2014 News Archive

Return to latest news


During 2014 we're sorry that we completely ran out of time to keep this site up to date - if you happen to have found your way to this page, it will be obvious that this was work in progress that never got as far as being uploaded! If time ever permits, we'll try and tidy it up so that we have some sort of record of the season.


You'll find brief coverage of most of the events we covered in 2014 in our photo gallery pages


Photo gallery index


COMING UP .... JUNE 14/15 ..... One of the highlights of the club racing season is the STOCK HATCH NATIONALS, this year returning to Scarborough's Hunmanby track, where there's a full supporting programme including the F600 Championship on Sunday. The Stock Hatches have a full two day event, while all other classes are welcome to race either day, or both. Other NASA events include

JUNE 21/22 ..... After a six week break the BRITISH AUTOGRASS SERIES and UK AUTOGRASS CHAMPIONSHIP spring back into action with round 2 of each championship. The BAS is on familiar ground at Cwmdu, but the UKAC visits a new track on the site of the 1999 Nationals venue in the Mendip Hills, jointly hosted by the Norton Radstock and Forest of Dean clubs. Naturally there aren't many other NASA meetings planned, but TRENT, SCOTTISH LEAGUE and CORK should be in action. Meanwhile SEGTO and Rolling Thunder Show racers converge on Lydden Hill Circuit in Kent for their annual Long Track Championships, part of a weekend racing festival featuring circuit racing saloons and trucks, plus the return of the Sprint Cars and CAMSO V8 Late Models to Lydden.

JUNE 28/29 ..... Round 2 of the ALL IRELAND series takes place at West Waterford, doubling up with the Irish Fastest Person on Grass meeting, moving from its traditional September date and guaranteeing an action packed weekend in the Knockmealdown Mountains.


We've seen quite a variety of towing rigs over our years in Autograss, but none has impressed us quite as much as Kieran Gormley's regular method of getting his Stock Hatch the 12 miles or so from Artigarvan to Causeway's Bond's Glen Raceway. The battery from the Fordson also does duty on the Astra and when loading up, Kieran's lunch box takes priority over a tool box!


Despite a few more cancellations, racers in Britain and Ireland were spoilt for choice this weekend. Meetings were run at CWMDU, PENNINE, SPALDING, YORKSHIRE DALES

In Ireland there were two day meetings in the north at CAUSEWAY and in the south at CARLOW, plus a meeting of Ballyshannon Hot Rod Club, which increasingly shares its support with the NASA clubs.

Only Scotland missed out, with the SCOTTISH LEAGUE meeting rained off, as were BREDON HILL and SOUTHERN LEAGUE, who will now be dependant on their reserve date next week.

We stayed north at Causeway's Bond's Glen Raceway, now nearly a year old and threatened with its first wet meeting. The forecast was so dire that we made contingency plans to head south, but as it turned out Causeway enjoyed fine weather mixed with a few showers, and the track recovered quickly from the thunderstorms that crossed Ireland on Saturday night; Carlow, often the driest spot in Ireland, enjoyed sunny conditions for their Saturday evening races but were then washed out on Sunday, while nearby Ballyshannon had a successful meeting.

The re-born Causeway club has made excellent progress in its first year




The first event of the new-look four-round All Ireland series saw Down Autograss hosting a respectable turnout of 96 all-Irish racers at their brand new track at Loughbrickland, near Banbridge in County Down. The undulating track and picturesque rural setting were a contrast to the much missed Maghaberry venue, but the new track, seeing only its second weekend's action, was already showing its potential and is set to become a favourite with racers who enjoy a slightly different and challenging layout. With warm sunny weather on Saturday, and only a spot or two of rain on Sunday, virtually every class provided close competition and spectacular action:

CLASS 1 featured a running battle between the Micras of Cian O'Mahony and Shane Farrell and local boy Scott McNeill's Mini, with Cork's Junior Champion Cian taking a debut win in the men's class. CLASS 1A, despite diminishing numbers, provided a good win for Ryan Mulroy, who beat the welcome returnee John Fyffe. CLASS 2 saw a win on his Autograss debut for popular Hot Rod racer Sox Coyne, who fended off Francis Beecher and Kenny McGranaghan, while Becky Coyle was a strong contender until a series of mishaps. CLASS 3 ended up with a depleted field but was still close fought as Ross Ansell's Porsche-powered Starlet held off John Wilde in the ex-Phil Sherwood/James Lee car.

A good grid of CLASS 4s were shown the way home by Davon Henry's Micra, with Richie Nugent's Mini heading the chase. CLASS 5 provided plenty of action with Maeve Devlin showing the boys round for (nearly) all of her first heat, but in the end it was the Causeway duo of John Marley and Aaron Wilde who headed the field with strong opposition from the new Mini of Cormac Maher. CLASS 6 had the crowd on their feet as the all-conquering Declan Browne met his match in the shape of young Evan Curran's Honda-powered Micra. Evan impressively won their first two encounters but in the end Declan's experience put the Junior graduatte in his place.

Two strong grids of CLASS 7 promised and delivered explosive action, to the extent that only three cars survived! Keith Kelly eventually headed home Barry Smyth and Howard Thomas in the final after John Haffey among others hit problems. All eyes however were on Eammon Kelly's superb XCWorx Seicento Chevy V8 on its debut run; it went as well as it looked, and sounded even better, until the fence grabbed it in the last heat. CLASS 8 was a close fight between Joe McGrath and Joe Kehoe, with Kehoe just taking the edge in the final. CLASS 9 was impressively won by Eamonn O'Brien Senior while CLASS 10 saw several mechanical casualties, including early pace setter Ciaran Smyth, depriving us of a battle with the flying Gavin Tivy, who took the win.

Alexander Weir was only beaten once all weekend in JUNOR CLASS 1, heading grassing newcomer but regular Ballyshannon winner Killian Thompson. JUNIOR CLASS 1A was dominated by Eoghan O'Neill, whose closest challenger was Dylan Browne. The JUNIOR SPECIALS produced the weekend's biggest entry and most of the problems, with reruns of nearly every heat culminating in a final that was controversially abandoned after five attempts. That takes nothing away from PJ Cronly, another convert from the Hot Rod scene, who topped the points and was leading each time the final was stopped, closely challenged by Darragh Roche, taking up where brother Liam left off last year. The LADIES all raced together with a Hutton family 1-2 in the Saloon section, Bridget's Class 5 Mini beating Emma's Class 4 Micra, while Louise Browne headed Cat Milligan in the Specials.



The recent run of bad luck for the MAP Open meeting continued when several days of heavy rain culminated in a downpour on the Wednesday before the meeting that left no choice but to cancel. With Gloucester club already having cancelled their "MAP alternative" meeting, that left the only NASA racing for the weekend as the All Ireland round and a club event at LEEWOOD, which attracted a big entry, including many first time visitors, and fine weather eabled them to enjoy Leewood's friendly style of racing at its best.


The Spring Bank Holiday weekend presented a very simple choice to Autograss racers, with just three two-day meetings running; the classic NORTH OF ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIP at York, the now well established MIDDLE OF ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIP at STAR and the relative newcomer, the SOUTH OF ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIP at Concord. The four planned single-day meetings, at INVICTA, GLOUCESTER, HEREFORD and WEST WATERFORD, were all cancelled.

The York meeting started off very wet, with the rearranged National Qualifying races suffering the worst, and only one heat was completed on Sunday before waiting for the improved conditions that arrived on Monday.

STAR was expected to suffer likewise with the weather, but the worst of the rain held off and the strong entry all enjoyed plenty of track time and some spectacular action - photos may be viewed here.

When it doubt we've found it often pays to stay in the sunny south east and we were rewarded with a fine weekend at Concord



With the cancellation of the planned opener at MALLOW's new track (the track build continues but wet weather means that Mallow won't open the gates until they're 100% happy with it), it gave us the opportunity to return to another new 2014 track at AVONBRIDGE for the first Scottish two-dayer of the year. Again, no visitors had been tempted over the border, but the healthy number of newcomers on the Scottish scene continued to show promise, as did the new track, and fine conditions produced an entertaining two days of racing. The usual spectacular Champion of Champions provided the climax of each day, and two wins for Mick Nairns' Class 10, beating the ex-pat Englishmen Nick Holt and Keith Matthews.


The 2014 SEGTO CHAMPIONSHIP has been cut down to three rounds following a disappointing turnout at Standlake Arena this year, but it's still a challenging series, with three totally different surfaces to master; the chalk of Horndean, the dirt of Tongham and the tarmac of Arena Essex. Horndean's opener was touch and go after the wet weather, but the Southern Autosport club decided to go ahead and were rewarded with a fine day and excellent track conditions


Text block.



TJust one weekend was available for "normal" racing, squeezed between the two Bank Holiday weekends, and with plenty of choices on the fixture list, we opted to stay local and enjoy a fine day's racing at the ever-improving CAMBRIDGE track, which is now widely recognised as having one of the consistently best surfaces in the country.



Despite the cancellation of HEREFORD's traditional two-dayer, and the single day meetings at ....... there was still a  reasonable choice of events for grass racers over Easter.

The big news was the opening of two new tracks, a rare event these days. DOWN AUTOGRASS, having lost their superb Maghaberry facility due to the bankruptcy of the landlords, lost no time in finding what promises to be an equally well loved track in the future, albeit one of completely different character. The picturesque spot between Loughbrickland and Banbridge in County Down had been used to lay out a long, wide, undulating track that will prove a real challenge. The first meeting was run on the natural grass surface, which provided a great spectacle for lovers of low-flying Class 7s, but we suspect that this will remain a truly spectacular track, even when it acquires Down's trademark immaculately grooved surface.
The other new venue belonged to the SCOTTISH LEAGUE, just one field away from the previous track at Avonbridge, but with masses of new potential. Again it was a big wide track with dramatic uphill and downhill bends, and the first day's racing saw the local Scottish racers, with an encouraging number of newcomers among them, just starting to scrub the grass off the surface.

Easer Monday saw just one meeting in the country, and YORK's Easter fixture had regained its previous popularity as one of the best attended single day meetings. With the turnout of xxx cars, we thought it was maybe a mistake to try and cram in three heats and finals - maybe two heats with longer race distances would have gone down better as a lot of front running cars had been loaded up by the time the third heats came up and it was a long day for those who stuck it out to the finals. But that's a minor issue - York stuck to their practice of giving everyone as much racing as possible, and it paid off with an



It was touch and go whether INVICTA KENT would be able to open their season as planned on 14 April, as the Ivychurch track resembled a lake with a few days to go. However, excellent work by club stalwarts such as Derek Linch and Neil Thomas transformed the scene in time for a bright, sunny Sunday to greet the xx drivers who turned out for an exclusively IK club event. The only concession made to the earlier weather was that all races were run from 6-car grids, as the club hadn't been able to produce as wide a first corner as the Kent racers are used to! That in no way affected the quality of the racing, which was close and fast throughout, with no major mishaps.



The East Anglian season opened at St Neots



March turned into a busy month with five racing weekends, although despite the run of sunny race days, for many clubs there hadn't been time after the wet winter to get tracks back into shape; this week there were cancellations at




The third weekend of the Autograss season brought the first significant number of cancellations.


We opted for a visit to YORK for a busy season opening meeting.


The SEGTO dirt season started at TONGHAM on a slightly muddy track



PRODUCTION A: 1st 2nd 3rd . PRODUCTION B: 1st 2nd 3rd . MODSALOON C: 1st 2nd 3rd . 1450 HOT RODS: 1st 2nd 3rd . SUPER SALOONS: 1st 2nd 3rd . SPECIALS: 1st 2nd 3rd . JUNIORS: 1st 2nd 3rd . NOVICE JUNIORS: 1st 2nd 3rd .  ALLCOMERS: 1st 2nd 3rd . THUNDER RODS: 1st 2nd 3rd . NUDGE & SPIN: 1st 2nd 3rd .




Week two of the Autograss season saw meetings at STAR, SCUNTHORPE, SCARBOROUGH and PENNINE, although the Irish opener at CARLOW was cancelled. With perfect weather conditions for the second Sunday running, all the meetings were well supported with Scunthorpe attracting 200-odd entries from as far afield as Carlow.


The Rolling Thunder Show has a different look to its schedule at Arena Essex this year, with the first four meetings and the last five all taking place on Sunday afternoons, leaving just eight of the traditional Saturday night events between May and September. Although this causes us, and the handful of regular RTS competitors who are also involved in Autograss, a disappointing clash of dates, on the evidence of the first regular 2014 event the experiment seems to be a success, helped by the warm spring sunshine.



SUPERSTOX: 1st 2nd 3rd . OUTLAW HOT RODS: 1st 2nd 3rd . STOCK RODS: 1st 2nd 3rd . EURO RODS: 1st 2nd 3rd . RTS PICKUPS: 1st 2nd 3rd . JUNIOR HOT RODS: 1st 2nd 3rd .  STREET STOX: 1st 2nd 3rd . RELIANT ROBINS: 1st 2nd 3rd . MINI SPRINTS: 1st 2nd 3rd .  NATIONAL SUPER RODS: 1st 2nd 3rd . FORMULA FOCUS: 1st 2nd 3rd .



As usual it was Nottingham that opened the Autograss season proper. In sharp contrast to this time last year, warm spring sunshine brought out an excellent entry of 187 cars with 213 drivers to Oxton Raceway’s always well prepared track, with the only reminder of the winter conditions being the mud traps awaiting anyone who strayed too far at the first corner. The programme was intended to provide two heats followed by finals for everyone, but unfortunately the meeting had to be abandoned before the end of the second heats due to an unfortunate injury to local Class 8 racer Scott Holmes which led to a major rescue operation. With the programme already running behind schedule after several other incidents, there was no chance of resuming racing. There’d already been a destructive roll for Rich Lee’s new Class 7, on its first lap of the season, plus a slightly less dramatic roll for James Espley in Class 2 and a few visits to the fence, notably by the Stock Hatches and F600s, when in a rerun of his Class 8 heat, Scott Holmes spun on the exit of the first turn and was collected head-on by an unsighted Paul Glover. Fortunately both drivers are recovering well.

With no finals run, there are no official results, but to give you a taste of who was performing well, heat wins went to:

CLASS 1: Two wins: SP24 Ash Robinson, N53 Lloyd Elliott. One win: YD86 Callum Hope, SN201 Jake Bartlett. CLASS 2: Two wins: SC90 Anthony Conway. One win: N840 Clint Fowles, SC300 Dave Hughes, ST474 Jamie Hornby, SC409 Mark Juggins. CLASS 3: One win: SN27 Barry Almond, ST122 Luke Bailey, N1 Kev Thorpe, NS344 Sam Gould. CLASS 4: Two wins: ST18 Chris Wood. CLASS 5: Two wins: N582 Joe Martin. CLASS 6: Two wins: NS434 Ben Gould. CLASS 7: Two wins: Y34 Mark Grice. One win: P23EM Phil Barleyman, R125 Wayne Hartwright, N296 Rob Drake, E122 Darren Grasby, S277Y Ryan Pallass, SC61 Andy Holtby CLASS 8: Two wins 7F Graham Bennett, T5 Stu Whitehouse. One win: R271 Max Lewis, R1 Lee Waldron, SC1 Antony Ross, WR32 Bryn Hawkins CLASS 9: One win: N54 John Boaden, H250 Marc Paskell. CLASS 10: Two wins: ARC5 Phil Cooper. STOCK HATCH: One win: S57Y Chris Adams, P119EM Ady Bennett. FORMULA 600: Two wins: N41 Gary Shaw, ST1 Terry Cox JUNIORS: One win SP43 Emma Robinson, E12 Jake Bailey. JUNIOR SPECIALS: One win YD24 Abi Shields, NS115 Matt Owen, SC111 Harry Walker, NS88 Jordan Arrowsmith. CLASS 11: One win: YD86 Sam Hope. CLASS 11A: One win: ST474 Kelly Hornby. CLASS 12: One win WR164 Janetta Weightman. CLASS 13: One win Y51 Jo Thompson, Y62 Jo Thompson. CLASS 14: One win: WR400 Hilary Bird.


A major change in format for the ninth annual Oval Racing Expo at Arena Essex meant that all the racing took place during the day rather tha having the main finals run under the lights on Saturday night. The change had been made largely for the comfort of spectators, in case it became too cold or wet at night, but in the event fine conditions prevailed through the weekend. Numbers were a little down on previous years among the NASA and SEGTO racers, but that gave the drivers who did attend a good opportunity to show off their respective classes with close and incident free racing.



Autosport International 2014 one again provided an ideal curtain raiser to the Autograss season, with more NASA representation in the show than ever before. An extended NASA stand in the "Oval Racing Experience" hall provided space to display xx cars from all classes, while the Live Action Arena this year featured slots for both Class 7 and Class 9/10 in every show, plus a single performance from the Junior Specials. The "Oval Racing Spectacular" shows that have traditionally ended each day had been dropped, disappointing many oval and Autograss fans, but at the same time giving the oval racers more exposure by making them a major part of all the public shows.


The 2014 racing season couldn't have started any earlier - it was still pitch dark on New Year's Day as a mixed crowd of Irish Autograssers, Hot Rodders, Rally drivers and Drifters gathered in the clubhouse overlooking the twisty three quarter mile tarmac track at Watergrasshill, just north of Cork city. As soon as the first hint of light appeared, and with the heavy rain easing off, the first car appeared for practice runs at the third annual Mallow Funsprint, with the action then continuing until the final set of timed runs took place under the floodlights, before  everyone returned to the clubhouse for a formal prizegiving. There was plenty of entertaining driving as the varied entry got to grips with the tight turns, but it was the strong contingent of National Hot Rods that mastered the track best, overall fastest time being taken by David Casey.