CONGRATULATIONS go to Robert McDonald (Armadale) who became the first Scottish driver ever to win the National Hot Rod World Championship at Ipswich, writes Cowdenbeath Racewall scribe Jim Turner.

McDonald qualified for the race through the English qualification series and set the fastest lap in qualifying which put him on pole position.

He led the race from start to finish to win by a clear margin. Just rewards for all of the hard work and dedication that he has put into the sport. Gordon Alexander (Bonnyrigg) qualified for the World Championship by winning the last chance qualifying race but had to retire from the World Championship.

Up at Crimond Raceway, near Fraserburgh, on Saturday night, Robbie Dawson (Aberdeen) dominated the Formula II racing where he won both heats and the final before coming back to third from the lap handicap in the Grand National.

Likewise Fraser Clark (Boness) took all three 1300cc Saloon races with Jeff Cosans (Rosyth) and Gary Paterson (Saline) in the podium places in the final. On Sunday afternoon, it was Jason Blacklock (Forth) who dominated by taking his first-ever Formula II victory in the first heat, second in the second heat and then winning the final ahead of Dawson and Albert Smith (Crimond).

Clark continued his good from in the 1300cc Saloons by winning heat one and whilst he finished first in heat two he was penalised for making too good a start handing the victory to Paterson. Kyle Hegg (Leslie) won their final from Clark and Cameron Milne (Brechin).

The Ministox Scottish Open Championship, sponsored by Eezydrive, saw Charlie Santry (Diss) take the win from Aaron Richards (Stoke) and Mitchell Gold (Lochgelly).

When the stock cars return to the Cowdenbeath Racewall on July 27 the spectators are in for a treat with the Saloon drivers rolling out to contest their Scottish Championship. This meeting usually provides fireworks during one stage of the race and last year it was mainly at the close of the race.

At one time Ross Watters (Leven) had a big lead but the combination of two race suspensions saw him drop to third spot. Ian McLaughlin (Auchterarder) took the lead only to lose out to Graeme Shevill (Motherwell) but on the last lap McLaughlin and Shevill were side by side. In steps Watters to make it a spectacular finish making a last bend lunge which sent the McLaughlin car heading to the wall, Shevill’s climbing up the wall but with a nudge from Luke Grief (Stenhousemuir) the Watters car spun.

Despite suffering a shoulder injury, which kept him out for the remainder of the season, McLaughlin held on to win from the defending champion Kyle Irvine (Glenrothes). What an exciting finish to a race which the saloon drivers hold in high esteem.

This year we can probably expect to see much of the same but add Barry Russell (Brechin), Paul Honeyman (Stenhousemuir), Tam Rutherford Jnr (Dunipace) and Graeme Shevill (Motherwell) into the mix.

Mind you a lot will depend on the public draw and the conditions and there is no saying that one of the lower grade drivers won’t make a break and then running away to win the title.

The latest news is that the Craig McNicoll Memorial meeting, which is to be held at the Cowdenbeath Racewall on August 10 is to be an open meeting for the 1300 Saloons which allows drivers from all organisations to attend subject to permission from their promotion.

The number had been capped to 50 cars but that has now been removed and it is anticipated that there could be 60 1300 Saloon drivers racing. Coupled to that there are Turner Trophies up for grabs in the Saloons, Minis and Micro F2s so it is going to be some night's racing.

However, the weekend that everyone is looking forward to takes place over the 17th/ 18th August when the 2 Litre Saloon drivers fight it out for their World Championship and the prestigious that goes with racing for a season with the coveted gold roof!

The atmosphere that night will be electric especially when the command is given to “Start your Engines” and the roar that goes with that as the 30 odd drivers fire up. It is something else and the noise of the engines swirl around the stadium.

This year the World Final, which is the richest prize in the Saloon calendar, is sponsored by Motorsport with Attitude and Gilmore Engineering and after a couple of slow parade laps chaos will be the order of the night when the green flag drops to start the race. The drivers will take no prisoners that night and there will be no shortage of cars being pushed wide, spun or simply sent crashing into the wall as the drivers strive for the win.

Whatever happens though we want the World won on the track and not in the post-race scrutineering.

At the time of writing the grid for the World hasn’t as yet been finalised with the Speedweekend at Skegness and at Ipswich giving the drivers a chance to improve their starting positions.

At this stage, however, the front row is being shared by Diggy Smith (Pulham St. Mary) and Deane Mayes (Diss) and both are no strangers to the Racewall.

Smith is back after a few years racing other formulae and he made his World Final debut in 1989. Diggy won the World Title at Mildenhall in 1997 and again at King’s Lynn in 2000, both times on a shale surface. However, his last World Final appearance was at King’s Lynn where he finished in fourth place. Mayes, who knows the Racewall, well had a spectacular roll recently when he hit another car and ended up on top of the infamous Racewall. In fact Smith won the British Championship at Taunton this year winning the title from Mayes so is revenge on the cards when the World gets underway?

At this stage Barry Russell and Graeme Shevill are the best placed Scottish drivers and they share the second row but that could easily change before the grid is settled. Both drivers have been in good form with Russell going south to race on shale fairly often this year and not without win or two to his credit.

Shevill, who races mainly on tarmac recently lost his National title down at Mildenhall – a shale track, but has been in good form at the Racewall.

In eleventh place is Ross Watters (Leven) who has returned to form after a slow start to the season with his new GRP built car. However he seems to have it sorted out to his liking and as a result there has been a host of top results from him recently.

Other Scots in the top 24 are Barry Glen (Dundee) in fourteenth, Ian McLaughlin (Auchterarder) twentieth and Tam Rutherford Jnr (Dunipace) in twenty fourth.

Just outside the seeded lists is Willie Mitchell (East Calder) and he may have to race in the Last chance qualifying race where he will be joined by Paul Honeyman (Stenhousemuir), Euan Mathieson (Lochgelly), Graeme Anderson (Douglas) and Holly Glen (Inchture). Depending on who turns up there could well be quite a few more Scottish drivers taking part in a race that will see the top six claim their place at the back of the World Final grid.