Lightning Rods

Meeting Overview 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | Drivers | What are they

14/5 Points: Polleysport Yokohama Series R4
Ashley Birkin 89, Richard Warner 81, Carl Offord 81, Lee Skoyles 79, Chris Aldridge 63

12/5 Points: DMC - World Qualifying
Jordan Rochford 396, Scott Cochrane 325, Ricky Shaw 312, Gary Beggs 301, Mark Corry 275

12/5 Points: DMC - 2017 NI Points
Scott Cochrane 113, Jordan Rochford 111, Gary Beggs 106, Mark Corry 96, Aaron Stewart 81

1/5 Points: Spedeworth - Chart 9
Joran Murray 239, Ashley Birkin 200, Richard Warner 197, Ben Furness 182, Carl Offord 182

1/5 Arena Essex Paul Strawson wins the opening race before the heavens open. Dan Guidotti wins the final and Anthony Lawrence the other heat which puts him top of the points; the top 8 are separated by 13 points.

29/4 Tullyroan Heats: Stephen Hollywood, Scott Cochrane. Final: Mark Overend

17/4 Aghadowey Heats: Mark McCambridge, Marc Overend. Final: Mark McCambridge

17/4 English Championship - Northampton Many commented this being one of the worst stewarded meeting in the class as only 12 cars made the finish, the final being won by Reid Murray.
Final: 591, 421, 12, 68, 688, 465, 557, 84, 398, 334
Previous winners
English Championship

17/4 Arena Essex Youngster Marcus Reeve took the final ahead of recently returned Paul Strawson who had won the second heat. Jason Brett won the opening heat.

8/4 Tullyroan Heats: Jordan Rochford, Stephen Hollywood. Final: Scott Cochrane

2/4 Arena Essex Season opener for the PRI version saw Marcus Reeve and Wayne Londors win the heats, the day finished with James Heard winning the final.

1/4 Ipswich Carl Offord won the final ahead of Jason Jackson who now tops the Polleysport/ Yokohama Series tied with Simon Hopcroft-Lopez who the opening heat. The other heat was won by Kenny Nicklin.

12/3 Hednesford The first Incarace meeting of the year saw plenty of Spedeworth drivers as they were eligible for points. The heats went to Chris Aldridge and Dave Imber; Simon Hopcroft-Lopez won the final.

26/2 London Championship - Wimbledon The last appearance of the Sierra based class in London saw Jason Busby win ahead of Richard Warner and Ben Furness. The heats being won by Colin Murray and Busby. Banger ace and former English champion in the class Jason Jackson returned numbered as 31.


26/12 Aghadowey Heats: Scott Cochrane, Ricky Shaw. Final: Jordan Rochford

27/11 Tullyroan Heats: Stephen Hollywood, Ricky Shaw. Final: Ricky Shaw

30/10 European Championship - Northampton Roger Dormer continued his podiums of championships in 2016 by winning the European ahead of World champ Gary Beggs. A first and eighth in the heats gave Dormer pole position. Ben Murray won the other heat but failed to finish the final.
Final: 7, 974, 591, 503, 337, 53, 154, 334, 339, 346
Previous winners European Championship

21/8 Tullyroan In form Jordan Rochford took his third final in as many meetings which also included a heat win, the other being won by Gary Beggs.

13/8 Aghadowey Jordan Rochford won the final from pole after a heat win and fifth place, Ricky Shaw won the other heat.

6/8 National Championship - Hednesford Qualifying heats won by Jordan Murray, Vince Litter and Roger Dormer that gives him pole ahead of Ben Murray who finished third in both of his heats. Ben Murray won the race ahead of Dormer, whilst World Champion Gary Beggs was the first retirement. Tom Burgess finishes the day by winning the Grand National.
Final: 50, 7, 591, 80, 977, 688, 916, 51, 12, 730 Mylaps
Previous winners National Championship

24/7 British Championship - Aghadowey Jordan Rochford takes the title ahead of Winston Weir, Gary Beggs, Mark Corry and Aaron Stewart. The result of the Irish Open later in the day sees the top 3 reversed, Beggs wins.
Final: 977, 962, 974, 916, 917, 503, 339, 913, 57, 914 Mylaps
Previous winners British Championship

24/7 Great Yarmouth The white, yellow and blue meeting sees Darren Wells take the heats and Brett Tillow the final. Matt Tillow debuts as 556 and Donald Stewart becomes another victim to the posts.

21/7 Grid Positions With immediate effect the finals of all meetings at Spedeworth and Incarace will lined up by points scored in the heats.

17/7 Arena Essex Lee Page and James Heard wins the heats before Nigel Carroll wins the longer final.

13/7 Aghadowey Ally Neil led home Ricky Shaw in the first heat, with Shaw taking the next one. Vince Litter was quickly into the lead of the final that he won from Mark Corry.

10/7 Hednesford Ben Murray takes the final after Tom Burgess had won both heats.

10/7 Aldershot Richard Norman transfers from PRI and takes two second places in the heats behind Mike Daniels and Jordan Murray. Richard Warner wins the final.

Darren Ahern The former World Champion returns to racing albeit in a V8 Stock Car at Aldershot.

3/7 World Championship - Ipswich After leading most of the race Richard Stewart lost the lead when he ran into the back of Jason Gibbs handing the race to Gary Beggs.
Heat 1: 7, 636, 339, 679, 557, 193, 503, 411, 80, 387
Heat 2: 51, 50, 974, 918, 339, 636, 421, 962, 503, 397
Grid: 636, 339, 974, 51, 918, 7, 5, 50, 80, 503
Final: 974, 503, 7, 80, 51, 339, 411, 50, 557, 970

3/7 Arena Essex Connor Reeve wins all three races.

6/4 Tipperary - Southern Irish Open Jordan Rochford wins ahead of Richard Stewart, Garry Beggs and Winston Weir.

15/5 Hednesford - English Championship Jordan Murray takes the title after securing pole winning ahead of Lee Skoyles, Ben Murray and Mike Daniels. Daniels won the opening heat and Mark Webb the other one. Both Ben Murray and Richard Warner were docked places in the final.
Final: 503, 636, 50, 730, 411, 51, 346, 557, 339, 465 Mylaps
Previous winners English Championship

30/4 Birmingham Ben Murray takes a heat and final double

24/4 Arena Essex Dan Guidotti takes a heat and final double with Jamie Lee Callis winning the other heat.

17/4 Aldershot Plenty of damage, most notably for Reid Murray who rolled in the final. There was wins for Carl Offord, Andy Brown and Ben Furness.

3/4 Great Yarmouth - Norfolk Championship Reid Murray win his third final out of four meeting to take one of the first title races of the year. Reid also won a qualifying heat, Ashley Birkin won the other one.

28/3 Northampton Pete Jennings and Barry Limer won the heats while Reid Murray took spoils in the final.

28/3 Arena Essex The PRI season began with Jamie-Lee Callis winning all races.

26/3 Tullyroan Gary Beggs takes an heat and final double in the first meeting of the year in Northern Ireland.

19/3 Ipswich Steve Putt wins the second heat and final, the opening heat is won by Richard Warner.

12/3 Northampton Colin Murray win heat and final to give him an early lead in the Polleysport-Yokohama Series. Due to high numbers cars were raced in two-third formats; Daniel Gibbs and Barry Limer win the other heats.

27/2 Ipswich - Practice Session Jordan Murray sets the fastest time of the 11 drivers with 16.092 - quicker than the 2L Hot Rods present.

14/2 Wimbledon - London Championship The Murray family almost lock out the podium but Jordan is docked from second place. Reid Murray finishes first ahead of Ben Murray, Mike Daniels and Jordan Murray. Heat winners are Danny Day and Reid Murray.

16/1 Autosport Show Scott Cochrane's Sierra is on display for the Spedeworth World Champion section

1/1 Wimbledon - Winternationals Ben Furness is first on the road but docked for contact, Jordan Murray takes title ahead of Mike Daniels and Furness. Reverse heats won by Reid Murray and Daniels that gave Jordan Murray pole. Four members of the Murray family race at this meeting.


29/11 Wimbledon - Polleysport Series Jason Busby secures the title with a fifth place in the double points final, that race was won by Danny Day. The following heats were won by Reid Murray and Michael Gabriel.

8/11 Wimbledon - Best in Britain Roger Dormer wins his second title in 3 weeks ahead of Adam Eyles and Lee Skoyles. Ashley Burkin was disqualified from the lead with 2 laps left for not slowing down when the yellows were out. The heats were won by Ben Newman and Craig Boyd that gave Dormer pole.

25/10 Northampton - Midland Championship Roger Dormer wins ahead of Nathan Olden and Ashley Burkin. Heats are won by Dormer and Jordan Murray.

10/10 Tullyroan - Irish Championship Winston Weir takes the title ahead of Nigel Jackson and Richard Stewart. Feargal McNally wins the revenge heat.

3/10 Tipperary English driver Ben Murray takes the final after competing in his 1200 mile racing weekend.

2/10 Aghadowey - King of Aghadowey Ben Murray travels across the sea to win the title even though he had been shown several blue flags along the way. Heats won by Jordan Rochford and Gary Beggs.

What are they

When Super Rod grids slumped in 1988 Incarace made the decision to invent a cheaper big hot rod formula. This was the Lightning Rod formula, RWD 2 litre big saloon cars. The original formula allowed for Sierra's, Capri's, BMW's and Volvo's but is now an all Sierra formula. Small tweaks are allowed on suspension and engine.

PRI next took up running of the formula in 1991, with Spedeworth holding guest meetings in 1992, they started licensing their own drivers and promoting from 1995. This soon spread to Northern and Southern Ireland. Lightning Rods began in Northern Ireland in 1994 but took until 1999 to run to the same rules as the ORCi regulated formula. Ringwood were also going to run the formula in 2006 (the Special Rods rules being brought inline) but once Spedeworth took over drivers became Spedeworth registered. Now Spedeworth have the largest registered drivers.

The formula is seen as stepping stone from Banger or Stock Cars into a non-contact formula. The racing is rough, due to the size of the cars, small tracks and competitive drivers. The basic Ford Sierra can have slight modifications to engine and suspension and race on control tyre. The Sierra can be the 3 door, 5 door, XR4 or Sapphire version, but not the estate.

Over the years top drivers like the Farrer brothers, Richard Boulton and Darren Ahern have won big races but also been banned. Steve Emerson of Northern Ireland took the country's first World title (Northern Ireland have dominated other hot rod classes). Top banger drivers like Carl 'Jack' Overy, Sonny 'Mush' Sherwood, Shayn Windsor and Jason 'Boxer Jack' Jackson have raced in the class but only briefly. Some of banger drivers who perhaps weren't as quick as those just previously mentioned in bangers have had great success in this class, notably Terry Shelvey and Lee Morrow. World champion drivers have also come into the class, Gary Madgwick was a former banger World champion renowned for his lack of contact, while Diggy Smith and Steve Santry were Saloon Stock Car World champions.

When the class was first brought in many Super Rods drivers dropped down to Lightning Rods. This has now reversed as many of the current Super Rod drivers have Lightning Rod experience. Although drivers are moving onwards from Lightning Rods or the 2 litre hot rods it is an entry level class that attracts new drivers annually to replenish those gone.

New for 2009 is GMP (Cowdenbeath) running the class, the cars are gradually being built. For 2010 the quality of drivers from Scotland may poise a real threat for the long-standing drivers.

Grimley run a similar class that utilises the Sierra running gear but can be any RWD car (but doesn't give much more variation), while Rolling Thunder has the pick up class which are just chopped down Sierra in the pick-up shape. CAMSO have Lightning Rods but have yet to race with the English drivers mainly due to racing in the anti-clockwise direction. For many years Mendips Hills have been running Special Rods which is an all Sierra formula using the 1600 engine with skirts and arhces allowed. Ringwood used to run this formula but since returning becoming an independent formula after Spedeworth departed the Special Rods have stuggled for numbers and been replaced for 2009 with the Mondeo Rods. The Mondeo Rods were run in 2008 by Swaffham who also ran a class called Thunder Cars which has now been re-named as Lightning Rods.

The class runs at all the tracks at Spedeworth, PRI and Incarace in England. For 2007 Incarace took the class to the shale track of Coventry but they have yet return. Tracks Used: Aldershot, Arena Essex, Birmingham, Cowdenbeath, Eastbourne, Great Yarmouth, Hednesford, Ipswich, Northampton, Nutts Corner, Rockingham, Tipperary, Wimbledon. For further information check out the
Track Guide

Championship Winners
The World Championship has traditionally alternated from the Incarace, Spedeworth and PRI tracks. The 2010 World Championship will be held at the Spedeweekend for the first time ever. Being created by Incarace the National title was the first big title the formula ran to as part of the National Championship weekend, but due to poor numbers at domestic meetings over the past few years it has been dropped, the title is still run later in the year but just over one days racing. Championship Winners

The Future
Production of the Sierra ended in 1993, the cars are now becoming harder to find. Although though not scarce they are quickly disappearing. The use of Sierra's within other oval formulas hasn't helped either. The Ford running gear is put into many formulas. The most likely option will be the replacement Sierra model the Mondeo, this car though wasn't rear wheel drive. The converted car may be the future but the Sierra still has a good few years left. Swaffham and Ringwood have already moved towards the Mondeo, as new promoters they have nothing to lose but could be laying the foundations for the class.

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