IT was a pleasant early-autumnal evening that greeted drivers, teams and fans this past Friday night as they gathered at HRP Lochgelly Raceway for another FUN-TASTIC FRIDAY event at Scotland’s premier stock car racing venue, writes Raceway scribe Les Waller.

Four cracking formulas were on the bill as the green flag fell on the first race bang on 7pm with a further eleven races scheduled.

It was the ProStocks who got things underway and it was fantastic to see a good number of cars on track – especially given their recent busy schedule!

Former multi-champion Ian Taylor was making his return to HRP Lochgelly Raceway amongst the healthy field as they began heat one. Paul Barron had won the previous fifteen races at HRP and many expected this incredible vein of form to continue, however, it was Aaron Lithgow who led the early stages of the race before Mark Boyle took over.

Boyle led for a good portion of the race but was eventually overhauled by Ian Christie as the Fiesta-mounted driver went on to register an excellent victory with Barron having to settle for second after some early skirmishes halted his progress through the field.

Heat Two saw Boyle lead very briefly before a rapid Neale Glancy took over at the front, within sight of his first win with the lap-boards already out though, Glancy saw the all-green machine of Barron looming large in the mirror and Barron went through to return to winning ways ahead of Glancy and Boyle.

The feature final was, in one word, frantic!!! Chaos ensued on the Raceway as the drivers jockeyed for position with pre-race favourite Barron being spun by Graham Watt.

Up front, Mark Boyle led all the way from the start to the finish for a flag to flag win while Christie and Glancy completed the podium to conclude an excellent night of ProStocks action.

The Superstox were back on track and English visitor Mark Dews was back for his second appearance in six days - true dedication! This meeting would be the last meeting in the 2017/18 National Points Championship and, with Bryan Forrest’s unfortunate demise due to injury, defending champion David Frame went into the event knowing that he had secured the silver roof for another season – congratulations to David and his team and commiserations to the Forrest team after such a long and well-fought battle.

Heat One got underway with Duncan Vickers (in the borrowed Ally Noble car) making his first racing appearance of any sort for around fifteen years leading the way. Dean Johnstone soon caught the white top though and held on for another win to maintain his recent good form with Frame in second and Lewis Willacy third. Heat Two saw Vickers lead for around half of the race distance before his challenge was unceremoniously halted as Johnstone went for the pass, bounced over Vickers’ bonnet and ended the challenge of the returnee.

Lewis Willacy led the cars off after the caution period; but the gap was coming down as Frame made his presence felt; Frame went on to win from Aaron Riddell and allan Gibson. The feature final was another fast and furious race; but it was Johnstone who secured a return to blue after a faultless drive to secure his second win of the evening with Frame and Willacy completing the podium.

The CC Rods were back in action with another decent grid of cars. The formula will contest their Scottish Championship on September 22 so much of the attention last Friday was on who was hitting form at just the right time! After Brian Allen and David Herd shared the lead in the early stages; Graham Osborne picked up the lead and fought a defensive battle as he attempted to keep the pack at bay in a car that appeared not to be handling quite to his liking.

Eventually, Lee Scott made the pass around Osborne’s outside to cross the line first; but Scott was disqualified as a result of earlier contact with Herd – this elevated Daniel McDonald to the win. Heat Two was another frenetic race; but Brandon Gourlay led for a good portion of the race before a flying Craig Watson relegated Gourlay to second – this is how they would finish with Herd earning a fantastic third spot.

The feature final saw an early skirmish allow some of the top drivers through as David Herd lost a number of places to the likes of Davie McFarlane and Bob Cairns. These two drivers powered away from the rest of the pack to claim first and second respectively while Craig Watson got the nod for third place by just one hundredth of a second from Ian Hotchkies in a thrilling finish.

The Ministox were the final formula on show and another healthy grid of cars rolled into the pits for battle including long-distance visitor Harley Soper from the south-west of England.

Recent Ninja convert Jay Carruthers led the way before a rapid Jamie Stewart took over at the sharp end to lead a number of laps. Stewart’s lead was being eaten into though, and Soper managed to take the lead on lap ten going on to take the victory while Stewart lost a few more places before the end with Mitchell Gold and Ciaran Adams second and third.

The second heat was another fantastic race with the drivers displaying great skill as they flew around the tight HRP Lochgelly Raceway circuit – Jamie Stewart got into an early lead once again but was not to be denied this time round as he stormed to his first win in some time with Gold claiming another runners-up spot and points challenger Michael Mitchell in third.

The feature final for the youngsters would be the final race of the evening under the HRP floodlights and the Ministox justified their top billing with another fantastic showing. Brandon Morton and Ryan Borthwick both led briefly before Stewart took up the running once again. All sorts of action happened behind the blue-grader as he continued on his way; but he was soon caught up by the pack and lost a few places as the likes of Mitchell Gold, Harley Soper and Declan Honeyman got in the mix.

Gold led briefly but Stewart did not give up and retook the lead as Soper dropped back down the order with Stewart taking his second win of the night from Honeyman and Ross Lawrence completing the final podium of a good night of action once again.

A fantastic evening of motorised mayhem and it looks like a September to Remember at HRP Lochgelly Raceway as CHAMPIONSHIP FEVER continues apace.

This Saturday September 8 sees Scotland’s premier stock car venue host the only stock car event in Central Scotland this weekend and it is a Scottish Championship double header as the Junior Productions and Junior Bangers contest their Scottish Championship events. The Superstox, 2.0 Hot Rods and CC Rods will also be in action in a busy fifteen race programme at HRP Lochgelly Raceway from 5:30pm.