Our second Scottish Championship racing event of the season was somewhat a game of two halves for all the major classes, with wet conditions in the morning abating by mid-afternoon to provide ideal racing conditions.
The big news in the Celtic Speed Mini Cooper Cup was the return of Aiden Moffat – taking a weekend sabbatical from his British Touring Car racing duties. And, the teenage racer couldn’t have made a better start, sticking his Courier Connections No.99 Mini on pole for the opening encounter of the weekend. Moffat would eventually finish that race in second place behind Kyle Reid; it would prove to be his best result of the weekend with a number of collisions in subsequent races hampering his progress through the field.
“It’s a bit disappointing to be honest. We really struggled for grip in that race; I probably should have got the guys to make some setup changes with change in conditions; but I left it as it was and it just didn’t perform as it hand done during qualifying. I’ll need to knock some sense into myself for the next races,” commented Moffat after the opening race.
One thing Moffat’s return did was fire up the entire Mini field who went onto produce a number of incident-packed encounters. However, after all was said and done, it was Kyle Reid who stood head and shoulders above all else with a terrific hattrick of wins to his name – a feat in which only a handful of Mini racers have ever achieved. Elsewhere in class, Malcolm McNab continued his fine form this season, by securing a hattrick of podiums of his very on (two 3rds and a 2nd). Other podium scorers on the day included Morgan Murray (2nd) and Robbie Dalgleish (3rd).
David McNaughton entered the weekend at the summit of the Scottish BMW Compact Cup standings; however, engine failure in the opening race of the day saw his weekend’s strategy disappear in a puff of smoke… literally. Testament to his team though, a complete engine swap in 3.5hrs saw him back on the grid for the second race of the day, where he managed to make up eight places from the rear of the grid for a 12th place finish. Up front, Gary Clark took full advantage of McNaughton’s woes to take both race wins and the Championship lead heading into the 3rd meeting of the year at the end of this month. There were also good results for Steven Goldie and Michael Courts – taking their first podium scores of the season with a 2nd and 3rd place finish respectively. Cliff Harper secured yet more valuable points with a 5th and 2nd placed finish; whilst, Neil MacInnes also welcomed his first podium of the year (3rd).
In the Scottish Formula Ford Championship, Neil MacLennan was just too strong for all concerned – driving the same car which propelled Ciaran Haggerty and Adam MacKay to successive Championship successes over the past two seasons – racing his way to two wins ahead of Jordan Gronkowski on both occasions. Sebastian Melrose took his first-ever SMRC podium and had this to say after the race:
“I couldn’t wait for that race to end, I was counting down the laps. Matt Cowley made a great race of it, I wasn’t enjoying that side of it though; but, really delighted to get that first podium”.
Elsewhere, Jamie Thorburn managed to salvage something from his weekend with a 3rd place podium in the last race, following a disappointing 6th place in the opening race of the day. At the end of the day, it leaves MacLennan in pole position for that Mazda Road to Indy opportunity at the end of the season.
In the Scottish Legends Championship, John Paterson has sampled some amazing weekends of racing at Knockhill, including a number of ‘Perfect Scoring’ feats along the way; however, this wasn’t one of them. Three DNFs and only 6 racing laps complete, probably represent the worst weekend of Paterson’s illustrious Legends career. However, credit David Hunter who had no trouble sticking the boot in, by securing a ‘Perfect Scoring’ weekend of his own – with three race wins and a 600-point haul from the event. Hunter though, will loose ground once again as he heads off to get married – which will subsequently see him miss the next round and possibly more. Elsewhere in class, Stuart Black took three 2nd placed finishes, whilst, Ryan McLeish and Ross McCulloch shared the remaining podiums.
Wayne Macaulay once-again proved he’s the man to beat in wet conditions at Knockhill in the Fiesta ST class – winning the opening race of the day ahead of Josh Orr and Kevin Whyte. However, Whyte finally got his season into top gear with a win in race two finishing ahead of the undefeated Macaulay, by just 0.181s. Stephen Ward rounded out the ST podiums by taking 3rd in the final race of the day. In the XR2 Championship, Jim Deans overcame his arch Championship rival, Steven Gray, on both occasions, by the slenderest of margins; to finally upset the status-quo in the XR2 series.
Ian Donaldson, on paper, seemed to romp to an opening victory in the Scottish Saloons and Sports Car Championship – ahead of Roddie Paterson and Colin Simpson – crossing the line almost 18 seconds ahead of the next best finisher. However, once-again the final result only told half the story, with Donaldson’s fellow competitors giving him a run for his money in the opening stages. And, it was Roddie Paterson who went one better in the final race of the day, taking the race win by a 23secs ahead of Donaldson and Paul Brydon. Indeed, Paterson even managed to throw in a new class A3 lap record with a time of 51.608secs on his way to victory behind the wheel of his super-light Caterham.
There were even more lap records set in the Classic Sports and Saloons Championship. Tommy Gilmartin had powered his Morgan to victory in race one ahead of Harry Simpson and Raymond Boyd. However, both Simpson and Jimmy Crow would make the most of improving conditions to records new class G and B lap records with times of 57.372s and 1:00.931s respectively. Simpson also secured an emotional race win that brought a tear to his eye in parc ferme. Tommy Gilmartin took his second podium of the day in 2nd, whilst Raymond Boyd secured a fine 3rd placed finish on-the-road; which resulted in another Class D win which will keep him at the top of the overall standings heading to the next event on Sunday 29th May.
Tickets for the next round are online now, via the Knockhill.com website. Pre-booking discounts apply on all tickets purchased up to Saturday 28th May (midnight). Alternatively, tickets will also be available at the gate on raceday.