DO you remember the 1991 saloon world championship at the Cowdenbeath Racewall? Ernie burgoyne certainly does!

The 1991 World Final grid was made up from drivers who were seeded into Sunday’s race with eleven coming from the racing on Saturday night. In these days it was very much a Scotland verses England match with no quarter given or likely to be received – a lot different from today’s offerings.

There was a big turn out of drivers for the World Final and the qualifying meeting on the Saturday night was spectacular to say the least. There was no shortage of action which set up the fans for the World Final on Sunday. The atmosphere was something else although as it turned out more of the English drivers got through to the final than the home drivers.

Ernie, who is the owner of E Burgoyne and Sons at Airth, recalls “I turned up reasonably early on the Sunday and even then there were plenty of cars and fans in the stadium. The cars were scrutineered and we had our briefing from the promotion.”

“I had a Mazda as opposed to an Escort which I helped to build with Tully was powered by a Benny prepared engine – which I built myself! I was one of the seeded drivers so I didn’t have to race the night before. In a way I am glad as there were something like seven rollovers and there were a lot of action. It was good to watch and the spectators loved it!

There were a couple of races before in atmospheric conditions the World Finals appeared on their parade lap with the drivers being cheered as they made their way around the track, surprisingly the Scottish drivers more so that then the visitors. By now the stadium was packed and the cars were lined up on the back straight. The final grid was a public one and was announced live by one of the local radio stations. Gordon Barclay would start from pole with Kenny Stewart alongside whilst on row two were Davie Duncan but when the next out was Conrad Self the crowd made their disapproval known.”I drew out number five which put me on the inside of row three with Ian Jarman alongside me. I was reasonably happy at that. It’s better to be a chaser than being chased! Selfie was the danger man and I knew that if I was to win then I needed him out of the way.”

“Further back were the likes of Steve O’Dell, Kevin Shinn, Keith White, Eddie Aldous, Andy Thomas, Willie Barnes and Keith Jackson so it wasn’t going to be an easy run for anyone.”

The drivers got strapped into their cars and awaited their signal to go around to take up their grid positions and even at this stage the fans were in good voice as they awaited the start to the race.

After a couple of slow warm up laps the green flag dropped and in a blaze of noise Barclay went straight into the lead followed by Stewart and Duncan. Mayhem was let loose on the turnstile bend resulting in the Keith Jackson against the wall with Self going into the lead. The yellow flags appeared to allow Keith to be assisted out of his car.

“I got away well and tucked in behind Selfie with Gordon the leader but Selfie made up a place and I followed through to take third place. We didn’t get too far when the race was stopped after Keith Jackson crashed heavily and he needed help to get out of his car.”

The grid was reformed when the track was cleared with Barclay again making a good start but this time Self had moved into second place although just ahead of Burgoyne. The gap between second and third closed with Ernie managing to make contact with Self much to the delight of the Scottish fans although he lost a couple of places in doing so.

“I remember getting close enough to Selfie so that I could spin him enough to let me get ahead. I dropped a couple of places and dropped down to fourth and by the time that Selfie straightened up I was well clear.”

Barclay was leading but the 47 car was beginning to close up on the leading group of cars but before he did so there was chaos on the back straight. Self and John Halifax had tangled and Eddy Aldous had crashed and was stuck against the wall.

“I had moved up behind Gordon under the yellows. My car was going well and I was confident that I could end up with a good result. Just had to keep calm and watch what was going on.”

On the restart Burgoyne made a better start than Barclay and soon emerged as the leader but now had Danny Semaru in second after the latter had got ahead of Barclay and Bob Jones.

“I was trying not to overheat my tyres and talking to myself trying to keep myself calm. I could see that Danny wasn’t catching me but I was beginning to close up on some of the back markers. In knew it would be alright passing the Scottish cars but it would be a different thing trying to pass the visitors.”

As the race progressed Burgoyne was in amongst the back markers and one of these was Kevin Shinn but he spun and just as he was starting to catch the back markers. “It wasn’t too bad lapping the Scottish drivers but I would have to be wary when I came across any English cars.”

The next two on Ernie’s list to pass was Willie Barnes and Keith White, both danger men and ones that wouldn’t let him through without retaliation. “I saw Barnes and White ahead and knew that they would not be easy to pass. I managed to spin both and by then was well clear of Semaru. I don’t think that I have ever talked so much to myself in all my life as I tried to keep calm and drive as controlled a race as I could.”

Semaru was sent crashing out delaying Bob Jones but now it was Steve O’Dell who was now in second. Jones was sent crashing up the wall by Jock Maxwell, who was disqualified for his pains.

Burgoyne now had a fairly clear run to the chequer and to a “Cowdenbeath roar of approval” crossed the line to become the 1991 Saloon World Champion and was followed home by O’Dell and Pete Simpson.

“When the chequer appeared I was over the moon both for myself and the lads who had helped me to get the car built and ready. Andy Ainslie from AA Components was the meeting sponsor and had sponsored me from day one. It was very emotional standing on the top flight of the podium knowing that I was the World Champion.”

“The victory lap was amazing, one that I will remember for the rest of my life.”