HRP October 21st - A Report
Added Monday 23rd October 2017Mother nature continued to smile on HRP Lochgelly Raceway this past Saturday as drivers, teams and fans gathered in large numbers for the final episode of HRP's Championship Fever featuring the Stock Rods Scottish Championship as the headlining racing event plus a Banger Ramp Rollover Contest as well as Ninja Karts, CC Rods, Junior Productions and the eagerly anticipated return of the Classic Hot Rods.
The first formula on track was the Junior Productions and it was great to see Cameron Willacy proudly displaying the St Andrews Cross on his roof as the inaugural Scottish Champion. Willacy started alongside Northern Irish visitor Matthew Nicholl who had made the trip across the Irish Sea while four other entrants made this the largest field of 2017 for the fledgling formula as Amber Tyrell, Kris Watson, Chelsey-Lee Kirton and Koddi Greenwood also took to the track. Kris Watson picked up the early lead in race one and held the lead until the closing stages when it looked like Nicholl or Willacy would take over but some determined driving from the youngster saw Watson cross the line first, but only just, to take an excellent win from Nicholl and Willacy. The second race saw Watson start at the back of the white grade so it was Koddi Greenwood who picked up the early lead; Watson soon made his way into second but Nicholl was on a mission as he scythed through the field to catch and pass the two leaders to take a fine victory. The third and final race saw Nicholl and Willacy make relatively short work of those in front of them and Nicholl went on to take his second win of the night to bring the curtain down on the inaugural season for the Junior Productions in Scotland with plenty of optimism around the formula for 2018 and beyond.
The Ninja Karts were also in action for the final time at HRP in 2017 with Charlie Hardie already confirmed as the 2017 National Points Champion after six race wins on the trot while his closest rival Robbie Armit enjoyed a holiday in Florida. The Ninjas kicked off, as always, with their whites and yellows race and it was English visitor Luke McMahon who took the win in his first race at HRP Lochgelly Raceway ahead of Kyle Johnstone and Toby Tyson. Heat One saw the blue and red graded drivers join the fray and it was the returning Armit who underlined his great pace and fantastic season with an excellent win with arch-rival Hardie finishing in second after they eventually overhauled Tyson for the lead. Heat Two was almost a carbon copy of heat one as Armit and Hardie made their way through the field in rapid fashion and found themselves in first and second once again by the chequered flag with Demi Ritchie coming home in third. Heat Three looked like it may well see Hardie take the win but a clash between Hardie and Armit put paid to both top drivers' challenges on the last corner as Demi Ritchie slid through to take an excellent win ahead of Josh Bruce and Bailey Millar. The accumulated points scores were then taken and put through a handicap system to determine the winners of the Jus Bounce trophies and it was Demi Ritchie who took the trophy ahead of Toby Tyson and Kyle Johnstone.
The CC Rods were a late addition to the programme but a good number of cars arrived to do battle and full credit must go to the drivers and teams for their efforts. The first race saw an unfortunate incident when Graham Osborne's car hit the safety barrier in a big way which also eliminated a few other cars in the process but all drivers were thankfully alright. Daniel McDonald had been flying in his Vauxhall Corsa and he made it difficult for those behind him to get on terms with his pace. As it was, only two drivers managed to overhaul McDonald by the end of the race in the form of National Points Champion Ian Donaldson and Scottish Champion Stewart Aitken who took first and second respectively while McDonald held on for an excellent third. Heat Two saw McDonald in the mix once again but it was Michael McNiven who managed to squeeze past the Dalkeith pilot to take the win ahead of McDonald and Jamie Bell claiming the other podium spots. The feature final saw the white graders to the fore once again and, while the higher graded drivers battled amongst themselves, Lee Scott, Tony Wright and McDonald took off into a healthy lead and the drivers remained in those positions at the drop of the chequered flag. The CC Rods round off their season in the Bill and Ciaran Hawkes Memorial Trophy this Friday at HRP Lochgelly Raceway.
The Classic Hot Rods made their final appearance at HRP Lochgelly raceway of 2017 and it was fantastic to see Northern Irish star Thomas Dilly and English Open Champion Gavin Taber joining the Scottish regulars in the pits. It is always great to see the Classic Hot Rods as they remind many fans of how racing used to be with some stunning cars on track including a Ford Anglia, MK1 Escort, MK2 Escorts and a Vauxhall Chevette â this past Saturday also saw the debut of 2.0 Hot Rod ace Jock Campbell in the formula. Heat One saw John McFarlane take an early lead in the Chevette but the field were chasing hard and Suffolk's Gavin Taber managed to claim the victory on his HRP debut ahead of Kenny Purdie and Jock Campbell. Heat Two saw Taber featuring prominently once again but he had no answer to the pace of the MK2 Escort of Brett Sneddon as the former Stock Rod Track Champion took an excellent win ahead of Taber and Thomas Dilly. The feature final saw heat winners Taber and Sneddon battling it out for the win with Kenny Purdie not too far behind but it was England's Gavin Taber who held on to take his second win of the night ahead of Sneddon and Purdie.
The highlight of the racing programme this past Saturday was the Stock Rods Scottish Championship with Chris Lattka defending the title he won in 2016 on the back of a vintage 2017 where he has claimed the National Points title plus the British and European Championships. However, he would have his work cut out as a strong field of 18 of the best Stock Rod racers in Scotland assembled in the pits for the grid draw. It was Gary Dean who drew pole position for heat one and he took full advantage as he took an excellent win ahead of defending champion Chris Lattka and Gary Nicholls. The second heat was lined up with drivers starting in reverse order from heat one and it was former Scottish Champion Jonathan Lattka who took the win ahead of brother Chris and National Champion Siobhan Martin. The two heats saw a Lattka lock-out of the front row with defending champion Chris on pole position and Jonathan on the outside while Siobhan Martin would start on the outside of row two with Darren McAlpine on her inside. Jonathan Lattka made a blistering start at the drop of the green flag as he managed to take the lead from the outside of the front row but the battle raged on as the Lattka brothers and Siobhan Martin battled it out over the lead with no quarter asked and none given but it was Jonathan Lattka who was at the front when it mattered as he took the 2017 Scottish Championship ahead of outgoing champion Chris Lattka while Connar Venters managed to claim a fantastic third spot after the unlucky Siobhan Martin was spun out late in the race.
The event was rounded off with a spectacular Banger Ramp Rollover event which saw eight intrepid test pilots take to the skies over the HRP Lochgelly Raceway ramp. All of the drivers put in spectacular efforts but it was Lee Ferns who thrilled the crowd with the best jump of the night; narrowly beating Jason McAlpine and Sean McConnachie who enjoyed twice the fun as he jumped the ramp not once but twice!!!
A fantastic event at HRP Lochgelly Raceway and it is a short turnaround this week as HRP Lochgelly Raceway hosts its penultimate event of the 2017 season this Friday night with the 1300 Stock Cars Mr Gunn Trophy headlining the event; the 1300s will be joined by a large entry of Ministox plus CC Rods racing and 2.0 Hot Rods â racing starts this Friday October 27th at 7pm.