1979: Records tumble as bikes race at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy

Scottish Road Races, 1979 - held at Beveridge Park Kirkcaldy (Pic: Fife Free Press)
Scottish Road Races, 1979 - held at Beveridge Park Kirkcaldy (Pic: Fife Free Press)

It may seem inconceivable to today’s sporting audiences that Beveridge Park was once a race track where thrills and spills were the order of the day – and huge crowds turned out to enjoy the action.

But, generations of folk from the Lang Toun will fondly recall the Scottish Road Races which brought speed and excitement to the public park every summer.

Scottish Road Races, 1979   (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Scottish Road Races, 1979 (Pic: Fife Free Press)

They started in 1948 with the Kirkcaldy Grand Prix and ran until 1988.

As many as 15,000 packed the park to watch the action close up.

Forty years ago, in 1979, they thrilled to another fantastic day of racing.

Revving engines and clouds of exhaust fumes signalled the return to Kirkcaldy of the riders, and no-one went home disappointed as the races provided their usual quota of excitement.

A halt in racing at the notorious Railway Dip when William Wilson fell off the sidecar and was taken to hospital with a broken collar bone  (Pic: Fife Free Press),

A halt in racing at the notorious Railway Dip when William Wilson fell off the sidecar and was taken to hospital with a broken collar bone (Pic: Fife Free Press),

Intermittent showers during the early stages of the races made the track extremely greasy, but this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd.

The early race times were relatively slow, but, as the sun shone and dried the track in time for the finals, the riders pushed their bikes to the limit – none more so than Jim Anderson, in the final of the production class, the last race of the afternoon.

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The man from Aberdeen dominated the race and, in three successive laps made a mockery of the lap record.

In the first four laps, three riders, Bill Fleming, Dennis Prosser and Andreson swept ahead of the rest of the pack

However, on the fourth lap, Anderson flew into the lead with a record breaking 1:16:06 minute lap.

As the announcer was in the process of proclaiming the feat, Anderson was on his way to beating the record for a second time.

He had established a commanding lead by this time, but it did not deter him from slicing the record by more than two seconds with a new best of 1:15:04 and an average speed of 65 mph.

Only a major disaster would deny him victory, and he made no mistakes.

Local hopes were pinned on Bruce Hall (Glenrothes), and his partner Ken Andrews (Edinburgh) in the sidecar final.

This was a race that had everything - speed, fearless driving and a strong will to win.

In the heats it was obvious that Andrews and Hall would face their main opposition in the form of the Murdo/Murdoch partnership from Aberdeen

Both won their heats, but one had to be re-run after an accident at the notorious Railway Dip when William Wilson fell off the sidecar and was taken to hospital with a broken collar bone.

Five laps into the final, they down the straight together but just as Andrews went to overtake at the Railway Dip he was forced to give way.

The fight for first place continued throughout. They were separated by 0.1 second as Munro and Murdoch took the chequered flag.

Two other riders – Dave Reid and Bob Anderson – came off at the Railway Dip, but both emerged unscathed.