Finally, the 40th season of stock car racing got started under the GMP banner at the Cowdenbeath Racewall on a bright but slightly chilly Saturday evening and with spectators to boot!
There were reasonably good turnouts of drivers across all four formulae and as a result there was some really close and exciting racing. Sandy Galbraith made his return to the ORCi Stock Rods a memorable one winning a heat then the final after having been away from racing for ten years.
There were first time wins for Darren Macdonald and Martin Joy whilst the Prostocks were dominated by Darren Rae who won all three of his races. However, Joanne Hilditch had her car wrecked early on when she was clipped going into the pit bend resulting in her car hitting a tyre and breaking the steering. Her car careered across the track and she was promptly hit by the oncoming cars. Jake Mason was in a shunt and his car too ended up with a fair amount of damage.
Cole Ramsay and Ben McLellan managed to lock bumpers and after clipping a tyre the cars broke free but McLellan spun backwards into the wall where he was clipped by another car.
There was a healthy turn out of ORCi Stock Rods in what is an important year with their World Final being held in September. Amongst the new faces were Lauren Gray, Darren Macdonald, Craig Haxton and Cameron McDonald whilst Sandy Allen, Keith Stewart, Peter Henderson and Sandy Galbraith had returned.
The opening heat was led off by Neil Gilogley and he soon had Euan Robertson and Sandy Galbraith in close order. Leon Stewart was clipped and spun, missed by all, whilst Lee Burden brushed the wall and had to retire. Within a couple of laps Galbraith was through into second whilst Allen was fourth but was soon to have a train of cars following him. Michael Bethune was running ahead of John McAllister and they were slowly working their way through the field. Galbraith had closed the gap to Gilogley only for David Dignan to be spun on the pit bend and with Gilogley running slightly wide he got trapped against the Dignan car. Galbraith then reeled off the remaining laps to win from Macdonald and Bethune. Heat two saw Macdonald lead the field away but Gilogley was an early retiree and it was Robertson and Galbraith who were the next in line. As the race progressed Macdonald began to ease away from the two behind. In a busy back straight Bethune was squeezed into the wall and had to retire with broken steering. During the closing stages Dignan began to reel in the cars ahead and with three to run moved into second place. However there was to be no catching Macdonald and he went through to record a comfortable win with Dignan second and Peter Henderson third.
When the final started it was Gilogley who made the better of the starts to lead the field away with Galbraith in second place whilst Robertson had Macdonald in close order. Scottish Champion Bethune was running just clear of McAllister and J. Gray but they were making up ground quickly. At the front of the field Galbraith closed the gap to Gilogley and after a couple of laps running side by side he then moved into the lead. Burden was now sitting in third although there were a group of cars behind that were slowly catching him. As the laps were reeled off Galbraith headed up the straight to claim his second win of the night where he was followed home by Gilogley and Burden.
The Prostock Basic formula for newcomers to the sport had a good turn put of drivers with Martin Joy, Aimee Winfield, Alistair Strachan and Kailum Greig making their debuts. Heat one didn’t go well with a couple of early stoppages resulting in Hilditch, out with a wrecked car, Kielan Ogilvie with a burst radiator and whilst Lauren Ford did re-appear she retired with a puncture and a damaged wishbone.
Greig led the race until the closing stages when David Sher charged through to win, Greig held onto second with Nicole Russell collecting third spot. Joy made the better of the start to lead the field away in heat two and he was still clear when the chequered flag appeared as he picked up his maiden win. Greig ran in second throughout whilst Russell was again third.
When the final started Cammy Archibald was the first to show with Joy in second whilst Russell was soon through into third although she had Taylor Osborne on her back bumper. Although Joy briefly led it was Russell who forced her way into the lead and once there opened up a slight lead. With only a handful of laps remaining the race went into suspension with the field lining up behind Russell. When the race restarted Russell had Osborne on her back bumper but just managed to ease away before winning from Osborne and Jordan Dignan.
Jake Mason was making his Racewall debut in the Prostocks with a decent number of cars on the grid.
Kev Bell made a good start but was caught towards the end by Tam Melrose although his time in the lead didn’t last long with Darren Rae pipping him on the last lap before going on to win from Melrose and Paul Winfield. Bell again was soon clear in heat two but there was a three-car shunt on the turnstile bend which eliminated John Jackson, Jake Mason and Ross Stewart. Winfield forced his way into the lead not long after the restart but with only a couple of laps remaining Rae went through to win from Winfield and John Mason.
Bell led the cars way when the final started but with four laps remaining Rae was through into the lead and on his way to a hat trick of wins from Bell and Ian Christie.
The Micro F2 drivers entertained as only they can and there was plenty of exciting racing which belied their tender years.
Calvin Gemmell got the first heat underway running ahead of Taylor Rigby and Mia Cross but next time around Connor St. Aubyn was in second place although Cole Ramsay was closing the gap. Ramsay got ahead of St. Aubyn and then with three laps remaining took the lead. He then went on to win from Ben McLellan and St. Aubyn. In their second heat was led off by Lana Middler and Caitlin Mitchell but there was to be no stopping C. Gemmell who charged through into the lead. C. Gemmell then came under pressure from McLellan with the lead changing hands. Once ahead McLellan went through to win from Ramsay who got the better of the exchanges to pick up second with Aiden Davidson.
The third heat was led away by C. Gemmell from Rigby but next time around St. Aubyn was in second place whilst behind them Ramsay and McLellan were running nose to tail. Ramsay burst through into the lead but was under pressure from McLellan and then disaster their bumpers locked and they lost ground. When they clipped the marker tyres McLellan spun backwards into the wall where he was promptly collected by C. Gemmell suspending the race. St. Aubyn was the new leader ahead of Ramsay whilst Ollie Sime was third. When the race restarted St. Aubyn led but had Oliver Heron on his back bumper. Heron forced his way through on the inside to lead but he had to look sharp to fend off St. Aubyn’s challenge for the win with Ramsay forcing his way back to third at the close.