PERSISTENT drizzle during the afternoon and into the evening meant that drivers, teams and fans gathered more in hope than expectation at HRP Lochgelly Raceway this past Saturday knowing only too well that the conditions would prove tricky for the drivers in all five formulas on show at Scotland’s premier stock car venue, writes our Raceway reporter Les Waller.

However, given the very greasy track, all of the drivers still managed to put on a fine show to entertain those in attendance.

A late addition to the programme, the Ninja Karts, were first on track for their traditional whites and yellows race. The constant rain had resulted in very tricky conditions for the youngsters, but they performed admirably as they hurtled around the tight HRP Lochgelly circuit at quite a speed!

Declan Dixon led for a few laps before Aiden Duffy took up the running and he looked to have the race win firmly in his grasp before a last lap spin saw his chances disappear as Lewis Duffy crossed the line to take a hard-earned win from Declan Dixon and Lewis Dickson.

Heat One saw the higher graded drivers join the field and it was one of those star drivers involved in the major incident of the race as Charlie Hardie made heavy contact with the fence after spinning while attempting an overtaking move on Jake Wilson. Hardie exited his kart under his own power and the race resumed with Jack Baird firmly in control and it remained that way until, as if from nowhere, Josh Bruce pulled off a fantastic last-ditch overtake to take the chequered flag with Baird in second and Lewis Duffy third.

Heat Two followed a similar pattern as Bruce managed another great move to overhaul race-long leader Declan Dixon in the closing stages and he held on to take the win from Hardie and Dixon. Heat Three was another cracking race with the drivers showing off great skill; Declan Dixon led for the majority of the race once again as he underlined his status as one of those to watch in 2019 but he, once again, lost out in the closing stages as Charlie Hardie led the charge to take the win ahead of Baird and Bruce to round off a great night for the Ninjas.

They have one more meeting at HRP Lochgelly Raceway for the coveted Jus-Bounce Trophy this Friday October 26.

Continuing the theme of the oval racing stars of the future, the Junior Productions were in attendance for what was their final meeting of 2018.

Again, the weather was not exactly conducive to great racing; but the 11-16-year-olds put on a fine display of car control. The two heats saw wins for Jase Walle who had taken a hat-trick at the last domestic meeting as he continued his climb up the points. The feature final looked to be going Walle’s way as well but that was before apparent mechanical issues saw the #35 driver slowing down considerably before pulling off as he saw his hat-trick hopes evaporate. A very fast Jack Beresford came through to take the win with Koddi Wright and Chloe Baird completing the podium. Plenty more to come from the fledgling formula in 2019.

The 2.0 Hot Rods were also having their final run at HRP Lochgelly Raceway after a season of two halves where the first half of the season saw Gordon Alexander and William Hardie absolutely dominate before THAT World Championship weekend which would appear, certainly for now at least, to have been the final meeting for both of these drivers in the formula.

Since then, the wins have been shared out between a number of drivers with a few more joining the grid and the domestic action has certainly gone up a notch. Rear-wheel drive and wet tarmac do not mix but the drivers managed to put on a good show despite the conditions. Heat One saw a runaway win for Gary Black who started on pole and held on all the way to the end of the race to take his first win of the season in only his second outing – the #16 driver will be hoping that is a sign of things to come in 2019.

Heat Two looked like going Black’s way as well but that was before Jim Pitcaithly arrived on the scene late in proceedings to take victory. The feature final saw Black take off into the lead once again but Black found himself on the outside line as a train of cars led by Jock Campbell sped by on the inside. Campbell led the race briefly; but it was that man Pitcaithly who came through to take the win and he will start the 2019 season from the red grade with Campbell and Andrew Denholm completing the final podium of the season for the tin-tops.

The Stock Rods were back in action for the penultimate time in 2018 and David Kempton had once again paid a visit to HRP Lochgelly Raceway despite his registration with Midlands promotion INCARACE. Kempton soon stamped his mark on the evening as he strolled to an emphatic win in heat one as he took victory by around half a lap from his nearest challengers Gary Dean and Darren McAlpine.

Heat Two saw Kempton, once again, take full advantage of his yellow grade starting position to come through for another win, albeit a closer margin this time with Alan Cuthbert and Gary Dean his nearest challengers.

The feature final saw Kempton start from the blue grade and, as a visiting driver, he would start at the rear of the blues but his challenge fizzled out with mechanical failure in the early stages of the race which was led for the first half by the yellow roof David Crichton before blue grader Alan Cuthbert arrived on the scene and took over in the lead and held on until the end to take a welcome victory ahead of Darren Mc Alpine and Gary Dean.

The Superstox were the final formula on show and it was great to see former two-time Scottish Champion Bryan Forrest back on track after sustaining a thumb injury several months ago. Forrest had certainly lost none of his pace as he was engaged in the battle from the off; but it was 2017 World Champion Barry Stephen who came through to take the win in the latter stages from Kenny McKenzie and Forrest. Stephen’s HCD car has always been one to watch in wet conditions and, having proven this in heat one, he underlined the fact in heat two as he hit the front with a few laps to go which relegated long-time leader Dean Johnston to second while Forrest picked up another third place.

The feature final saw the cars battling it out for supremacy from the outset once again and it was Allan Gibson who looked to have the bit between his teeth as he used his front bumper to full effect to hit the front at around half-distance and he held on to take an excellent win ahead of Stephen and Johnston who continues to improve with every meeting.

A good night of action despite the tricky conditions and full credit must go to the drivers, teams and track staff who kept the meeting going.

This week sees another FUN-TASTIC FRIDAY event at HRP Lochgelly Raceway as the 1300 Stock Cars headline the event as they contest their annual Mr Gunn Trophy race which benefits from sponsorship from the Gunn family, Taxi Centre (01333 300300), Mirror, Mirror Hairdressing, Carol and Ian Goodall and Big Jock. The Ninja Karts will be racing for their Jus-Bounce Trophy while the CC Rods and Ministox will both enjoy their final runs at HRP Lochgelly Raceway this Friday October 26 from 6:45pm – a great way to kick off your weekend.