THE stock car drivers were in tremendous form on a warm summers Saturday evening at the Cowdenbeath Racewall and on a dry and fast track there was plenty of close and fast racing, writes Racewall scribe Jim Turner.

We even had the SSPCA there to remove a seagull which the marshalls had liberated after it had been caught up in one of the football nets!

With the Saloon World Final looming quickly the European Champion Daniel Parker, who won the title at the Racewall in 2017, and Ryan Wright from Northern Ireland appeared to get extra time to set up their cars whilst local driver Kyle Irvine made his first appearance of the season and a winning one it turned out to be!

Cameron Doak debuted his new ORCi Stock Rod but it was Leon Stewart who went on to win the Turner Trophy final after struggling with a mechanical problem during the practice session.

However, the Classic Hot Rod field ran into problems with Keith Chesher, Alex Wilson and Graham McCabe all suffering from a series of mechanical problems which depleted the field.

James Yule and Kieran Howie made their first appearances of the season at the Racewall in their Formula IIs where the local drivers Kieran Howie (Dunfermline) and Paul and Craig Reid (Cowdenbeath) were in action.

Heat one saw P. Reid take his car through to win from Liam Rennie and Euan Millar, with Howie in eighth and C. Reid tenth. On heat two it was Millar who went through to win from Steven Burgoyne and P. Reid but towards the end of the race Daniel Scrimgeour spun, hit the Armco and ended up parked on a marker tyre. Howie was eighth again with C. Reid ninth this time.

The start to the final proved to be a bit hectic with Yule being shoved wide going into the pit bend and promptly had a ride around the wall but was able to continue, although he had lost ground. Jason Blacklock went straight into the lead; having led both heats but had pulled out with problems and despite P. Reid in close order began to ease away slowly.

Rennie was running just ahead of Burgoyne and Millar and were working their way through the field. As the laps dwindled so too did the gap between Rennie and Blacklock and on lap 17 Rennie swept through into lead. Once there he was able to ease away to win the Mary Jones Memorial final from Burgoyne and Blacklock, Howie and C. Reid finishing eighth and ninth respectively.

Blacklock then went on to win the Grand National from Burgoyne, Millar and P. Reid with Rennie finishing in sixth place from his lap handicap, just ahead of Howie and C. Reid in seventh and eighth.

There was another good turnout of Saloon drivers with the new grades coming into play resulting in a few drivers starting from different places. Parker and Wright were taking the opportunity to get their cars set up for the World Final. Mark Mathers was down from Crimond whilst Bob Dunn was having a run in Ally Strachan’s car. Locals on track included Kyle Irvine (Glenrothes), Raymond Dick (Glenrothes) and Euan and Andrew Mathieson (Lochgelly).

The first heat was suspended after Alisdair Smith’s car slowed and was collected by Kevin Letford with both drivers having to retire from the meeting. Irvine managed to catch long time leader Marc Honeyman during the closing stages of the race to win with Willie Mitchell in third spot, A. Mathieson in fifth just ahead of E. Mathieson in sixth. Heat two ended with M. Honeyman leading from start to finish and won from Mitchell and Scottish Champion Ian McLaughlin. E. Mathieson finished fifth, Irvine was sixth.

Mitchell was the initial leader when the final started but had M. Honeyman slotting in behind. Dunn bounced off the wall in front of the leaders but carried on but it wasn’t until lap eight before M. Honeyman took the lead. A couple of laps later James Letford retired with a puncture and then after Mitchell was sent spinning and hit the Armco the race had to be suspended. The field lined up behind M. Honeyman with Andrew Mathieson in second place and when it did A. Mathieson was sent wide and before he could get back onto the racing line he had lost a few places. McLaughlin moved into second but behind Irvine was having his hands full trying to fend off the attentions of Parker and Wright. In the end M. Honeyman won from McLaughlin and Irvine, with A. Mathieson completing the race in sixth spot.

There was another healthy field of ORCi Stock Rods with Doak bringing his new car which he soon had on the pace during practice. Chris Chance and Simon Morris were up from the North of England whilst the local drivers in action were Stuart McKinnon (Kincardine), Steve Gunby (Cupar), Liam McGill (Dysart), Dean McGill (East Wemyss), Scott Galbraith (Auchtermuchty), David Dignan (Leven) and Michael Bethune (Kirkcaldy).

The first heat saw plenty of close and exciting non-contact racing with Bethune going through to win from Doak and James Gray. McKinnon finished in sixth, L. McGill eighth and Galbraith ninth. In heat two Stewart managed to get his car through into the lead during the closing stages of the race to win from L. McGill and Chance. Dignan, Bethune and McKinnon were fourth, fifth and sixth with Galbraith also finishing in the top ten in eighth.

There was plenty of close and fast racing in the final with Mark Blackie the first to show but a lap later Steve Gunby was ahead from Morris and Chance although a few laps later Morris and Chance dived through on the inside. Within a couple of laps Chance was leading but he now had Stewart on his tail. However, on the back straight Scott Galbraith was squeezed against the wall and then collected by John McAllister and Dean McGill suspending the race.

The field lined up behind Chance and whilst he made a good start he was caught by Stewart who took over the lead. Then L. McGill then exited the race after a wheel came adrift and the field slowed to line up behind Stewart.

Stewart made a good restart to the race from Chance with Doak getting inside of Morris and then within a couple of laps was on the back bumper of Chance. By now Stewart was well clear and he went through to win with Doak just managing to get ahead of Chance with a lap remaining. Dignan was fifth whilst Bethune nursed his car home to seventh, just ahead of Gunby in eighth. Stewart also ended up being presented with a tyre courtesy of McGill Electrical.

The Classic Hot Rods saw Martin Balfour appear in the Trevor Harris Anglia but it turned out to be a meeting of attrition for them. Keith Chesher (Dunfermline), John McFarlane (Dunfermline) and Martin Balfour (Glenrothes) were the locals in action.

The opening heat looked to be in the hands of Alex Wilson but with only a few laps remaining his car developed a misfire and he head to retire. This allowed Graham McCabe through to win from Jock Campbell and McFarlane, with Balfour ending up in fifth spot.

In heat two McCabe took an early lead only to have to retire handing the lead to Campbell. Chesher began to close the gap only for his car to retire in a cloud of expensive smoke. Campbell then won from Matt MacPherson and McFarlane.

McFarlane led the final for a few laps then lost out to Campbell who then went on to a comfortable win over MacPherson and McFarlane.

This Saturday the 1300 Saloon drivers take top billing as they race for the Craig McNicoll Memorial Trophy with an amazing 60 cars booked in to race. The Saloons, Ministox and Micro F2 drivers are also in action and they are racing for their Turner trophies. As usual the meeting starts at 6.00pm

The Formula II Semi-Finals are being run down at St. Day in Cornwall with quite a few Scottish drivers in action and we hope that they get good results in their semis.