THE Classic Hot Rod formula evokes plenty of memories to mainly the elder of the stock car fans as they watch cars from the ‘80s charge around the ovals.

One driver who switched to them was Dunfermline’s Keith Chesher whose MkII Escort is painted in the colours that his father Malcolm raced with so successfully at Cowdenbeath Racewall.

Our Racewall reporter Jim Turner caught up with Keith this week.

“It was at the first Legends days that a car appeared painted it in my dad’s racing colours,” Keith told me.

“It brought back a lot of memories of when my dad had raced and after a discussion with John McFarlane and Graham McCabe I decided in getting one built for me. From the time that my dad and I had raced we had quite a lot of parts in the garage so they were utilised.

"Around five years ago I debuted my car which was painted in the colours that my dad had used. The Classics don’t race that often but when we do we all meet up in the pits and chat about the racing in the 80s. There are Anglias, Sunbeams, Mk I and II Escorts, Triumph Acclaims and Austins out there racing and there is a Morris Marina getting built at present. "Some of the cars are racing Toovey race built engines but I have a home built 2 Litre Pinto under the bonnet. Even then I am reasonably competitive.“

“I have really enjoyed racing my Classic although I did have a big crash about three years ago. Adrian Boyle, Gerry Rothwell, Podge McQuaid and their team took my car to Ireland where they rebuilt it for me. They made a cracking job of the rebuild and I was really overwhelmed by their generosity.

"Can’t put it into words what they did and I can’t thank them enough for doing it. Not long after getting the car back I chalked up a win”

Added Keith: “With the Classic I have raced in Scotland, in England and over in Northern and Southern Ireland and have really enjoyed it. In fact now I only race occasionally, mainly in Scotland and at Tullyroan in Northern Ireland.”

“I remember one race at the Racewall, it was the Joan Purdie Memorial Trophy and my car was running well. I had got into the lead but had Jock Campbell and Kenny Purdie chasing me. I had a good lead but with three laps to run I heard the engine noise change. I kept going and did cross the line first only for it to be discovered that I had a crack in the exhaust and as a result I was disqualified!"

Asked about how he got introduced to stock car racing Keith smiled: “My dad lived in Cowdenbeath at the time and raced an Anglia Hot Rod in the 70s and as a family we went to watch him race.

"My dad came up from Essex to Cowdenbeath basically to sell windows and conservatories but was soon hooked to stock car racing. We used to watch him from below the infamous “cow shed” and just along from where we sat were the Wilsons, the Turners and the Robertsons. I used to play with my cars until it was his turn to race.

“We used to go to the World Final at Ipswich. We would have a car towing the stock car and another towing the caravan. We would go to Northampton on the Friday night to practice and then on to Ipswich the following day. The pits at Ipswich was in a forest and I remember one year getting tied to a tree ‘cos I was running around too much! We had been parked beside a German Banger team but that is etched in my memory!

“The other trip we would make was going down to Wimbledon for the Winternationals. It was a long trip but my dad always went well there.”

Looking at his own career he said: “I started racing Hot Rods in 1996. I had bought a MkII Escort from Ronnie McKenzie. It had a standard engine in it, Xpack and at these times a fire extinguisher was converted to be a fuel tank. For some reason I had painted my Hot Rod the same colour as my road car.

“I was petrified in my first outing. I was getting passed by other cars on the inside and outside and I told my dad that I couldn’t do it. His comment was that it had taken him 20 years to get to the stage he was in and that I couldn’t expect a lot from my first race. Just to make sure the car was alright my dad took the car out and he told me that there was nothing wrong with it!

“My first win came during my second season and I had changed the car and was now using Jock Forster’s Starlet. I remember getting into the lead and as the race went on I began to see some of the faster drivers in my mirror. I was pretty nervous and it didn’t help when the three lap board appeared. The nerves were joined by adrenalin when the last lap board appeared but it was a great feeling when the chequer flag appeared and I had won. After your first win you are then looking for others.”

“In 1999 we picked up a major sponsor, something that we had never really had. I had been on holiday in Australia staying with Jimmy Gellan and when he picked me up from the airport he relayed the good news to me. My dad had been in a hefty shunt with his Fiesta and in stepped Thomas Malcolm of Taphaul. He had been a long time supporter and had decided to step in and offer us support. "That was the start of two seasons of exciting times for us. We started off with a Fiesta and a Starlet but soon the ex-Jim Paterson HCD built Fiesta was added. We did a lot of travelling to race meetings all over the country and in those two seasons dad won the Best in Britain and I won the World Cup. That was some race, Colin Gammack, my dad and I had to start from the back of the grid and we worked our way through the field. In the end I just made it but the other two were on my back bumper as we crossed the finish line.

“However just before the Scottish Championship the sponsorship came to an end and dad was left without a car. In stepped the Jamiesons from Turriff. My dad got the use of one of their 206s and promptly went out and won the Scottish Championship!

“I got a race in the National and was told that if I was rubbish it was back to the 2 Litre. I won first time out and a strong consistent run saw me qualify for the World Final at Ipswich. That turned out to be a disaster!

"My engine blew up during the time trials and after some negotiations we got an engine from the Burgoynes. The race didn’t go well and I didn’t finish. I remember one race at Birmingham Wheels where I had a big lead only for the race to be suspended. That allowed the field to close up behind me. There were all the big names there but I made a good start and went on to win. That boosted my confidence no end and let me know that I could beat the top names.”

Keith had a spell out but then returned: “In 2002 my dad had a heart attack and retired from the racing and was helping me.

"I did a lot of travelling and decided in 2003 to take a break from racing. In 2010 my dad, who had been helping out Billy Bonnar, persuaded me to return and I ended up buying one of Billy’s cars. I raced it for a couple of years and then wrecked it in a smash in one of the Scottish Championships. I bought a Colt from Graeme Callender and transferred all the parts to the Colt.

“In 2012 we were negotiating a deal with Billy to buy one of his Tigras but we received a bitter blow shortly afterwards when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and he sadly passed away four weeks later. It was a devastating blow for the family. I didn’t race for much longer after his death. I found it difficult to race without him to be there to help and encourage me.

“I got married to Alana and have a daughter Kasey and a son Kallan and whilst I still race it is when I chose to do so. My car is ready for this season, if it ever starts, and I will only race in Scotland, Ipswich and Tullyroan.

“I have one claim to fame! I got interviewed on Sky Sports. We were down at Wimbledon for the Best in Britain and had won the first heat and was second in heat 2. I was lying in fourth place in the final but there was a stoppage during the closing stages and closing. However, they declared the race over so I got fourth.

“I am indebted to Robert and Rosemary Cuthill, my grand-dad, mum and family and a special thanks Trevor Harris for their help and encouragement whilst sponsorship comes from Colin Wotherspoon Joinery, Total Oval Preps, See Thro’ Windows and D&G Automotive for which I am grateful".