Irish contingent look to dash home hopes

FOXHALL Stadium - or Foxhall International Raceway as the four-wheel fraternity like to call it - stages its 35th National Hot Rod World Championship this weekend.

By Elvin King

FOXHALL Stadium - or Foxhall International Raceway as the four-wheel fraternity like to call it - stages its 35th National Hot Rod World Championship this weekend.

It is one of the biggest sporting occasions in East Anglia each year, and is expected to set the turnstiles clicking around 17,000 times over the weekend.

Riders come from all over the British mainland and from Ireland - north and south - with a host of other events taking place beside the Hot Rod final.

The doors open at 9am tomorrow, and spectators will be entertained by a variety of differing classes for 12 hours before a bumper firework display brings the curtain down around 10.30pm.

On Sunday it all kicks off again at 9.30am, with the main final at noon, and the stadium not quietening down until around 5.30pm.

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Ipswich's Carl Boardley tops the qualifying charts and is favourite in the eyes of those who know to win his first world crown, while Andy Steward from Great Bromley offers more East Anglian hope.

Traditionally the Irish have supplied a good percentage of winners and 11 drivers have crossed the Irish Sea to take part in an event won last year by Keith Martin from County Tyrone.

Roy Eaton, a director of organisers Spedeworth Motorsports, says that Boardley must start favourite.

Eaton said: “Carl has a fast car and he looks like being the quickest, but he will have to work hard and there are others in the field who will be ready to take advantage of any slip-ups.”

No Ipswich-based rider has ever won the world title at Foxhall, and if Boardley can keep his engine going in what is effectively second gear for 75 gruelling laps he has every chance of ending that drought.

Boardley, who will drive car No. 41, scored 782 points in qualifying for this weekend.

The other leading English National Hot Rod qualifiers are: Malcolm Blackman 765 points, Andy Steward 740, Steve Thompson 663, Ricky Hunn 633, Neil Stimson 611, Chris Haird 605, Dick Hillare 599, Phil Spinks 590, Matt Simpson 571, Simon Bentley 566, Andy Holtby 564, Stuart Carter 496, Mike Thurley 493, Colin Gomm 476 and Rob Hadfield 450.

Northern Ireland qualifiers: Keith Martin 695 points, Gary Woolsey 694, Stewart Doak 685, Wayne Woolsey 678, Davy McCall 671, John Christie 665.

Republic of Ireland qualifiers: Mike Riordan 778 points, Shane Murphy 738, Tom Casey 736, Malcolm Clein 729, Des Cooney 637.

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