IT’s already half way through the stock car season at the Racewall Cowdenbeath and whilst it may have started out quietly it certainly burst into life soon afterwards, writes our Racewall scribe Jim Turner.

The weather in March was dreadful with the drivers and fans having to contend with heavy snow showers, which coated the track and then rain. When the rain fell it was torrential, but thankfully as the season progressed the weather changed for the better until the much published Formula Is headed north. It rained heavily in the afternoon but thankfully dried up for the meeting.

The BriSCA Formula II drivers were thin on the ground when the season started mainly due to the rule changes and some of the drivers who had sent their cars back to the chassis builders to be altered had long waits on their hands. Kieran Howie (Dunfermline) was one who suffered and he has not long had his car returned.

Later the rev limiters were introduced, in time for the Formula II Scottish and World Championship qualifying round and whilst some drivers didn’t encounter problems a few did and later the rev limiters were withdrawn until further checks can be carried out.

There were three new Formula II drivers at the start to the season, Ewan Mackie (Armadale), Peter Watt (Kirriemuir) and Steven Burgoyne (Airth). Burgoyne, who had dominated the Ministox racing, took to the Formula IIs like a duck to water. He soon picked up wins and as a result moved up to the grading lists to the red grade.

However, with smaller fields Watt and Mackie picked up points and moved from the white to yellow grade where unfortunately they tended to struggle. Happily the driver numbers began to increase and despite the “talk” that racing on tarmac wasn’t exciting, the drivers certainly have proved them wrong!

Chris Burgoyne (Airth) returned to the scene in April and it was fitting that he went on to win the British Championship down at Mildenhall, considering that it was at this meeting last year that he suffered a severe back injury, which sidelined him for the season.

It was strange not to see Gordon Moodie (Windygates) in action at the Racewall and this was down to him not having an up to date tarmac car. Moodie has spent most of the season so far racing his RCE chassis on shale and doing not too badly.

The Speedweekend turned out to be an exciting one, when you have Formula IIs and 2 Litre National saloons on the bill how can you go wrong?

The Scottish started out well with Euan Millar (Lockerbie) being presented with his Novice of the Year trophy prior to the start to the final.

It had up to that time been an emotional time for Adam Blacklock (Forth) who had dropped from blue to yellow and had just managed to get his RCE chassis running as he wanted it to. However, he had an exciting start to the meeting rolling his car on the opening lap and then appeared for the consolation race, which he won! The Scottish was all about Blacklock and Liam Rennie (Dundee) – the latter having been downgraded to blue.

Blacklock led with Rennie moving into second place and as the race progressed the gap between the leaders diminished. On the last lap there was a gap between them but on the last bend Rennie made his bid for the lead. His lunge sent both towards the wall, Blacklock ending up spinning with Rennie coming to rest against his car. In a flash Millar dived through to win and gain entry to the National Series as a result.

The following day Rennie went through to win the Qualifying round and as a result moved back up to the red grade.

Down at Buxton Gordon Moodie has won the English Open Championship

The Formula I meeting attracted a big turn out and this time there was the biggest turn out of Scottish drivers on the grid. Regular Formula I drivers Stuart Shevill Jnr (Cleland) and John Fortune (Edinburgh) were joined by Euan Millar, Ron Ferguson (Dunbar) and Lindsay Wilson (Comrie) – the latter having celebrated his 50th birthday and one of his pressies was a run in a hire car. In fact Wilson shocked everyone by posting the second fastest qualifying time but he was out on a drying track where the others had not enjoyed such good conditions. Nevertheless it was an impressive show.

So much so that Wilson qualified for the final but the race Scottish Championship, which doubled up with a World Championship qualifying round, was led for a good part by Ferguson. In the end it was Martin Spiers (Evesham), who was racing a brand new self-built chassis, who went through to win from the defending champion Tom Harris (Altrincham).

The 2 Litre National Saloon drivers have been in good form to date with new faces Neil Linden (Aberdeen), Stewart Macdonald (Stirling), Ian Sutherland (Stirling) and Holly Glen (Inchture) – a refugee from the Formula IIs. Jason Secker (Denny) switched from the 1300 saloons whilst Aaryn Triggs (Stonehouse) was back after suspension. Macdonald has recently sold his car to Graeme Anderson (Douglas) who should be back in action just after the holiday break.

Like the Formula IIs, the Saloon Association have introduced a National Series where the winner of this series will race with the silver roof in 2019. One round is to be held at the Racewall later on during the season.

The racing saw Luke Grief (Stenhousemuir), Ross Watters (Leven), Graeme Shevill (Motherwell) and Ian McLaughlin (Auchterarder) stand out just that wee bit above the others and it looks as if the track points title is going to be fought out between them. Shevill is using a Derby built car and has quickly got the car set up to his liking whilst Grief, who is a car builder extraordinary, has used his and even the Alexander built car of Anderson.

The speedweekend had the National Championship up for grabs but the defending champion Simon Welton (Diss) had retired after last years World Final.

As is usual the meeting attracted a good turnout of cars including the World Champion Parker (Norwich) and Michael Allard (Great Yarmouth) – who is leading the national points at present.

Barry Russell (Brechin) was in the wars at this meeting being shunted heavily into the wall on the Saturday night qualifying rounds but appeared on the Sunday and despite a “run in” with Greg Honeyman (Stenhousemuir) managed to qualifying for the championship race.

Triggs was the initial leader when the championship race started but lost out to Allard who led for many laps although under pressure from Triggs. When Shevill appeared on the scene he picked off both Triggs then Allard and with five laps remaining took the lead. Allard just couldn’t close the gap and to a “Cowdenbeath Roar” of approval Graeme Shevill went through to claim his first major saloon title.

Jack Overy (Cambridge) won the Unlimited Banger World Cup for the third successive season and has already intimated that he will be back in 2019 to defend his title. The Bangers were exciting with plenty of contact, shunts and spins and there was never a full quota of cars finishing the races.

The ORCi stock rods had their ORCi race to decide and with the World Championship heading to the Racewall later on in the season there were a big urn out of cars. The World Champion, Stephen McCready (Northern Ireland) was amongst those in action and over the weekend there was plenty of close and exciting racing with little or no contact.

It was much the same during the championship race with McCready taking the lead but over the closing stages had fellow countryman Niall McFerran challenging him for the lead. The last lap saw both make contact and as a result McCready was sideways going around the pit bend and he was just ahead when the cars crossed the finish line. However, he was penalised and it was Michael Bethune (Kirkcaldy) who was declared as the winner from James Gray (Boness) and then McCready.