Harris at the Double!
Added Monday 18th June 2018
Following a late-night disco at the circuit the previous evening; HRP Lochgelly Raceway opened its doors this past Sunday morning as a huge number of spectators joined drivers and teams as they gathered at Scotland's premier stock car venue for the third stock car event in as many days in Fife.
Following Friday's excellent domestic session, it was the turn of the big boys (and girls) of the short oval world to show off as the mighty BriSCA F1 Stock Cars made only their third appearance at HRP Lochgelly Raceway as part of their biennial Scottish Weekend.
The Micro F2 Stock Cars made history as they contested their first meeting at the Lochgelly venue and a large number of cars arrived to do battle in six heats prior to the main meeting with Jolean Maynard and Charlie Hardie both claiming two wins each among those six races. David Philp Jr had claimed a heat earlier in the day and powered away to victory in the Grand Final before having to settle for second in the all-comers race behind car 306.
The Superstox made an appearance in support of the BriSCA F1 Stock Cars in a rare combination of formulas and it was great to see visiting interest from Lee Davison (Northern Ireland) and Richard Mead (England) while Sunday's event also saw the return of former multi-champion Stuart Gilchrist after a period of absence. Another driver making a return was Paul Dunn for his first appearance of 2018 and he streaked into an early lead in heat one from the white grade; but the man on the move from near the back of the grid was Gilchrist who enjoyed an electric start and managed to catch and pass Dunn to claim the lead before the halfway point in the race. Gilchrist motored away to an excellent win with Scottish Champion Bryan Forrest a distant second with National Points Champion David Frame finishing third. Heat Two saw Dunn lead briefly before Kenny McKenzie took over at the front but the blue-graded Aaron Riddell was on a tear and soon took up the running. Gilchrist had been slightly slower off the mark than the previous race but soon ate into Riddell's lead after catching and passing McKenzie. Riddell held on valiantly at the front until the closing stages of the race but had no answer for Gilchrist who took his second win of the day. The Grand Final saw McKenzie shoot straight into the lead and he looked pretty quick as he carved his way around the HRP Lochgelly Raceway circuit leading for around three quarters of the race before Gilchrist once again took up the running to claim his third win of the day showing absolutely no signs of ring-rust after his lay-off!!!
The National Ministox always travel in good numbers in support of the BriSCA F1 Scottish Weekend and this past weekend was no exception. Four races were the order of the day with two heats, a grand final and an all-comers race. The first heat saw Jake Woodhull make the early running before Tom Armstrong moved into the lead. Armstrong held on to the lead until National Champion Jack Witts moved ahead of him to take the first win of the day ahead of Tyrone and Lewis Evans. Woodhull led briefly in heat two before Josh Hamstead took up the mantle; but it was Tyrone Evans who powered through from the back of the pack to take the win after having to settle for second in heat one - Lewis Evans claimed second this time around while Witts took another podium finish with third place. The Grand Final was another excellent race from the youngsters and watching the likes of the Evans brothers and Witts scything their way through the field was truly a joy to behold. Woodhull and Sharlotte Lewis both led early on in the final before Hamstead powered past to make the running in the middle portion of the race. However, that man Witts was on another tear and hit the front at around half-distance before streaking away to his second win of the day with Lewis Evans and Hamstead completing the podium. The All-Comers Race saw Roger Stansfield hit the front after just a few laps and he held on all the way to the chequered flag to take an excellent win to round off a fantastic day of action in the National Ministox.
However, the reason that much of the large crowd were in attendance was the mighty BriSCA F1 Stock Cars. One of the top formulas of the short oval world only travel north of the border once every two years and they did so in force with well in excess of forty cars on hand to battle it out for World Championship Qualifying Points. The points accrued by drivers at the qualifying rounds will determine their position in the World Championship Semi-Final races later this season and every point is critical. The ground shook as the green flag fell on heat one as over twenty unlimited V8 engines roared into life. Craig Utley took up the lead within the first couple of laps and looked very comfortable at the front; but former multi-champion Tom Harris was the man on the move from the rear of the grid and he managed to pass Utley in the closing stages of the race to claim the win with Utley holding on for an excellent second and Norfolk's Mat Newson taking third. Heat Two saw the other half of the cars line up for their first attempt to qualify for the event's Grand Final with the likes of National Points Champion Stuart Smith and British Champion Frankie Wainman Jr looking to maintain their lofty positions in the world qualifying rankings. One of the most prominent lady racers on the short ovals, Jacklyn Ellis, hit the front of the pack early on in the race and drove a well-controlled race to remain there. However, Aaron Leach was reeling in Ellis and the two duked it out for the win in the closing stages with the cars crossing the line together with Ellis almost sideways as she won the duel for the race win to huge cheers from the crowd. Leach claimed second place while Wainman came through for third. The Consolation event would present drivers with their second (and final) chance to qualify for the main event of the day - the F1 Stock Cars Grand Final. Scotsman Ronald Ferguson led briefly in one of the Mat Newson hire cars before Tristan Jackson moved ahead to take up the lead. Another Scot had moved into second in the shape of Stuart Shevill Jr but unfortunately for the partisan fans in the crowd; Jackson was not to be beaten as he took the win ahead of Shevill and Chris Cowley in his stunning new car. So, with the finalists decided, all 32 cars rolled on to the track to take up their grid positions. The engines fell as a hush drew over the crowd before the words everyone was waiting to hear â "drivers, start your engines". All 32 Chevrolet V8 engines roared into life as the pace car slowly moved away and the grid made for an incredible sight of size and colour before the noise level rose as the green flag fell on the most important race of the day. Heat Two winner Ellis was driving fantastically as she hit the front in the feature event and she held on to that lead until Chris Cowley arrived to relegate Ellis to second before a spin unfortunately saw her hopes evaporate. While all this was happening, Tom Harris had made his way ruthlessly through the pack to claim second as he tracked Cowley's every move before making the decisive manoeuvre of the race as he took over at the front. Cowley was unable to latch on to the rear bumper of the Harris car as the Oxfordshire driver powered away to take a heat and final double with Cowley coming home in second while home pride was maintained by Stuart Shevill Jr who took third spot. The last race of the day was the Grand National heat which saw Harris start from a lap handicap. Ellis enjoyed another spell in the lead before Gloucestershire's Neil Scriven (possibly the further travelled driver) took up the running and claimed his first win of the day while Chris Cowley enjoyed another podium finish in second with Ellis completing an excellent day for herself with third to bring an end to a fantastic weekend and a brilliant day of action at HRP Lochgelly Raceway.
The next slice of stock car action at HRP Lochgelly Raceway comes your way this Saturday June 23rd and features Superstox, 2.0 Hot Rods, Stock Rods, Ministox and Ninja Karts with the first race taking the green flag at 5:30pm.