THE 2024 David Philp Commercials National Hot Rod European Championship took centre stage at the weekend at Lochgelly Raceway, as the sport’s top drivers battled it out for the opportunity to wear the red and yellow chequered roof for the next 12 months, writes our Raceway correspondent Kevin McQueen.

Three qualifying heats on Saturday night would determine the grids for the main event to be held on the Sunday afternoon. A pre-meeting draw would see the drivers start in different places in each of the three heats to give equal opportunities.

The three heats provided some excellent racing with track conditions varying throughout the evening, indeed, changing throughout each race too!

Former British Champion, Glenn Bell, would go on to take victory in the opening heat, ahead of British Champion Adam Maxwell. Reigning European Champion, Robert McDonald would take victory in heat 2 and the final qualifying heat would see John Christie cross the line in 1st, but a technicality meant he would be disqualified from the event. This promoted Perry Cooke into 1st place, with McDonald 2nd and Derek Martin in 3rd.

The points would be tallied up from the three heats, with the grid formed for the DPC European Championship based on these points, with the top point scorers starting at the front.

A pre-meeting grid walk was scheduled for 11am on the Sunday morning to allow the fans to meet the drivers and get some photos. This was cut short as a hail storm came in, with the drivers exiting the track to change tyres. Tyre choice would become key in the main race with a wet track and the rain off.

It isn’t like F1 where the drivers could change half way through a race – what they start with, is what they finish, with regardless of the conditions! A tidy start saw Perry Cooke get the jump on Robert McDonald, with Glenn Bell following suit, and soon followed by the hard charging Adam Maxwell. All would appear that the drivers had made different tyre choices, with McDonald looking like he had went for a dry setup aiming to hang on in the early part, before charging through towards the end on a near dry track.

Maxwell made a move passed Glenn Bell and up into 2nd place, chasing down leader Perry Cooke, as back markers came into play. Cooke and Maxwell had a great battle for large parts of the race, with Maxwell trying his best to force Cooke into a mistake, whilst Cooke tried to make his car as legally wide as he could to keep Maxwell behind. With less than 10 laps remaining, Cookie went for a gap on the inside of a back-marker, which resulted in minimal contact – however, a front left puncture would see Cooke run out wide, with Maxwell on the outside.

Central Fife Times: There was some very exciting racing despite variable conditions.There was some very exciting racing despite variable conditions. (Image: Contributed)

Maxwell hit the wall as a result, and it looked like we would be losing the front two drivers in the incident, however, Maxwell was able to carry on whilst Cooke was forced into retirement with the puncture. Dan Smith had kept steady pace throughout the race and found himself racing in fourth position, just behind McDonald.

The track had begun to dry out, and McDonald was soon the quickest car on track, putting in fastest lap times throughout the remainder of the race – but it was too little too late for the reigning champion, as he was too far behind by this point, with Northern Ireland’s Adam Maxwell crossing the line in 1st place to become the 2024 National Hot Rod European Champion.

Scottish success came the way of Gordon Alexander who drove excellently in the Scottish Open to take the win, followed by Hayden Ballard and Robert McDonald. McDonald took victories in the Malcolm Chesher Memorial and the Stephen McDiarmid race.

The Classic Hot Rods were with us for their annual visit, with the Scottish Open Championship up for grabs alongside the Malcolm Chesher Memorial.

Saturday would see 2 reverse grid heats to determine the total points to form the grid for the Scottish Open, whilst the Sunday would see 2 graded races with the points accumulated to form the grid for the Malcolm Chesher Memorial.

76 year-old Hughie Weaver put in a near perfect display of racing in the opening race as he showed his experience on a wet track to cross the line first, however, a call from the infield for contact on 871 midway through would see the win go the way of Kenny Purdie, with Buchan 2nd and Weaver  third. Heat 2 would see Kevin Gooding take the win before the Scottish championship race got underway later in the evening.

Purdie and Buchan would find themselves up front, but neither driver would take the victory as Kevin Gooding was the driver to come out on top having got the setup correct for the race and driving to an excellent victory ahead of Purdie and Buchan. The Sunday afternoon seen Hughie Weaver finally take a much-deserved win. John Buchan would take the win in the 2nd heat whilst Buchan would soon race to victory once more in the Chesher Memorial race.

The Stock Rods entertained over the 2 days with over 20 cars competing as they raced for their Lochgelly Masters. A change to format against previous years would see graded races on the Saturday night, followed by reverse grids on the Sunday afternoon.

Stock Rod World Champion, Dan Shannon joined us as he looked to experience Lochgelly Raceway for the first time on the Hoosier tyre.

Rory Naismith got off to the best possible start, as he raced to victory in the opening heat ahead of Patrick Calderwood and Stewart Aitken. Heat 2 would see Jack MacLeod come away with the victory, before he completed the double as he took the win in the meeting final as well on the Saturday – pushing him back up to the yellow grade as a result.

The Sunday afternoon seen more great close racing from the Stock Rod formula, with wheel to wheel and bumper to bumper action throughout the day. The McGill clan would dominate proceedings on Sunday, with both Dean and Lee coming away with victories in the heats, with Koddi Wright being the best of the rest on the Sunday, with 2 runners up spots. The points would be accumulated from across the weekend to determine the grid for the Lochgelly Masters, with the top overall point scorer starting on pole position. After a great race, with a couple of minor incidents, Dean McGill would come out on top after being re-instated upon appeal, taking the win in the Masters race ahead of Lee McGill and Siobhan Martin.

The Sunday afternoon seen the Junior Productions take to the track with another good field of cars for the youngsters. The racing was great on the best part, though, with a couple of incidents throughout resulting in a few drivers being penalised. Liam Loggie took a win in the opening heat, with Connor St Aubyn taking a heat and final double for his efforts.