HRP May 5th - A Report
Added Monday 7th May 2018Another glorious early summer's evening greeted drivers, teams and fans as they gathered at HRP Lochgelly Raceway this past Saturday for the latest slice of stock car action presented at Scotland's most-modern stock car racing venue by Hardie Race Promotions.
Five great formulas were on show and it was value for money all the way with sixteen races to keep all ages entertained.
The first race on the track was for the youngsters as the Ninja Karts took to the circuit for their Whites and Yellows Race. This race gives the lower graders a chance to race for a trophy without the added pressure of the higher graded drivers coming through from the back of the pack. Hamish Plenderleith was absolutely flying in this race and looked odds-on to take the win before coming a cropper when trying to overtake a back-marking car. This allowed Connie Anderson and William Plenderleith through for first and second while Hamish recovered for third. The first heat saw two-thirds of the whites and yellows from their race take part plus the higher graded blue and red roof drivers - British and European Champion Robbie Armit was absent, but a high-quality field took to the track for another cracking race. Once again, Hamish Plenderleith featured prominently in the early stages until the faster moving cars from nearer the back of the grid arrived on the scene with World Cup holder Charlie Hardie going through to take the win from a rapid Connor Frame and Scottish Open Champion Bailey Millar in a race punctuated by a spectacular rollover for Josh Bruce with the driver climbing from his car stating "that was fun" - not from I was standing Josh!!! The second heat looked, for all intents and purposes, like it may go the same way as Hardie powered his way through the field; but his kart was spun towards the wall after an overtaking manoeuvre went wrong! With Hardie and Millar now eliminated from the reckoning, one of the standout drivers of 2018 picked up a race winner's trophy as Rachel Kidd took home the spoils with Toby Tyson second and a hugely impressive drive from Kaden Connor to hold on to third. The final heat saw Hardie crash out once again on the same corner as before when involved in another accident. Having crashed out of the last race, millar made no mistake as he took the win ahead of Rachel Kidd and Josh Bruce who had recovered brilliantly from his heat one rollover and looked delighted to be on the podium!
The ProStocks arrived in reasonable numbers once again with debutant Shaun Marshall using the car most recently used by Darren Rae. Heat One saw Scott Wilson featuring prominently as he looked to take a win, but it was National Points leader Ian Christie who came through for victory in his Fiesta with Alexander Hamilton in second and Graham Watt in third. The second heat saw 2017 National Points Champion Paul Barron make up for a non-finish in heat one in the best possible manner as he took another win to add to his CV with Andrew Webster (on his 2018 HRP debut) taking second and Christie third. The feature final was won by Webster from Christie and Watt with Marshall the only other finisher in a race that will be more remembered for the nonsensical actions of some of the drivers in the formula who took matters into their own hands and caused a few rather second-hand looking ProStocks to be towed away at the end of the event - the matter is now on the agenda for the board of control!
The 1300 Stock Cars were back on track for the second time in seven days and it was the first round of the 2018 MR Coachworks and Ringtone Racepaints Series which sees generous sponsorship of five rounds ahead of a grand finale with enhanced prize money, grade awards and a winner takes all points order final completing this great series. Paul Ford had taken a heat and final winning double in his new Corsa C last time out and wasted no time in laying down a marker for the rest of the field as he took the spoils in heat one; but only after a titanic battle between Ford, Jason Cutler, Craig Haxton and Andrew Mathieson which left the result in doubt all the way to the chequered flag! Ford made slightly easier work of it in heat two as he strolled to another win with Haxton second and 2018 rookie Stuart Farrell third, however, the race will be remembered for a huge hit from Scottish Champion Billy Wilson which saw Jason Cutler's car bounce heavily off the wall to put an early end to Cutler's evening. The feature final saw the gaps between the grades closed up as the first of the 2018 MR Coachworks and Ringtone Racepaints enhanced prize fund finals got underway. Ford made no mistake as he hit the front early on and remained there all the way until the chequered flag to take his car to victory lane for the third time that evening and the fifth time in a row with Haxton and Farrell once again claiming the other podium spots.
The CC Rods had enjoyed a couple of weeks off and a big grid of cars arrived to do battle in a meeting that had extra prize money courtesy of www.buzzrecruitment.co.uk. Pete Honeyman's retirement from the formula was short-lived as he returned to the formula after a two-meeting absence in the car he had sold to Lee Smart! Shane Allen lined up in the white grade for what may well have been his first meeting and what a start as he took a flag to flag victory as he held off the challenge of a fast-moving Jamie Brown and Jamie Bell Brown made no mistake in heat two as he got to the front and stayed there to take the win with the returning Honeyman in second and Ian Hotchkies in third - Hotchkies has retired his MK2 Astra in favour of a Corsa C this year. The feature final was a chaotic race with tensions high as the drivers battled it out for the bulk of Buzz Recruitment's extra prize fund; but it was Jamie Bell who sliced his way through the field and kept a cool head to take the chequered flag and the extra prize money home as he beat Hotchkies and Paul Muir to the line to round off another great night of CC Rod action!
The final formula on show were the Stock Rods who, like the 1300s, were making their second appearance in the space of seven days. This meeting would be the first under the new May gradings which saw some drivers moving up and some moving down so it would be interesting to see how the new grades factored into the events. The first heat saw Stuart Bannatyne claim his first win at his home track as he led from flag to flag with a well-controlled drive to take the trophy ahead of a duo of fast moving blue tops in Jordan Wright and Ricky White. Bannatyne led the early stages of heat two before the likes of National Champion Siobhan Martin, Wright, White and Connar Venters arrived on the scene with the on-form Martin slicing her way to the front in fine style to take another 2018 victory. The feature final was a protracted race with a couple of stoppages along the way for stricken cars; Ricky White had made it to the front but had European and British Champion Chris Lattka and Siobhan Martin looming large in his rear-view mirror. White held firm under the pressure the two mega-stars exerted on him to stay ahead of the pack and take an excellent win with Lattka and Martin claiming the other podium spots.
A good night of entertainment in the sunshine at HRP Lochgelly Raceway. The next slice of stock car action will be an emotional one as HRP Lochgelly raceway hosts the 2018 Keir Millar Memorial Meeting this Saturday May 12th from 5pm as drivers in the National Micro Bangers, Ministox, Ninja Karts and Superstox gather to race in memory the much missed Speedy Keir.