IT’S amazing to think that almost thirty years have passed since Allister King’s dramatic BriSCA Formula II World Championship win at the Racewall in 1990. How much do you remember about that afternoon, asks our Racewall scribe Jim Turner?

As the start of the 2020 Racewall season gets ever closer Jim looks at Allister's great performance three decades ago.

The Formula Two drivers turned up in force at the Cowdenbeath Racewall over the weekend of 15/16 September when the 1990 AVO Shocks sponsored World Championship took centre stage. There was plenty of speculation as to where the destiny of the trophy would end with most betting on yet another Scottish victory.

The first BriSCA Formula II World Championship was staged in 1963 and apart from a couple of times, the drivers from the south west of England had dominated this event, whether it was run on shale or tarmac.

Their run of success came to an abrupt end in 1988 when Jimmy Wallace went on to win the title. Wallace became the first Scottish driver to win the World Title and then had the temerity to retain his title the following year and had high hopes of becoming the first driver to win the World three times in a row. On both occasions Jimmy’s success had come in the south west of England. Other World Champions on the grid for the 1990 event were the south west trio of Garry Hooper, Bill Batten and Malcolm Locke.

To get to the World Final the drivers had to race in a series of qualifying rounds and then the top 48 points scorers raced in two semi-finals.

The front row of the final saw Chris Emery on pole position but he was joined there by Allister King, from Bilston, and was known as the “Bilston Bullet” who had won an exciting semi-final at Northampton where he had dominated the race thus his front row start.

King had started his Ministox career under the GMP banner at Newtongrange before moving into Formula IIs in 1988.

Other Scottish drivers on the grid were Jimmy Moodie (Windygates), who had been twice the runner up, Keith Stanford (Wormit) and Jimmy Wallace. Wallace and Moodie were to start the race from row 3.

The racing on Saturday night was exciting and certainly whet the appetite of the fans who were looking forward to Sunday’s World Championship. The pits on Sunday were busy to say the least with the drivers checking their cars and getting them ready for scrutineering. The fans turned up in flocks and long before the start time the atmosphere was electric.

Most of the drivers who had qualified for the World turned up apart from the Northern Ireland duo of Graham Moore and George Fegan. Amongst those who were added to the grid was Buster Sage. Once the cars had been scrutineered they were awaiting the practice sessions to start.

There were quite a few drivers having their first taste of the Racewall oval and Chalky White was certainly impressive although it was Bill Batten who simply blazed around the track to show just how big a danger he was to be even though he was to start from the rear of the grid.

The Scottish contingent suffered a severe setback during the practice sessions when Keith Stanford's engine packed up and despite all the attempts to either repair or find him another engine proved to be unsuccessful and he failed to make the grid.

Toon Schut, from the Netherlands, was behind the wheel of a Gordon McDougall car and he proved to be quick in practice and showed that he was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

All the drivers received a tremendous reception from the fans on the parade lap and once the preliminary ceremonies were over the drivers strapped themselves into their cars.

The noise level increased as the drivers started their engines and set off on their first warm-up lap. The cars had just reached the main straight when, to the crowd's amazement, pole man Chris Emery pulled off with gearbox troubles. This turned to delight as Allister King edged over to the middle of the track to ensure that the front row of the grid was his whilst Graham Bunter was allowed to replace Emery although he was last on the grid.

The cars set off again on a warm up lap and this time to an amazing noise the flag dropped to get the race underway. King was quickly off his mark to take the lead with Graham Luscombe and Malcolm Locke tucking in behind him. No sooner had King passed the flag than the race was red flagged after Melvin Lilburn had been sent crunching into the wall and had slid down the main straight on his roof. Not only that but Garry Hooper had been shunted into the wall and had lost his oil filter whilst Paul Shepherd had broken a half shaft.

There was a slight break allowing the cars to be topped up with water and fuel and after the track had been cleared the race was restarted. King again the leader with Locke making a better start than G. Luscombe to appear in second with Jimmy Moodie on his back bumper.

Moodie quickly disposed of both cars ahead of him to move into second place, although the defending champion Wallace had made a cautious start in an effort to try to keep out of trouble.

From the back of the grid Batten had make a good start and was already making up ground. In a matter of a few laps Batten was up into twelfth place and closing on the cars ahead.

After his slowish start Wallace was beginning to catch the cars ahead of him, and got the better of G. Luscombe on the pit bend when he nudged him wide. When it looked like it would be an all-Scottish top three, disaster struck when Wallace suffered a right rear puncture, slid into the wall wildly before being collected by G. Luscombe who proceeded to somersault down the track. The yellows were brought out for the second time.

The lead that King and Moodie had had now disappeared with Locke third and right behind Moodie but Batten was now in the top ten as the cars started their restart lap.

When the flag dropped King again made a good start pulling out a short gap over Moodie who in turn was soon clear of Locke. Batten had made up a lot of ground when the yellows appeared and as the race restarted was soon up to seventh. Paul Broatch was next to go when he had a half shaft break and a few laps later the yellows were out again when Dave Luscombe's car shed a wheel and with the offending object remaining on the track the race had again to be suspended.

The field slowed with King and Moodie’s advantage gone and what was left of the field lining up in single file behind them. Whilst the home fans were roaring on their heroes, they were keeping an ominous eye on Batten who was benefitting from the stoppages and was now within striking distance.

King's third start was not as good as his previous and although Moodie got alongside, King powered down the straight to regain the lead. Chalky White retired when he and Locke tangled and slid into the wall and although the latter rejoined he was soon to retire.

As Moodie positioned himself to make his bid for the lead, cruel luck set in and his engine began to misfire and he dropped away from King. Batten moved quickly into second and with his eyes firmly set on King the gap between the top two began to reduce dramatically. The crowd were now on their feet with the majority willing King home but with only five laps left to run Batten had all but caught him.

The home fans were now egging on King but when the two lap to go board was shown Batten was now within striking distance. Heading into the pit bend he made his bid for the lead but his attempt to wrest the lead away from King ended in disaster as he slid into the wall. To a cheer that almost lifted the stand roof clean off the fans breathed a sigh of relief as King escaped unscathed..

After that there was nothing to stop King and he cruised home to become the youngest ever Formula Two World Champion by a few months. After receiving the chequer King spun his car on the pit bend, restarted, and when he came round to the home straight promptly spun it again, treating the fans to a series of donuts.

A disconsolate Moodie was able to coax his car to the finish line to pick up yet another second place with Steve Green taking third. It had been a hard but exciting race with only eleven of the starters making it to the finish line.

Once King stepped out of his car and he received a tumultuous reception from the crowd and was then swamped by his family. Rod Avon, who used to travel from his home in Jersey to race at Newtongrange, was on hand to present the trophies and when he did it seemed that the roof of the stand lifted as King held the trophy up high on the podium. After the photographs had been taken the drivers received a warm reception from the fans on the parade lap.

It had been one of the better Formula Two World Finals for some years with plenty of thrills and great driving to keep the fans attention throughout the race. The joy on King's face said it all as he received the trophy whilst the drive of Batten would long be remembered.