“I HAVE already begun stripping my car for the new season,” Ross Watters told our Cowdenbeath Racewall scribe Jim Turner.

“The main one is the change of wheels and tyres. I have sold all mine and have managed to get some new ones. The tyres don’t need to be changed until May so I might be trailing around at the back of the fields until the others change.

"I have all the bits ready for re-barring the car and hope to have it ready for practice before the season starts. I am also making adjustments to the car so that I can race it on shale".

Added Ross: "I got the car for the start of last season; it is a GRP car and has an Audi A4 body shell. Changes had to be made to the car even before we started to race with the late rule changes meaning we had to change the ride height. It was ready for the practice sessions at the Racewall and had a lot of initial problems.

"When we built up the car I fitted disc brakes to the rear and I struggled quite a bit. I persevered with the car but couldn’t make adjustments so had to change back to drums and shoes. What a difference it made to the car. The braking maybe wasn’t quite as good and instead of stopping square it threw the tail out slightly.

“I stay in Kennoway but I keep my car at my dad’s place in Methil. I usually go there at night after work to pick up my son Jaxson and then spend a couple of hours in the garage before we head home. I would rather do it that way than have to spend a lot of late hours working on the car.”

Looking back he went on: “I struggled at the start to the season and as a result I didn’t get as good results as I would have liked.

"I went over to Ireland in April, but that was a disaster! I had gearbox troubles and rebuilt it four times!

"I broke a bellhousing then a tail shaft and later the car stuck in gear after being in a shunt. I repaired it for the Sunday but smashed another in the first race on the Sunday.

"The first championship race was the European Championship at Taunton in May. I had the second fastest lap in practice but during the meeting I was nowhere. I qualified for the main race but was shunted wide and came to rest against the fence. I was then hit and my back wheel got damaged. Not a good weekend.”

MOT tester Ross recalled: “I missed the European, which was held on the shale at King’s Lynn. In fact I didn’t race shale at all last year!

“The Skegness weekend was another exciting time. It is a meeting that most of the Scottish drivers look forward to and most plan for the racing on Thursday night and then the weekend. I was leading the final on the Thursday night but late on got passed by Stuart Shevill Jnr and Deane Mayes. Stuart was spun and I ended up second. Over the weekend the car was getting better each race but I was struggling to get the results I should be getting.

“When we came back that is when we changed the brakes. The Scottish Championship came along soon after we got back and I had changed the brakes set-up and the suspension and it seemed to have paid off when I went but for practice as I found that the car was really quick.

"I had qualified for the Scottish – you either have to do the last three meetings prior to the Scottish or 50% of the meetings. Your grid place is determined by a public draw and this year I was fifteenth on the grid. My race didn’t last long unfortunately.

"Going into the turnstile bend Ian McLaughlin was on two wheels and then dropped down onto the bonnet of my car! It broke the cams and the pulleys so I coasted out of the race with a wrecked engine. It was a far cry from last year's race when I led for most of the time then lost out and dropped to third. I made a last bend lunge to try to retake the lead but ended up spinning.

“Prior to the World in August the car was flying and I started to move up the points order and although a bit behind the leaders, the gap was closing. I won the final just before the World so I was looking forward to it.

"The World Championship was at the Racewall and the grid is determined by championship races, track points and a few other races. It is hard for the Scottish drivers to get to the front of the grid unless they can travel. "We were brought onto the track through a tunnel with smoke belching out and it was good to be able to do the parade lap with Jaxson. The atmosphere was something you need to experience – it’s hard to put into words! I started the race from 16th on the grid and made steady progress. The rain helped and I was able to run the car on a high line where the grip was. There was a stoppage towards the end of the race but I had six back markers between me and the leading duo. By the time I got ahead of them the leaders were well clear so I was delighted to finish third.”

The performance really picked Ross up: “I went to Hednesford for the ORCi Championship. It’s a big track like the Racewall. "I qualified third for the main race but ended up in the wall on the first bend. It was the first time I had raced Hednesford since I was in the Minis. I did alright in the other races but there were some stoppages and I don’t really like that. It stops the rhythm you have built up.

“Due to my position in the points I was offered a place in the National Series but I declined. I had raced in the inaugural National Series but there is only one race in Scotland and the rest are down in England. All the races take place from September to November so there is a lot of travelling involved. Skegness is around seven hours away and that is the nearest and then there is Taunton, Ipswich, King’s Lynn and Mildenhall – too much travelling for me in a short space of time.

“By the time that the Superbowl weekend came around I was neck and neck with Ian in the points. I won three finals in a row prior to that weekend so I was feeling confident. I won my heat on Saturday night but in the Superbowl I had managed to get into second place only for Stuart to make sure I wasn’t getting around one of the bends and that was that. I got the car repaired for the Sunday’s meeting. Ian was ahead of me in the points but I finished in fourth place in the Gordon Barclay Memorial final and then won the heat and that was the points title sewn up. It was my first in the Saloons although I had won a few in the Minis.”

Looking ahead Ross said: “This year the European Championship is at the Racewall and the World Final is at Mildenhall on shale.

"I prefer Mildenhall to King’s Lynn. I find it difficult to set the car up for shale as the track conditions can change often throughout a race. I will need to make sure that I have plenty of opposite lock – that is essential for shale racing!

“I get help working on the car from my dad, Uncle Bobby, Jaxson and Kevin Bowie, although more mechanics turn up at the track to help. "I have sponsorship from Ross Fernie Motors, where I work as a MOT tester; The Auld Hoose, Windygates; Taxi Centre, Leven; MPR Auto Electrics; J. F. Brown Haulage; J Building Suppliers, J Johnston Appliances and Luke Grief – stock car builder. Their help and assistance is invaluable and without it I wouldn’t be as competitive as I am or race as often as I do.”