A competitive afternoon across five formulas produced title win for Glenavy’s Dan Shannon and Bleary’s Drew McKeown on Sunday afternoon at Tullyroan Oval. Shannon was victorious in the ProStocks Tullyroan Challenge Cup whilst McKeown took the Junior Productions Golden Helmet, both completing hat-tricks in the process. Other feature race winners at the meeting, sponsored by A McKeown & Son Fruit & Veg, fell to Stephen Emerson (2.0 Hot Rods), Adrian McKinstry (1300 Stock Cars) and Sammy Fisher (Rookie Bangers).
The opening heat for the ProStocks was led for much of the distance by William McFaul, but in the closing stages he had his mirrors full of Irish Champion Dan Shannon. Shannon went in with the bumper to perfection on the last lap to grab the win, with McFaul second ahead of a battling Steven Haugh and Ryan Abernethy. Greg McMullan led the second heat in similar fashion to McFaul, only for Shannon to pounce once again on the last bend to take another great win as McMullan and Abernethy filled the places.
Shannon’s 100% record obviously netted him pole position for the final, and when the early contact failed to materialise he was gone and off into a huge lead in the Tullyroan Challenge Cup decider. As he swept home to the title win in fine style, a great battle for the places fell the way of McFaul over Davy Wright and Abernethy.
NI Points Champion Drew McKeown was in emphatic form as he took a hat-trick of all three race wins in the Junior Productions to land the Golden Helmet Trophy. From pole he was never challenged in the opener as he took the win over Ben Bruce and Adam Weir, after Graham Meek lost two places at the hands of the Steward for contact. Weir, Joel McPeake and Meek were amongst those to hit trouble early in heat two, whilst up front McKeown found a way past Sam McNeice to take his second victory of the day over McNeice and Matthew Nicholl.
McKeown stamped his authority all over the final, racing clear to land the A McKeown and Son Golden Helmet title, sponsored by his family’s business, in outstanding style. A great charge from Meek saw him net second after a great drive, with McNeice good value in third.
2.0 Hot Rods
A great drive from Allen Cherry saw him take the win in the opening 2.0 Hot Rods heat, pulling off a superb outside line pass on Aaron Beattie to take the honours. A late run by Stuart Cochrane netted him second, ahead of Beattie in third. Beattie continued his fine start to the season with a win in heat two, holding off European Champion Stephen Emerson and Pat Casey to the flag.
Aggregate points formed the grid for the final of the opening round of the Hoosier Racing Tyres Challenge Series, with Beattie and Emerson sharing the front row. Beattie impressively held off the initial challenge of his much more experienced rival, before a mechanical problem forced Aaron out. That left Emerson clear in the lead, and although Cochrane kept him honest all the way home it was Emerson who took the honours and the new Hoosier race tyre courtesy of the sponsors. Cochrane, an impressive Brian Cherry and Feargal McNally filled the places.
1300 Stock Cars
The 1300 Stock Cars were racing in the opening round of the Ryan Wright Signs Iron Man Series, and it was early season form man Adrian McKinstry who took the opening heat win over Aaron Rainey and Michael Logan. Logan was the man to beat in heat two, taking the win this time over Rainey and McKinstry. For the final it was highest points scorer to the front of each grade, and once again Logan went ahead but had no answer when the flying McKinstry arrived on the scene. Adrian powered ahead to take the win over Rainey and Logan.
The Rookie Bangers had their first Ulster outing of the year, and after a quiet opener things became very lively and interesting for heat two and the final. The opener fell to usual National Bangers star Stevo McGrath over long time leader Paul O’Connor. An excellent second heat saw Peter McKenna-Murray lead the way for much of the distance, but he sensationally lost out to O’Connor on the final lap.
A hugely entertaining final saw all sorts of action right around the track, with Sammy Fisher establishing himself out front after McKenna-Murray had led the initial laps. Fisher was equal to all the attempts to stop him on his tracks, and was awarded the win after a late stoppage for a hefty knock on the back straight. Behind the victorious Fisher, Christy Bradley and Rodney Herron filled out the podium.
Racing continues this Saturday night, April 27th, at Tullyroan Oval (6.30pm) when the National Hot Rods contest the penultimate round of World Series NI, the Ninja Karts contest their Tullyroan Challenge Cup and there are also series rounds for the Superstox, Lightning Rods and Classic Hot Rods.