THE drivers faced all sorts of troubles at the Cowdenbeath Racewall on Saturday night ranging from thunder and lightning, heavy deluges of rain, and to add to everyone’s misery, the rain went off when the meeting finished!, writes our Racewall scribe Jim Turner.

There were plenty of drookit spectators who got caught out when the rain started and most made a bee line for the stand.

The Saloon ranks were swelled by the appearances of Billy Smith, Bradley Compton-Sage, Matty Stirling and Simon Venni whilst Patrick Rutters was over from the Netherlands.

However, the show stealers were the 1300 Saloons who were racing for the Craig McNicoll Memorial Trophy with over 45 drivers racing.

The Ministox and Micro F2 drivers coped admirably with the wet conditions although there were one or two unexpected spins.

The 1300 Saloons drivers turned up in their numbers with drivers from HRP and Northern Ireland joining the GMP drivers to pay tribute to Craig McNicoll.

There was a parade lap prior to the meeting with the drivers receiving a momento of the occasion.

There were numerous sponsors for the heats with added prize money and tyres being handed out.

The field was split in half with twelve from each heat and sixteen from the consolation going through to the final. There were a large amount of locals in action including Gregor Whyte (Cowdenbeath), Dale Robertson (Glenrothes), Raymond Brown (Kelty), William Starwiarski (Cowdenbeath), Gordon Myers (Dunfermline), Michael Moyes (Cowdenbeath), Stuart Wilson (Kelty), Grady Ross (Lochore), Michael Courts (Lochgelly), Marc McNicoll (Cowdenbeath), Regan Watson (Methil), Paul Beaton (Leven), Callum Sturrock (Saline), Jeff Cosans (Rosyth), Aaron Hastie (Ceres), Gary Paterson (Saline), Darren Rae (Cowdenbeath), Stevie Gold (Cowdenbeath), Craig Haxton (East Wemyss), Danny Whyte (Cardenden), James Ellis (Cowdenbeath), Kyle Hegg (Leslie), Scott Lindsell (Cowdenbeath), David Bowman (Anstruther) and Andrew Mathieson (Lochgelly).

Heat one saw Jamie Brown go through to win from Robertson and Zak Gilmour. The second heat fielded some late comers with Fraser Clark going through to win from Kieran Edgar and Sean Naismith.

It was a smaller than expected field of cars for the consolation race with Charlie Folan coming out on top where he led home Dougie Ford and R. Brown.

Most of the cars made it onto the grid for the final with any non qualifiers starting at the back of the grid.

The race was suspended almost as soon as it had begun after Martin McCaffery’s car shed a wheel. The grid was reformed with Edgar leading but there was another stoppage after a pile-up developed on the top bend.

The race then developed in to some hectic action as Hegg, Lindsell and Clark fought it out for the win. Clark began to fall away and then there were some big hits between Hegg and Lindsell. Hegg lost his bonnet with Lindsell finally going through into the lead. However, he had broken a spring guard and lost some metalwork and he like Hegg was disqualified, this handing the race to Gilmour from Cameron Milne and Rae.

The Saloon drivers were in good form despite the conditions as the drivers got a chance to see how their cars fared in the wet weather. Local drivers on the grid were Eck Cunningham (Leven), Ross Watters (Leven) and Kyle Irvine (Glenrothes).

The opening heat saw Marc Honeyman go through to win from Graeme Shevill and Watters, who was just ahead of Cunningham. However, in heat two M. Honeyman went on to pick up his second win of the night when he led home Watters and Shevill.

When the final started Willie Mitchell went into the lead but by the end of the lap M. Honeyman was through to first and quickly pulling away. Billy Smith appeared in second but after a dice with Barry Russell and Shevill. Watters moved into third and as the race progressed began to close the gap. Smith was closing the gap to M. Honeyman but then he had to contend with Watters with some big hits going in.

In the end M. Honeyman eased away to win the Turner Trophy final from Smith who was just ahead of Watters when the chequered flag dropped, Irvine coming home in seventh place.

There was another good field of Ministox drivers and the drivers coped admirably with the conditions taking their cars as close to the wall as possible to find grip.

Local drivers racing were Jake Wilson (Kelty), Rian Mitchell (Lochgelly), Jay Paterson (Saline), Ciaran Adams (Kelty), Scott Allardyce (Anstruther) and Mitchell Gold (Leven).

Kai Gilmour went through to win the opening heat from Gold and Mika Millar, with Adams in seventh. The second heat had an explosive finish with the top four drivers fighting it out on the run-up to the finish line. Gilmour got there first whilst Paterson and Charlie Hardie were sent spinning as they crossed the line in 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Gold was seventh.

The final was led off by Hannah Borthwick but she was caught at the end of the lap as Hardie went through into the lead although chased by Gilmour. Millar and Declan Honeyman were squabbling as they made their way through the field. The race was suspended after Mitchell was spun on the main straight and his car wouldn’t fire.

The restart saw Millar charge through into the lead with Gilmour spinning and Robbie Armit appearing in third but was then squeezed into the wall. This let Ross Lawrence through into second ahead of Gold but by now Millar was clear and he went through to cross the line first but was then penalised two places for too good a restart with Lawrence being declared the Turner Trophy winner from Gold and Millar. Wilson finished in eighth spot.

If the Ministox drivers were good in the rain then the Micro F2 drivers were something else when you consider they are aged between 7 and 11 years. However, we said goodbye to Joelan Maynard and Bobby Brandon who had reached the age limit but added Cole Ramsay to the ranks. Local drivers in action were the Glenrothes duo of Lennon Cuthill and Connor St Aubyn, although neither made it into the top ten in any of their races.

Heat one saw Maynard go through to win from Kara Russell, but it was a close run thing, with Brandon finishing in third. In heat two Russell had led for a few laps but had lost out to Maynard but managed to force herself back into the lead and though to win from Maynard and Alfie Smith.

There was five car shunt at the start to heat three as the rain came down even harder! In the end Maynard bowed out on a high by winning the race from Smith and Russell.

The Racewall hosts the biggest prize in the 2 Litre Saloon calendar this weekend when the Saloon World Championship heads north. There are over 50 drivers booked in to race with a healthy sprinkling of Scottish drivers already qualified for the race. On Sunday the Saloon drivers race for the Raymond Gunn Tribute Trophy. The Formula II drivers have the Geo Mac 100 Trophy on Saturday and the Chapman Trophy on Sunday to contest.

The 1300 Saloon drivers are racing on Sunday for their Turner Trophy whilst the MASCAR and JASCAR drivers are paying their annual visit to the Racewall over both days.

There will be practice sessions on Saturday afternoon with the racing starting at 5.00pm whilst the racing on Sunday starts at 1.00pm. It is going to be two days of fast and exhilarating racing – one not to be missed.

* At the St Day Oval, in Cornwall, Gordon Moodie (Windygates) won the Formula II semi-final 1 with Robbie Dawson (Aberdeen) in sixth place whilst in semi-final 2 it was Ben Borthwick who won with Euan Millar (Lockerbie) in eighth place. Dundee’s Lim Rennie rolled his car and will join six other drivers in the consolation semi-final at Buxton.