I ASKED ex-2 Litre National Saloon driver, Lindsay Wilson from Comrie, about the 60th birthday present he got from his daughter Megan, writes our Cowdenbeath Racewall reporter Jim Turner.

“First of all Jim,” he said, “It was ma 50th and Megan bought me a run in a Formula 1 hire car.

"It was absolutely fantastic! They are a formula that you always watch and think 'they are the real deal!' I had mentioned that I wanted a shot, I probably said that a few too many times.

"I couldn’t believe it- Cowdenbeath was the place to do it, and it didn’t really sink in at the time. From the April 22, my birthday, until the June 16, when the meeting was, I was thinking about it – it was fantastic. The night before the meeting I got a good night’s sleep and I was ready to do it on the day. The Formula I cars are powered by Chevy engines – a bit more than I was used to in the saloons but what an experience”

“I was anxiously waiting for Mat Newson to arrive with my car. I had never sat in a formula one before and I was a bit worried. I wondered about reaching the pedals – I am not the tallest and I thought I was going to be rubbish. I had no idea what to do about gear changes. Mat brought all the equipment and when I got into the car I felt comfortable in the seat. I wasn’t that comfortable with the goggles because I hadn’t worn them before.”

He added: “When I went out for my practice I had to push someone around the track and into the pits and I was struggling a bit just to drive the car. It had rained during the afternoon but when I went out there was a dry line and after a lap or so I just went for it. I was knackered after the 6 laps I did- it felt like 26, but it was totally awesome! "When I got out of the car I was amazed when they told me that I had done the second fastest lap of practice. The noise and the power of these cars are something else and I would have been happy if all I had got was the 6 practice laps. I thought my arms were falling off when I got into the pits. I was happier after the practice because I knew what to expect and I knew what I wanted to do!

“Mat took me out on the parade prior to the meeting – he said he wanted to take the “local hero” around – it was totally surreal. Imagine me being driven around the track by a superstar in the Formula Is – not real!”

Looking at how the experience developed Lindsay went on: “I was pole yellow for the meeting, and I managed to keep out of trouble to finish in eighth position in the heat. I ended up getting the fastest laps a few times during the race. That surprised me because I was completely out of my comfort zone. I was really apprehensive about driving the car but perhaps the others were more apprehensive about the wall!

“I had hoped to get a run in Stuart Shevill’s car on the Friday afternoon prior to the meeting but there was something going on at the stadium so it wasn’t going to happen. Stuart told me that it would be fine. He said it was like driving a tractor – no handling at all.

“In the Scottish I finished the race but not in the top ten although I had clobbered the wall a few times but I was more focussed and determined to finish the race. I had the likes of Frankie Wainman Jnr and Stuart Smith chasing me, Formula I champions, for a few laps before they eventually got through so I must have been doing alright. I think I was the fourteenth car home. Awesome!

“I went back out for the Grand National and had a bit of a half spin going down the straight. I got going again but a car rolled in front of me and I hit him on the roof. I just couldn’t stop the car in time – I didn’t like that! Once he was out of the car I rejoined the race and managed to finish.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat, I absolutely loved it. I was happy after my 6 laps, that would have been enough for me – when are they back again? Mat was very helpful and I couldn’t thank him enough.”

Lindsay started off in bangers racing at Armadale and Cowdenbeath before progressing to the National Saloons where he proved to be quite a competitor – and entertainer!

He remembered: “I was the Scottish Champion in1997 and got third place in the World Final in 1998. "In the Superbowl in 1998 I put Harry Burgoyne into the wall on the turnstile bend because there was a tyre in the middle of the pit bend and couldn’t do it there! I won the track points in 2006 but by then I was not quite as impetuous as I had been.

"The car was good all season, more reliable, probably because I was spending more time working on it and I was more consistent. I didn’t score too many wins but driving more sensible and not getting into troubles as I usually did.

“I remember being told in the 1995 World Final at Cowdenbeath not to pass Phil Morgan. Ironically he was on pole and I was alongside. I led that race for almost a quarter of a bend before he put me into the wall and as a result my car stood on its nose! I then barrel rolled on the pit bend and that was my race over.

Jim Turner said: "I remember the door bell ringing one year and when I opened the door there was Lindsay standing there. 'Jim what is shale?', he asked. I put on a tape to show him. The saloons were heading there for their European Championship. Once he saw the video he was quiet – for once - as he digested what he saw. What happened? - he drew front row for the race! At one point he was sent spinning but somehow managed to pass a few cars as he went backwards – typical!"

Lindsay talked about his saloon racing: “I had a lot of nearlies in the Saloons but never got the big one. I did a lot of travelling with the saloon and really enjoyed the meetings down south.

“When I retired from the saloons I helped out at the Racewall for a while and when they started the Lightning Rods and I decided to give it a go. They were basically a non contact formula with the main car being Sierras.”

“I won the track points Championship in 2011 and 2012 and also the Scottish Championship in 2011 and 2013 but decided to stop when my son Lee decided to race Prostocks".

However, Lindsay, who is the owner of Wilson Auto Repairs at Comrie, is still heavily involved in stock car racing.

Son Lee is making headlines in the 1300 Saloons whilst Megan is racing in the Prostock Basics formula – a class devised to attract newcomers into the sport in a car that is inexpensive to build.

Concluded Lindsay: “I would like to thank all of my sponsors and mechanics over the years who have helped me in the Saloons and the Lightning Rods, and to Megan and Mat for the wonderful birthday present – it was something else!”

“I am very proud of Lee and Megan, they are doing my colours and the 246 number proud.”