Belfast Telegraph

Keith Hot favourite to retain title

By Sam Andrews

A belated festive feast of oval racing is scheduled for Ballymena Raceway on New Year's Day where the 2014 National Hot Rod Winter National Championship is the main event on the programme.

Twelve months ago it was Keith Martin who collected the title and the former world champion from Co Tyrone has indicated his intention to defend the title in the Paints and Components-backed Vauxhall Tigra.

Martin will certainly not get things all his own way, however, with Crumlin's Adam Maxwell expected to offer a stern challenge for the title.

Maxwell is currently sitting in second place in the World Qualifying Series after an impressive campaign in 2013, while the ever improving trio of Simon Kennedy, Stephen McGonigle and Gary O'Neill will aim to mix it with the favourites.

There are some interesting names among the entry list too, notably former Open Hot Rod racer Bill McCurdy from Broughshane who is poised to make his National debut at the wheel of a Vauxhall Tigra B.

There is a welcome return to the premier class for Londonderry-based Davy Gurney, while Dubliner Les Compelli is scheduled to travel north for the event where the starting positions for the 25- lap final will be determined by two reverse grid qualifying heats.

There's also a packed programme of support races at the Gilmore Engineering of Cullybackey-backed meeting, with Group Two Lightning Rods, Euro Stocks, Junior Rods, Classic Hot Rods and Stock Rods all on display.

The Euro Stocks also contest their Ice Breaker Trophy on New Year's Day.

The GP2 division is also on the agenda with the entrants battling it out for their Winter Supreme Troph, while the ever enthusiastic youngsters compete for the Junior Rod Champions Challenge Cup.

All in all, it promises to be an action-packed afternoon of short oval motorsport, with the first race getting under way at 2pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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