Racewall's Russell ready to race in new car after lockdown
There were a few raised eyebrows when Barry Russell arrived at Cowdenbeath Racewall last year in a completely new car.
Russell normally drives a saloon powered by a two-litre Ford Zetec engine with bumpers front and back, with full contact allowed, so it came as a surprise when he turned up with a Formula II on his trailer at one of the behind-closed-doors practice sessions in 2020.
It all soon became clear when he explained that he had borrowed Nigel Davies’ car to get practice in at driving the other way around as he was scheduled to race on shale at King’s Lynn in Norfolk.
“I loved every minute in the Formula II,” he said with a smile.
“In fact, I liked it that much that I did it again a fortnight later. There is something about the sound of the engine when you start it up. It’s definitely not like that when you start the saloon.
"In my first outing, I finished in second place in the whites and yellows race, and whilst I finished all my other races, I didn’t manage to get into the top ten in any of them.
"In my second meeting, things didn’t go as well as I hoped they would and I seemed to hit things more often than not. I would love to do it again if I get the chance.”
When asked about his exploits in his saloon, Russell said: “The last full season was probably my best yet, but I still didn’t win a championship.
"I was runner-up in the saloon world final, the national and the World of Shale in Holland.
"I did win a few races on both Tarmac and shale but I still haven’t joined the superstars at the back of the grid.
“My home track, Cowdenbeath Racewall, was the venue for the 2019 world final.
"To qualify, you had to race at certain events. With the points scored and other meetings taken in, they determine where you start on the grid.
"I had done really well and ended up starting from the outside of the front row.
"What an occasion it was. The atmosphere was brilliant, and in the afternoon all the qualifiers for the world had their cars on the track.
"The spectators were allowed onto the track, where they could get autographs and photos taken with their favourite drivers.
"It was a great opportunity for us drivers to meet up with our fans too and a great build-up to the big race.
"The race itself didn’t go to plan. Diggy Smith, who was in pole position, beat me into the first corner and even though there were a few restarts I just couldn’t pass, leaving me in second place when the chequered flag dropped.
"We were about the same on power, but I didn’t get a good enough opportunity to get past him and take the lead.
"In a race like that, there is no room for error.”
Russell is now looking forward to getting back on the track in his new car, given its maiden outing last year in Fife.
"My season ended at the Racewall’s last meeting of the year and I raced my new car,” he said. "It was the first time that that I had built my own car. I did so during the first lockdown period.
"I had always wanted to build my own saloon and furlough gave me the opportunity.”