ON a beautiful warm and sunny Saturday afternoon the Cowdenbeath Racewall rung with the sound of stock cars as the first of the closed door practice sessions took place, writes our Racewall scribe Jim Turner, who also spoke to Barry Glen about one of his memorable events.

There were some really fast times on a dry track on Saturday and a few new cars on show.

Amongst those were the Formula IIs of Craig Wallace and Pete Dobson, who had travelled up from the North of England, whilst Ben Sher had switched from the Prostock Basics to a Formula II. Raffaele Donofrio was back after only having a couple of runs last season.

Local drivers Gregor Turner and Kieran Howie, both from Dunfermline, were in action. Turner had switched from the Pinto to a Zetec engine and ran well although he was plagued with a brake problem. Howie on the other hand was using last year’s car and ran throughout without a problem.

The Burgoynes, Chris and Steven were using the cars that they had raced last year and were as quick as ever.

Kyle Irvine (Glenrothes) struggled at the start to the session with a misfire in his Saloon but once he overcame the problem the car ran as if on rails.

Barry Glen clocked the fastest lap whilst Tam Rutherford Jnr ran well as did Ross Forrest and Eck Cunningham (Buckhaven). Andy Ainslie, who only started racing towards the end of last season, managed to put quite a lot of laps under his belt.

Cameron Doak was the quickest of the Stock Rod drivers although only marginally that the Scottish Champion Michael Bethune (Kirkcaldy). Liam McGill (Dysart) brought out his new car but struggled initially with a fuel problem but once he overcame that he was one of the quickest on the track.

Scott Galbraith (Auchtermuchty) ran strongly throughout the sessions whilst Steve Gunby (Cupar) and David Dignan (Leven) were only slightly slower.

Leon Stewart and Martin Rankine were others who ran consistently and quickly and at times there was some close racing between Stewart and Galbraith.

Newcomers Ross Carcary and Taylor Borthwick had good practice sessions with Carcary having only his second run whilst Borthwick had changed from Ministox to Stock Rods at the start to the season.

Next Saturday the Micro F2 drivers get a practice session between 10am till noon whilst from 1pm till 4.30pm the senior formula will be practicing. All drivers must book in prior to Saturday and check with the Racewall web site.

Do you remember the Saloon ORCi Championship at the Cowdenbeath Racewall over the September 1 and 2 2018? Yellow grade driver Barry Glen certainly does.

A 2 Litre National Saloon weekend is always one to savour and this one proved to be no different. When you get a mixture of Scottish, English and Irish drivers and a trophy thrown in for good measure then what can go wrong?

The weather tried to throw a spanner in the works when a drizzle set in but if anything it heightened the excitement.

The defending ORCi Champion, Michael Allard, was on hand to defend his title and he had World Champion Max Stott, British Champion Deane Mayes plus Willie Skoyles Jnr, Cole Atkins and a few more from south of the Border. Only Matty Stirling headed over from Ireland whilst the home drivers were ready and waiting for the challenge ahead.

Speaking to Barry Glen he told me: "I didn’t do anything to the car during the week prior to the ORCi .

"I took it to the garage on Saturday morning and we changed the gearbox the gearing as well as the set up and did the usual nut and bolt check. We then put the car on the scales and once happy with the set up the car was loaded up. I don’t suppose that many would give me much of a chance – I was a yellow grade driver at the time.”

“When the practice sessions started I was out there early on and did a couple of runs. I altered the settings and 'tweaked' the car and at the end of the session was reasonably happy with the car's performance.”

“I led the opening heat for a while but ended up just outside the top three but I wasn’t back out until heat three where again I had a top five finish. I did a few more adjustments between then and my next heat and got into the lead early on. I was running just clear of the pack and managed to hold on to win. I didn’t realise I was on pole till we got home!”

It was dry, but not really sunny on the Sunday and the grid for the main race of the day looked impressive although there were a few names missing from the list.

Ross Watters went on to win the last chance qualifying heat and he led home Ally Strachan and Paul Honeyman with Euan Mathieson, Willie Mitchell and Matty Stirling filling the other places.

The cars began to trundle out for the parade lap. “I wasn’t nervous on the parade lap. I got a good reception from the fans although there were a few boos but then that is stock car racing. I lined up on pole position and made sure that my belts were tight. I had made up my mind about the start and that was what I focused on as we set off on the warm up laps,” said Barry.

After the grid was formed the cars set off on their warm up lap and when they got to the pit bend it was Glen who made the better of the starts to lead from Atkins and Graeme Shevill. Ross Forrest and Secker were early spinners on the turnstile bend whilst Euan Mathieson spun on the back straight with the yellow flags appearing.

“I had managed to make a good start to the race and had a slight gap but saw the yellow flags waving the next time around. All the action had luckily been behind me. I had Atkins behind me with Graeme in third and Dean Mayes fourth,” said Barry.

Glen took it slowly but burst into life on the pit bend to lead the field away but Atkins was right on his tail and he had Shevill pushing him. After a couple of laps Glen had a slight advantage with Atkins being shunted wide and dropping to sixth whilst Mayes got ahead of Allard to claim second. With Allard wide Russell appeared in third ahead of Shevill and Allard. Irvine retired but next time around Allard was back in third ahead of Atkins, Grief Shevill and Russell. Glen had opened a slight advantage but whilst Mayes was still second but Atkins had lost a couple of places after making contact with the wall.

Barry recalled: “I had made the start that I wanted. Kept everything slow but had in mind when I would put the foot down. It worked and I managed to open up a gap over Mayes. I was reasonably happy with things and was concentrating on the race and at this stage the gap was staying constant.

“As the lap boards appeared I was really concentrating and trying to make sure that I didn’t make a mistake. I knew that Mayes would pounce if I did and I certainly didn’t want him on my back bumper. When the last lap board appeared I knew that I had to get round just one more time.”

“I saw in my mirror that Allard and Mayes were fighting it out for second and they had a big shunt on the pit bend. I was emotional crossing the finish line – I could hear the crowd shouting as I crossed the line. I coasted around to the victory land and scrambled out of my car and onto the roof.

"The crowd were still cheering as I jumped off the roof and was immediately swamped by my family and well wishers. I will remember forever the trophy presentation and to stand on the top of the podium with the top drivers is something else.

"Even going round on the pace car was exciting with most of the Scottish fans giving me a good reception. I had decided how I would paint the roof but wondered just how I would fare from the back of the grid. A big jump from the yellow grade!”