Irish titles for Dan and Jason – Photo 1 of 1
THE curtain fell on the 2022 racing season at Aghadowey Oval on Saturday night, fans were treated to some great racing as two new Irish champions were crowned.
Dan Shannon of Glenavy won the Irish Stock Rods title while Jason Darragh of Rasharkin won the Thunder Rods version.
Rathfriland’s Ivan Elliott took the King of Aghadowey title in the 1300 Stock Cars, with Cullybackey’s Curtis Greer (Superstox) and Portadown’s Nigel Jackson (Lightning Rods) the other race winners.
Dan Shannon and reigning Irish champion Jonny Cardwell shared the front row for the Irish title showdown Stock Rods, and as the race died down it was Shannon who led ahead of former world champion Stevie McNiece and champion European, British and National Mark Crawford.
Lap after lap they drove around with nothing between them, and at one point we had a field of twelve cars fighting for the lead!
Crawford fought his way past McNiece for second place but couldn’t dethrone Shannon from top spot as Dan raced home to win the Irish Championship to end a fantastic season.
Crawford, Cardwell, Joe Largey and Sam McNeice round out the top spots. The reverse-grid Irish Revenge race saw a win for Ballymena’s Steven McKane over Sam McNeice and Largey.
Irish Championship Thunder Rods has always had the makings of a classic, with Chris Baird and Matthew Nicholl sharing the front row.
From the second row, Jason Darragh capitalized when Baird left the slightest gap in the first corner early to resume the race, but with Rab Preston and Nicholl difficult. Darragh used every ounce of his experience to hold off the rest to claim the biggest victory of his career, with Preston a gallant runner-up.
A fine late battle for third place goes to James Goldie against Daniel Rodgers and Clifford Gordon.
The Irish Revenge reverse-grid support race followed Mark McLaughlin’s way back, with Goldie finishing second ahead of Adam McKinney and Preston.
1300 Stock Cars
The all-action 1300 Stock Cars entertained the entire evening, with bumpers and seats swapping throughout each race.
Jonny Patterson was the star of the innings, taking the opener ahead of Fionn Donnelly and David Wilson, before repeating the feat in the second innings with Donnelly again second and Ivan Elliott this time in third.
Patterson again took the lead in the King of Aghadowey final, before faltering to give Gareth Halliday the lead. Halliday was all clear as Elliott emerged in second, with Ivan increasing his advantage with each lap.
It was biting stuff as the laps ticked away, and in the Brown Trout Bend for the final time, Elliott launched a wide-back attack that sent Halliday far against the wall.
This allowed Elliott to sneak in for a fantastic win, with Halliday having to settle for second place ahead of James Crossett and Thomas McCrory.
The Superstox were lightning fast all evening, with Curtis Greer making short work of those ahead of him to take the opening run from Craig McConnell and Jordan Robinson.
McConnell did better in the second set, with the NI points champion taking the checkered flag ahead of Greer and world champion Kyle Beattie.
Greer had the bit between his teeth again early on in the final, quickly slinking forward to carry on and complete his double for the night in style.
Irish champion Steven Haugh, McConnell and Beattie complete the top four.
James McKinney took victory in the opening round of a depleted field of lightning rods, before British and Irish champion Stuart Agnew sealed victory in the second run.
The finale saw Nigel Jackson take the lead early on, and he took a clear victory over Dean Catherwood for a top two BMW. Mark Corry was third ahead of Agnew.
The next meeting at Aghadowey Oval is the festive meeting on Tuesday December 27 (2pm).
The main attractions are the Crazy Caravan Destruction Derby as well as the final round of the National Hot Rods Simpson Race Exhausts World Series NI. The Lightning Rods, Stock Rods, Thunder Rods and the Ninja Karts 2022 Stars of Tomorrow Challenge are also in action.