“IT'S sods law” Gregor Turner told me, “my Formula II is ready to race and not only that but I had Saturday night off from work and there is no racing. I started racing at Newtongrange in 1988 and have never remembered anything like this!”

In the first in a series of articles by our Racewall scribe Jim Turner, he managed to catch a moment with his son Gregor, who, like all of his compatriots, has found it the strangest start ever to a season.

Said Gregor: “Over the close season I have changed my engine from a Pinto to a Zetec although there was a bit more to do on the car than just to fit the new engine than I had expected.

"Still it is ready to go so hopefully the racing will soon be back on. I am lucky as I get a lot of help from Ryan Walker and if I didn’t then I wouldn’t be as competitive as I am.”

I asked about his work and he commented: “I am a sous chef at the Hilton Hotel, at Edinburgh Airport, so I basically have to take holidays to race. I do get the occasional weekend off but they are few and far between. I then have to choose carefully what meetings that I can race at as well as balancing them with holidays”

He went on: “I didn’t get too many meetings last year but I started my season with a bang winning both of my heats and then the final. My car had been oversteering at the start but we kept adjusting the set-up to try to improve the handling. We must have gone too far because during the Grand National the car began to understeer.

“The World Championship Qualifying Round was a disaster! My car felt good in practice so I was quite confident, but my first heat didn’t last long. I was put away on the first corner and before I could restart I was collected by another car.

"I was back out for heat two only to end up tangling with Martin Ford on the main straight and again ended up against the wall. At the start to the final I was again spun into the wall but this time I was able to restart although in last place. It proved to be an exciting race – there were a lot of incidents and stoppages which helped and I managed to make up a lot of ground before finishing in ninth place.

“I had hopes of doing well in the Scottish Championship after I finished in third place in my heat. I got into the lead not long after the final started but tangled with Peter Watt. As a result the contact moved my rear axle over and that was basically that. The following day we were racing for the FII Challenge Trophy but my car didn’t go all that well in the heats. We made a few adjustments to the car in between races and it was much better for the final. I led the race for quite a while but the eventual winner, Steven Burgoyne, chapped me wide and I half spun. By the time that I recovered I had dropped to fifth – where I finished.”

He then missed quite a few meetings mainly due to work and a back injury suffered when working on his car.

Gregor sai: "One of the areas we were investigating was the braking system and we tried a few permutations.

"I managed, though, to get some time off during the latter part of the season. The week before the final of Whites & Yellows Series I had made a good start to the meeting but the car was kicking out and I crashed backwards into the wall wrecking the back of the car.

"The car was ready for the final of the Whites & Yellows Series but that race turned out to be a big disappointment. Going into the turnstile bend I hit a patch of water and the car slid into the wall and I was promptly caught by another car. After that the car was horrible to drive.

“The double header at the end of the season turned out to be mixed one. On the Saturday night the car was so bad that I struggled to get it around the track. After each race Ryan and I talked about what the car was or wasn’t doing and we tried different things to the set up but it wasn’t making much difference to the car. It was so bad that I even contemplated not defending my Champion of Champions title on the Sunday."

However, he went on: “I picked up my first “big” win four years ago when I won the Champion of Champions race for the first time.

"I was a yellow grade driver then and when the race started I was soon leading and at one stage I had a big lead. As the race progressed I could see that Gordon Moodie was in second place and when you see his car behind you the gap tends to close quickly.

"Starting the last lap he was right on my tail but it wasn’t until the last bend that he chapped me wide. Luckily he had to chap me midway around the bend and that seemed to have straightened up my car.

"I put my foot down and we ran side by side to the finish line. I thought that I had lost the race but when I was interviewed by Richard Kaleta it then dawned me that I was the winner by two thousands of a second. My despair turned to elation and I just couldn’t get it into my head that I had won.

"I lost the Champions of Champions the following year but regained it in 2018 but was certainly not confident of retaining the trophy last year. After a horrible Saturday night I got a big surprise, ending up second in the Champion of Champions race.

"I led at the start to the race but then lost out to Garry Sime. I chased him as hard as I could but just couldn’t get close enough to lunge at him on the last bend. If you had told me that I would be the runner-up the night before I would have bitten your hand off. As it was I was disappointed to lose my title but in that race Garry was just that bit quicker. Mind you I got the last laugh – I won the first heat with Garry not able to catch me! I was third in heat two but after being delayed at the start. But the cars seemed to want to destruct in that heat and I benefitted from that.

"In the final I didn’t finish the race after tangling with another car. We loaded up after that race which proved to be a bonus. When we stripped the car down we found that the front hub was about to collapse so if we had gone out for the Grand National we could have wrecked the car.”

On the change of power plant he commented: “We decided at the end of the season that we would change from the Pinto to the Zetec engine but we didn’t get started to working on the car to January.

"It was decided that the Lyndale engine would be our better option so that was ordered. The Pinto was removed and the alterations to get the car ready for the Zetec got underway. Ryan did most of the work getting the car ready and the car was all but ready around the practice session time. I was working so we couldn’t run the car but it is now ready for action only there is no place for action just now!

“I would like to thank Ryan for doing most of the work on getting the car ready to race and to my sponsors Tower Cars, RAW Motorsport, ASD Welding and EJB Autocare, for their superb support.”