HRP September 16th - A Report
Added Monday 18th September 2017A dry but chilly afternoon greeted drivers, teams and fans as they gathered at HRP Lochgelly Raceway this past Saturday as Championship Fever continued during HRP's September to Remember. This time the limelight shone on the youngest drivers in Scotland as the Ninja Karts contested their Scottish Championship with a fantastic turnout in Scotlandâs top formula for 6 to 11 year-olds.
A fantastic entry of twenty-three Ninja Karts arrived to do battle for the Scottish title with Charlie Hardie defending the title he won a year ago. While Hardie has maintained his hold on the National Points lead; it has been Robbie Armit who has picked up the British and European titles in what has been a fantastic year for the young driver of the 84 machine and these two would start the event among the pre-race favourites. However, with the likes of Lennon Grant, Josh Bruce and Bailey Millar also on the track; whoever would go on to take the title will most definitely have earned it. The format saw two heats run with the second being a reverse grid of heat one which gave all drivers an equal chance to score points. The first heat saw Hardie get the defence of his title off to the best possible start as he took the win ahead of Lennon Grant and Robbie Armit while heat two saw Armit claim victory ahead of Hardie and Grant as three of the top drivers underlined the pre-race favourites tags. These results put Hardie on Pole Position for the Scottish Championship race with Armit on his outside and Grant on the inside of row three. The tension built as the drivers prepared for the green flag under the HRP Lochgelly Raceway floodlights; Hardie surged into the lead from the off with Armit in close proximity as Grant and Harry Robertson battled it out over third place. Hardie led for the majority of the sixteen-lap race with Armit getting ahead briefly in the closing stages but Hardie managed to get back in front to hold on to the Scottish Championship for another year with Armit claiming second and Grant third. Special mention to Lucy Millar who was the first of the girl racers home in 8th place in her final Ninja Kart race before she reaches "retirement" age.
The Classic Hot Rods returned to HRP Lochgelly Raceway for the first time since their big weekend in April with six of the local drivers bringing their stunning machinery to HRP for the latest round in their Scottish Series. The sight of Mk1 and Mk2 Escorts, Talbot Sunbeams, Ford Anglias and Vauxhall Chevettes speeding around the short oval would have conjured up fond memories for many of the older spectators who recall the "glory days" of hot rod racing and they certainly attacked the senses with their noise, colour and speed. Kenny Purdie has dominated the formula on a national and international level as he heads towards what many now see as an inevitable National Points title and did his hopes no harm at all as he took a flawless hat-trick of wins on the night.
The CC Rods returned for another night of action and a couple of familiar faces from other formulas were on track as ProStocks star Ian Christie and former 1300 Stock Car World Champion Jim McAlpine took to the track in HRP's low-budget, non-contact class. Heat One saw Colin Thomson take a fine victory from the white grade as he managed to hold off the challenge of recently promoted red top Stewart Aitken and Colin Wotherspoon. Heat Two saw Thomson starting at the rear of the white grade but that did not deter him as he managed to make his way through to the front and stay there for his second win of the night ahead of Aitken and Ian Donaldson. Thomson's two victories would see him start the feature final from the yellow grade but the handicap of starting further down the grid did not affect him as he went on to take his third win on a fantastic night for the Kennoway pilot who only joined the formula a few months ago.
The 2.0 Hot Rods were back in town and it was good to see Gill Anderson and Gordon Hendry return to action in the final meeting before the 2.0 Hot Rod Scottish Championship on September 30th. The previous meeting had seen an upturn in the fortunes for Andrew Denholm who was in the top four in all three races (including a win in heat one) and this meeting proved to be more of the same for the Uphall driver as he scooped another win in heat one ahead of Alex Wilson and William Hardie. The second heat saw Denholm continue his rich vein of form as he claimed his second win of the night and third in five races as held on to take heat two ahead of Hardie and Kevin Stewart. The feature final saw Denholm elevated to yellow grade following his two race wins which put him closer to the fast-moving stars at the rear of the grid and, while Denholm performed well, he had to settle for third place behind National, British and European Champion William Hardie and World Champion Gordon Alexander.
The Superstox were the fifth and final formula on show on a busy night at HRP Lochgelly Raceway and it was great to see Mark Brady back on track after injury had curtailed his season and in a brand-new car to boot! Brady's new car looked absolutely stunning but most eyes were on the continuing battle for the National Points Championship with top contenders David Frame and Bryan Forrest were both in attendance. Frame extended his lead as he took heat one but Forrest only dropped a point as he took second ahead of former points champion Barry Stephen. Former Ministox racer Dean Johnstone has taken his first win in the Superstox last time out and claimed his second win in the formula in heat two as he crossed the line ahead of current points champion Stuart Gilchrist and David Frame. The feature final was, as always, a frenetic race with the front bumpers being used to full effect but Johnston held on to take his second win of the night with Gilchrist and Frame having to settle for the minor places on the podium.
A cracking night of entertainment at HRP Lochgelly Raceway which has whetted the appetite of many as next week sees the third HRP Speed Weekend of 2017 which features the 1300 Stock Car World Championship, Stock Rod British Championship and UK Oval Track Legends European Championship plus Ministox and CC Rods. Saturday's action gets underway at 5pm while the green flag will drop on Sunday's first race at 1pm. A busy weekend ahead this Saturday September 23rd and Sunday 24th at HRP Lochgelly Raceway!