Lost Tracks – Aghadowey
The track is a 440-yard tarmac oval built on the site of an old R.A.F. wartime aerodrome, located eight miles from Coleraine and four miles from Ballymoney in County Londonderry. Tommy Shaw and Billy Hodges operated the track and the opening meeting was held on 21st May 1971. The venue famously introduced hot rod racing to Northern Ireland at Easter 1975 and became home to the Irish Open Championships for the national class. Other notable meetings held at the County Londonderry track included the World Championship for saloon stock cars in 1993, the only time the final has been held in the province. The final meeting was held on Friday 13th October 2000. Negotiations with the landowners over the lease broke down before the start of the 2001 season. Numerous rumours have circulated since that the track would re-open but these have proved to be unfounded. The basic outline of the track still exists so there is perhaps a chance that the oval will one day be used again.
Past Tracks – Dunmore Stadium
Dunmore is guaranteed a place in Northern Ireland stock car history, as this is the track where Lew Phillips introduced stock car racing to the province in May 1968. Racing continued at the North Belfast venue until 1970, when the rising violence in the city close to the stadium disrupted a number of meetings and finally resulted in the cessation of racing. It was not until 1981 that racing would return to the stadium when a group of enthusiasts formed the Short Circuit Racing Club (S.C.R.C.) to bring stock car racing back to the capital city. The club became affiliated to the BriSCA organisation in the mid eighties and hosted the Irish Open championship for the formula two stock cars in 1986 & 87. Unfortunately the council received complaints from local residents about noise levels that forced the club to cease racing at the end of the 1987 season.
Lost Tracks – Ballyskeagh
I have little information on the track at Ballyskeagh, except from what I’m told there was no fence in one bend and you dropped about 10ft into a field.
If anyone knows anymore about the track, when it opened/ closed classes etc, I’d be very grateful if they could let me know.
Lost Tracks – Clandeboye – Bangor
This 400 yard tarmac track opened in 1968 and was operated by an independent promoter, Barracuda Promotions. The track stayed outside the mainstream of oval racing in the province until 1970 when the track joined the Irish Stock Car Racing Board of Control. The move did not prove an unqualified success and for 1971 the track returned to running meetings with its own drivers and less rigid car specifications. With ‘the troubles’ taking grip in the province at this time and the stadium suffering from low crowds it appears the track closed altogether at this time.
Lost Tracks – Shamrock Park – Portadown
A 450-yard tarmac oval built around the football pitch of the stadiums owners Portadown Football Club. The first meeting was staged there on 23rd September 1968 with Lew Phillips at the helm. Willie Covington took over the reigns for the 1969 season and continued to promote at the track until 1973. Covington was an ex- racer who had previous experience on the mainland and was to be the main organiser behind the Irish Stock Car Racing Board of Control. On 23 September 1973 Martin Greenwood took over the reigns at Shamrock Park from Covington and continued to promote racing at the County Armagh venue until the end of the 1988 season. During his time in charge Greenwood forged close ties with the BriSCA organisation and Shamrock Park became the principal venue for formula two stock cars in the province, staging the European championship on three occasions during the eighties. With Greenwood in ill health and unable to reach a satisfactory agreement with the landlords over the lease renewal, Norman Woolsey stepped in to take over control of racing at the venue. The multi hot rod champion affiliated the track to the Spedeworth organisation and promoted his first meeting in charge at Christmas time 1988. Woolsey would remain in charge until racing ceased at the famous venue on Saturday 2nd November 2002. The football club was involved in a process of redevelopment at the stadium that unfortunately meant an end to the stock car track.