SHORT oval motor racing returns to Mid Ulster this Saturday night (May 26th) when the brand new purpose-built facility at Tullyroan opens for the first time.
The sport has been absent from the area for almost a decade, since stock car racing vanished from Shamrock Park, Portadown at the end of 2002. With no suitable venue nearby, promoter and former World Champion Davy McCall has been running racing at Nutts. Corner ever since.
“I’ve always had a vision that the sport of Stock Car and Hot Rod racing needed to return to the area from which it received the best support. Things were good at Nutts Corner, but when the opportunity arose to come back here to Tullyroan it just had to be taken,” said McCall, who has tasted World Championship glory in Hot Rods on five occasions.
McCall and Carmen Gilpin have between them constructed the state of the art Tullyroan Oval, a mammoth task and investment indeed to create a top motorsport venue from a green field site. Situated on the Derryhirk Road, it boasts superb spectator amenities, from excellent viewing areas to superb toilet facilities.
Topping the bill on the first night of racing on Saturday night will be the elite class of the ovals, the National Hot Rods. It will be the penultimate World Championship qualifying round for the drivers, with the points chart currently led by Portadown driver Stewart Doak. Former European Champion John Christie is currently second, whilst the other places on the World Final grid at Ipswich in July currently are held by Portadown duo GaryWoolsey and Glenn Bell, and Dungannon’s Keith Martin.
The National Bangers will attract drivers from all over Ireland and are firm favourites with the fans for their crash and wallop racing. Local driver Jonny Murdock is always one to watch, along with Birches racer Willy Ogilby, but they will have to catch Dublin drivers Steven Reynolds and Stevo McGrath, who have both been in top form recently.
Other racing on the night features the Lightning Rods, the ProStocks featuring Dungannon’s NI Points Champion Ryan Abernethy, plus the stars of the future in the Junior Productions.
The first race leaves the grid at 6.30pm for what will be an historic night for the sport of stock car racing in Ulster.