Stock cars back on track at Cowdenbeath Racewall
The stock cars returned to the Cowdenbeath Racewall on Saturday night after the holiday break although there were a few Formula II drivers racing at Northampton where the European Championship was at stake.
There were plenty of cars in the pits with Stuart Shevill Jnr’s car sporting the Union Jack following his win in the UK Championship whilst Graeme Shevill debuted his new car. Jack Beresford was having his first taste of Saloon racing. Stuart McKinnon debuted his new ORCi Stock Rod but was plagued with teething troubles.
There was an influx of Formula IIs from the north of England with Gary Kitching, Paul Dobson and Josh Vickers all appearing.
Local drivers were Paul and Craig Reid (Cowdenbeath) and Gregor Turner (Dunfermline).
The first heat was won by Liam Rennie who took the lead just before the start of the last lap to win from Emma Mellis and Jason McDonald with P. Reid sixth and C. Reid in ninth place.
Heat two ended with Daniel Scrimgeour winning from Rennie and Stevie Forster with P. Reid fourth and just ahead of Turner.
Mellis was quickly into the lead when the final started although initially chased by P. Reid.
Rennie was quickly making up ground and just after the mid-point took the lead. During the closing stages Forster moved into second but Rennie was clear and he went through to win from Forster and Mellis with P. Reid fifth and C. Reid tenth
Reid then won the Grand National from Mellis and Turner with C. Reid again tenth.
There was another good turnout of Saloons with Gary Paterson (Saline) and Beresford making their Racewall debuts whilst the other local drivers in action were Kyle Irvine (Glenrothes) and Ross Watters (Kennoway).
Irvine was sent spinning on the opening Saloon race with Colin Savage and Jordan Cassie dicing for the lead.
When they tangled Stuart Shevill Jnr went through into the lead and went on to win from Watters and Barry Glen with Irvine recovering to finish in seventh and Paterson in tenth place.
Shevill Jnr made it a double success when he won Heat Two from Zak Gilmour and Irvine who had a right hard dice with Watters for a good part of the race.
Paterson led the field away when the final started first from Andy Ainslie and then from Colin Savage but it was Barry Glen who was making up ground and at the half distance he moved into the lead.
Once there he eased away from the field although Watters began to close as the laps decreased. Irvine finally got ahead of both Graeme then Stuart Shevill Jnr but it was Glen who grabbed the headlines with a well deserved win leading home Watters and Irvine.
There was another bumper turn put of ORCi Stock Rods at the track with James Halkett making his first outing of the year whilst John McAllister was having his first run since he won the British Championship.
Sandy Allen had returned after his shunt whilst the local drivers were Stuart McKinnon (Kincardine), Stuart Wedderburn (Leven), Steve Gunby (Cupar), John Lee Green (Kelty), Sandy Allen (Methil), Scott and Sandy Galbraith (Auchtermuchty), David Dignan (Methilhill), Peter Thomson (Leven) and Michael Bethune (Kirkcaldy).
The first Stock Rod race was for the Gordon Ross Memorial Shield which had been won for the past three seasons by James Gray.
The drawn grid paired Darren Macdonald on pole with John McAllister alongside with Gray and Green behind whilst Gunby was on row three.
McAllister made the better of the starts to lead from Macdonald and Green but on lap three David Philp Jnr moved inside to fourth and when he took the inside line tangled with Green resulting in both cars stopping and suspending the race.
McAllister led on the restart but within a couple of laps the race was again suspended after Dignan was clipped going into the turnstile bend and ended up rolling his car.
McAllister now had Bethune on his tail but a couple of laps later Cammy Doak had closed the gap to make it a three way fight for the lead. Just behind Leon Stewart had Macdonald in close order but were adrift of the front three.
It was frantic at the front but when Bethune drifted wide on the pit bend Doak dived inside into second. Bethune again closed the gap to make it a three-car dice for the lead.
McAllister now had a gap over Doak with Bethune recovering to latch onto Doak’s back bumper.
Bethune began to drop away as the laps dwindled as his engine began to tighten up but McAllister was clear and he went through to win from Doak with Bethune just holding onto third spot with Thomson in sixth place and Sandy Galbraith eighth.
Bethune was back out for heat one with another engine in place but the race was stopped after Euan Robertson was clipped and spun before being collected by Macdonald who was leading the charge ahead of a group of cars.
With nowhere to go quite a few of the cars piled in and suffered damage with Macdonald taking the brunt of the shunt and suffered damage to the front and rear of his car.
Only twelve cars restarted with Cameron McDonald leading them away but soon lost out to Green. However, Lee Burden forged ahead only for a race stoppage when Dignan and Taylor Borthwick tangled. Burden led but was pipped at the line by McAllister with Peter Henderson finishing third.
On the last bend James Halkett crashed heavily and required assistance out of his car. Lee Burden then won heat two in a hard-fought race with Burden leading Doak and David Philp Jnr home with the first three cars in a blanket finish.
Amongst those in the Prostock Basics were local drivers Graeme and Jordan Dignan (Methilhill), Ali Strachan (Kinglassie), Kailum Greig (Kelty) and Callum Rennie (Glenrothes).
The first race saw long-time leader Aimee Winfield clash with a back marker allowing Joanne Hilditch through to claim her first win over Kielan Ogilvie, Martin Joy and G. Dignan with Strachan sixth and just ahead of Greig and J, Dignan.
Alan Burden then won heat two from Hilditch, Ogilvie, Strachan and Rennie with Greig again seventh.
Gary Roberts led the cars away when the final started from Burden and Aimee Winfield but soon had Ogilvie and Hilditch closing them down.
Roberts spun with Ogilvie taking over at the front of the pack only for Hilditch to get inside on the next lap. Once there Hilditch eased away from the field to pick up her second win of the night leading where she led home Ogilvie, Rennie and Greig with G. Dignan seventh and ahead of Strachan.
Amongst the Micro F2 drivers in action was local driver Connor St Aubyn (Glenrothes).
The first Micro F2 race was won by Ben McLellan who led home Taylor Rigby and Mason Howe with St Aubyn in fourth place.
There were a couple incidents in the second heat but it was stopped early after a three-car shunt on the last lap.
St. Aubyn was sitting in second when the leader crashed out and was declared as the winner from Rigby and Howe. Alfie Smith then won heat three where he led home Jaden Key and Rigby with St. Aubyn in seventh place.
Next weekend is a double header that no-one will want to miss with both the Saloon and Ministox drivers having championships up for grabs.
On Saturday both formulas will be running in a series of qualifying heats whilst on the Sunday the Saloons will be battling it out for their European Championship with the Ministox drivers doing likewise for their British Championship.
Already there are twenty Saloon drivers booked in including Deane Mayes, Bradley Compton-Sage, Ryan Santry and Cole Atkins whilst Ryan Wright and Matty Stirling are the Northern Ireland entries but it is early days.
Look for the Scottish challenge being led by Stuart and Graeme Shevill, Kyle Irvine and Barry Russell so already things are looking interesting.
The last time the European was won by a Scottish driver was back in 2005 when Kenny Pudie won.
The Ministox hopefully will see the British title staying at home with the Likes of Jamie Dawson, Jay Paterson, Scott Allardyce and Charlie Hardie amongst the favourites to do so.
The present holder of the British Championship is Warren Darby but he is now overage and we might just see him in his Saloon.
On Saturday the Formula IIs complete the bill – they are racing for the Alan Cuthill Memorial with a 5pm start whilst the ORCi Stock Rods are featured on Sunday, racing for their Turner Trophy, with the usual 1pm start.
At this stage it is an all-ticket affair but keep checking the Racewall website for up-to-date information.