679 - Kieran Howie
“I got a ministox at Christmas 2008 when I was eleven. It was the biggest and best Christmas present that I have ever had.” Kieran Howie told me. “I had been trying to find out what I was getting but a ministox had never entered my head. I was gobsmacked! The car had belonged to Eddie Corr and he had done well with the car when he raced it.
We had been going to the Cowdenbeath Racewall to watch a lot and I was hooked on the racing but I had never asked for a ministox so it was quite a surprise! I didn’t have long to wait for my first race.
There was a meeting on in January and I was on the grid starting from the back. I did alright and thought it was great! Mind you when the season started I was soon involved in the action and was caught up in a heavy shunt. That was when I learned that hitting the wall wasn’t the best idea.
It didn’t stop me from racing but I was pretty nervous about racing the car after that! I enjoyed my time in the minis. I won a few races and moved through the grades up to the reds although in my last year I dropped down to a blue grade.
Like everyone else when I was 16 I had to retire and my brother Aaron came out to practice but after hitting the wall quite hard he decided that ministox racing was not for him. That was a pity ‘cos I am sure he would have enjoyed racing.
My dad and I had talked about what formula I should race and it was a straight choice between saloons and formula IIs and we decided that the latter would be the best for us. A formula II was going to be easier to maintain and the shunts were not as hard so therefore damage not as severe and easier to repair.
We went down to the saloon World Final at Skegness and then after the racing we met Mark Purvey at Leicester and before I knew it I had a formula II. It had come as a bit of a shock as again I had no idea that we were going to look at one at that time. Mark had done most of his racing on shale so we had to convert the car to tarmac.
I had the car about 10 months before we were ready to race it. We hadn’t rushed converting the car from a shale set up to a tarmac one but when it was ready we decided that it would be better to have our first run on a Wednesday night at Knockhill. I was never a lover of racing on the Trioval when I had the mini but I survived my outing, kept out of trouble and then headed for the Racewall on the Saturday.
My first meeting there turned out to be exciting in more ways than one! I finished my first heat in one piece but in the second the steering broke when I was heading down the back straight and I went straight into the wall.
Ryan Forbes, who I had raced against when I was in the minis, welded the column and after replacing a few bent bits I was back out! We continued to race to the end of the year and by that time we had the car sorted out and were beginning to pick up results.
The following year I managed to score my first ever win – it was in a white/yellow challenge series heat and whilst it doesn’t count as an official win a win is still a win. I felt great after my win and my dad was even seen running down the pits to congratulate me with a smile on his face! I managed another two in that series but in the final I got tangled up with Daniel Scrimgeour and by the time we managed to separate we were out of contention. I think I finished in tenth place. However I had had some good races and was pleased at how the season had gone.
Last year I started an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic at Ian Brown’s garage in Dunfermline and am enjoying the work. Stock car wise I didn’t start racing until the end of May. My dad had been in Australia and when he returned I went on holiday. It turned out to be my best season and I had two heat wins along with a win in the Grand National. My best meeting was when I won the first heat but then Gordon Moodie won heat two as well as the final. I had led the final until the closing stages when there was a shunt and the yellow flags appeared which allowed the rest of the cars to line up behind me. Although I did lead for a couple of laps I was then sent wide and the field streamed through and my final win disappeared. I think I ended up in eighth. Mind you I was back out and went on to win the Grand National.
I had scored well and as a result I had moved up to the yellow grade which I held until the end of the season.
I had picked up a second place in a heat during the World Championship qualifying round at the Racewall but in the meeting final I didn’t have much luck and didn’t figure in the results. It had been exactly the same the previous year although it was raining heavily that year!
I was really looking forward to the World Final weekend – what a crowd there was and there were big fields of cars on all three days!
However the weekend turned out to be one of my worst to date and over the three days I think I clocked up 13 laps! I was caught up in a shunt nearly every time I was out so what was a big occasion turned out to be flat for me!
However I did enjoy watching the World Final, it was a great spectacle to watch.
When the white/yellow challenge series final came along I led the cars away. The start wasn’t too good and I was kind of off the throttle when the green flag dropped. I led for five laps but then Gregor Turner caught and passed me and I had to settle for the runners-up spot.
At the last meeting of the season I was a qualifier for the Champion of Champions race. I did alright in the race but dropped back and wasn’t in the results at the close.
I have kept the same car for this year. My engine has gone to Alan Mackie, who looks after my engines, and he has checked it over and it’s back in the car.
Hopes and Aspirations
I am looking forward to the World Qualifying Round and the Scottish Championship weekend and would love to get some good results especially in the Scottish. The F2 Nationals are at the Racewall and I am looking forward to that meeting. I hope to go one better in the white/yellow challenge series final this year but a lot depends on who is in it and your luck on the day.
My main aim is to get enough points to move up to the blue grade and if I do get there be able to consolidate that position.
My dad Ian is my main mechanic whilst my pal Declan also comes along to help in the garage and at the racing. I get sponsorship from Randall Motorsports, Berm Shot Blasting at Leslie, Larkin Building Services, McGill Motorsports, I and J Douglas and Gibbs Garage whilst Ross Montignani does my sign writing. Their help is really appreciated.