HRP October Speed Weekend - A Report
Added Monday 15th October 2018Storm Callum hung overhead this past Saturday as drivers, teams and fans gathered underneath dark skies for the final Speed Weekend of the season at Scotland's premier stock car venue as HRP Lochgelly Raceway hosted two cracking days of action with plenty of major championship implications on offer throughout the two days of action.
The National Bangers and ProStocks headlined the event with the National Micro Banger World Cup and ProStocks European Championship the highlights of a busy Saturday night of action with the CC Rods contesting the coveted Bill and Ciaran Hawkes Memorial Trophy with the Ministox completing the line-up.
The Ministox were a fairly-late addition to the programme but a decent thirteen cars raced on the night with no surprises from down south. The first heat saw the ever-improving Brandon Morton lead briefly before Scott Allardyce hit the front and the blue-graded driver held on at the front all the way to the chequered flag with Ciaran Adams and Jamie Stewart completing the podium. The rain continued to pour as the youngsters lined up for heat two and it was Brandon Morton who took the lead from the late-arriving Kai Gilmour as the race began and Morton drove brilliantly in the awful conditions to lead until about three laps from the end when Jamie Stewart came through to take the win from heat one winner Allardyce with Morton holding on to earn a trophy for his efforts. The feature final was run on a wet track once again and it was another cracking race. Ryan Borthwick led for the first half of the race before Allardyce hit the front once again and he drove masterfully to take his second win of the evening with National Points Champion Sean Naismith in second and Adams third to bring an end to a great night of Ministox action.
The CC Rods were in action and were contesting the highly coveted Bill and Ciaran Hawkes Memorial Trophy. Kevin Connor was making his first appearance of the season in a stunning brand-new car and he duly took it to victory lane on its maiden outing as he bested the rest of the field with National Points Champion Ian Donaldson and Ian Hotchkies completing the top three. Heat Two saw the drivers start in the reverse formation from heat one. Paul Muir was making a rare appearance in his Fiesta in memory of Bill and Ciaran Hawkes who were members of his race team and he romped home to victory ahead of Craig Watson and Donaldson. The feature final would decide the destination of the trophy for 2018 and it was a great race run in tricky conditions as the rain continued to fall but a great race was witnessed by the large crowd in attendance. Paul Muir eventually hit the front and took the chequered flag but fell foul of officials who believed he had been to forceful on his way through the field and he was therefore docked to third place which handed the win to Kevin Connor with Ian Donaldson taking second.
The ProStocks saw a good grid of cars including several visitors from Northern Ireland as they gathered for their European Championship. Heat One saw the cars start in drawn order with Northern Ireland's Joe Largey leading from start to finish while Scotland's Neale Glancy in second and World Champion (and pre-race favourite) Paul Barron in third. A reverse grid from heat one was lined up for heat two and it was another Northern Irish victory with British Champion Dan Shannon leading virtually all the way with Barron in second and former-multi champion Steven Haugh in third. The grid for the European Championship was lined up in points order under the HRP floodlights after a parade lap for all of the drivers with Shannon on pole and Barron on his outside. As the green flag fell, the battle was on with Barron taking the lead but challenged all the way by Shannon before he fell back which promoted Joe Largey to second place. Largey gradually reeled in Barron before mounting a challenge for the lead as he gave Barron a few large hits before the pivotal moment of the race where Largey spun Barron into the infield on the start finish line thereby ending Barron's challenge. Largey subsequently led until within sight of the chequered flag when Steven Haugh arrived to steal victory from Largey with Shannon completing a Northern Irish 1,2,3 in a thrilling race. The ProStocks also raced on Sunday and Barron absolutely dominated as he picked wins in both the Open Scottish Championship and Christopher Burke Memorial Trophy plus the other heat to complete a dominant hat-trick.
The National Micro Bangers completed Saturday's line-up and the first race for the full-contact brigade was the big one as the destiny of the gold roof would be decided in the World Cup race. Defending champion Josh Vowden was on the grid with a good grid of cars including Dean McGrath who was racing the first-ever Nissan Micra Estate to be used in Banger racing in the UK. The race got underway amidst the usual chaos but, as the dust settled and cars began falling by the wayside, it was clear that Vowden had found himself in a substantial lead and the Englishman duly went on to become the first driver to successfully defend the National Micro Banger World Cup with former National Hot Rod World Champion Adam Maxwell (Northern Ireland) in second and Craig Thurlow (England) in third. Two All-Comers races saw wins for Maxwell and England's Lee Kingsnorth with some tremendous action thrilling the crowd throughout the night. Sunday saw the Micro Bangers back in action and it was Kingsnorth who dominated as he took victory in all three races- including the Open Scottish Championship before Craig Royal took the win in a hard-hitting Demolition Derby.
Sunday's support came from the 1300 Stock Cars and the Junior Productions. The big race of the day for the 1300 Stock Cars saw Scottish Champion Zak Gilmour take the win in his new car - Gilmour went on to take the win in heat one before Eddie Corr took his first win since his return in heat two on a sunny afternoon of fantastic 1300 stock car action.
The Junior Productions saw their biggest grid to date with a number of Northern Irish visitors as they gathered for the inaugural Open Scottish Championship. Heat wins went the way of Northern Ireland's Drew McKeown and Scotland's Cameron Willacy. The Open Scottish Championship race saw Northern Ireland's Graham Meek drive a fantastic race to take the title with Willacy in second and Scotland's Lennon Grant in third.
Two great days of action with VERY different weather conditions at Scotland's premier stock car venue.
The next slice of stock car action takes place at HRP Lochgelly Raceway this Saturday October 20th from 5:30pm and features the Superstox, 2.0 Hot Rods, Stock Rods and Junior Productions with the Banger Ramp Rollover contest also scheduled to thrill those in attendance this Saturday. Check www.hardieracepromotions.co.uk during the week for more information!!!