News And Updates

40 Years of GMP Scotland

15th March 2021

The first Stock Car meeting promoted by GMP Scotland took place at Newtongrange on the 15th March 1981 – 40 years ago today. We thought we’d celebrate that with some background and photos of that first day and season. The track was built around the outside of the football pitch which was home to the Newtongrange Star team. The track was laid over a cinder base which had originally been laid for Whippet racing!!! The grandstand which provided an atmosphere on a par with the old stand here at the Racewall was part of the original football stadium construction back in 1924.

The inaugural meeting featured 11 races – 5 for BriSCA F2, and three each for Saloon Stock Cars and Hot Rods whilst there was also a Banger demolition derby at the end. The first event took place on a Sunday afternoon with a mixture of both Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons scheduled over the opening fixtures. At that time, Sunday afternoons were the favoured timing for spectators and drivers having been the traditional day raced on at Cowdenbeath under the Spedeworth banner. Whilst it took a while, it is the Saturday night tradition which has subsequently taken hold.

The opening meeting attracted a reported 6000 spectators, the start having to be delayed to allow them all entry. The F2 entry was reliant on visitors to bolster the grid as the home drivers prepared cars for the sport (of the Scots, only 81 Bill Pullar had a car fully to BriSCA specs, the others all racing cars that met some of the Superstox spec that was more prevalent at the time). The very first winner was the late, great 641 Ray Tyldesley. 38 Ian Edmiston took the opening F2 Final. In the Saloon Stock Cars 168 Alan McHattie won the first race at the track whilst 130 Malcolm Watt won the first Hot Rod event.

At that opening meeting the football pitch was protected by large tree logs – that particular feature only lasted to the end of the first season where they were swiftly replaced by more conventional tyres.

Only a few weeks into that first season it was announced that the junior Ministox would be introduced - their introduction was quickly copied by Spedeworth Scotland, and the class has subsequently provided an array of talent and champions in the senior classes.

Newtongrange closed to Stock Car racing at the end of the 1988 season. Football continued to operate at the stadium until 1994 after which it was demolished to make way for housing. Despite the track last having been open more than 30 years ago it is still much missed by those who attended. From the ashes however rose the phoenix of the Racewall in 1989, GMP Scotlands existing home. 40 incredible seasons of racing, here’s to the next 40!

Read more history of the sport in Scotland at https://www.scotlandstockcars.com/

Construction of Netwongrange in 1924 - the grandstand in the background

The Stadium under construction in 1924 - the grandstand in the background

The stadium was used for all sorts of events

The stadium was used for all sorts of events.

The Scottish Coal Queen Heather Anderson performed the ceremonial opening duties

The Scottish Coal Queen Heather Anderson performed the ceremonial opening duties

A rare colour photo of the Capri Pace Car - by all reports the car was a nightmare to driven on the road to the track - neither handling well or being particularly reliable

A rare colour photo of the Capri Pace Car - by all reports the car was a nightmare to driven on the road to the track - neither handling well or being particularly reliable

 

The pre-meeting parade at the opening event

The grand parade from the opening meeting

The first ever GMP Scotland BriSCA F2 race winner

The first ever GMP Scotland BriSCA F2 winner

Alan McHattie, winner in the Saloons

Alan McHattie Saloon winner

The infield logs were not a universally popular addition!

The infield logs were not a universally popular addition!

A great overhead picture - taken at the Snap-on Tools sponsored meeting

A great overhead picture - taken at the Snap-on Tools sponsored meeting

The stadium in the years just before demolition

The stadium in the years just before demolition

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