recent final winner at Nutts Corner, is expected to figure prominently in the GP2 battle for honours along with Broughshane’s Jason Clyde and Ballymena pair Kenny Carson and David Gillespie.
In the Junior Rod ranks Irish Champion Aaron Moody and Rasharkins’s Niall McFerran have enjoyed some great battles throughout 2014, with Jack Kennedy, Liam Wilson and Patrick O’Boyle amongst those aiming to break up the monopoly of the big two in junior racing.
The green flag drops to get racing underway in the Ballymena Showgrounds at 7:15pm.