“I AM one of the few Scottish drivers who have been able to race his Formula II car this season,” Paul Reid from Cowdenbeath commented.

“But I don’t know when I will get another chance.. I had high hopes of racing in the three World Championship qualifying rounds that were going to be held in Scotland in May this year and was looking forward to the meeting at the Knockhill Trioval, the local driver told our Cowdenbeath Racewall reporter Jim Turner.

"I had had thought of maybe going to Buxton for their round but it looks as if that might not happen. Let’s hope that they get a cure for this virus soon and we can get back racing. I was looking forward to my annual trip to Skegness in July but I am not too sure if we will be back by then."

Looking at how he developed as a driver in the Formula 11s he said: “I was serving my apprenticeship at John Adams Plant Hire and was racing a Formula II Higman chassis at Cowdenbeath. "I was allowed to copy the car and I had it finished during the early part of 1992. When it was ready Gordon McDougall and Rob Speak came to have a look at it but persuaded me not to bring it out at the World Championship qualifying round. There was going to be quite a big field of cars and the racing was going to be busy. I am glad that I took their advice – that was the meeting that John Fortune and Chalky White had their big crash! I don’t think that it made my debut any easier when I took to the track the following week!

“Over the seasons I have built quite a few cars, some have been really good but one or two didn’t handle too well. My second car was built around Derek Dalgleish’s car but when I was repairing the car in the garage after getting damage after a meeting there was a fire and I lost all my tools and spares, but was able to rebuild the chassis in a friend's garage. It didn’t go very well after that so I had to build another.

"For some reason I painted it green and when it didn’t go well I blamed the green paint! I got a bit of help with my next car, Alistair Forsyth helped with the Sierra suspension. The car was one of the best that I had built and it took me up to the red grade.

"I remember my first race from the red grade well. I went out to the grid early thinking that the other red grade drivers would line up in front of me. Wrong! – one pulled up alongside of me whilst the others lined up behind me! I was moved out of the way quickly once the race started!”

Paul added: “I was really competitive with this car but I had been in a big crash and was sorry to see it go. I had a spare chassis sitting there so I quickly built it up and didn’t miss any racing.

“I tried the Jim Paterson car that Paul Winfield had used but ended up buying a car from Keith Brown. To date that is the only car that I have bought. I stripped down to the bare bones, repainted it and used it for a couple for seasons.

"I got a lot of strong results with this car and I was competitive. Then I was involved in a freak accident in 2004 and broke my back. I was confined to a special spinal bed for six weeks. One night as I was studying the ceiling I heard a familiar voice – Formula II driver Billy McGill was in the next bed having been brought in after injuring his hand. Happily my back is alright and doesn’t give me any trouble but I took a year out to recover. The next time I raced was at the Knockhill Trioval, which has big run off areas and it felt really good to be back in action.

“One of my best years racing was in 2013, some 21 after I tentatively made my debut. I had won quite a few races that year and as a result was well placed for the white/yellow series final and the Champion of Champions races.

"In the white/yellow final I made a good start and went through for a comfortable win. It turned out to be almost a similar story in the Champion of Champions race - you need to win a race at the Racewall or at the Knockhill Trioval to get onto the grid. I got away well and then capitalised after Gordon Moodie and Chris Burgoyne fought over second spot. I was pleased to leave with a big trophy that day!

“I had another bout in the red grade in 2017. I had a bad spell and was scheduled to drop down to the yellow grade. The night of the Stock Rod World final it was wet and the car was on rails and I ended up winning the final. The rule is that if you win a final the next week you race from a higher grade. So instead of getting my yellow wing out I had to get a red one.”

Paul looked a a few problems: “Since then I have built a few more chassis but was beginning to struggle a bit with my car. I had been toying with building another and I based it around the RCE chassis which are dominating the racing just now. I started building the car in 2018 but kept the chassis I was racing up to the latest specifications.

“Despite carrying out a lot of work on my new car I was still using my “old” car at the start to last season but when I hit engine problems in May I decided to bite the bullet and spent the next two weeks working on the new one. Mind you I had been working on it for about eighteen months. There had been a lot of rule changes and I basically held off finishing the car. I had to put steel plate around the drivers cab and also change the braking system.

“Anyway I did get the car finished and brought it for the Scottish Championship, maybe not the best meeting to do so, but it was ready so why not? I started from the back of the grid but found the car very different to drive than the car that I had used earlier. In fact I am still trying to get it right, it just so different from what I was using.

"I did manage to finish in tenth place in the final though but we were altering the set up after each race. The following day was the FII Challenge Trophy and whilst we had made some changes to the car it still wasn’t great but again I finished in tenth place in the final.

“I had dropped down to the yellow grade but after a few adjustments the set up was improving and I was beginning to get more competitive. I picked up my first win with the car in August and then had a really good spell with the car finishing in the top order results. I picked up fourth and fifth places over the weekend of the Geo Mac 100 and the FII Challenge meetings.

"The car was improving with each meeting and I started to get more consistency. This led to a good points haul but the result was that I moved back up to the blue grade. We were still trying various set ups on the car to make it even more competitive and we were slowly getting there.

“I ended up as second in the white/yellow challenge final. I was a bit surprised to get into that race as I was a blue grade driver at the start to the season. When it started Gregor Turner hit the wet patch and slid into the wall and I joined him there. I was able to restart and a race suspension helped me get through the field where I ended up in second place. I didn’t get too much luck at either in the James Clarke Cochrane Memorial Trophy nor the Champion of Champions races and was hoping that 2020 would be quite different. At this stage it certainly is!”

Concluded Paul: “When the season ended I had big plans of what the car needed and started almost as soon as the racing finished. The nerf rails, front and rear bumpers were cut off and we made changes to the rear axle. Then I took the flu and it wasn’t until February that I felt fit enough to get back into the garage.

"Once I did it was all systems go and it was a case of welding new bumpers and nerf rails. I was nowhere ready when the practice sessions were held. The week before the first meeting was chaotic. I got my new wing painted and then dropped it off to get sign written, the chassis was primed then painted on the Thursday before we could start rebuilding. The wing didn’t come back until two on the Saturday afternoon and then to crown it all we found a weeping flexi brake pipe!

“We got to the track quite late and found that the work we had done had helped with the handling although it wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be. My old car was great in the rain but this one is a bit twitchy! I like getting the tail of the car hanging out on the bends but my new car doesn’t seem to like that idea at all. I am sure that there is a lot more potential to be gained from the car and I might have to change my driving style to suit! Och well it seems I will have plenty of time to solve the problems but will only know if I have when I get back driving the car!

“I get a lot of help working on my car from my sons Paul, Callum and Scott and hopefully we will be back in the garage soon, plus my other half Nicola. I would also like to thank my sponsors James Moodie Motor Engineers, W. Gormley, McGill Motorsports, Woodend Garage, David Anderson Roofing, James Fraser Firewood and Fencing and to E. Burgoyne for the wing. Their help and assistance is much appreciated.”