An evening of high drama and excitement saw Chris Bradbury crowned the 2015 Superstox Champion of the World at Aghadowey Oval.
In front of a packed house, the feature race on Saturday was an epic World final, with six stoppages in total, which only added to the tension.
The grid draw beforehand between the points champions from all the regions saw local favourite Denver Grattan take pole position for the World Championship showdown, with Scotland’s Barry Stephen alongside and England’s Jason Cooper next up.
The drivers all received a qualifiers memento from the special guests for the evening, 1992 World Champion Ian McKnight and local Mayor, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan.
A huge first bend pile up saw the race stopped and repair time given.
At the second time of asking Stephen again took the lead before Bradbury moved ahead to take it up, all the way from grid sixteen!
The drama just kept coming with more race suspensions, including the demise of local ace Grattan. Defending champion Steven Jackson also dropped right down the field, from where he would start an amazing comeback through the pack in front.
The tension at the race suspensions could be felt right across the terraces, and after a total of one red and five yellow flags the end was in sight.
Bradbury still led but was carrying some slight damage after being sent around the wall, with young National Champion Jordan Salmon now into second ahead of Scotland’s Stuart Gilchrist and David Frame, and Jackson had sensationally recovered to fifth.
It all went wrong for the reigning champ as he fell back after his car seemed to die, but at the front Salmon was closing on English champion Bradbury.
With a lap and a half to go he launched his attack for the lead, taking up the running only for Bradbury to come right back and move him wide to take back the premier position. Bradbury then completed the last lap to take the chequered flag after a superb World Championship race.
Gilchrist took a gallant runner up slot ahead of Frame, with Brett Wesbroom and Jackson next up.
In the support races, English points champion Jason Cooper relieved his sister Sarah of the lead at half distance to go on and take a dominant win over Wesbroom and Salmon in the Dash 4 Cash race, before Guildford’s Nick Roots took victory in a fantastic King of Aghadowey meeting final ahead of Denver Grattan and Cooper.
The first staging of the Best in Britain title in Northern Ireland saw a fantastic 29 car field on hand from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Five times World Champion Chris Lattka from Falkirk drew first blood by winning the opening heat ahead of another former World winner in Chris Gordon, with Jonathan Lattka in third.
National Champion Derek McMillan showed the promise in his new Corsa C by winning the second heat having led from flag to flag. Irish Champion Jonny Cardwell took second over Marc Morrell.
The Best in Britain final saw a full field come under starters orders, and after a very untidy opening with a number of penalties handed out, things settled down with European Champion Stevie McNiece in the lead.
Lattka was on his case though and went ahead when McNiece hit problems with his car. After a huge home straight crash which eliminated a number of cars, Lattka hit bother too as his clutch went, and soon after another caution was called.
There were just five cars left running unbelievably, and with the laps dwindling away Micky McFall bundled Victor McAfee out of the lead on the Pit Bend, with the red flags called and the race declared as of the previous lap.
McAfee was a very popular winner without doubt, with top Scottish lady racer Siobhan Martin inheriting second and Lattka third after McFall was penalised for his part in the proceedings.
The 2.0 Hot Rods were back in action at Aghadowey and produced some fantastic racing, with the first heat falling to Irish Champion Joel Richardson ahead of Steven Emerson and Wayne Woolsey.
Aughnacloy’s Adam Best took the win in the reversed grid heat two ahead of Woolsey and Emerson, leaving the latter duo tied on points for pole position for the feature race.
Emerson won the toss and led off the King of Aghadowey final, from where he would never be challenged once Woolsey’s initial bid floundered on the difficult outside line.
Antrim’s Emerson took the flag for a great win, with Richardson and Best filling the podium.
The all-action ProStocks produced their usual great racing, and saw both heats falling to Portadown star Robbie Wright, with his brother Davy chasing him home in the opener and Stephen McCready the runner up in heat two.
Robbie Wright and recent form man Dan Shannon shared the front row for the Golden Helmet final, which turned out to be a cracker. Places, bumpers and blows were exchanged, but Shannon managed to break clear to continue his recent good form with another victory, with Stefan McClelland and Stephen Boyd the podium finishers.
The locally based Thunder Rods enjoyed a rare outing on a big Speedweekend fixture, and their battle for the DMC Gold Cup did not disappoint. Cullybackey’s David Wilson took the honours in the opening heat with a very impressive drive from the front, with Peter Henderson looking sharp in second ahead of John Goligher.
Heat two saw a flag to flag win for Brian McMullan over Del McLaughlin, before Wilson got the better of McMullan in the final to take the victory. Henderson fought through to second with Curtis Greer taking third.