ONCE again, inclement weather did its best to put a dampener on spirits at HRP Lochgelly Raceway this past Saturday; but drivers, teams and fans were treated to an excellent night of racing action as the five formulas on show delivered despite the tricky conditions, writes our Raceway correspondent Les Waller.

A busy sixteen race programme of events was the order of the day at Scotland’s premier stock car venue.

The Ninja Karts, as always when they are in town, were first on track for their traditional Whites and Yellows Race which gives the drivers with fewer points and, perhaps, less experience, the chance to have the track to themselves without the added pressure of the higher graded drivers around them. Connor Frame won this race last time out and he repeated the feat as he took another fine victory ahead of Jack Baird and Hamish Plenderleith – it is likely to be Connor’s last whites and yellows race as the April regrading looms large!

Heat One saw two thirds of the entrants in the whites and yellows race being joined by the blue and red graded drivers and what a race it ended up being with the top two drivers in the formula coming through the traffic like a hot knife through butter but a misjudged overtaking attempt by World Champion Charlie Hardie on European and British Champion Robbie Armit saw both drivers lose out with Hardie disqualified for the mistake while Armit was disqualified for his subsequent retaliation after the chequered flag which was claimed by Josh Bruce after a thrilling finish from Toby Tyson and Zoe Mann. Heat Two saw Robbie Armit make up for lost time as he took a dominant win from Kyle Johnstone and Connor Frame.

Heat Three was another excellent race with the likes of Armit, Hardie and Bailey Millar making rapid progress from the back of the grid and it was Armit who eventually came

The Ministox were back on track once more for the final time ahead of their regrading – some drivers will be grateful for the fact that the regrading will see a few of the faster lower graded drivers moving further back on the grid as they have dominated proceedings so far. There was a good number of cars in the pits ahead of heat one with all drivers being from Scotland this time round. As they have done so often so far in 2018; Scott Allardyce and Barry Scott battled it out for the early lead with Allardyce taking the advantage.

Allardyce held on at the front of the pack to take the win ahead of Jamie Stewart and Logan Bruce. Heat Two was a carbon copy of heat one in that Allardyce made good his getaway in the early stages while the chasing pack was led by National Points Champion Sean Naismith and star driver Taylor Borthwick.

Neither Naismith or Borthwick were able to do anything about Allardyce though as he took his second win of the night. For the vast majority of the feature final; it looked like Allardyce was on course for a stunning hat-trick; but Naismith caught the back bumper of the Allardyce car in the late stages to claim an excellent win ahead of Stewart and Allardyce to bring an end to another excellent night of Ministox action.

The 2.0 Hot Rods were back on track once more and another good grid of cars were on hand to do battle at the 2018 World Championship venue. Heat One got underway on a wet track and the conditions caught out Dougie Kidd who spun out from a favourable position in the early stages of the race. After the early sorting out; it was Gerry Hendry who found himself in a lead he held on to until the chequered flag to claim the spoils in heat one – just as he did last time out. Heat Two saw Dougie Kidd make the early running; but a fast-moving train led by Hendry soon came through with Hendry also dragging Jock Campbell, Billy Bonnar and World Champion Gordon Alexander through with him – Hendry went on to take his second win of the night and a return to red grade ahead of Campbell and Bonnar.

The feature final saw Hendry moved back to the red grade; but his sheer speed made him one of the favourites for the feature win. While the lower graders held their own at the beginning of the race; it was obvious that Hendry was on a mission as he sped around HRP Lochgelly raceway at a rate of knots; but William Hardie was also moving quickly through the pack – it was then that the battle lines were drawn! Hardie shadowed Hendry as they made their way to the front of the pack and then made several attempts to pass Hendry on the outside as well as trying to unsettle the double heat winner into making a mistake. All of this was to no avail as Hendry took his third win of the night by half a car length from Hardie in the drag race to the line in a thrilling conclusion to some exhibition-type hot rod racing!!!

The CC Rods were back on track for their second meeting of the season. A cracking drive from yellow-grader Daniel McDonald netted him his first win of the year despite the late attempt of Colin Thomson to get on terms with the 518 driver while National Points Champion Ian Donaldson (now in his more familiar Corsa D) came home in third. The second heat saw Tony Wright open his account for the year as he took victory while Thomson had to settle for second once more with Donaldson on the podium once more. The feature final was stopped almost as soon as it began after a big incident on the back straight. While battling over position; CC Rod debutant Lee Smart attempted to close the door on Tony Wright who held the inside line, and this sent Smart into the wall on the exit of turn two. Smart attempted to move his car but only moved a few feet which put him further on to the racing line where he was collected by the unfortunate Davie McFarlane and Jamie Bell with three CC Rods looking decidedly sorry for themselves.

The somewhat depleted field took the green flag once more and it was Wright who managed to hold on at the front for his second win of the night.

The Superstox were the final formula on show. Heat One was arguably the highlight of the entire evening of action in what was a race that had everything. The drivers asked for no quarter and none was given as they battled for every place. World Champion Barry Stephen, National Points Champion David Frame and hat-trick hero from the first meeting of 2018, Chris Miller were among those on the move as they tried to chase down a fast-moving Ally Noble and all hell broke loose in the latter stages of the race as Stephen went in with the bumper in an attempt for the lead which ultimately failed as he spun out – this handed the momentum to Frame who took the win ahead of Miller and Noble. Noble made a great deal of the running again in heat two but Stephen made no mistake this time as he came through from the back of the pack to take the win from Frame and Miller. The feature final was another excellent race and Noble was once more to the fore as he led the initial portion of the race before Scotland’s current top two came through in the shape of Frame and Stephen. Frame had the edge; but Stephen did manage to make contact with the Frame bumper in the closing stages of the race; but Frame was able to hold on and take the win.

This Saturday, April 7, sees the latest slice of stock car action get underway at 5:30pm. The Junior Bangers will make their much-requested return to HRP Lochgelly Raceway and they will be joined by the 1300 Stock Cars, Stock Rods, ProStocks and National Hot Rods!