Cunningham back on track after difficult start to season at Cowdenbeath Racewall

Fife stock car racer Eck Cunningham says he recovered from a “disastrous” start to go on and have a winning season in 2021.

By Jim Turner
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 3:37 pm
Eck Cunningham on the track at Cowdenbeath.
Eck Cunningham on the track at Cowdenbeath.

Family and car issues meant the Buckhaven driver took time to get his campaign up and running.

"My dad was hospitalised for around three months at the turn of the year after suffering a severe stroke,” he said.

"It wasn’t until the end of March that he returned home and we managed to get things in place to look after him. That took priority to getting my Saloon stock car ready for action.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Cunningham, who works as a forklift driver with Malcolms, managed to have his car ready for action by the end of May, but says “it was a disastrous start to the season”.

He added: “I was plagued with fuel and electrical problems.

“The day before the Scottish Championship I tried the car out at Crimond to see if we had sorted out the problems, which seemed to be the case but I tangled with another car and ended up on top of the tyre wall.

"There wasn’t too much damage and I raced at Cowdenbeath the following day.

"The car appeared to be running alright but then after clipping the wall, the electrical problems reoccurred and I ended up against the wall and was then collected by another car.

“My good mate, David Hughes, took the car to Aberdeen and rather than try to find the problems rewired the electrics and plumbed in a new fuel system. He raced the car on a couple of occasions at the Racewall to try it out and it seemed to be alright.”

“I didn’t return to the racing until September and I had two really good months of racing. I. managed to win a heat and then picked up a seventh in the final on my return and the car ran really well. My best meeting without doubt was on the 3rd October when I was second in a white/yellow challenge heat and then going on to win both the heats as well as the final. The following week I won the white/yellow final but had to retire from the rest of the meeting.”

“The Allan Cuthill Memorial meeting was another final I managed to win and was looking forward to the double header at the end of the season. On both days the track was wet and greasy. I went out for practice only for my gearbox to pack up. We got it changed in time for the start to the meeting and I lost the first heat by 0.001 of a second to Cole Atkins and then came home second in the next. That put me on pole position for the Superbowl. We fitted a bungee cord to the gear lever so that it wouldn’t jump out of gear but when the green flag dropped, I went to change gear, found none and got punted into the tyres at the start line!”

“I was back on the Sunday but somehow managed to get caught up in everything. I was chasing Gary Paterson in the Gordon Barclay Memorial race; we were running first and second at the time. Gary got clipped and spun, hit me and both of us ended up on the side lines. Things didn’t improve in the two races that followed!”

“I will keep the car that I have but will fit a new back bumper and a side panel. I intend to get the car painted and sign written as soon as I can but whether I can do any travelling will depend on how my dad is getting on.”