WITH the Cowdenbeath Racewall closed, the BriSCA Formula II and 2 Litre National Saloon drivers headed down to Skegness for the UK Challenge weekend meeting, writes our Racewall writer Jim Turner.

However, not only is there racing on the Saturday and Sunday there is now racing on the Thursday nights before and after the weekend meeting.

Skegness is now under the control of Rob Speak, who dominated the Formula I and Formula II scenes for many years, and it was only last year that he switched to the promoting side. In a short space of time he has carried out quite a few alterations to the track side amenities.

On Thursday night there was a big turn out of drivers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and England, with a few Dutch, Belgian and a German driver thrown in for good measure in both the Formula II and Saloon fields. The weather was warm and sunny which was to provide the fans with plenty of fast and exciting racing.

In the formula IIs on Thursday night Chris Burgoyne (Airth), Jak Marshall (Skegness) and Graham Fagan (Northern Ireland) were heat winners but Robbie Dawson (Aberdeen), Euan Millar (Lockerbie), Emma Mellis (Edinburgh), Gordon Moodie (Windygates), Albert Smith (Fraserburgh), Steven Burgoyne (Airth) and Craig Wallace (Tranent) all made it through to the final.

John Broatch (Leeming Bar) won the final with Dawson third and Smith fifth, just ahead of C. Burgoyne and Moodie with Millar tenth. Millar went on to win the Grand National with Smith in sixth place. Spare a thought for Paul Reid (Cowdenbeath) who somehow managed to get caught up in shunts in all of his races whilst Mellis and Dawson tangled in the Grand National resulting in both suffering damage to their cars.

The Saloon drivers were in good form although they didn’t manage a heat win but Paul Honeyman (Stenhousemuir), Barry Glen (Dundee), Ross Watters (Leven), Jason Secker (Denny), Ian McLaughlin (Auchterarder), and Tam Rutherford Jnr (Denny) qualified through the heats.

Willie Mitchell (East Calder) won the consolation heat with Barry Russell (Brechin) and Graeme Shevill (Motherwell) also making it through to the final

McLaughlin went on to win the final with P. Honeyman just ahead of Secker for fourth with Watters ninth and Shevill tenth.

In the Allcomers race Watters led Shevill and Aaryn Triggs (Stonehouse) for fourth spot.

One of the highlights of the saloon racing was the aggro between Michael Allard (Great Yarmouth) and the Sampson brothers, Lee and Jamie from King’s Lynn, with Allard getting the better of the duo – roll on the weekend!

The Scottish BriSCA Formula II drivers have had their fair share of success in the UK Challenge event with Bryce Wilson (Kirkcaldy) the first of the Scottish drivers to win the title back in 1993 with Gordon Moodie (Windygates) winning in 2006 and 2007.

In fact Moodie was the first driver to successfully defend the title. Moodie has gone on to win the title in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 but had to be content with the runners up spot in 2017.

Amongst the 80 Formula IIs in action on the Saturday, again the weather was very warm and the track was dry and fast, was Liam Rennie (Dundee) who was debuting his new car.

Wim Peeters, Daniel Parker and Nigel Green all have a few timed laps in each others cars with Green having the quickest overall time.

The first Formula II heats were won by Richard Clubley (Peterborough), Adam Rubery (Brierly Hill), - twice- James Riggall (Skegness), and Broatch whilst the consolation races were won by Marshall and Steven Burgoyne (Airth).

However, Dawson, C. Burgoyne, Mellis, Moodie, Millar, Rennie, Wallace, Stevie Forster (Carluke), Jason McDonald (Turriff) and Reid qualified for the final.

Stuart Hodgson (Spalding) won the final with C. Burgoyne in third place.

The 2 Litre National Saloon drivers on the other hand have not enjoyed too much success in their version of the event although they got off to a good start with Stan Matthews (Carluke) being the first winner of the title. Since then only Graham Leask (Stenhousemuir) in 1992 and Stuart Shevill Jnr (Clelland) in 2010 have won the title.

Willie Skoyles Jnr (King’s Lynn), Carl Waterfield (Ely), Luke Dorling (Diss) then Simon Venni (Spalding) took two wins, having arrived late from a wedding, with Allard claiming the last heat win. Secker, Russell, Mitchell, McLaughlin, Marc Honeyman (Larbert), Shevill and Euan Mathieson (Lochgelly) all managed to finish in the results.

Secker who had scored well throughout the meeting was assured of a front row grid start.

In the BriSCA Formula Is the Scottish representatives were Shevill Jnr, John Fortune (Edinburgh) and Ronnie Ferguson (Dunbar).

Heat wins went to Will Hunter, Green and Adam Bamford with Shevill Jnr fourth and Fortune twelfth. It was Dan Johnson who won the final from Shaun Webster and Stuart Smith Jnr. Webster then won the Grand National with Shevill Jnr seventh and Fortune in eleventh.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and there was some frantic work being carried out in the pits to get cars repaired and then set up. Others were casually watching what was going on whilst carrying out last minute checks to their cars.

Rubery won the opening formula II heat Millar and Moodie whilst Andrew Clark won the consolation from Smith with S. Burgoyne fifth.

The grid paired Rubery and Broatch on the front row with Millar and Moodie right behind and Mellis behind Moodie. C. Burgoyne was on row five, Forster row nine and Dawson row 10.

There was drama on the grid with Broatch having to pull off prior to the start to the race and whilst Rubery led the race for some time he was edged over as Moodie took the lead. Moodie then eased away to win from Luke Wrench (Crewe) to record Scotland’s only major win over the weekend with C. Burgoyne in fifth place.

Millar rounded off a tremendous weekend of Formula II racing by winning the Grand National

The last chance saloon race ended with Shevill winning from Watters with Eck Cunningham (Leven) grabbing the last spot on the grid. The grid for the UK saw Venni share the front row with Secker whilst Tommy Perrin (Wisbech) and Allard were on row 2.

Interesting though was that Jamie Sampson was right behind Allard. Other Scots on the grid were Mitchell on row 5, Russell row 6, McLaughlin row 9 and M. Honeyman row 11. Allard followed Venni for a good few laps but after a restart made a better start went through into the lead but over the closing stages had Max Stott (Wisbech) to contend with. The best placed Scottish driver was Watters who finished in ninth place. Cole Atkins (Haverhill) won the Raymond Gunn Tribute race with Mathieson the first Scot home in ninth place whilst Watters was tenth.

Jamie Sampson then won the Allcomers race with Glen finishing in seventh place.

The Formula I heats were won by Webster and Todd Jones with Paul Carter winning the consolation heat with Shevill Jnr sixth. Webster then won the final with Shevill Jnr again sixth.

The meeting had been full of action and excitement held under blue skies and typical warm weather. Good old Skegness!