WINDYGATES' Formula II World Champion, Gordon Moodie, is about to embark on his 26th season of stock car racing in a year that will see him achieve a remarkable record - and he told our Racewall reporter, Jim Turner, he is looking forward to the challenge.

At one of the last meetings of the 2023 season, Moodie stamped his authority on the Ladies Trophy, at Taunton, and from the rear of the field carved his way through a crowded field of cars to pick up his 500th final win.

It's a total that only one other driver has achieved and that was Stuart Smith, who raced a Formula I stock car.

Apart from that, Moodie became the World Champion for the fourth time, winning his title at Nutts Corner, in Northern Ireland; the ‘British’ and ‘Scottish’ at the Cowdenbeath Racewall; the UK at Skegness and the Irish Open Championship the day after his World success again at Nutts Corner. In fact, the only one that eluded him was the European Championship where he was an early casualty.

Asked about his success over in Northern Ireland, Gordon replied: “I had been over to Nutts Corner before the semi-finals, at Bristol, and the car was good.

“I started my semi-final from pole and had a comfortable win and ended up on pole position for the World Final. On the day the car was electric and the race was as comfortable as it could be. Not often nowadays that you have a big speed advantage over your competitors, but that is what we had.

“Practice was fine, we had no problems. I got the starts right and managed the race and traffic and as a result had a good lead. Then disaster - when I exited the last bend instead of seeing the checkered flag, it was a yellow one being waved! At that time, I had almost a half a lap lead.

“We stopped and the new rule which allows lapped cars to go to the rear of the field took effect. Now I had Liam Rennie on my back bumper and there was quite a bit of time between the stoppage and the restart.

Central Fife Times: Gordon Moodie racing at Crimond.Gordon Moodie racing at Crimond. (Image: Contributed)

“I felt it important not to overthink the situation, if I did, I felt I wouldn’t be at my best and would be difficult to get the start I needed. I think it would have been harsh if I had lost it and luckily, I was able to make the start I needed and whilst Liam made a last bend lunge, he was too far adrift and I went on to win.

“I didn’t really get to celebrate, we had to remove my engine for scrutineering and before going back to the accommodation, had to put my spare engine in the car and then went to bed!

“The following day I was defending my Irish Open Championship and I was starting from the very back of the grid. There were lots of quality in the field but I managed to work my way through the traffic to retain my title. I was really pleased with the way the car and the engine performed, I now have two equally good engines.”

Looking at a local success he observed: “Regarding the British Championship at the Racewall it was good to have a major title at your home track and be able to stamp your authority on it.

“My qualifying was good which put me in with a good chance. Not long into the race oil began to appear on the track, making grip difficult and I tried a few different lines. When you are coming through the field you can throw a bit of caution to the wind, but when you are in the top group it’s a different story. In the end it worked out in my favour and I went on to win.

“I sat in my car as they made the draw for the Scottish Championship and kept an eye on where Ben Spence, Craig Wallace, Chris and Steven Burgoyne, were starting from. I thought this is going to be difficult but gave myself a talking to - which is something I don’t normally do!

“There was a stoppage, I then felt that I had a better chance, but again the track was slippery. Everyone was running on a high line, so I varied my line as I looked for grip and it paid off. I kept varying my line, in case others copied me but they didn’t catch on.

“When I caught Craig towards the end of the race, it let me go on to win my tenth Scottish Championship and I was chuffed with myself that day. The Scottish is the next big thing we want to win, apart from​the ‘World’, and the visiting drivers know how much it means to us, so they make it as hard as they can.

“When I started racing it took me a while to qualify for the ‘Scottish’ but once the monkey was off my back it was a different story.”

Gordon reflected: “Over the past 10 to 15 years Chris and me have probably been the top drivers in BriSCA, and when we pull out of a race a few of the drivers seem to start to try harder. There are a lot of young and good drivers out there with very good machinery.

“With regards to the ‘European’ there were a lot of cars on a small shale track and there was carnage. I only lasted a few laps before getting caught up. No one has won all three majors in the same season, especially with the different track surfaces. There are probably only five to ten drivers that might be able to do so.

“The Speed Weekend at Skegness was good, although I had to change the engine on the Friday and spent most of the day setting up the car. Over the weekend I met up with a lot of friends you only see from time to time.

“My car went well on both Saturday and Sunday, and to crown it all I managed to go through to win the UK Championship. The downside was that on the journey home I began to feel unwell and ended up with Covid.

“To end my season on a high I went down to Taunton for the Ladies Trophy. It was part of the National Series, and as such there were a lot of tough opposition there. It had been four years since I last raced there. I managed to win my heat then the final and in doing so I chalked up my 500tth final win.

“It was as if I had never been away. I’ll need to start writing down my set-ups so I don’t forget! It was good to reach this milestone and my mind went back to everyone who has helped me over the years. It was good to show the south west fans that I hadn’t lost it! The World Final is there this year and it’s a track where you can win from almost anywhere, pole or last man on the grid.”

I asked Gordon about the start he had to the 2023 season, where it took him quite a while to win a Final: ”Everyone was talking about reaching the 500 mark and subconsciously I was maybe trying too hard. It’s so competitive and if you are fast then at times you need to take a few risks to go forward and I just managed to get caught up in shunts.”

After that I asked him what was his best tarmac car: “I think it was my first RCE. It was like night and day compared to everyone else and there was so much more that was untouched.

“All my RCEs have been good, but now all cars are much the same, so you need to be at the top of your game to win. Dave Richardson is the top man with tarmac cars. I have a Dave Polley shale car and ironically it was the 79th car that he had built, which was my first racing number!

“The car is going alright when I am not crashing, but I just need time in the car. Can’t fault him for his service nor the professional way that it is built.

“As for this season I just want to do well and go racing. If it happens it does, and if it doesn’t then I will try again.

“I don’t know how long I will carry on. Might be nice to go out at the top or be like Formula 1 driver, John Lund, who, everyone gets a buzz out of watching him racing.

“I enjoy the social side of the racing almost as much as racing, especially post pandemic. It’s nice to meet up those I compete with over the year. There are not too many sports like that.

“I want to thank all the people who help me with my cars, especially my dad Jimmy and to all my sponsors, who without their help and contributions I wouldn’t be where I am today.”