FOR many drivers, teams and fans; while HRP Lochgelly Raceway is closed for its traditional summer break, all roads lead south to sunny Suffolk and the biggest festival of the year for short oval motorsport – Ipswich Spedeweekend.

The Ipswich Spedeweekend is the highlight of the UK short oval racing scene for many fans and drivers alike and features more than 400 racing cars descending on the Foxhall Stadium for a marathon two-days of racing on the big tarmac oval.

HRP and Scotland had representation in several formulas including the Ninja Karts (Stars of the Future Races), Classic Hot Rods (National Championship), Stock Rods (East Anglian Championship), Superstox (National Championship), 1300 Stock Cars (Supreme Championship), 2.0 Hot Rods (European Championship and the headline event of the weekend – the National Hot Rod Championship of the World.

The Ninja Karts are a recent addition to the Spedeweekend schedule but truly deserve their moment in the sun as the youngsters represent the future of the sport. HRP have some of the very best drivers in the formula and the two races were won by Scottish drivers with World, National, Scottish and Points Champion Charlie Hardie taking race one ahead of fellow Scot European, British, English and East Anglian Champion Robbie Armit and Kasey Jones while Armit took the second race. Rachel Kidd also featured prominently in the results with two top ten finishes – the best of these being an excellent fourth in Sunday’s race.

The Classic Hot Rods are another relatively new addition to Ipswich Spedeweekend but are welcomed by many race fans as a reminder of the halcyon days on National Hot Rod racing.

Several Scottish drivers made the trip south among the mid-twenty car entry. Top Scotsman Kenny Purdie posted two top ten results in the heats as did Graeme Callender and it was a Scottish lock-out for the front row for the big race of the weekend – the National Championship. Both drivers led during the race and it looked very much like a three-horse race with Purdie and Callender being tracked by Northern Irishman Clive Richardson, but his car did not go the distance leaving Purdie and Callender to battle for the title with Purdie taking the win to take the title back to Lanarkshire.

The Stock Rods have been a huge part of Ipswich Spedeweekend for many years and it is one of the events that, regardless of the trophies on offer, every driver wants to win.

While there was no major title on offer, the East Anglian Championship still represented a championship win at the biggest event of the year – something all drivers dream of. HRP sent a strong group of drivers to the event including National Champion Siobhan Martin, Gary Dean, Gary Nicholls, Ricky White plus Darren McAlpine and British/National Points Champion Chris Lattka who were both debuting stunning new cars. Results were dominated by Northern Irishmen with Shane McMillan and Chris Hamill claiming the heat wins before pole-sitter McMillan claimed the East Anglian Championship. Best of the Scots was Siobhan Martin who took third after qualifying on the outside of the front row.

The Superstox always put on an excellent show at Ipswich Spedeweekend and had big trophies to compete for on both days with the Eaton Family Trophy up for grabs while the National Championship was the big race on Sunday. While no Scots managed to feature in the top ten on the Saturday; Scottish Champion Bryan Forrest was involved in one of the biggest incidents of the weekend as he crashed heavily with Englishman Dave Miles.

Sunday’s racing results were again dominated by Englishmen with Dan Roots taking the heat win before brother Nick took the biggest win of his career so far in the National Championship. With Scottish National Points Champion David Frame posting a seventh-place finish in a highly competitive field.

The 1300 Stock Cars saw an entry of over fifty which made for some spectacular action. Unusually, Scotland only had one driver on track in the shape of Zak Gilmour who was in the thick of the action from the outset. Gilmour fought valiantly and finished in every race which, given the usual England v Scotland rivalry, is an achievement in itself! Gilmour posted two top ten results in the four heats and added a ninth-place finish in the Supreme Championship to cap off an excellent weekend for the Kirkintilloch pilot.

The 2.0 Hot Rods headlined Saturday night’s action with their European Championship being defended by HRP’s own William Hardie. Northern Ireland’s Andy Best and Englishman Gavin Botfield shared the heat wins but consistency in those races had put Scottish duo Hardie (grid position 2) and World Champion Gordon Alexander (grid position 5) in contention for the title with former champion Adam Hylands on pole. A chaotic start saw the race brought to a halt almost as soon as it began with several drivers being eliminated. The second attempt saw heat winner Best roll on to the shale infield in spectacular fashion to stop the race once again. Controversy reigned during this stoppage; Hardie was disqualified for overtaking under the yellow flag while Alexander was initially disqualified for his apparent involvement in Best’s rollover before being reinstated into the race but being informed that his actions would be investigated after the race. This time, Hylands got away and drove a faultless race to take another European title while Ipswich specialist Paul Wright finished in second.

World Champion Alexander crossed the line in third but was subsequently removed from the results. A controversial weekend for the hot rods was concluded with a welcome Scottish win as Billy Bonnar took victory in the European Revenge race.

The National Hot Rods are the headlining act of the Ipswich Spedeweekend and the weekend began with their qualifying laps. Former World Champion Glenn Bell managed to put his car on pole; but Scottish hopes were high with Robert McDonald joining Bell on the front row. After a fantastic build-up, the race was halted on lap one as a spectacular incident dashed the hopes of several drivers. Ten minutes repair time came and went with most of the drivers managing to get their cars race-ready in that time. Bell surged straight into the lead and dominated the first half of the 75-lap race and looked to be almost cruising to victory as the laps wound down until a throttle issue saw the Northern Irishman slow down significantly as he tried to nurse his car home. However, it was to no avail as Bell’s car spun with less than five laps to go – heart-break for Bell. This left Billy Wood in the box seat and he held on at the front to take a popular win ahead of former World Champion John Christie and outgoing champion Chris Haird. McDonald upheld Scottish pride with an excellent fifth. Wood celebrated with spectacular donuts as he claimed an emotional first championship in the formula that is the pinnacle of short oval non-contact motorsport.

A fantastic weekend with great racing enjoyed by a large crowd in the sunshine. Huge credit to Spedeworth Motorsports for their organisation of the event and to all drivers, teams, staff and fans for making it happen.

We cant wait for Spedeweekend 2019!!!