HRP Lochgelly Raceway March 10th - A Report
Added Monday 12th March 2018
After the beast from the east forced the cancellation of the first stock car meeting of the season on March 3rd; HRP Lochgelly Raceway opened its gates this past Saturday for the opening action of 2018 in what can only be described as one of the wettest race nights in many years.
However, this did not put off the drivers, teams and fans who arrived in good numbers to kick of their racing years with five formulas on offer for those hardy spectators who braved the torrential conditions.
The Junior Productions were the first formula on track at 5:30pm and it was four of the drivers who raced towards the end of 2017 in the form of Chelsey-Lee Kirton, Koddi Greenwood, Kris Watson and Scottish Champion Cameron Willacy plus the debuting Lennon Grant who had graduated from Ninja Karts in 2017. As soon as the green flag dropped, Lennon Grant shot into the lead but spun the car of the challenging Koddi Greenwood out of contention which brought out the black cross - which highlights to a driver that an incident will be investigated. Grant continued to race but all eyes were on Scottish Champion Willacy who was making serene but significant progress from the rear of the grid. Willacy eventually took over at the front of the field to take the win. Grant was disqualified from a podium finish which elevated Watson and Kirton to the two remaining trophy spots. The second heat saw Greenwood make much of the running from pole position but Willacy repeated his heat one heroics in the pouring rain to take his second win. The feature final saw Willacy complete his hat-trick with relative ease as he beat Grant and Greenwood to the line to complete an evening of dominance for the Scottish Champion.
The theme of youth continued as the Ministox took to the track for their first event of the Scottish Stock Car season with a good number of cars in the pits. Former Ninja star Scott Allardyce made the early running but the more experienced drivers were making good progress from the rear of the grid as they sped around HRP Lochgelly Raceway. The speed at which the likes of Sean Naismith, Taylor Borthwick and Mitchell Gold among others were lapping the circuit in such poor conditions was incredible and the pack eventually caught and passed Allardyce with Gold taking the first won of the 2018 Ministox Season ahead of Naismith and Borthwick. Heat Two saw the lower graders make the early running once again but a couple of stoppages closed up the pack and it was 2017 National Points Champion Sean Naismith who scored his first win of the year ahead of former points champ Michael Mitchell and heat one winner Gold. The feature final was another fantastic race from the youngsters and Scott Allardyce drove a fantastic race as he remained at the front for most of the race but the flying Naismith was able to overhaul Allardyce and take his second win of the night with Allardyce managing to hold on for an excellent second place ahead of Mitchell Gold who enjoyed a great evening of results in his new car.
The Back to Basics Bangers seemed to suffer most as a result of the weather with a number of drivers electing to keep their cars for a drier evening. Martin Loggie claimed two fine heat wins before Jack Cameron took the win in the ramp race finale.
The Stock Rods arrived in good numbers with Jim Pitcaithly and Leon Stewart making returns to HRP Lochgelly Raceway and joining National Champion Siobhan Martin and British, European and National Points Champion Chris Lattka at the rear of the grid in a strong entry. Yellow grader Jordan Wright adapted quickly to the conditions and looked in control of the race, but Gary Nicholls caught and passed Wright to take the win ahead of Wright and Alan Cuthbert. Nicholls had sold his car as he planned to retire from racing for a while â it looks like that change of heart is already paying dividends! Wright started the second heat in a similar vein but the likes of Lattka, Martin and Darren McAlpine were not hanging around as they hurtled around the track at a frenetic pace but none of them had an answer for the blue graded Alan Cuthbert who took an excellent win ahead of Lattka and Martin. The feature final was another entertaining race with Cuthbert eventually catching and passing early leader Wright to take his second win of the evening ahead of Wright who was not out of the top 5 all night and Darren McAlpine.
The Superstox were the fifth and final formula on show and they arrived in good numbers considering the conditions as Scotlandâs top open-wheel formula got their season underway. Underlining the strength of the formula was the fact that the rear of the grid boasted Scottish Champion Bryan Forrest in his new car, National Points Champion David Frame and World Champion Barry Stephen who was out in a new all-gold colour scheme. After chasing down the likes of lower graders Raffaelle Donofrio and Aaron Riddell; it was a flying Chris Miller who took the win with comparative ease. The tone of the night had been firmly set with Miller looking like the man to beat and he reiterated that as he took his second win of the night in heat two ahead of Forrest and Stephen in a race with only seven finishers. The feature final began with just one question on the minds of many as they asked; âcan anyone beat Chris Miller?â The answer came quickly as Miller drove away from the field to take a faultless hat-trick with Allan Gibson and Barry Stephen completing the podium.
A good night of racing despite the conditions and full credit must go to the drivers and teams for their entertainment as well as the fans for their attendance and the HRP Track Staff for working in such torrential conditions.
Next week sees a monumental event at HRP Lochgelly Raceway as a mammoth six-formula, nineteen race programme will take place with the Superstox, Stock Rods and Ministox all back in action while the Ninja Karts, CC Rod and National Hot Rods will also be racing at HRP Lochgelly Raceway from the earlier time of 5pm.