World title holder Christie chalks up yet more success at Raceway

National Hot Rod ace John Christie added the SHP Engineering Irish Open title to his ever increasing list of honours after a faultless performance at Ballymena Raceway on Saturday night.

World Champion Hot Rod racer John Christie in close racing at Ballymena on Saturday night as he blasted the opposition to win the title. INBT 36-888H

Christie, winner of the World and National titles already in 2013, split the qualifying heat victories with defending Champion Glenn Bell before leading the 35 lap championship final from start to finish in his Wilkinson Contracts Vauxhall Tigra.

Bell made a gallant effort to defend his crown, but had to be content with the runner-up spot on this occasion, with Randalstown racer Andrew Murray coming through to third after a spirited drive.

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In the Curtis Cars sponsored support programme there were final wins for Ballymena’s Daniel Norris in the Group Two Lightning Rods, William McFaul Jnr. in the Euro Stocks and Antrim teenager Dean McCrory in the Junior Rods.

NATIONAL HOT RODS

Nineteen competitors arrived for the 2013 Irish Open Championship, with visiting drivers from England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland joining the local stars for the two reverse grid qualifying heats that would determine the grid order for the Irish Open showdown.

Reigning Champion Glenn Bell got the defence of his title off to the best possible start with a fine win in the opening qualifier ahead of fellow Portadown driver Stewart Doak and Scotland’s Robert McDonald.

Jason Kew from Oxfordshire enjoyed some laps out front in heat two before World Champion John Christie showed his hand and blasted to the front on lap 10 to secure a good win ahead of Randalstown’s Andrew Murray and Adam Maxwell from Crumlin.

Christie’s fifth and first place finishes in the two qualifiers were good enough to earn the Ballinderry driver pole position for the final with Bell alongside on the front row. At the green flag it was Christie who gained the upper hand and once out front the World Champion gradually extended his advantage with every passing lap.

No one was able to match the impressive turn of speed that Christie displayed, the leader eventually lapping everyone up to seventh position by the chequered flag. Bell was equally secure in second, with Murray an impressive third and Cork’s Shane Murphy the first visitor home in fourth.

Heat One: 1st. Glenn Bell (Portadown), 2nd. Stewart Doak (Portadown), 3rd. Robert McDonald (Armadale)

Heat Two: 1st. John Christie (Ballinderry), 2nd. Andrew Murray (Randalstown), 3rd. Adam Maaxwell (Crumlin)

Irish Open Championship: 1st. Christie, 2nd. Bell, 3rd. Murray, 4th. Shane Murphy (Cork), 5th. Keith Martin (Dungannon), 6th. Doak

GROUP TWO LIGHTNING RODS

A healthy turnout of 24 cars took part in the GP2 races where former Irish Champion Daniel Norris displayed some of his old form with a well judged win in the opening heat ahead of Jonny Gillespie and Samuel Montgomery.

Brian Edgar set the pace in heat two before Adrian Hillis made his move two laps from home to capture the spoils ahead of Kenny Carson and Norris. Edgar made an early break in the final, but was reeled in Carson before Norris demoted the pair of them to take over the lead on lap 6. Montgomery and Gillespie both made fine strides through the pack to move into second and third, but Norris had everything under control out front to wrap up his second win of the evening and with it the Gold Award.

Heat One: 1st. Daniel Norris (Ballymena), 2nd. Jonny Gillespie (Galgorm), 3rd. Samuel Montgomery (Castlerock)

Heat Two: 1st. Adrian Hillis (Ballymena), 2nd. Kenny Carson (Ballymena), 3rd. Norris

Final: 1st. Norris, 2nd. Montgomery, 3rd. Gillespie

EURO STOCKS

The Euro Stocks made their second appearance at Raceway with 6 cars in attendance.

James Wilkinson led the opening heat until the very last bend where Joe Fleming slipped up the inside to snatch the win. William McFaul Jnr, held off the advances of Stephen Doherty in heat two and the final boiled down to a battle between the same pair. Doherty got his nose in front on the final bend to cross the line first, but the steward was unhappy with his overtaking manoeuvre and imposed a two place penalty which dropped Doherty to third behind McFaul and Lester McCloy.

Heat One: 1st. Joe Fleming (Magherafelt), 2nd. James Wilkinson, 3rd. Lester McCloy (Coleraine)

Heat Two: 1st. William McFaul Jnr (Garvagh), 2nd. Stephen Doherty (Garvagh), 3rd. McCloy

Final: 1st. McFaul, 2nd. McCloy, 3rd. Doherty

JUNIOR RODS

Seventeen competitors contested the Junior Rod events at Raceway and it was Irish Champion Dean McCrory who underlined his current superiority in this division with a hat-trick of victories.

Adam Brogan followed McCrory home in the opener with Antony Kincaid in third, before Niall McFerran and Brogan filled the places behind McCrory in heat two. Patrick O’Boyle and Cara Wightman both enjoyed spells out front in the final before McCrory eased into the lead on lap 9.

Once out front McCrory built up a comfortable advantage in his Peugeot 106 to complete his hat-trick and claim the Top Teen Trophy.

Heat One: 1st. Dean McCrory (Antrim), 2nd. Adam Brogan (Ballymoney), 3rd. Antony Kincaid (Antrim)

Heat Two: 1st. McCrory, 2nd. Niall McFerran (Rasharkin), 3rd. Brogan

Top Teen Trophy: 1st. McCrory, 2nd. Brogan, 3rd. Jack Kennedy (Nutts Corner)

NEXT METTING

The next action at Raceway takes place on Friday September 13 where the main event on the programme will be the 2013 Irish Championship for the Group Two Lightning Rods. Stock Rods, Speed Stocks and Junior Rods complete the schedule with the first race getting underway at 7:15pm.