A REALTIVELY warm evening with some drizzle greeted drivers, teams and fans as they gathered at HRP Lochgelly Raceway this past Saturday for the second regular Saturday night stock car session of 2017, writes our Raceway scribe Les Waller.
Yet again, there were five formulas in action offering a great blend with something for fans of all types of racing.
The first formula on track were the Ninja Karts. The formula for 6-10 year-olds has blossomed into one of HRP’s biggest success stories since their introduction in 2013 and early signs are that 2017 could be a vintage year for the formula with no less than seven brand new drivers taking to the track for their racing debuts.
Rookie Kyle Johnstone enjoyed a great start to his career last year and got 2017 off to a flying start as he took the win in the whites and yellows race ahead of Rachel Kidd and Mirran Adams. Some white and yellow graded drivers had elected to forego the whites and yellows race for the chance to score points in all three heats so heat one got underway under the HRP floodlights with whites and yellows winner Johnstone taking up the lead in short order, however, as the laps wound down Johnstone’s lead was shrinking rapidly as the higher graded drivers got into their stride. After a fantastic battle, it was British, Scottish and National points Champion Charlie Hardie who took the win ahead of Lanarkshire’s Bailey Millar and English visitor and National points Champion Kasey Jones.
Heat Two developed in a similar pattern as some of the lower graders made their getaway but blue top Scott Allardyce made short work of overhauling the others as he sped away to a cracking win with Hardie and Millar claiming the other podium spots. Heat Three was a carbon copy of heat two but Allardyce certainly won’t be complaining as he managed to claim a fantastic heat-winning double as he held off a late race challenge from Hardie while Millar took his third podium finish of a great evening of Ninja Kart action.
Youth was very much to the fore on Saturday at HRP Lochgelly Raceway as the Ministox were also in action. The contact formula for 11-16 year-olds was probably the formula of the year in Scotland and no less than twenty one cars arrived to do battle in their first meeting of 2017. It was great to see Lewis Gilchrist and Ben Creanor back in action after absences while novice Jamie Stewart made his Ministox debut too. Heat One saw a great battle in the early laps between Gilchrist and fellow white top William Wallace for the lead and it was Gilchrist who broke away from the pack to take up a healthy lead while battle raged on behind him for the minor places. Steven Burgoyne managed to slice his way through the pack to pick up second place.
Heat Two saw the lower graders once again make the break with Kelty’s Ciaran Adams driving well in his new for 2017 machine. It looked like Adams may be able to hold on for a great win but, sadly for the young man known as Spud, National points Champion Sean Naismith was able to catch Adams in the closing stages to take the win. Heat Three was run on what looked like a greasy track and watching Burgoyne and Naismith slice through the field made for spectacular viewing as the two top pilots demonstrated great skill to head the field.
Naismith managed to keep enough of a gap on Burgoyne to ensure that he finished took his second win of the night while Burgoyne would have to settle for second with Bryan Lindsay coming home in third on a great night of Ministox action.
The Stock Rods were in action for the first time in 2017 and it was great to see fifteen cars in the pits for their first outing of the year including long distance visitor Daniel Rea. Daniel would be racing at HRP Lochgelly Raceway before driving the 450 miles to Wimbledon Stadium to contest the formula’s English Championship there the next day – fantastic dedication!!!
It was all about the debutants at the start of heat one with Davidson quickly getting ahead of Finlay to take up the running while the likes of Ryan Venters, Alan Cuthbert and Pete Thomson were quickly into their stride from the yellow grade. Davidson drove a calm and collected race as the faster moving Venters and co loomed large in his mirrors but he held on to take a great maiden win in the formula ahead of Venters and Thomson. If Venters had looked quick in heat one then he looked unstoppable in heat two as he flew round the tight HRP Lochgelly Raceway track in fine style to claim his first win of the season ahead of fellow yellow graders Cuthbert and Thomson with Best in Britain Champion Jonathan Lattka being the first star driver home in fourth. The feature final gave the star graded drivers five more laps than the heats to get on terms with the lower graded drivers and, after two false starts due to clutch issues for Ross Finlay, the race finally got underway. The lower graders did indeed make the early running but Kelty’s Darren McAlpine had finally got his Corsa C driving to his liking and it showed as he flew around the circuit in his pursuit of the leaders – a pursuit that he was successful in. McAlpine took up the lead while National Points Champion Siobhan Martin also demonstrated her speed as she moved into second place ahead of Alan Cuthbert in the closing stages. McAlpine would go on to take the feature win ahead of Martin and Cuthbert after an excellent night of Stock Rod action at HRP Lochgelly Raceway.
The final formula on show were the 1300 Stock Cars and what they lacked in cars, due to varying reasons such as suspension, work and mechanical problems; they more than made up for in action!!! The 1300 Stock Cars feature final would be for the DM Electrical and Security Systems Trophy with some big money up on the closed grid race but there were two heats to negotiate prior to that event and it was Stock Rod racer Jordan Wright who took the borrowed Euan Mathieson car to victory lane in heat one as he demonstrated great ability behind the wheel as he beat Ryan McGill and Craig Haxton to the line. Heat Two saw Scottish Champion and meeting sponsor Dean McGill take a hard-earned win and the DM Electrical and Security Systems Final saw the cars bunched together and the expected chaos ensued as bumpers flew in throughout the race but, after the dust settled, it was Ryan McGill who had come through to claim the big prize.
The next slice of stock car action comes to HRP Lochgelly Raceway this Saturday and features the all-action 1300 Stock Cars plus the 2.0 Hot Rods, junior Productions at 5:45pm at HRP Lochgelly Raceway.