STOCK car racing has returned to the area – with tomorrow (Saturday) marking the first appearance of the popular machines in this region since 2002.
The demise of racing at Shamrock Park a decade ago forced fans to travel to Nutts Corner Oval and Ballymena Raceway for thrills.
However, Davy McCall – a former World champion from Tullyroan – has developed a custom-built circuit close to his home.
McCall has constructed the Derryhirk Road-based venue with help from Carmen Gilpin.
“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,” said McCall. “Things were good at Nutts Corner but when the opportunity arose to come back here to Tullyroan it just had to be taken.
“It boasts superb spectator amenities, from excellent viewing areas to superb toilet facilities.
“Topping the bill on the first night of racing 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’s Stewart Doak.
“A former European champion, John Christie, is currently second, whilst the other places on the World final grid at Ipswich in July are currently held by Portadown’s Gary Woolsey and Glenn Bell, plus 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.
“Jonny Murdock is always one to watch, along with the Birches’ Willy Ogilby, although they will have to catch Dublin’s Steven Reynolds and Stevo McGrath.
“Other racing on the night will feature the Lightning Rods, the Pro Stocks and Junior Productions.
“It promises to be historic.”
Racing will head off the grid at 6.30.
Although competitive racing will open at the circuit this weekend, drivers successfully took part in a charity auction on Saturday for a first appearance on the facility.
Portadown’s Thomas Dilly – of Dilly Roofing Supplies – produced £2,000 for the honour, with a donation to be made to charity.
However, with his 2.0 Hot Rod machine still under construction, Dilly presented a number of colleagues with the opportunity.
Ethan Dilly, Ian McReynolds, Feargal McNally, Jordan Rochford and Brendan McConnell took to the track in the name of Dilly Roofing Supplies.