On Sunday (30th May), Knockhill played host to the third SMRC (Scottish Motor Racing Club) meeting of the season; which all took place under blistering blue skies. 120 drivers or so lined up on the grid to compete across the 16-race programme featuring seven different Championship classes.
In the Scottish Legends Championship, John Paterson made full use of David Hunter’s absence to claim all three wins and a 600-point haul from the weekend; with Paterson later stating:
“I hope Davie’s watching those sector times and when he comes back we can perhaps race for that lap record… it’s been too long (since it was broken).
Joining Paterson on the podium over the weekend was Stewart Black (two 3rds and a 2nd) and Ryan McLeish – bagging himself a 2nd placed podium in the opening encounter of the weekend. The other podiums scorer, well that was Ivor Greenwood at the tender age of 71 – taking a brave of podiums in two of the three Legends races.
Every season, there’s always one meeting where the officials crack down on Track Limits, and this was it. Warnings and penalties issued across all classes tended to add a different dimension to the racing and a sense of bewilderment throughout the paddock from those affected.
Wayne Macaulay was one such driver to fall foul of the stewards on Sunday. In the opening Fiesta ST race he incurred a 5 second penalty during the race for track limit infringement and a subsequent 15 second penalty for further breaches in the same race. That resulted in a demotion to 4th place – probably the worst result he’s suffered in a long time. Kevin Whyte took the win with an impressive drive ahead of Peter Cruickshank and Stephen Ward. Cruickshank in particular looks to have finally got his head around ST racing and could be set for a strong year given the start he’s already made to this season. In race two, Macaulay one again fell foul of the stewards with another 5 second penalty. This time however, he managed to create enough of a gap to the chasing pack to record a 2nd on the rostrum, behind double-winner Kevin Whyte and 3rd placed man Cruickshank.
“Happy to get a podium in that race, not so happy about the penalties though. Not sure how I’m getting them from where I’m sitting but we’ll need to wait and see,” commented Macaulay after the final race of the day.
In the XR2 class, Steven Gray got the better of Jim Deans in both races – again expect this one to ebb and flow throughout the season.
In the Scottish BMW Compact Cup there were even more violations for exceeding track limits. However, this time both David McNaughton and Neil MacInnes had there’s rescinded on appeal. However, double race-winner Gary Clark had no such issues on his way to a 6 and 2 second winning margin in both races. Lee Elrick (x2), David McNaughton and Alasdair Smith shared the remaining podiums. There was however, an almighty crash for Colin Gillespie on the main straight at Knockhill, luckily he was ok afterwards, however the same couldn’t be said about his car which was in sorry state.
In the Saloons and Sports Car Championship, Roddie Paterson enjoyed a pretty successful weekend running away with two race wins and the top qualification spot for his efforts. There was some good racing between Simpson, Crocker and Brydon who all fought for those remaining podium positions.
In the Classic Sports and Saloons Championship, Tommy Gilmartin had to fend off the hard-pushing Harry Simpson to take the opening race win by just 0.245 secs. Simpson however, wouldn’t be denied on the day and duly took the second race win of the day by over 4 seconds; with Tommy Gilmartin taking second and Andrew Graham and Raymond Boyd taking the remaining podiums.
It was a relatively straight-forward weekend for Neil MacLennan in the Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship. As well as securing pole and two lights-to-flag race wins, the young Tore teenager now has a commanding lead at the top of the standings and looks odds-on, even at this early stage in the season, to be the favourite for that Road to Indy opportunity at the end of the season. Young Border Reiver Jamie Thorburn helped himself to two 2nd places whilst Jordan Gronkowski and the in-form Seb Melrose fought it out over the remaining 3rd placed podium finishes – indeed the last race of the day saw an epic four car battle for that last podium slot.
In the Celtic Speed Mini Cooper Cup, guest GT driver, Jade Edwards had a rough weekend following several off track excursions and a few bumps and scrapes along the way. That though, didn’t diminish here enthusiasm and later revealed that she loved every minute:
“That was proper hard-hard racing out there. It’s what single-make racing is all about, I’m really glad I took up the opportunity to race in it.”
Winners on the day, well there were a few of them. Morgan Murray powered his way to a brace of race wins in the opening two encounters of the weekend, beating Ian Munro and Paul Bell in race 1, and Paul Bell and Robbie Dalgliesh in race 2. Race three however, belonged to Hannah Chapman who coaxed her Mini Cooper home from pole positions for her first-ever race victory. Chapman held off the hard-pushing newcomer of Dylan O’Donnell and Robbie Dalgleish again had to settle for a 3rd placed podium.
“I’ve waited a long time for that first win, I’ve been close a few times but just never got over that finishing line. There was a lot of pressure there and I’m just so glad I held it all together.”
The next SMRC car racing meeting (our 4th of the season) will take place on Sunday 17th July. Before then we have a number of other events coming up, including the MCE British Superbike weekend on 24 to 26 June.
You can find all the race results from the weekend via the MyLaps or Smart Timing websites. Additionally a full collection of images will be available via the Power-Images website and you can find out about the SMRC via their official website.
Hope to see you soon.