DO you remember the Formula II British Championship at the Cowdenbeath Racewall over weekend 26/27 May in 2012? It was a much stopped championship race but the winner, Alan Kirkaldy certainly does, writes our Racewall writer Jim Turner.

The John Bissett Tyres and Walker Motorsport sponsored British Formula II Championship returned to the recently upgraded Cowdenbeath Racewall for the first time since 2004 when the title then was won by Barry Goldin. Could it be coincidence that Goldin, who was the defending champion, would be able to retain his title?

Apart from Goldin, Chris Bradbury and the National Points champion Gordon Moodie were the only others on the grid who had won the title.

On the Friday, prior to the race, there were a few drivers at the track setting their cars up, with Chris Burgoyne and Moodie quite happy at the end of the session. On the other hand Alan Kirkaldy left pretty disconsolate after he encountered problems with his new engine.

Alan told me: “I had spent more time working on my car for the British Championship race than I had ever done on any car in my career.”

Alan had raced Formula Ford cars in Britain and on the continent before entering the stock car scene. “I got the new engine installed and everything was checked over so there was nothing left to chance," he remembered.

"Imagine my disappointment when the engine didn’t run properly. When we got back to St Andrews it was straight into the garage and I put my old engine back in.”

The day of the meeting dawned warm, sunny and bright and with the drivers turning up for the meeting in good time.

“I got to the track early on Saturday to try to find a good spot in the pits. There was a real buzz in the pits and as the time came for practice I was glad to get in the car and see how it went. I was really pleased when I found that the car felt good.”

The drivers being split into five groups with each driver having three outings and the accumulated points would decide their grid position.

“I was leading the opening heat but had Gordon Moodie closing and decided that second would be better than nothing. I won the second heat and knew that another win would secure pole position. I drove a bit more aggressively in my third heat and sent Charlie Whitfield wide on the top bend and he ended up with Mikey Brennan on his bonnet. The race was suspended but I made a good start and moved into the lead and picked up my second win of the night.

“When we got home I checked the car over thoroughly, went to my bed as early as I could to be as fresh as possible for the championship.”

Added Alan: “I got there reasonably early to get as good a space in the pits as possible. The atmosphere was something else and the stadium was filling up quickly.

"I was trying to keep calm but there were a lot of drivers trying to wind me up!”

The first Formula II heat was the last chance qualifying race with Tom Adcroft going through to win from Chris Kincaid and Bobby Griffin.

"That we pushed the car around the track on the parade lap was due to the heat – we wanted to keep the engine as cool as possible rather that to drive it around. I got a good reception and we were presented with a memento to mark the occasion by George MacMillan, who had won the title in 1993.”

Kirkaldy was the first to show with Burgoyne tucked in behind and as they headed for the pit bend there was trouble behind with Garry Sime being spun and hit by John Broatch, who was then collected by Jack Aldridge and Alec Hamilton.

“I think I made it to the end of the back straight before the yellow flags appeared and the grid was reformed again minus a few cars.”

The first restart was stopped when Andy Bertram was shunted wide, hit the wall and shed a wheel. “I think we managed a full lap before the race was stopped again and we had to line up again.”

The next attempt was just as brief but pretty spectacular with Dawson getting on the back of Kirkaldy as they headed towards the pit bend but Burgoyne went wide whilst four other cars tangled and spun with Paul Ford crashing into the wall.

Said Alan: “Chris near enough jumped the next start but then backed off and was shunted into the wall. But at the start Robbie was pushing me so I slipped the car into second and when the green flag dropped I was in the right gear and got away well. As I was sitting on the grid I was aware that Gordon and some of the faster drivers were getting closer which was a worry.”

The front row now consisted of Kirkaldy and George MacMillan Jnr and it was the latter who made the better of the starts to lead the field going into the pit bend. Moodie sent Chris Bradbury crashing into the pit bend wall but he bounced off, wrecking his steering and spinning out after a deft nudge by Goldin. Ronald Ferguson spun whilst trying to avoid the incident.

“I thought that George made too good a start but I recovered and slotted in behind and was wondering how I was going to get ahead.”

MacMillan Jnr then led the pack away but on lap eight his car started to misfire with the race again being suspended after Conor Hughes ended up against the wall after trying to get around the spinning Reid.

MacMillan Jnr tried all he knew to cure the misfire without getting out of his car but with only minor success and on the next restart whilst MacMillan led initially, Kirkaldy moved ahead and began to pull away but as Adcroft tried to make up a place he hit the kerb and crashed out.

“This time I think I outfoxed him by going around the outside of him to get into the lead. Once there I was able to open up a gap and began to concentrate on keeping a tidy line. We only did a few laps before there was another stoppage after Tom Adcroft crashed out.”

Kirkaldy again led on the restart with MacMillan Jnr fighting with Brennan for second with Goldin on the latter’s back bumper and waiting to see what was going to happen. Brennan got ahead of MacMillan Jnr but was quickly moved over as George retook second but then on lap 13 Ferguson tangled with Colin Gregg and rolled spectacularly on the pit bend suspending the race once again – and we were only at half distance!

Kirkcaldy again made a good restart from MacMillan Jnr but Brennan, Goldin and Grattan were scrapping over third with Griffin closing in. MacMillan Jnr pulled away as Goldin got back into third with Brennan dropping to fifth.

“When I saw the last lap board coming out it was a case of not doing anything stupid and I did ease off a bit remembering that I had my old engine in.”

Kirkaldy reeled off the remaining lap to score a decisive win from MacMillan Jnr with Goldin finishing in third.

“I could actually hear the crowd over the noise of my engine as I headed for the chequer flag and could see most of the people in the stand cheering. It was an amazing feeling to think that I was the British Champion. It was brilliant to have been able to do it at my home track especially with my sponsors there and in front of the home crowd. I was mobbed after getting out of my car and there were a lot of drivers congratulating me on my success.

There were emotional scenes when George presented the runners up trophy to his son before he congratulated me and then presented me with my trophy. He reminded me that I had equalled his achievement of winning the Scottish and British at the same venue.”

Alan is now rallying and is taking part in the British Asphalt rallying scene although just now his car is sitting in the garage and waiting for the drop of the flag!