A GLORIOUSLY sunny evening greeted drivers, teams and fans as they gathered at HRP Lochgelly Raceway this past Saturday for the latest slice of stock car action at Scotland’s premier stock car venue, writes our Raceway scribe Les Waller.

Five great formulas were on show and, with a mammoth sixteen races scheduled, value for money was very much the name of the game!

The first formula on show were the Ninja Karts who made their first appearance in quite a few weeks at HRP Lochgelly Raceway with championships being contested elsewhere in between.

It was HRP’s own Charlie Hardie who took the National Championship at Aldershot a few weeks ago to add to his World, National Points and Scottish titles and he lined up at the rear of the grid alongside European, British and English Champion Robbie Armit.

While it was the first time the Ninjas had been seen on track for a while; it would be the final time for Kaydan Day to race in the formula before graduating while Declan Dixon made his debut.

As always, a whites and yellows race got things underway and it was a rapid Hamish Plenderleith who shot straight into the lead and scooped the win with Jake Wilson and Kaitlyn Smart completing the podium. Three heats would follow with the whites and yellows being split into two thirds and joined by the higher grades on track.

What ensued in heat one was, frankly, not just one of the best Ninja Kart races of recent memory but one of the best races period. After the initial sort-out; it was Kyle Johnston leading the way; but he had Armit and Bailey Millar in close proximity and a late yellow flag firmly brought these drivers into a contention but, Johnston fought valiantly with two of the very best in the business to eventually be at the front when it mattered to take an excellent victory.

Heat Two saw Johnston as a major player again but Robbie Armit had kept the blue graded driver in his sights and caught and passed Johnston in a move that was to prove crucial as Armit took the win ahead of Johnston and Rachel Kidd. After a disastrous evening with two non-finishes; Charlie Hardie made up for that somewhat with a dominant victory in heat three ahead of man of the meeting Johnston and Bailey Millar.

The 2.0 Hot Rods were competing in their final event of the 2017/18 National Points which had come down to the wire with World, Scottish and defending National Points Champion Gordon Alexander, and European, British and National Champion, William Hardie, both in contention. These two drivers have dominated results both home and away during the past 12 months and both deserve huge credit for their efforts.

Hardie started the meeting in the box seat but; there were still three races to determine the destiny of the silver roof. It was also pleasing to see two English visitors in the shape of Ben Murray and Ben Furness on track ahead of the A1 Performance Products World Championship here on August 11 but spare a thought for Jim Pitcaithly whose engine let go in practice.

Heat One got underway in bright sunshine and Ryan Adamson surged straight into the lead but was soon caught and passed by an on-form Gerry Hendry who powered away from the back. Billy Bonnar eventually claimed second but had no answer for race winner Hendry with Adamson taking an excellent third. Heat Two saw Englishman Murray take a fantastic win on an unfamiliar track as he caught Adamson in the latter stages of the race. Alexander made it through for second spot ahead of Adamson but, Hardie’s heat points meant that the battle for silver would not make it all the way to the last race. The Feature Final was a fast-paced race with plenty going on but none of the affected Ryan Adamson who drove 25 faultless laps to claim his first-ever final win with Murray taking second and Jock Campbell third. A coming-together between Alexander and Hardie saw their challenges evaporate but, nevertheless, Hardie celebrated his National Points victory with some celebratory donuts.

The Stock Rods returned to domestic action after their European Championship exertions a couple of weeks before. A good grid of cars arrived to do battle with quality throughout the grades and heat one took the green flag with Boab Low taking the lead and the 2018 Stock Rod debutant held that lead until just after halfway when Doug McLean moved into the lead with Gary Dean also moving through.

At the chequered flag it was McLean and Dean who claimed the top two spots but; both drivers were penalised for contact which saw them dropped to third and fourth respectively with Connar Venters inheriting the win from Gary Nicholls. McLean had taken a fantastic second place in the Pets2Go2/Lee Smart Racing European Championship and looked very much in the mood to continue his momentum and he duly made up for his misdemeanour in heat one with a faultless win in heat two ahead of British and National Points Champion Chris Lattka and Darren McAlpine.

The Feature Final was another fantastic Stock Rod race with drivers positively flying around the tight confines of HRP Lochgelly Raceway. Once again, Low led the early stages but there was to be no stopping McLean who stormed through the pack to take his second win of the night and a return to red grade while Gary Dean and Heat One winner Connar Venters completed the podium to conclude an excellent night of Stock Rod action.

The Ministox were back at HRP Lochgelly Raceway for the first time since their Fife Championship and the man who took that title, Aaron Richards, once again made the trip north from his English base to race once again. Logan Tweedie quickly took the lead from Kai Gilmour to lead the early stages of the race but; it was that man Richards who made short work of the cars in front of him to come through to take yet another win at what must be his favourite track. Heat Two saw Kai Gilmour lead the first half of the race and he put up stubborn resistance before Richards moved through to take his second win of the day.

The Feature Final saw many on the terraces asking only one question – who can stop Aaron Richards. The answer came after sixteen laps which saw Gilmour lead the early stages once again before Richards sliced through the field to take yet another win – his eighth win in nine races in fact. The Fife Champion is certainly the man to beat when he heads north at the moment. Two second place finishes for Kai Gilmour show that he will also be one to watch as the season heads into its second-half.

The final formula on show were the Superstox and they have enjoyed a good start to the season with some of the best open-wheel racing seen anywhere in the UK. After a busy period, the number of cars was slightly down on what has become expected but; the drivers made up for this with three fantastic races.

Heat One saw Dean Johnston leading from the very early stages until the lap boards came out and, with just two to go, Johnston saw a possible race win stolen from him by a flying Aaron Riddell who came through to take his first ever win in the formula with Johnston holding on for second ahead of Scottish Champion Bryan Forrest who had dumped Stuart Gilchrist earlier on to slow down the progress of the hat-trick winner from the previous week.

Heat Two started with Kenny McKenzie halting Johnston’s progress quickly to take up the running of the race and, like Johnston in Heat One, he completed the majority of the race in the lead but; his every move had been tracked by Stuart Gilchrist and the superstar gradually reeled in McKenzie before taking the lead in the closing stages for his fourth win in five races. The Feature Final was another excellent race with the bumpers being used throughout the field as drivers looked to improve their positions. McKenzie had made the best start of all the drivers and he led well into the later stages of the 25-lap feature; but Heat One winner Riddell was firmly in contention and caught and passed McKenzie with around three laps to go. However, with Gilchrist, Forrest and National Points Champion David Frame had all made their way into the top five but; Riddell held on to take his second win of the night ahead of Gilchrist and Frame with Riddell securing his place in the red grade for the next month at least.

A great night of action at HRP Lochgelly Raceway and more of the same is assured this weekend as Hardie Race Promotions present the final stock car event of the first half of the season ahead of the traditional two-week summer break.

This Saturday sees the Back to Basics Bangers, 1300 Stock Cars, ProStocks, CC Rods and Junior Productions all in racing action before the final event – the ever-popular CARAVAN CARNAGE event which will see the pesky fibreglass boxes destroyed in a Caravan Demolition Derby to conclude the event. The action gets underway at Scotland’s premier stock car venue on Saturday June 30 from 5:30pm.