ONE of the formulas that made its mark on the proceedings at the Cowdenbeath Racewall this season was the ORCi stock rods. The non contact brigade did themselves proud with a lot of close and exciting racing with little or no contact, writes our Racewall scribe Jim Turner.

One driver to make his mark was Lee McGill (Glenrothes) who used to race Formula IIs but after a few seasons away came back and ended up as World Champion!

Mind you the World Final was run under the control of Autospeed who decided that it would be a bigger attraction north of the border than in the south west!

One who came a few times was the defending World Champion Stephen McCready (Northern Ireland) but on his first visit his car was wrecked as he crossed the start line when another driver lost control and he crashed heavily into the wall.

In June the Racewall staged the ORCi Championship and attracted the top drivers in the land. Qualifying for the Championship on the Saturday saw Michael Bethune (Kirkcaldy), Derek Conner (Shotts) and Steven Gooch (Northern Ireland) winning with Bethune claiming pole position for the Championship race.

The Championship turned out to be a good advert for non contact racing although the last lap turned out to be controversial. Bethune had been the initial leader but lost out to McCready.

There had been a couple of race suspensions but McCready was still the leader although at the end he was under pressure from fellow country man Niall McFerran.

The last lap was hectic with McFerran trying to get through and he ended up hitting a tyre with a very sideways McCready holding it going around the pit bend. Bethune nipped through into second which turned out to be the win after McCready was penalised a couple of places for his part in the last lap incident.

Over the weekend of the 1st/2nd September Autospeed brought the ORCi World Championship to the Racewall bringing the top drivers to the oval. Time trials were to determine grid positions for the qualifying heats with the drivers finishing positions in the heats determining the Final grid.

The weather was to play its part in the destiny of the World Championship with a drizzle causing slight problems during the time trials. McCready the fastest to claim pole position with Bethune was the best Scot on row 2 with McGill on the outside of row 3.

The track was greasy when the drivers were paraded to the fans but after the grid was formed McCready went straight into the lead but Bethune whilst Bethune did lead for a lap or two it was Lee McGill (Glenrothes) who dominated and literally drove away from the field to win by a big margin from McCready and Bethune.

The Open Scottish Championship was staged on Sunday and it turned out to be an Irish 1-2-3 with Niall McFerran winning from McCready and Kurtis Reid.

The Scottish Championship was the next for the drivers and it is the one race that all the home drivers want to win. The race was staged in mid October and attracted a good field of cars. Again the weather played its part with the rain stopping prior to the start but the drivers were faced with a wet and greasy track. The drawn grid placed Martin Rankine (Bathgate) on pole with Paul Prentice (Selkirk) alongside with the defending champion Trevor Calvin (Lanark) at the back of the grid.

Rankine made the better of the starts but both Bethune and James Gray (Boness) were on the move. Bethune moved into the lead towards the midpoint of the race but had to give best to Gray who went on to become the Scottish Champion leading home Bethune and Stuart McKinnon (Kincardine).

At the penultimate meeting of the season the drivers were racing for the Si Laing Memorial Trophy where again Gray made a late charge to take the lead and through to win.

The 1300 Saloon drivers excelled themselves over the season which saw their numbers grow and by the end of the season there were nearly 30 drivers on the grid.

It looked as if the drivers to watch were Grant McGowan (Grangemouth), Fraser Clark (Camelon) and James Ellis (Cowdenbeath) but when Peter Low (Forfar) and Bryan Lindsay (Forfar) appeared they certainly added a bit of additional spice to the racing.

A new series the Gold Roof was added with rounds at Crimond, Barford and the Racewall where the final would be staged.

As the season progressed there were more drivers taking advantage of the hire cars before deciding on joining the formula full-time. Derek Russell (Kirriemuir) and George Hendry (Brechin) took advantage of hire cars with the latter becoming a regular. Later Charlie Folan (Perth), Gary Paterson (Saline), Dale Robertson (Glenrothes) and Stuart Wilson (Kelty) made their first appearances swelling the racing numbers.

Lee Wilson (Comrie) changed cars and once he did he became a real threat in any race as did Andrew Webster (Crimond).

There were 19 cars on the grid for the 'Scottish' with George Hendry on pole with Gordon Myers alongside whilst Lisa Freebairn and Jeff Cosans were on row 2. Hendry led but Clark forced his way onto the lead from Ellis. Clark big lead disappeared after a race suspension but he made a good restart and went on to win from Webster but the fight for third was hectic with Ellis surviving the mayhem on the last bend to snatch third.

The 1300 Saloons turned up in their numbers for the final of the Gilmore Engineering sponsored Gold Roof Championship and after the points were checked the front row was filled by Clark and Wilson. Clark led but Low forced his way through into second and it stayed this way for a good part of the race. However, a race suspension closed up the field and whilst Clark made a good restart his car developed a misfire and this let Low through into the lead. Clark’s misfire disappeared but Low was now clear and he went on to win from Clark and Wilson.

Sponsor Stephen Gilmore was then given a taste of 1300 Saloon racing when he was put behind the wheel of Burt’s car with Cosans and Hastie giving him a taste of racing.

The 1300 Saloon drivers outshined their bigger brothers with a Superbowl race that has everything including heavy shunts, spins and shunts on the penultimate meeting of the year.

There was the biggest turnout of drivers yet with Gary McFerran over from Northern Ireland whilst Michael Bethune (Kirkcaldy), Kyle Hegg (Glenrothes), Jon Taylor (Kemnay), Jock Whyte (Glenrothes) and Graham Osborne (Shotts) were having their first outings.

Wilson rolled his car during the opening heat with heat wins going to Hegg and Clark Hegg was on pole for the Superbowl and he led the field away with Clark in second. Whilst Clark moved into the lead his engine blew and it was Bethune who led, there were three race suspensions such was the action and when he slowed it was Ellis who went through to win from Low and Wilson.

Understandably there weren’t quite as many drivers racing on the Sunday although Clark had spent many an hour in his garage changing his engine and it was all made worthwhile when he went on to win the Cock of the North race. Gary Paterson (Saline) went on to win one of the heats with Wilson getting the better of Clark on the last bend to win the last race of an exciting and entertaining season.

Clark also added the track points title to his honours list and even before the cars had left the stadium there were new drivers looking for licenses for 2019!