Lochgelly 22nd April 2018-2018

CLASSIC HOT ROD MEETING REPORT

LOCHGELLY Sunday 22nd April 2018

INTERNATIONAL SERIES ROUND TWO – THE FIFE OPEN

Oh! What a difference a day makes – at least weather wise, as Classic Hot Rod watchers woke to a chill of a cold front sweeping the Fife skyline with an immediate threat of rain – a threat that was only to be made good!

In what can only be described as simply more typical Scottish weather, eleven hardy souls chose to partake in the second day of racing at the Lochgelly raceway. 162 Keith Chesher had tried his best to repair damage and even change an engine but time wasn’t on Keith side and the popular local driver had to make do with being a spectator. #TheCallenderGuy was also absent due to engine damage, as was 63 John Watkins. Long distance travellers Clive Richardson and Mike Oliver had to be away home for work commitment reasons. Fortunately local welder Lee Painter had come to the aid of Kent’s #BromleyBomber Dean Kitchen. Lee was able to fix the axle link and locate it in a very durable manner allowing Dean to race the second day. Dean was keen to express his thanks to Lee and the way he and his team had been made to feel very welcome on this their first trip racing in Scotland.

Again a draw was conducted for the grid. Fortune seemed to shine on Kenny Purdie, even if the Sun was not, as he was awarded pole position for heat one with Gary Goodswen alongside. Naturally Kenny took up the lead at the drop of the green ahead of Goodswen, Sneddon and Steward. However a shock upset occurred when Purdie’s bonnet got loose and flew skywards! The yellow flags came out and as a cause of the stoppage, the 17 car was instructed to park up. Goodswen inherited the lead anticipating the re-start with Sneddon, Steward and Cusack in tow. Gary led away smartly and initially looked in control at the head of affairs. Brett however reviewed a nudge from Andy and it was enough to unseat the ascot from his racing line and the new Scottish Open Champion was soon through to second on the inside up the home straight. Goodswen continued to lead and for the moment there was delight between himself, Steward and Sneddon. The real mover and shaker was Hugh Weaver, determined to make amends for last night and was driving in a very Purdie-esque flamboyant manner. Behind, Lee Wood was enjoying another good race with Trevor Cusack and this time the Cambridgeshire man had the line and pace to successfully pass on the tricky outside line. Suddenly the yellows came out again – this time for #TheHighlanderInAHurry 756 Marc Spence. Although Marc had clearly demonstrated he had the pace and had settled into CHR well at the wheel of his former McCabe Sunbeam, reliability issues had reared their head and a failed differential caused Spence to spin. Once the stricken Sunbeam had been removed from the racing line the race once again got underway. Steward recommenced his pressure on Goodswen whereas Weaver attacked Sneddon’s third place with a wild outside line sweep. Goodwen was shown the blue flag to hold his line and seizing the opportunity, Steward confidently drove round the outside to take the lead. For lap after lap Weaver went side by side with Sneddon in true Hot Rod fashion. Finally after five laps of trying, Hugh made it stick and with half a nose ahead into turn three, he cut across the nose of Sneddon to secure the place. With the chequered flag dropping, #Donut had secured win number three of the weekend.

HEAT ONE RESULT
198, 72, 210, 232, 333, 25, 42, 195

Weather wise, heat two was awful – well, awful for me to film in anyway! The rain lashed across the raceway in the minutes prior to racing and a delay was incurred as drivers were given time to change onto wet tyres. The drivers came out to contend with a wet and oily track – something some drivers hate, and some excel in! Hugh Weaver, a driver who loves the wet, confidently led the nine car field away. Row two starters Cusack and a Wood in contrast, struggled immediately for grip and within half a lap Lee had spun his Viva out. Initially Weaver enjoyed a half a lap lead over Andy Steward but as the race wore on and the racing line began to dry slightly, Steward began to reel in his older rival. Behind, Goodwen and Purdie battled to pass the struggling Cusack, and once the move was executed, Purdie succeeded in getting the better of Goodswen. The race took on an unfamiliar complexion with cars strung out in tractability. Adrian Boyle found the conditions more to his liking and although some way distant of the leaders, still put a great drive in to get past Cusack and Kitchen. Wood spun again and with his limited slip diff acting up, retired. At the back Brett Sneddon was really struggling but game fully kept it going. Up front, all the time Steward closed the gap on Weaver and when Hugh dove between Cusack and Kitchen his slid perceptibly wide and Steward leapt to the opportunity. Up the inside, Steward laid on the power, held it, leaned slightly, and for the fourth time this weekend – led! This was a lead not to be rescinded queuing the 198 pilot up for another pole position for the second feature final of the weekend – the Fife Open.

HEAT TWO RESULT
198, 210, 17, 72, 195, 25, 42, 232

So the line up for the Fife Open looked like this:

OUTSIDE. INSIDE.
210. 198
232. 72
195. 25
42. 17
43

Just nine cars, but what a race. Incredibly, the track was dry again in the stiff breeze and game full attempt from the Sun to sneak past the clouds. Right from the lifting of the clutch and the slam of the acceleration, Kenny Purdie set out to mean business, and Crossflow screaming was a county mile the fastest out of the blocks, passing 195 #MrMint Adrian Boyle even before they all reached the first turn. Pandemonium ensued as row two starters Goodswen and Weaver clashed resulting in Weaver spinning across the face of Goodswen and the chasing traffic. Gary recommenced his race from the rear of the field, but Weaver, although he did return to the race was several laps down out of the frame. So Steward once again led from Sneddon, with Purdie once again rampant, looking at one last chance of weekend glory. He passed Cusack on the outside with ease and chased hard after the lead two. Goodswen was also clawing his way back into contention passing Boyle and Kitchen. At this point Kenny went side by side with Brett and after a two lap battle achieved the outside line victory. Clearly the fastest car on the track, Purdie ate into Stewards lead and immediately set out his extravagant challenge on the composed Englishman. Crossflow screaming, Kenny raced the ragged edge to get alongside Steward and at this point Goodswen, showing his own incredible speed, caught Sneddon and a spectacular image was displayed as the quartet raced side by side, inches away from potential disaster. It was amazing Hot Rod racing which dramatically was terminated by Kenny on the outside line coming across to defend from a forthright Goodswen. The clash caught the 72 car causing it to catch the infield kerb and break a steering arm. With the inside front wheel folding under, Goodswen’s Escort spun and jammed itself on turn four after returning a defiant swipe at Purdie who quickly scurried away. The caution flags allowed Goodswen’s car to be removed to the pits and for the luckless 42 Dean Kitchen to move his car to the infield after it had ground to a half with a snapped half shaft. The re-start saw 198 from 17, a lap down 210, then 232 from a rejuvenated 25 Trevor Cusack. Cusack wasted no time in passing Sneddon , but in the dying laps, no matter how hard Purdie tried the outside line to pass, Steward would not be ruffled. The chequered flag went to the 198 car capping a remarkable weekend for the East Anglian maestro.

FIFE OPEN FINAL RESULT
198, 17, 25, 232, 195, 210, 43.

The cars were down. The action was up. The weather was a mixed as the drivers fortunes….well apart from the beeming Andy Steward, who had a smile brighter than any sun! A fantastic five wins in six races and Steward steals a march already in the 2018 quest for the All Silver Roof.



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