HRP September 29th - A Report
Added Monday 1st October 2018
With the chill of the cold winter air descending on HRP Lochgelly Raceway as the season draws towards its conclusion; drivers, teams and fans gathered at Scotland's premier stock car venue for the latest slice of stock car action presented by Hardie Race Promotions.
Championship Fever continued with another Scottish Championship Double Header headlining the event as the 2.0 Hot Rods and CC Rods took centre stage while ably supported by the Superstox, ProStocks and Ministox. Five great formulas and fifteen races were the order of the day this past Saturday on a night where it really did feel like winter was coming!
The first formula on track were the ProStocks and there was a bit of housekeeping to do before the first race with a lap of honour for the newly-crowned World Cup Champion Paul Barron who claimed the biggest title in his formula the previous weekend. Ever the showman, Barron had the car resplendent in a a new all-gold colour scheme and had changed his racing number from 755 to 1. The first heat for the ProStocks saw Jack Cameron winning the battle of the white tops to lead the way through the halfway point of the race, but Barron was on a tear through the field and duly took up the running from Cameron on lap 11 to take his first victory with the gold roof. Heat Two saw Cameron in the lead once again before Barron relegated the white top to second place with former multi-champion Ian Taylor and Ian Christie overhauling Cameron for second and third as they showed their pace, but it was Barron who took yet another victory. It was another white top who made the running in the feature final as John Jackson shot into a huge lead while the others battled behind him. Barron was slower in getting through the traffic this time around and it looked like he had left his challenge for the hat-trick until too late in the day. However, after getting into second spot, Barron rapidly ate into Jacksonâs lead to take the lead on the final lap to record another incredible hat-trick. The next time the ProStocks are racing will be at HRP Lochgelly Raceway on October 13th in their European Championship and Barron will certainly start the evening with a big target on his back!
The Superstox were back in domestic action after the exertions the previous week at the World Championship where Northern Irishman Lee Davison took the title on home soil. 201 World Champion Barry Stephen had borrowed the car of the injured Bryan Forrest for the World Championship and continued to use that machine this past Saturday as he waits for his brand-new car while it was also great to see Adam Low make his first appearance of the season along with Trevor Harris back out for only his second meeting of the year plus Englishman Mark Dews making it three visits on the trot. Drama before the race centred around National Points Champion David Frame whose car had mechanical issues and sadly did not make it back on the track for heat two. With no white tops on the grid, it was the yellow tops who led off in heat one and Jordan Black shot straight into the lead before the flying Stephen arrived on the scene to take the lead just before half distance. Stephen wasnât the only star grader to make his way through the field as European and Scottish Champion Stuart Gilchrist had tracked every move that Stephen had made and put himself into contention in the last quarter of the race - even taking the lead at one point. But Stephen was not to be denied and took his first win in quite some time with a large smile on his face. Heat Two saw Chris Cuthbert make the early running from yellow grade, but Gilchrist had the bit between his teeth and took up the running before the halfway point to score the victory by almost a second from Frame who now had his earlier issues sorted out. The feature final looked fast and furious under the HRP floodlights and it was a race of four quarters really with Jordan Black leading the first quarter, before fellow yellow-top Chris Cuthbert went into the lead. Chris Hay then overhauled Cuthbert for the lead and looked like he was destined for a fine win before Gilchrist managed to eat into Hay's lead to take the lead and his second win of the night ahead of Stephen and Frame who made it into the podium places in the closing stages of the race.
The Ministox were back at HRP Lochgelly Raceway and it was fantastic to welcome English visitors Alfie Jones from the north-east and Owen Robbins from the south-west as they joined the home drivers for another night of action. Jay Carruthers led the early stages of heat one as he continued to make good progress in his Ministox career before Jamie Stewart took over at the front. It looked like Stewart was heading to victory lane, but Owen Robbins had other ideas as the young Englishman managed to catch and pass Stewart in the latter stages to take the win. Heat Two saw Stewart make no mistake as he claimed the win in a flag to flag victory with the race ending with a big impact at the pit gate for Ross Lawrence as he battled with several others over the minor places with all drivers emerging unscathed. The majority of the feature final saw Jamie Stewart leading with a healthy margin over the rest of the field but National Points Champion Sean Naismith managed to reduce this gap substantially as the laps wound down and took over the lead within sight of the finish to take the win with Stewart coming home in second and Robbins back on the podium for the third time in three races with a fine third place finish.
The CC Rods were contesting their re-scheduled Scottish Championship and a good number of cars arrived to do battle including many of the top contenders. Heat One saw Lee Wotherspoonâs challenge end almost as soon as it began as the pole-sitter failed to get going. This elevated Brandon Gourlay to the lead as the rest of the cars jostled for every position behind him; Ian Hotchkies had been working his way through the field and eventually found himself in second place and he soon took up the lead and crossed the line in first place. However, Hotchkies had been deemed to have made contact with a car earlier in the race and was therefore docked two places which elevated National Points Leader Bob Cairns to the win. Heat Two saw the cars line up in the reverse order from heat one and it was another of the points contenders who took the win as Davie McFarlane started on pole and was never headed as he took victory. After a grand parade of drivers, the CC Rods were lined up in points order for the Scottish Championship final under the HRP floodlights. With Cairns on pole, Craig Watson in second, Davie McFarlane in third and defending champion Stewart Aitken in fourth; the scene was set for a titanic battle between some of the best drivers in the formula. Cairns shot straight into the lead while Watson tracked his every move until pressure from Aitken behind saw his challenge end. Cairns continued in first place with Aitken now second and McFarlane third but neither of these drivers could get to Cairns who took the win and the 2018 CC Rod Scottish Championship. Aitken had been deemed to have been too forceful when passing Watson so was docked two places for contact which promoted McFarlane to second and Shane Allen to third. A great night of CC Rod racing.
The final formula on show were the 2.0 Hot Rods and there was a good turnout of cars in the tin-tops as they too gathered for their Scottish Championship. Defending Champion Gordon Alexanderâs impending switch to National Hot Rods meant that a new champion would be crowned. Scotty Devine made his debut in the formula as he raced a Hot Rod-type formula for the first time in around sixteen years plus Paul Carruthers made an all-too-race appearance while Gary Black made his season debut in a stunning Saxo which turned out to be a refurbished version of his 206cc. Heat One saw Andrew Denholm take a faultless flag to flag victory with Billy Bonnar in second and Jim Pitcaithly third. Heat Two saw another flag to flag victory as Gerry Hendry took the win after leading every lap while Bonnar and Pitcaithly significantly made it back on to the podium. Bonnarâs two second place finishes were enough to secure pole position with heat two winner Hendry on his outside. Bonnar shot straight into the lead on the green flag with Hendry battling door to door with the highly-experienced campaigner. Eventually, Bonnar settled into the lead while Hendry tracked him in second as Jim Pitcaithly took third from Andrew Denholm. With the cars now pretty spread out on track, making up any places proved difficult for drivers although Bonnar was probably more than happy with that as he took the 2018 2.0 Hot Rod Scottish Championship with Hendry in second and a delighted Pitcaithly in third after numerous issues during his debut season.
A cracking night of action enjoyed by all in attendance!!!
The next slice of stock car action at HRP Lochgelly Raceway is this Saturday October 6th and sees the Stock Rods contest their version of the Scottish Championship. The 1300 Stock Cars will battle it out in their big money MR Coachworks and Ringtone Racepaints Series Finale while the Superstox, Junior Productions and Ninja Karts complete the line up at Scotlandâs premier stock car venue this Saturday from 5:30pm.