THE 36th running of the Scottish Formula II Championship brought a healthy field of cars to the Cowdenbeath Racewall, including the defending champion Chris Burgoyne and his main rival Gordon Moodie, but it was to become an amazing day to remember for Dennis Middler, who spoke to our Racewall reporter Jim Turner.

They were the only two drivers on the grid that had previously won the title at the Cowdenbeath Racewall! It was also a fact that 30 years ago one Russell Taylor was the winner of this Championship at Newtongrange whilst his son, Kyle, was making his debut.

The practice session didn’t really throw up many surprises with Chris Burgoyne the quickest from Gordon Moodie and Craig Wallace, but there were a few drivers left scratching their heads as they struggled to get the best out of their cars.

“I had spent a lot of time in the garage checking over my Formula II car!”, said Dennis Middler, who works in the family garage, Westfield Motors, in Carnoustie.

"The whole car had been checked and we had the car on the scales a couple of times before the 'Scottish'. The car had been going alright so I felt that I had a chance of doing well, although obviously the two favourites for the race were Gordon Moodie and Chris Burgoyne.

“When we got to the track the atmosphere was electric although I was trying like mad to keep it as a normal meeting. It was hard to do. I didn’t go out for practice.

“When it came for the public draw I drew out pole position for the red grade and had Stevie Forster alongside but Marc Fortune was behind me.

"White grader Kyle Taylor was on pole with Pete Davidson alongside, but even before the race started John Hogg was in trouble and pulled out.

“For once I wasn’t nervous whilst we sat waiting for the warm up lap. Usually I am a bit nervous but this time for some reason I was calm and concentrating on what I needed to do.”

Davidson made the better of the starts and was the first to show and he led the cars into the pit bend ahead of Craig Reid in second and just ahead of Holly Glen but Kieran Howie spun whilst Adam Blacklock’s car came to a stop at the end of the back straight.

As he was slowing Marc Fortune and Robbie Dawson got locked together exiting the turnstile bend. Fortune’s car came to rest with two wheels on the wall and held upright by the Dawson car. The yellow flags appeared and Fortune vainly tried to do something about his wrecked aerofoil but it proved too difficult a task and he also retired his car. Dawson though had bent his panhard bar but restarted the car and retook his place on the grid.

Dennis recalled: “The shunt had happened behind me and I had made a good start to the race. It was a weird sensation that even at this stage things felt good.”

The reformed grid was this time led off by Glen who dived into the lead but on the top bend Ryan Wadling rolled his car whilst Scrimgeour pulled out which brought out the yellow flags. As the marshals set about clearing the track Moodie retired his car with a severe oil leak and as a result his overalls were soaked.

“When I saw Gordon’s car parked up it boosted my confidence. That was one less car to contend with although Chris was not that far behind me", said Dennis.

The grid lined up behind Glen and when the race began almost immediately Burgoyne tangled with Stuart Anderson on the top bend and spun into retirement which meant that there would be a new name on the trophy. The yellows were soon waving once again after Kyle Taylor and Stuart Anderson crashed out on the back straight.

“Once I saw Chris had retired my confidence grew. Unfortunately Kyle needed the paramedics and it took him a while to get out of his car. I still didn’t feel nervous which was unusual. I could see that Craig was my nearest rival but there wasn’t an awful lot between us."

On the restart Glen got away well but Middler was quickly through into second before closing right up onto her back bumper and next time around was ahead. Wallace quickly followed through into second with Glen being relegated to fourth as Forster chased after Wallace. Middler began to pull away from the chasing duo whilst Dawson moved through into fourth further dropping Glen down the order.

Dennis remembered: “I had made the better restart than Craig and was able to open up sizeable gap but on long runs he was slowly closing the gap. I felt that my car was running well and wasn’t too concerned at that stage.”

At the head of the pack the gap between Middler and Wallace fluctuated but as the last couple of laps board was shown Middler began to ease away before receiving the chequer flag and becoming the 2016 Scottish Champion. Wallace held onto second and was clear of Forster at the end of the race.

“It is hard to describe my thoughts when I saw the chequer flag being waved as I crossed the finish line, said the new champ.

"I felt elation and in a way it didn’t seem real. Even when I raced Minis I always wanted to win the 'Scottish'. It took a while for it to sink in. I did a couple of donuts and when I stopped the car I clambered onto its roof and received a warm round of applause from the fans. It even brought a smile onto my dad’s face! I was delighted to receive the Scottish Trophy knowing that my name would soon be on it. The victory lap was something, the noise was something else.”

“I missed the meeting the following week but had spent the time putting the Saltire onto the roof of my car. I must say that I thought it looked really good. Little did I know that it would only last one meeting and I would wreck it in a frightening rollover. I had gone well in the races and was looking for a win in the Grand National. How wrong was I?!

"Not long into the race I was catching the cars ahead of me. Robbie was slow going down the straight and Adam Blacklock pulled out to pass him but hadn’t seen me in his mirrors. As he pulled out I rode over his back wheel and took off. The car started to roll, it did so three times before crashing down perched at an angle on the marker tyre at the end of the straight. “

“It must have looked frightening as the number of people who were at my car in what seemed to be no time at all was amazing. I was a bit dazed but unhurt. My car looked a bit sore though. My wing was wrecked so was my exhaust, a front corner and I remember so was my bumper.

“I drove to Manchester the following day for a wedding then raced my shale car at Belle Vue on the Sunday and there was even interview by Premier Sports about my rollover!”