Cowdenbeath, 21st June 2014 – meeting report and photo gallery

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Cowdenbeath made a big effort with the F1 Scottish Championship, including signwork on the plate fence.

With the release of the Brisca meeting dates list earlier in the year it was a surprising and pleasant surprise to see the Scottish Weekend fixture had made a pleasant return for 2014 in the 60th Jubilee year.

Scotland has had a patchy history with F1 Stock cars, starting with a solitary meeting in 1955 at Motherwell and then meetings at both Edinburgh and Glasgow in the late 1950s. There was then a lengthy gap until Newtongrange hosted the first ever Scottish Championship in 1986, won by Frankie Wainman Senior and the following year in 1987 at the same track by Frankie Wainman Senior.

There was then another lengthy gap before the next “Scottish”, a poorly attended Cowdenbeath double header in 2001, won by Frankie Wainamn Junior. The following year the Scottish went to its traditional Cowdenbeath Saturday and the unusual and fast tri-oval circuit of Knockhill which was popular with the drivers on Sunday. The Scottish championship was dominated by Frankie Wainman Junior from 2001-2005, Craig Utley in 2006 and then three victories in a row for Andy Smith until 2009. The fixture was then dropped in 2009; the cost of travel for both teams and fans being the main issue in the then very uncertain economic conditions in the UK and World economies.

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Daniel van Spijker travelled all the way from the Netherlands to race in Scotland.

 

It was therefore a welcome return to Scotland in 2014 for the Saturday Scottish Championship at Cowdenbeath, with the Sunday meeting being held at the relatively new circuit at nearby Lochgelly. Both tracks are independently owned, the two meeting were promoted by the Startrax and Spedeworth organisations for 2014, a surprising and what proved well run set up of joint promoters and track owners, which is unusual in BriSCA F1.

So it was to the first meeting on Saturday 28th June at The Racewall at Cowdenbeath run by GMP Scotland. Since the last visit by the F1s there has been a lot of investment at the Racewall, a full new steel plate racewall along with the track being resurfaced and the removal of the old inner fence/barrier from the track. Spectator facilities are impressive with a seated grandstand area on the main straight, the rest of the track being banked terracing – with this and the white painted steel fence it was almost like a visit to the iconic Odsal but on a smaller scale.

Early predictions of a dry meeting did not come to fruition and the early part of the racing was mixed with showery rain which was the case with heat 1. On a slippery and greasy track with the cars finding their feet it was nearly a one horse race from the start for 512 Micheal Steward who took the lead from the start soon followed by Dave Willis 337 and Frankie Wainman 515. Wainman took Willis for second at halfway and looked to have control of the conditions whilst all around struggled for grip but Stewart managed to hold onto the lead until 2 laps to go when the 515 car pelted the car into turns 3/4 fence for the lead and victory, Steward holding on for second from Willis in third.

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Colin Goodswen was another who travelled a massive distance to get to Cowdenbeath.

Heat 2 arrived after a couple of support races and the track had dried nicely. It was also the first race for local driver from Scotland 388 Paul Ford, a frequent long distance traveller down south to race in England. The long drive north to Cowdie for many fans probably brought home Paul’s committment.

Early race leader was 229 Derek Brown who was then taken over in the lead from 174 Paul Poulter. The second heat however was dominated by brother of heat 1 winner, Danny Wainman with a strong drive including the dispatching fencewards of Paul Ford on turns 3/4 early on in the race causing Pauls retirement. The race proved heavy in casualties including Rob Speak, Tom Harris and Luke Davidson all retiring the winner being Danny Wainman from Paul Harrison, Lee Fairhurst and Matt Newson.

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Damage for Paul Ford.

The Consolation brought out a healthy grid of cars including 388 Ford, the team having some substantial rear axle/mounting damage to repair before the race. It had also rained heavily and led to again a greasy and slippery track. It was a race where all the action happened with one lap to go. John Dowson lead for most of the race from 174 Paul Poulter (who had travelled from Surrey!!) with Paul Ford managing to get to second with 2 laps to go followed by Harris and Speak. On the last lap the Dowson car was held up causing both Dowson and Ford to tangle, the 388 car heading rearwards for the fence allowing Tom Harris through for the win from Speak, Dowson hanging on for 6th and Ford recovering for 9th. John Lund in the 2013 tar car managed 5th, the best result yet for the new 53 vehicle.

The main race of the night, the Scottish Championship, was initially red flagged after a hasty start from the reds and star graders hitting the back of the blues before the green had dropped and the race was re-started. Paul Ford got an early break on lap 1 but it was not to be his night, delayed by the spinning car of 220 Will Hunter, the 388 car was collected by Danny Wainman and 464 Luke Davidson, spinning out and hooking up with 515 Frankie Wainman, leaving both stranded on the inside of turn 2. The yellows were then brought out for a loose wheel from 372 Colin Goodswen, and the Ford car was tractored off track.

On the re-start it was to be Tom Harris’ night, moving past Rob Speak on lap 6 and soon hitting the front, followed by Speak and 217 Lee Fairhurst. Speak could do little to get near the back of the Harris car once passed; the World Champion showing a blistering pace in a car almost on rails around the now bone dry Racewall and pulling out a healthy lead to the finish followed by Speak in second and Fairhurst finishing off the podium placing.

The Grand National was run at a very fast pace showing the Racewall to its full potential for tar racing once dried, and in this race it was to be the same drivers in the final top 3. This time 217 Lee Fairhurst was the winner, from 318 Rob Speak in second and even though a couple of cautions were involved Tom Harris finished in third from the lap handicap, the new 2014 Scottish Champion being in a league of his own on the night.

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Colin Casserley

 

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