“I BOUGHT a new road car over the close season and it doesn’t have a tow bar as yet. I don’t know whether to fit one or to get a van, that is why I missed the opening, and so far, only meeting of the season,” local driver Craig Reid commented to our Cowdenbeath Racewall reporter Jim Turner.

Craig, who lives in Cowdenbeath, drives a Formula II which is a single-seat purpose-built car with bumpers front and rear with nerf rails along the side.

The Formula IIs sport aerofoils and are powered by either a two-litre Ford Pinto engine or a Zetec engine. The Pinto engines are highly tuned but have a rev limiter installed whilst there is very little that you are allowed to do to the Zetec engines. The difference in power between the engines is now negligible.

Said Craig: “My brother, Paul had been racing a Formula II for a couple of years and my dad had been helping.

"I decided that I was going to have a try and built my own chassis making it onto the track for the start of the 1994 season. I remember my first ever meeting. I was able to start at the back of the grid and it soon became clear just how fast the other drivers were! I thought that I was going well but it turned out to be a bit daunting!

"However, I persevered and was soon making progress. It took me a couple of years before I got my first win and what a confidence boost that was! Probably the same amount of time passed before my second win came along! Didn’t get too many wins but each one boosted the morale. I was racing to a budget and didn’t have the equipment or chassis that the top drivers had.

"Despite that I enjoyed my racing and if there were four wheels on my car, I raced it! I was mainly racing from the yellow grade but there was one season where I picked up a lot of good results and moved up to the blue grade although I didn’t stay there for too long!”

He added: “To complicate things I got a Saloon from Willie Davie in 2002. It made it quite complicated getting out of one car and straight into the other. To make matters worse the Formula IIs race anti-clockwise whilst the Saloons race clockwise. I raced them for three years, didn’t win but remember just how hard you could hit the wall with them and how “sair” it could be!

"I remember getting out of the Saloon after one hard encounter with the wall and jumping straight into the Formula II before realising just how sore my ankle was. I did a few laps before the pain hit me and had to pull out! I have a memento from one of my appearances in the Gordon Barclay Memorial Trophy meetings. I still have it, well daughter Rebecca pinched it and has it in her room. It was of Gordon’s car and mounted on a timber plaque.”

Craig recalled: “I had a beaver tail lorry for a start to take the cars to the racing but then got a lorry which made it easier to get both cars to the track.

“I retired from the racing in 2005 when my daughter Rebecca was born but had gone along to watch as well as helping out Paul, who also races a Formula II. Rebecca decided that she wanted to race a Micro F2, which is open to kids between 7 and 11 years of age. She certainly enjoyed her time racing and picked up numerous trophies. When she got too old for the Micro F2 she could have moved to the Ministox but didn’t.

“I believed that I had retired from the racing for good when Rebecca was born but after 10 years on the sidelines I made my return to racing in 2015. The car I used was one that my brother Paul had built. Originally my racing number was 417 but that had been taken and I had to change to 217.

“I had a bit of an eventful couple of seasons. I changed from a Pinto engine to a Zetec after blowing up my power unit. I had a bit of a fall out with Robbie Dawson on the track and he ended up having a few digs at me. It seemed to start when he passed me going into the pit bend but I managed to get alongside coming out of the bend and I almost clambered all over him. It got a bit exciting after that over the next two laps before we both pulled out.

“The following year it was David Polley who I got tangled up with during the National Series round. Again he got ahead of me going into the pit bend but I got inside of him and was alongside coming out of the bend. Our front and rear bumpers locked up and we both spun across the track. He got going again but my car wouldn’t start so I had to sit and wait until the race finished. We were both out for the Grand National but nothing happened – somehow we managed to keep clear of each other!”

For the 2019 season Craig told me: “I didn’t do too much to the car over the close season. I had tidied the car up and was ready to go as soon as the season started.

“It turned out to be a funny season as far as I was concerned. I ended up racing for a part of the year from the blue grade! I started the season as a white grader and the Zetec I had used the year before. There weren’t too many cars at the start of the year and I found myself finishing in the points each week. At the first grading period I moved up to the yellow grade.

"I was a yellow top when the weekend meeting came along. The World Championship qualifying round was one to forget – at least for me and when the Scottish Championship and the Challenge Trophy weekend came around I didn’t do much better!.

“That didn’t stop me from moving up to the blue grade. I had been getting a bit worried because my points total was getting me a bit too close for comfort to going up to the red grade! I struggled a bit from the blue grade. If you didn’t get a really good start you had the star drivers on you back bumper by the end of the opening lap and I usually ended up at the back of the grid.

“Luckily I did manage to drop back down to the yellow grade and there was one race that I remember – I finished in third place! Not only that over the last laps I was struggling with the tie bar having manage to work its way loose and the axle was moving about. Peter Watt was closing in but I was determined to hold on. On the last lap going into the pit bend he made his challenge. I bounced off the wall and my tie bar broke. Luckily Peter spun and I managed to limp around to claim third place.

“I raced from the yellow grade for the remainder of the season and the last meeting I raced in was the National Series round. It is easier from there but I didn’t do too well. It was a very wet night!

“I picked up a win last year but Rebecca wasn’t there to see it. I was leading but about to be passed by Euan Millar, however, then he slowed and pulled off and I went on to win. Rebecca made room in her trophy cabinet to put my silverware in!

“I intend to race this year although I haven’t even looked at my car. I am a Toolroom Supervisor at Glendale Plastics who are one of my sponsors along with Movin’ Sounds Party Bus, J. Wilson Door and Window Repairs, Malcolm Lumsden Videos and Meadowbank Motors".

For the 2020 season Craig told me: “I didn’t do too much to the car over the close season. I have tidied the car up again and it will be ready to race as soon as we get the nod.”