Ardglass Driver Is Streetrod Champion Runner Up

Ben Carvill (21) from Ardglass loves to burn up the rubber in his old 1.2 stripped down Renault Clio.

But Ben is not dodgy road racer, instead he was runner-up in the Streetrod Irish championships at Ballymena Showgronds in October this year. “This is quite a new motor sport and is certainly catching on,” he said.

Speaking about his achievement, Ben said: “It was great to finish near the top in the Irish championships. My Clio is basically an unmodified car, and that is what this racing event is about. They are just cars that would be on the road but are literally stripped back from all extras and a safety cage is added. They have standard engines and tyres. That makes it all the more of a challenge. It is not about who has the most money to build a super car but about driving and racing skills. It’s basically a level playing field.

Ben Carvill with his 1.2 Renault Clio which he raced in the Streetrod Irish Championships.

“This can be quite an exciting event and there are collisions, crashes and scrapes from time to time. It’s very exhilarating. It can get very physical at times. I’m just delighted to have got to this level of driving in these off-road Streetrod events.

“In the final it was a real battle to get over the line but I made it ok. It’s just amazing what these unaltered cars can do once you put the metal to the peddle. The class I race in is cheap and cheerful. It doesn’t cost a fortune to enter. It is £40 to set up and £30 to enter. It’s a great way for someone to let off steam in a relatively safe environment.

“I got my hands on an old Renault Clio and it just cost £300 to fix up and get ready for the races.

“I’d like to thank Billy Finnegan in Ardglass who is a mechanic and a great racing enthusiast for all his help. He used to run car racing at Bishopscourt some years ago. There’s not much he doesn’t know about racing at this level. In fact his son Billy Finnegan junior won the 2013 Speed Stock Irish Championship. Ardglass and County Down certainly has been well represented.

“Streetrod racing has become very popular and it just costs £2 to gain entry at the gate. It’s a good day out. It takes place in the finer summer weather and ends in October. I go there with family members and some of my friends. It’s brilliant craic.

Ben explained that safety was of paramount importance at the Streetrod racing and the organisers and stewards are very well organised.

“I’m really following in my dad’s footsteps as he was really keen on motorsports when he was younger. He was top dog in the King of the Valley which used to take place at Ballykinlar years ago.”