Causeway Chronicle

McNeice wins coveted William Cooke Memorial Trophy

Randalstown driver Sam McNeice won the coveted William Cooke Memorial Trophy for Stock Rods at Aghadowey Oval on Saturday night, June 8th. On an evening of top quality race action across all the formulas on show, Loughgall’s Jamie McCann won the other big race of the night, the Superstox King of Aghadowey.

Ahoghill’s Lewis Hazlett was the winner in the Campbell Commercials sponsored Ninja Karts, whilst other final winners were Strabane’s Adam McKinney in the Thunder Rods and Crumlin’s Matthew Milliken in the 1300 Stock Cars.

Stock Rods

The random draw for the opening qualifying heat for the Stock Rods William Cooke Memorial Trophy placed World Champion Dan Shannon on pole position, and he raced home to win ahead of Sam McNeice and Joe Largey. The second heat saw top runners Sam Wilson and Mark Crawford clash, with Mark Foster making the most of it to slip through the chaos to win over Crawford and defending champion Jonny Cardwell.

Foster qualified on pole for the final, and he quickly settled into top spot. McNeice was tracking his every move, and found the smallest of gaps into the Brown Trout Bend to take up the running, with Cardwell chasing him through. Cardwell then grabbed the lead in a similar move, but he attracted a warning from Race Control for contact. Jonny went on to take the flag, but was demoted two places in the final result by the Steward which elevated a deserving McNeice to the winners enclosure. Foster was classified in second ahead of Cardwell.


The Superstox formula were contesting the King of Aghadowey title, with Lee Davison setting a blistering pace to win heat one, smashing the lap record which had stood since 2017 in the process. David McMenemy and Troy Crawford chased him home. Jordan Robinson was the one to make the break in the second heat, and he took the win with the placemen the same as in heat one.

The closed grid format saw an explosive start to the King of Aghadowey final. McMenemy and Crawford as front row starters lost out, with defending champ Robinson hitting the front and stretching clear. Disaster then struck for Jordan as his engine went sick, which saw the flying Jamie McCann burst through to the lead and a well deserved victory. The three NI Points Championship protagonists, Davison, Craig McConnell and Steven Haugh had a great scrap for the places, which fell the way of Haugh as he took second ahead of Davison and McConnell.

Ninja Karts

Another big grid of Ninja Karts came to the line for three races sponsored by Campbell Commercials. Jaxon Cairns impressed out front in the first heat, surviving two restarts only to pipped at the end by Jake Barnett who won over Cairns and Lewis Hazlett. Heat two saw Cairns again set the pace, but this time he made no mistake as he led all the way home to take his first ever win in some style too! Barnett and Hazlett filled out the top three with storming drives from the rear of the line up.

The final saw William Brown impress as he raced into the lead, as heat two winner Cairns unfortunately spun out of contention. The star drivers were again racing through from the rear, and this time who was Hazlett who took a decisive win ahead of Barnett and Ollie Williamson. All the young drivers received goodie bags and awards from sponsors Campbell Commercial, whilst the LJN Motorsport lower grade awards went to Williamson and Luke Grattan.

1300 Stock Cars

The all action 1300 Stock Car entertained as always, with returnee Davy Morrison taking the opening heat win ahead of Curtis Greer, after Curtis had got the best of a big scrap with Jonathan Brown and Matthew Milliken. Former ProStocks British Champion Morrison repeated the feat in heat two, again taking the win to earn himself an upgrade for the final. Davy Wilson took runner up spot in that one after a blistering last lap that saw the bumpers flying in.

The final was arguably the race of the night, with the destiny of the trophy never clear until the very end. Gary Freeburn, Greer, Jon McQuillan, Gareth Halliday and Milliken all had their noses ahead within the closing stages, as the bumpers were exchanged for fun! Milliken broke clear on the last lap and survived a last bend assault from McQuillan to land a well deserved win with Greer in third.

Thunder Rods

Newcomer Johua McCahon led the opening Thunder Rods heat before Adam McKinney raced through to win over a rapid looking James Goldie. McCahon again impressed in heat two, this time leading all the way to take his maiden win on the ovals. Liam Wilson and Josh Goligher got the better of a monster scrap in the pack to take second and third.

The final saw McCahon and McKinney have a fight for the top spot, before Strabane man McKinney broke clear and extended his lead out front. As Adam took the win, Daniel Rodgers came on very strong late on to take second after a great drive, with Zack McCombe and Jason Darragh next home.

Next Meeting

The next meeting at Aghadowey Oval is the annual Summer Speedweekend on Saturday & Sunday July 20th & 21st. The 2.0 Hot Rods Championship of the World is the feature event and is set to attract a top quality entry from  far and wide, whilst also up for decision will be the Stock Rods British Championship and the Ninja Karts European Championship plus a full support programme. 

There is also Stock Car, Hot Rod and Banger Racing up at Tullyroan Oval on Saturday 15th June and Saturday 22nd June, both with a 6.30pm start time.

Hilary Campbell from sponsors Campbell Commercials presents her Great Grandson Lewis Hazlett from Ahoghill with the Ninja Karts winners trophy at Aghadowey Oval on Saturday night. Also included are runner up Jake Barnett (left) and Ollie Wiliamson (right) who was third.

Young  Lewis Hazlett from Ahoghill – Ninja Karts final winner at Aghadowey Oval.
Randalstown driver Sam McNeice receives the William Cooke Memorial Trophy for Stock Rods from Race Starter JayJay McConaghie.
Class of the field in the Stock Rods on Saturday night was Randalstown’s Sam McNeice.
A packed grid of 6-11 year old Ninja Karts stars produced some fantastic racing at Aghadowey Oval.
Winner of a sensational 1300 Stock Cars final was Irish Champion Matthew Milliken from Crumlin.

Aaron McCullough