Moodie on top of the world again

Gordon Moodie in a Formula i car at Birmingham. Photo by Colin Casserley.
Gordon Moodie in a Formula i car at Birmingham. Photo by Colin Casserley.

Gordon Moodie has put Scotland back on top of the BriSCA Formula II scene in what has been a tremendous season.

The Windygates racer won the top two honours in the sport – the World Championship and the National Series.

This means he can race in 2019 with the gold roof for the World and silver for the National Series.

Moodie is no stranger to winning titles and he has chalked up an amazing 59 wins which includes two World Championships, 13 National Points, four European, two British, eight Scottish Championships and five World Cup wins in the Netherlands.

In his time Moodie has chalked up 443 final wins and if things go well in 2019 could well pass the total of Bill Batten (Liskeard).

It certainly has been an eventful 12 months for the Moodie, who works in the family garage at Buckhaven, which saw him win his 12th National Points title at the Belle Vue oval last year.

Up till last year the National Points was won by the driver who accumulated the most points over the year.

However that was changed to a series of races on both tarmac and shale surfaces with the top point scorer racing under the silver roof in 2018.

Moodie went into that meeting with a healthy points lead but instead of the usual 50 points available it was decreed that the points available would be doubled.

“It turned out to be almost a banger meeting” Gordon said.

“In the first heat Kelvyn Marshall (Macclesfield) sent me crashing heavily into the fence. I was using the shale car of Chris Burgoyne (Airth) but managed to get the car repaired in time for the consolation race. Luckily I qualified for the final but not long after the final started I was hit head on by David Polley (Manea) and had to retire. Andrew Palmer (Peterborough) then had a chance of winning but he needed to win the Grand National. Andrew retired early on during the race and I finished in the results to win.”

“At the start of this season I raced mainly on shale, mainly due to the fact that my tarmac car wasn’t ready. I had a new RCE chassis which we soon had running well. My tarmac car was debuted later and for a while I was playing catch up, getting the car set up along with the control tyre that we had to use.”

“The first of the Championships was the British at Mildenhall. I moved into the lead then got tangled up and eventually ended up in fourth place. Chris Burgoyne (Airth) won. The next was the Scottish Championship at Cowdenbeath. I hadn’t done much tarmac racing up to that points so was really trying to get the set up right. I ended up a disappointing fourth or fifth. However the UK Challenge was at Skegness and the car had good pace. There was a big turn out of cars, almost 80. I went out in Saturday night’s final with the tyres I was going to use the following day and after a couple of quick laps pulled off. I started the UK on the Sunday from row 2, saw a gap early on and dived through into the lead and then brought the car home in first place. The European Championship was at Northampton which had not long been converted from tarmac to shale. I had engine problems on Saturday night and with bad weather scheduled for Sunday’s Championship race headed home.”

“My next target was the World Cup at Venray in the Netherlands. I had had a spell in the lead but dropped back into second spot. I tried a last bend lunge which didn’t come off and I dropped a place to finish the race in third place.”

“The World Championship was held at Bristol and after having won my semi-final at Barford I was to start the race from pole position with fellow Scot Chris Burgoyne alongside. I felt my car had good pace in the dry practice and I felt very confident. However it started to rain prior to the start of the race so the best place to have started would have been on the outside. When the race started Chris and Luke Wrench (Crewe) passed me. They were to tangle four laps into the race and that allowed me through into the lead. Once I was in the lead I concentrated on keeping it neat and tidy and managed to pull away from Liam Rennie (Dundee) and Steven Gilbert (Newton Abbot). The feeling was really good when I crossed the finish line – probably the best I have ever felt. It was just a combination of the number of times that I had tried to get the World Title back. It put a lot of my demons to rest. I think a lot of people felt good, it felt good for me. I stopped the car at the bottom of the hill – where I had done ten years previous – it was a massive, massive feeling.”

“The car then went for scrutineering and I was keen to get it stripped and checked. My car had been checked quite often over the season and I was quite happy. It was a massive relief though when I was told everything was alright but by the time the team got back to the hotel the bar was closed. We ended up celebrating with a milk shake and chicken nuggets at McDonalds.”

Not long after the World Championship had been decided Gordon was back to earth and heading down to Skegness for the first round of the National Series.” The first round was held at Skegness on a Friday night” Gordon recalls. “The car went really well although the weather was changeable. Luckily we got the set up right for each race and we ended up leading the series. From there we moved to the shale at Northampton. I crashed out during the final but was back racing in the Grand National and whilst I managed a third place finish I had lost the lead in the series. From there our next trip was to the South West for a weekends racing. At Taunton on Saturday night the car was really quick and I won the final and then picked up a third in the Grand National. The following day we were back to Bristol and had another good days racing. At both tracks I was the top points scorer so had a nice lead in the Series.”

“We then had three shale meetings in succession. The first was at Sheffield where you need to drive within the track limits or you get wrecked. I knew what I had to do and managed good results to top score again. The next meeting was at King’s Lynn – a track I like – but it wasn’t good points wise for me and the rest of the National Series drivers. I scored 3 points and was 2 behind the top scorer in the National Series. I qualified for the final which a lot of the others didn’t manage to do but missed out getting a result in the final or the Grand National which was very disappointing. The next day we were at Mildenhall and whilst I was going well I ended up rolling in the Grand National and lost valuable points.”

“There then were three tarmac meetings over the next fortnight. The first was at Birmingham where I had another good meeting compared to the other drivers in the National Series, The car went well and picked up fifth in the final and the Grand National and was again the top points scorer. A week later we were at the Racewall. I had a good points advantage but needed to consolidate so it was a case of making sure that I finished and as close to Chris as I could. He ran into troubles in the Grand National and I had a good finish so my lead was further increased. The following day we were at Barford and I it was again a case of consolidating the lead I had. Chris again ran into troubles and again I ended up extending my lead.”

“I had a lead of over 70 points when we started the last meeting at Belle Vue and it was between Chris and myself. Chris qualified for the final through his heat whereas I had to wait until the consolation to start the final. If I had packed Chris in at the start to the final that would have been it all over but he had shown me respect throughout so I wasn’t going to do that. I went a lap down but when Chris didn’t win then there was no way he could catch me- Party Time!”

“That was my 13th National title sewn up and I had equalled Formula Is Stuart Smith’s total but with Frankie Wainman Jnr winning the Formula I version he now has 14: need to win it again next year and hope he doesn’t!”

“I will be concentrating on Formula II again next season and whilst I had an outing in a Formula I at the end of this season I could be interested in racing it a couple of times. My main target is become the top final winner in formula IIs, retain my World Championship and another National Series win. My shale car is being modified at present but I will have a new RCE tarmac car and both should be ready for the start of the season.”

“I would like to thank all of my mechanics for all of their help at both home and away meetings this season and all of my sponsors for their contribution as without them none of this would have been possible.”