News And Updates

2017 Season Racewall Rod Review

20th February 2018

As has been the norm over the past few seasons the Scottish based ORCi stock rod drivers have played a big part in the outcome of the titles this year with Jim Pitcaithly (Kirkcaldy) winning the national Points title from Cameron Doak (Lanark) by only a handful of points.

However after a big shunt which saw the Pitcaithly car wrecked, Michael Bethune (Kirkcaldy) was banned from the sport. Pitcaithly was in the wars throughout the year suffering extensive damage to his car the week before the World when Ian Thompson Snr (Northern Ireland) eased him into the wall and then at the last Racewall meeting when he and Tam Tweedie (Carstairs Village) came together!

Pitcaithly won the ORCi championship down at St. Day and he certainly travelled many a mile as he raced almost at every meeting chalking up points and wins as he did so.

The Gilmore Engineering sponsored European Championship was the main event at the Racewall this year and as usual it attracted a big and strong field of cars with Bethune the defending champion.

On Saturday the drivers raced in heats to determine Sunday’s Championship grid with Jack Patchett (Northern Ireland) winning heats one and three, Trevor Calvin (Lanark) heats two and four and James Gray (Bo’ness) heat five.

On Sunday the last chance qualifying heat saw Kevin Forrester (Broxburn) win from going through to win from Aaron Moody and Brian Keir (Dalkeith).

The grid paired Calvin on pole with Patchett alongside and the defending champion back on row six. Calvin made the better of the starts to lead from Stewart and Patchett but on lap three there was a shunt which claimed Calvin and Doak. This left Stewart in the lead but there was another stoppage after Bethune and Pitcaithly tangled. Stewart led on the restart with Patchett on his tail and it stayed that way even after another race suspension. As the laps began to dwindle Patchett got inside Stewart with Luke Oliver (Heathfield) now in third. On the penultimate lap Stewart retook the lead as Patchett dropped back, his car running out of fuel, but Stewart now had Oliver closing quickly. However Stewart held on to win from Oliver, Niall McFarran (Northern Ireland) and Patchett.

In post race scrutineering there was a problem with Stewart’s engine and after a lot of “coming and going” was excluded from the results with Oliver becoming the European Champion. An extremely frustrating outcome for Stewart with many on both sides of the fence sympathetic to the situation he faced. 

Oliver lost his World Championship title to Stephen McCready (Northern Ireland) in August and Jordan Morgan became the British Champion at Ringwood.

At home Pitcaithly won the Gordon Ross memorial trophy, Stewart Wedderburn (Leven) the Jane Burt Memorial trophy and Calvin the Turner trophy.

The ORCi Scottish Championship was not held until October and the public draw paired Rob Conway (Biggar) and James Matson (Glenrothes) on the front row. Whilst Conway led the field away Matson was ahead on the back straight but quickly lost out to Stewart who was running just ahead of Gray. These two diced for most of the race but with three laps remaining they touched and as a result Stewart crashed heavily into the wall suspending the race. Gray led on the restart but he had suffered damage and in a flash Calvin drove around the outside of him before going through to win from Andrew Webster (Crimond) and Matson.

Gray became the track points champion whilst McCready went on to win the Michael Hastie Memorial trophy, rounding off an excellent season of stock rod racing.

However the race for the National Points continued to rage between Pitcaithly and Doak with Pitcaithly just coming out on top by a narrow margin.

The National hot rod drivers mainly raced in World Championship qualifying rounds which were to be sponsored by Dechmont Forklift Trucks. There were a lot of expensive and impressive cars on show and there was some close and exciting dicing.

The main rivals for the qualifying spots were Billy Bonnar (Ballingry), Ian Donaldson (Greenrigg), Steven Armit (Broxburn), Roy Anderson (Alves), Jim Cowie (Crimond) and Graeme Callender (Lenzie). Later they were to be joined by Ian McGuigan (Jedburgh) and Craig McLaren (Loanhead) whilst from time to time Robert McDonald (Armadale) who was taking part in the English qualifying rounds made an appearance.

At their first qualifying round McDonald went on to win both heats but during the final McDonald and Donaldson came together and in the end Callender picked up his first win of the night leading home Donaldson and Steven Armit.

The last qualifying round prior to the World Final saw the heats shared between Bonnar and McGuigan win the heats with the latter winning the final from Bonnar and Steven Armit.

The qualifying points saw Anderson, Donaldson and Armit the qualifiers along with McDonald who ended up in third spot in the World Final.

Qualifying for the 2018 World Final began within weeks of the world Final but there was a change to the line up with Bonnar deciding on qualifying through the English series and McDonald the Scottish rounds. Also making debuts were Ross McWilliam (Fraserburgh) and Ian Donaldson Jnr (Whitburn).

McDonald immediately showed that he was the one they were all going to have to beat when he made it a clean sweep at the first Racewall round winning both the heats then the final where he led home Ian Donaldson and McGuigan. In October the National hot rods were back in action and McDonald continued his dominance by again making it a clean sweep making it six wins out of six races.

The classic hot rods were the latest formula to be given some slots in the calendar replacing the Lightning rods. There was a lot of talk about seeing the Escorts, Chevette, Sunbeams and Anglia’s racing around the Racewall evoking many memories from what was called the “good old days”.

Amongst those in action was Kenny Purdie (Carluke) who went on to win the National Points, Graham McCabe (Bo’ness), Graeme Allister (Dunfermline), Keith Chesher (Dunfermline), John McKain (Inverness), John McFarlane (Dunfermline), Trevor Harris (Kinglassie), John Watkins (Falkirk) and Trev Forrester (Glasgow).

However their first outing was on a wet track which had a liberal coating of oil McCabe led the opening heat until the closing laps when Purdie got ahead to win and it turned out to be a similar story in heat two. Chesher, who was using McFarlane’s car, went through to win the final from McCabe and Purdie.

At their next meeting Daz Owen and Gavin Taber made the trek from south of the border and whilst McCabe and Taber were the heat winners Purdie went on to beat Taber to win the Final. In August Jock Burgoyne (Airth) appeared in the McCabe car with the latter in the Allister car. Forrester brought out his Anglia whilst Thomas Dilly was over from Northern Ireland.

However it turned out to be Purdie domination and he went on to win both heats and the final.

At their last outing of the season the drivers were racing for their Cock of the North trophy and there were a few more visitors namely Taber, Owen, Kara and Craig Boyd (Cambridge), Ryan Polley (Manea) and Hughie Weaver (Hednesford).

Craig Boyd went on to win both the heats and then won the final from Polley and Purdie.

Purdie had put himself in a position that the National Points were almost his for the asking but to be sure he travelled to Hednesford for their last meeting and quickly made sure that the title was his!

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