A COWDENBEATH Racewall driver who returned to Formula II more than a decade after trying it out told our reporter Jim Turner that it was the right decision.

Dean McGill returned to Formula II at the Racewall some fourteen years after his first go at it.

A smiling Dean told me: “I had two races in the car but was a bit too erratic and was basically all over the place so it was decided, in the interest of safety, not sure if it was mine or the other drivers, that I should stop!”

“The car was an Elite and belonged to my dad Tony, and not only that but I think his brother Billy, my brother Lee and cousin Ryan all had raced that car at one time or another!”

Added Dean: “I had been thinking about racing a Formula II for some time. I had a run in Gregor Turner’s car and loved it.

“Mind you that was a couple of years ago but when Craig McConnell’s car came up for sale, I decided I was going back into the “twos”. I went over to Northern Ireland to see the car, bought it and raced it that night - there was racing on so I decided ‘why not!’ The car was certainly quick, Craig had won the Irish Championship with it, but I was the slowest driver on track. I found it extremely hard but exciting.

“I brought the car home and didn’t really have much to do to get it ready for the start of the season. I basically painted the roof and wing white, put stickers on it and that was me ready to go! The first practice session was in May so I went out for practice and loved it.

“I started from the white grade and must say that I did alright. In one of my heats, I had been leading but Henry King sent me wide and I dropped down the order.

“Had the last laugh though. Went straight into the lead when the final started and was still there at the end of the race! Mind you by winning the final that meant that I had to start my next meeting as a yellow grade driver. Bad planning on my part!

“From yellow the week after I had a second and then a win in my heats, but crashed out heavily in the final when I hit fluid on the track and hit the wall. Forgot just how hard the wall was but that was a sharp reminder!

“I got another win the following week but ended up with a damaged gearbox. The next week it was the World Championship qualifying round and the Scottish Championship.

“I had changed my gearbox but hit a mechanical problem in my practice runs so we set about trying to repair it in the pits. We finally got the car running as it should have been and was out for the consolation where I finished in second place.

“The Scottish was terrible. Got alongside Peter Watt on the turnstile bend and got a tap from behind. I missed my gear change and when we went into the pit bend, we tangled. I ended up perched against the wall and against Peter’s car with bumpers and side rails interlocked. It took an age to get the cars separated but I had a damaged side rail, front suspension, front wheel and a half shaft. Hit my pocket hard!

“I must have done alright from the yellow grade though, because at the end of the month I moved up to the blue grade.”

His season became less hectic though: “I raced only once in July but missed all of August due to work.”

Dean is the proprietor of D. McGill Electrical Ltd, a very busy company in Leven and with his staff taking well-earned holidays, was forced to stand in and do some work. I suppose you could say he was a “bright spark”!

Dean said with a smile: “I didn’t have time in August to get my car repaired but once the holiday period quietened down, I was back into the garage. I got back onto the track just after the World Final and again started to pick up some good results, in fact I picked up another win at the end of September.

“I won the white/yellow challenge final but nearly blew it! The track conditions were very slippery, with a lot of water on the back straight and going into the turnstile bend.

“On the opening lap which left three cars on the grid, my race receiver stopped working and I couldn’t hear anything. I didn’t know that Gregor had damaged his car and when the race started, I waited for him to pick up speed.

“I saw that Craig Reid was away but I thought that he had jumped the start! When I did realise what was happening I got into gear but didn’t catch Craig until the closing laps but got home.

“I decided to do a donut or two to celebrate my win but clobbered my back wheel off a kerb and wrecked my tyre. Luckily part of my prize were four tyres!”

He ended the season with a slippery experience: “I didn’t have a good last meeting.

“There were quite a few cars at that meeting but unfortunately my car wasn’t going well and I was in the wars. Basically, lack of experience of driving a Formula II car on wet and greasy conditions. I ended the final against the wall after having a coming together with Emma Mellis, which left us against the wall on the main straight.”

I asked Dean about his time in the ORCi Stock Rods. Again, a grin spread across his face: “I didn’t like the Stock Rods. My cousin Liam and brother Lee were racing them at that time and I thought that I would give them a try.

“I ended up winning the National Points championship. Stuart McKinnon and I were the two front runners and we would head to Northern Ireland for the Friday night meeting. I remember for one meeting we were both there, it was at Ballymena, and the lights failed.

“They were powered by a diesel generator and I spent a long time trying to get it up and running but the motor had packed in and refused any attempts to fire back up! Another time I flew over and got to the track just before the start to the meeting. I had hired Ian Thompson’s car and didn’t do well in the heats.

“I changed things for the final and won the Paddywhack final. I then headed to the airport to fly back but they wouldn’t let me on the plane with the trophy. Left it there and someone brought it over to me! In the end I narrowly won the points but it was at a nervy last meeting before it was mine!

“I was first home in the European Championship but was penalised for contact – I wouldn’t do a thing like that! Mind you I did win a European Championship but in the Prostock and even added the World Cup as well.

“I am staying in Formula IIs next season. I am thinking about getting a new RCE chassis. The car I have is almost nine years old and it looks like it is needing a wee bit TLC.

“I will probably get another engine from Patton, in Northern Ireland, so we will see how things go. There will be at least another McGill on the track, Ryan’s car should be ready for the start of the season.

“As for working on the car I get a lot of help from Lee, Graham “Grumm “Fleming, Ryan, Ross and Liam but my daughter Millie keeps us all on our toes.

“My main sponsors are D. McGill Electrical Ltd, McGill Motorsport and Owen Bonnar -Waste Disposal. I would like to thank my mechanics and sponsors for all their help and helping me to compete.”