HRP June Speed Weekend - A Report
Added Monday 11th June 2018
A glorious summer evening greeted drivers, teams and fans gathered in large numbers for the second of four Speed Weekends at Scotland's premier stock car venue - HRP Lochgelly Raceway. There were some major international championship implications for some of the formulas with the Stock Rods and 1300 Stock Cars contesting their European and British Championships respectively.
However, the first formula on track for the weekend were the Rebel Racers. The Rebels are now firmly established as a feature of the HRP Lochgelly Raceway June Speed Weekend and, as always, all of their heats during the weekend would contribute to the grid for the Scottish Championship Final which would be their last race of the weekend. For the vast majority of the Rebel Racers, it is a long journey north from their English bases; but they received the usual warm welcome from those on the terraces. The first heat saw sixteen cars take to the track including Scotsman Paul Winfield in a hire car. Defending Scottish Champion Rob Jones got the defence of his title off to the best possible start as he claimed the win in heat one after the pack caught and passed Winfield who had led the early stages of the race. Following heat one; the rest of the events for the Rebel Racers became the Tom Dayman show as the 2017 European Champion claimed wins in heats two, three, four and five to secure pole position for the Scottish Championship race. After an early challenge from British Champion Paul Tagg; Dayman managed to pull away to take a faultless win ahead of Tagg and third-placed Keith Murphy. Dayman celebrated in fine style with a series of donuts to round off a highly entertaining weekend of Rebel racing action - more of the same please in 2019!
The 1300 Stock Cars have produced some excellent action so far in 2018 and, with the top drivers from all over the UK in attendance, much was expected from the ASD Welding Services British Championship weekend with Will Morphey defending his title. The British Championship would be the first race of the weekend and almost thirty cars took to the track with pole-sitter Craig McComb suffering problems before the green flag with World Champion Ian Beaumont also suffering issues but managing to make the grid in the nick of time. A good number of Scots had drawn favourable positions and hopes were high for a home win with the likes of Dean McGill on grid 2, Scottish Champion Billy Wilson on grid three and a very on-form Paul Ford on grid 5. As the green flag fell, McGill shot into the lead as those behind him battled for position. This allowed McGill to get away as the bumpers were used further back in the pack and it could be argued that he coasted to victory as he crossed the line well ahead of Paul Ford and European Champion George Morphey. However, McGill's delight was short-lived as post-race checks on the Sunday evening found irregularities with his car which removed him from the result thereby elevating Paul Ford to 1300 Stock Car British Champion for 2018!!! The other two races on the Saturday evening saw some tremendous action with plenty of bumper-work being dished out as Andrew Mathieson took heat one and Englishman Tommy Aylward heat two which also doubled as a round for the Bill Auld Fabrications Trophy Series. Sunday's action for the 1300 Stock Cars began with their Scottish Open Championship with a grid in the mid to high twenties back out for more! A great battle ensued between Tommy Aylward and World Champion Ian Beaumont after Dean McGill had eliminated Will Morphey from a lap down only to be fired into the fence in no uncertain terms by Luke Morphey on the next turn! Beaumont made the decisive move in the latter stages of the race to take the title ahead of Aylward and Scottish National Points Champion Euan Mathieson. The last two races of the day were both won by recent Ministox graduate Charlie Morphey but that doesn't tell half the story with incredible action throughout as the likes of the Morpheys and the Mathiesons got up close and personal with each other! Some brilliant racing from the 1300 Stock Cars which bodes well for the second half of the season with more cars joining the grid imminently.
The Stock Rods were also in major championship action as they arrived to do battle for the Pets2Go2 and Lee Smart Racing European Championship with Chris Lattka defending his title on home turf. Two reverse grid heats would determine the grid for the big race with former multi-champion Dean O'Dell looking very quick in taking the win in heat one with Scotland's Doug McLean managing to stay ahead of the pack in heat two for an excellent win. Defending champion Lattka had a bad start to the defence of his title when his prop-shaft failed resulting in a DNF before a lowly 12th in heat two saw him starting the final near the back. The front row was comprised of the two heat winners in O'Dell and McLean and O'Dell shot straight into the lead from pole position with McLean giving chase. O'Dell continued to power away from his closest rivals as McLean came under pressure from the likes of National Champion Siobhan Martin and former English Champion Jack Grandon. McLean held on as a line of cars formed behind him waiting for one slight error; but it never came as McLean held on to take a distant second with OâDell around half a lap ahead of the rest at the chequered flag with James Morris claiming an excellent third place following dockings for Grandon and Martin. O'Dell drove a faultless race to take the title at a track that must surely rank among his favourites given his level of success at HRP Lochgelly Raceway.
The support formula for the Saturday night saw the Classic Hot Rods in action. Former 2.0 Hot Rod star Alex Wilson suffered diff issues in practice and failed to make the heats which were won by Jock Campbell (For Escort Mk2) and Marc Spence (Talbot Sunbeam). Wilson miraculously made it out for the feature final; but his car failed to go the distance as Spence claimed his second win of the night ahead of Campbell and Brett Sneddon. The Ministox provided the support on the Sunday as they contested their Fife Championship with Aaron Richards making the long trip north of the border once again to race at HRP Lochgelly Raceway after a hat-trick of wins at the Fife venue just 9 days earlier. Richards continued his winning ways as he took heat on before having to settle for second behind Lewis Burgoyne in heat two. The two heat winners locked out the front row for the Fife Championship final and Richards took full advantage of his pole position to take the Fife Championship back to Shropshire with Michael Mitchell and Sean Naismith completing the podium. Two excellent days of racing were enjoyed by all and huge credit must go to the track staff who kept things moving in an efficient manner.
This coming week at HRP Lochgelly Raceway is unique as it sees two events in three days with a domestic meeting this Friday June 15th featuring 1300 Stock Cars, 2.0 Hot Rods, ProStocks and CC Rods from 7pm.
The second event promises to be unmissable as Sunday June 17th sees the mighty BriSCA F1 Stock Cars back in action at Scotland's premier stock car venue with the National Ministox, Superstox and Micro F2 Stock Cars providing the support.
An unmissable weekend once again at HRP Lochgelly Raceway!!!