IN this the second of our Cowdenbeath Racewall reporter’s winter interviews, Jim Turner spoke to Fife Saloon driver Ross Watters, who felt he had done pretty well in 2021 with a title win.

“That turned out to be a very busy season,” Ross said.

“We didn’t get started until the end of May and as it turned out we had championship races nearly every second or third weekend.

“I didn’t really have much to do to my car over the close season. We had refurbished it for the 2020 season which never really happened.

“We had new wheels and tyres for that season which gave us less grip than we were used to so the few meetings that I did, allowed me to make the adjustments that I had to do!

“Like most of the Saloon drivers our first meeting in 2021 was the National Championship at the end of May and it was a double header down at Taunton.

“Taunton is a tight track, the straights are not all that ling and the bends are quite tight. “The one thing about the bends there is that you can make up a lot of ground, but you can also lose a lot of places depending on who does the pushing!

“I didn’t do too well in my heats and I had to start the final from way down the grid. I did make up a lot of places but didn’t manage to get into the top ten.”

Looking at his Cowdenbeath experiences Ross said: “My first run at the Racewall wasn’t bad but the following week I managed to win.

“Then it was time for the British Championship which was down on the shale at King’s Lynn. So that was another set up change and it had been something over two years since I last raced on shale.

“The ‘British’ turned out to be a good meeting for me and I ended up in third place. I had been taken out in one of my heats but after that did well. I made up places when the final was run and brought my car home in third place. I was really pleased with how the car ran on the shale surface.”

From King’s Lynn Ross went to Skegness for the Sunday meeting, “The car ran well but I saw a chance to make up some ground in the final so I charged at the cars ahead of me. It looked good but didn’t help me too much!

“I had sustained a fair bit of damage so had to re-panel the passenger side of my car and tidy it up a bit. I also built a new engine as well as change the set-up back to what I ran at the Racewall, but the Scottish Championship turned out to be a nightmare.

“The car in front of me blew an engine and I hit the oil and the wall, suffered a lot of damage and even cracked my carb, but we managed to get the car out.

“I retired in one heat and didn’t make the other so I started from the back of the grid. My race was uneventful although I did somehow manage to finish in sixth place. Over the years the Scottish Championship hasn’t been too good for me but hopefully that will change soon!”

“My next outing was the UK Championship down at Skegness. There are always a lot of cars there so we are running in big fields all the time. I got good results in my heats and a sixth place in the final, Skegness is always a good two day meeting – there are plenty of cars and spectators and a lot of places to go to.

“Once we returned from Skegness, I made a few changes to the car and it started to go better. I managed the fastest lap at the Racewall and I was beginning to feel more confident.

“The European Championship was the next big race on the calendar and thankfully it was at the Racewall. The car felt good in practice, even more so when I won a heat and with another good result in my other race, I ended up on pole position.

“I made a good start to the race and led but after a shunt the race was suspended and the field lined up behind me. Once the track was clear I was back in the lead but on the pit bend I was hit hard and as a result my car clambered up the wall and I had to retire with a fair bit of damage. That was my Euro chances gone for another year!”

But there was better to come: “I got the car repaired and ready to go and this time my travels took me to Mildenhall where the World Final was to be run.

“Mildenhall is another shale track and it had been a while since I raced there. Over the year we get points for championship events and track championships and I was to start from the inside of row five. You very rarely get practice on shale tracks so I was hopeful that my settings were alright.

“In the end it turned out that they were and I was soon through into second place and confident of a good result. With five laps remaining there was a crash which suspended the race.

“There I was the meat in a Barnes sandwich! Timmy was leading but I had Harry and Tommy behind me so when the race restarted, I knew that there was only one place that I was going,

“True enough I was sent crashing heavily into the fence and out of the race. Very disappointed but that is stock car racing! It was maybe ironic that I repaired my car and went out and won the meeting final. It was my first win on shale but it was a few races too late!

“We were back to the same routine of changing the car’s set up for the Racewall and then another change for the ORCi Championship which was taking place at Skegness.

“I had two good heats and ended up joint points scorer with Michael Allard but as he had won a heat he would start from pole. He made a good start and I was shoved wide on the first bend but managed to get back into second place. I was able to pull away from the others but just couldn’t close the gap to Allard and he went through to win and I had to be content with second place.

“After a gap of two weeks we headed over to Nutts Corner, in Northern Ireland, where we would be racing for the Irish Open on the Saturday and the Masters on Sunday. I have always liked my trips to Ireland and usually my car goes alright there.

“In the heats on Saturday, I got a fourth and then a sixth place and I was on row four inside for the final. Geoff Martin led the field away but there was then a stoppage - the first of seven!

“I had got into the lead by then but with the number of stoppages the race never flowed. The last stoppage there came when there were about seven laps remaining and I made a good re-start but was very wary when I came to lap anyone,

“I made it to the line first to win and that incidentally was the first time that I had won a championship, where I had to change my roof colour.

“The following day I ended up winning the Masters but I was spun and re-started last. I began to make up ground and got into second place. On the last lap I managed to force my car alongside Matty Stirling, who was the leader and just beat him to the finish line.” Two titles in two days - wow!”

Ross was looking to finish the season well: “When I returned home, I quickly got the green and white checks on my roof for the Superbowl and National Series weekend at the Racewall.

“The track was very greasy and slippery but I was pleased with how it was running. There were over thirty cars at the track and we were split into three groups and were to race twice.

“Got good results in my heats, a fourth and a second, put me on row two outside for the final. There is nothing like a bit of drama to keep you on your toes! As I was heading to the track it was noticed that petrol was leaking out of my car.

“I had to return to the pits and strip out mine. Andrew Mathieson had loaded up so we borrowed his and I just got if fitted and took up my place on the grid just in time to start the race.

“When it did, I forced my way into the lead, but Stuart Shevill Jnr had been spun and was reversing down the track. We must have touched and I spun before Stevie Honeyman ploughed into me.

“We repaired the car overnight for the Sunday meeting but I didn’t finish the Gordon Barclay Memorial Trophy race although I managed a place in heat two and that was my season over with!!

“2021 certainly had its ups and downs but I had managed to win a championship event, Jordan Cassie bought my car and I am now awaiting delivery of my new one.

“Once I get it, I hope to have it ready by the end of the year and might try to get some early practice runs, I am third in the World Ranking points and would like to get higher. The ‘World’ next year is at Skegness so I usually go well there. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

“I would like to thank all my mechanics, especially my son Jaxson, who keeps us all going, and all my sponsors for their help over the year.”