HRP June 30th - A Report
Added Monday 2nd July 2018
It was a gloriously sunny Saturday evening that greeted drivers, teams and fans as they gathered in large numbers for the final stock car event at Scotland's premier stock car venue ahead of the summer break as HRP Lochgelly Raceway opened its doors for a very special event.
A rather unusual combination of formulas were on hand to entertain a large and enthusiastic crowd with the Junior Productions, CC Rods, ProStocks and 1300 Stock Cars all in racing action while the Caravan Bangers would bring the first half of the season to a chaotic conclusion!
The Junior Productions were first on track and it was great to see more debutants in the formula as Chloe Baird and Ninja Kart World Champion Charlie Hardie made their debut in the non-contact formula for young drivers aged between ten and sixteen. Eight cars were on hand in total with no visitors meaning that this was the largest Scottish entry seen in the class so far and, with the likes of Chelsey-Lee Kirton and Amber Tyrrell still to return amongst others, the second half of the season looks like it could be very interesting! The first heat got underway with Charlie Hardie leading from his white grade starting position. Hardie maintained his lead but Scottish Champion Cameron Willacy had sliced his way through the field to challenge for first place. As Hardie attempted to stay ahead of the pack Willacy made his move and, at the same time, Kris Watson performed a brilliant manoeuvre to take the top spot and hold on until the chequered flag for a fantastic win! The second heat saw some more great racing from the youngsters; but heat one winner Watson was not quite so lucky in this race as he found the errant Lennon Grant coming across the track which saw night-ending damage done to the Watson car. Charlie Hardie led for the majority of the race; but Cameron Willacy performed a fantastic slide job move to take the win with Hardie taking his first trophy in the formula in second and Jack Berresford in third. The last race of the night for the Juniors was a similar race to heat two and the same three drivers filled the same finishing spots as Willacy claimed a heat and final winning double.
The CC Rods were back on track and it was great to see Craig Watson back out on track for his 2018 debut in a Vauxhall Corsa while former 1300 Stock Car racer Jason Cutler was having a run in the car normally used by Tony Wright. The first heat saw Lee Scott shoot straight into the lead from the white grade while the rest of the pack battled it out for the right to be the one leading the chase with Emma Kirk finally getting through the field to begin that chase. As the laps wound down, Kirk was getting closer; but Scott held on for victory. Heat Two started very much in the same vein as heat one with Scott surging into an early lead while Kirk, among others, battled it out for second place. Scott continued to maintain his stranglehold on the race as Pete Honeyman and Emma Kirk led the chase; but Scott held on to take his second win of the night - meaning he would start the final from the yellow grade. This did not deter Scott as he quickly made his way once more to the front to power away for a faultless hat-trick of wins with Honeyman once again in second and Bob Cairns third.
The ProStocks have certainly provided many talking points during the first half of 2018 - not all of them good! Defending champion Paul Barron has enjoyed a good month as he clawed back some points in the battle for the National Points title with Ian Christie and he was in prime position to reclaim the lead this past Saturday in the battle for the silver roof. Heat One got underway cleanly enough with Neale Glancy shooting straight into the lead; but Barron was on a charge and quickly overhauled the white top to come through for yet another win. Heat Two did not get underway quite so cleanly as Ian Sutherland decided not to wait for the green flag as he made contact with Barron and spun him while the race was still on its rolling lap! Following some theatrics, the race got underway and, despite a rather second-hand looking car, Barron powered through the pack in short order to take another win - he even had time to wave to the crowd in the closing stages much to the amusement of some and the ire of others! The feature final was, once again, the Paul Barron Show and the National Points Champion went back to the top of the points chart after yet another hat-trick while debutant Connor Jones performed miracles to take an excellent second pace with Ian Christie in third.
The 1300 Stock Cars were back in action for the third round of the 2018 MR Coachworks and Ringtone Racepaints Series and a reasonable number of cars arrived to do battle including Danny Whyte in only his second outing since graduating from Ministox while National Points Champion Euan Mathieson also made an all too rare appearance. The evening began with a lap of honour for newly-crowned British Champion Paul Ford who was officially handed the trophy by the man who originally crossed the line first in Dean McGill - a very sporting gesture. The action soon got underway and Whyte, having taken a heat win at his debut meeting, looked like he was set to repeat the feat until the yellow flags came out after a big impact for Regan Watson and Craig Haxton. Whyte restarted at the front of the pack; but he had lost the advantage he had built up and local driver Andrew Mathieson slipped past for the win after a few laps battling with several drivers for the win. Whyte made no mistakes in heat Two as he took a flag to flag victory ahead of Mathieson and Haxton to claim his second win in the formula. The feature final was another excellent race although down on cars due to mechanical issues and damage. Whyte took full advantage of his white grade start to power away from the pack and, while Mathieson and Haxton gave chase, they were not able to get on terms with the 16-year old pilot who went on to take his first feature win and a yellow roof for July.
The final event on track was the one that had brought many first-timers to the track as Caravan Carnage 2018 was set to entertain. Three Caravan Bangers rolled on to the track in the form of Martin Loggie, kevin McIntyre and Frank Boardman - one extra addition was another caravan which was conveniently placed in front of a ramp! The green flag dropped, and the chaos quickly ensued as Boardman, Loggie and McIntyre all got stuck in with Boardman quickly losing most of his caravan's body before taking to the ramp to drive straight through the errant caravan! After Loggie lost his entire caravan which eliminated him from the running; McIntyre and Boardman were locked together, once separated, the two drivers put on a great show with Boardman in particular on a tear as he drove through every piece of caravan he could find. Eventually, Boardman caught McIntyre at turn two to remove McIntyre's caravan from his car which gave the win to Boardman; but all three drivers deserve equal credit for the fantastic action they produced to bring the first half of the season to a close!
A great night was enjoyed by all. The next slice of stock car action at HRP Lochgelly Raceway comes your way on Saturday July 21st with the Superstox battling for the Thomas Michie Memorial Trophy and the National Hot Rods in World Qualifying action plus the Stock Rods, CC Rods and Ministox in a busy night of action at Scotland's premier stock car venue on Saturday July 21st from 5:30pm.