1980's » 1980 Cowdenbeath / Armadale

1980 RECORDS

1980

Saloon Stock Cars     98 cars

8 Willie Miller 96 Charles Johnstone   160    N/A
10 Des Murphy 101 Clifford Stockley   163 Bill Auld
11 Alex Sharp 106 Hamish Buchanan   165 Dougie McLean
14 Dick Denham 108 Johnny Davidson   167 Eugene Carney
21 Alan McLachlan 109 John Bell   168 Alan McHattie
25 N/A 110 James Honeyman   169 Peter Spence
29 Robert Forrester 111 Jimmy Gellan   170 James Cochrane
30 N/A 112 Colin Kirkpatrick   176 N/A
32 James Paterson 113 N/A   177 John Gilchrest
35 Tony Don 114 Bob Mackay   178 John Kirkland
36 Jeff Cosans 116 John Buchanan   182 Fraser Greenwood
37 Davey Duncan 117 Jack Miller   187 James Ritchie
42 Thomas Anderson 118 Brian McCann   193 Jim Borthwick
46 Keith Jarman 119 Allistair Miller   200 Allan McLaren
53 James Carnie 120 Jimmy Forrest   202 Neil Petrie
54 George Ward 121 John Burns   204 Alistair Craig
57 Arty Edmond 122 Robert Thomson   205 Barry Gardiner
60 Tam Hilditch 124 Robert Dowie   218 James Duncan
62 Derek Donaldson 125 David Forrest   220 N/A
65 Peter Arnott 128 Joe Moir   236 Raymond Beard
66 Alex Cumming 129 Alfred Clark   238 Gilbert McClarlie
67 Donald Laird 130 Gordon Stevenson   240 Allan Ross
68 Tom Gilchrest 131 Gordon Brown   241 Charlie Milne
69 Russell Scott 132 John Maxwell   244 Jimmy Low
72 James Bromley 136 N/A   246 John Ramsay
73 Ralph Carson 137 N/A   248 Allan Ross
74 Ian Stewart 138 Marshall Hill   290 N/A
77 Alex Camber 139 David Baird   330 Robert Bruce
79 Eddie Classie 142 N/A      
80 John Jackson 144 Melvyn Henry      
86 Chris Duncan 146 N/A      
88 Kenneth Skea 148 Gordon Ferguson      
89 Pete McVay 151 Bob Jones      
92 Lawrence Ross 155 William Gray      
93 Andy Slater 159 Kenneth Christie      

Superstox     33 cars

12 Trevor Harris   63 Stewart Barbour
17 Mike Jack   70 David Stevenson?
22 Stan Ross   71 Peter Easton
24 John Adam   81 Bill Pullar
25 James Main   84 Les Brown
33 Keith Stanford   87 Robin Brown
38 Ian Edmiston   94 Vic Russell
39 Les Clark   100 George McMillan Jnr
41 Gordon McDougall   102 N/A
44 N/A   115 Ally Devine
45 N/A   122 N/A
47 Orr Thompson   133 William Blair
48 Hamish McNab   175 Eric Brown Jnr
49 Eric Moore   179 Derek Kilday
55 Bob Morton   214 Jimmy McAlpine
56 Tommy Carruthers   270 David Stevenson
58 Muir Kilday      

Hot Rods      24 cars

9 Brian Leckie   150 Jimmy Blair
19 N/A   158 Ronnie McKenzie
18 John Bisset   161 Bill Shortreed
23 Dougie Farrer   162 Malcolm Chesher
34 Bill Graham   174 George Barrie
50 Craig Bruce   181 Dave McLaren
61 John Johnstone   186 David Dryborough
64 Les Kay   191 John Buchanan
98 Gordon Haston   195 Andy Johnstone
127 Alex Grant   196 Kenny Ireland
134 David Dugan   207 John McWilliam
140 Graham Wait   246 John Ramsay
141 Adam Manson      

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The points awarded for the 1980 season were as follows:-  

 
Saloon  Stocks   Superstox   Hot Rods  
  Heats Final     Heats Final     Heats Final  
1st 8 12   1st 8 12   1st 6 10  
2nd 7 10   2nd 7 10   2nd 5 8  
3rd 6 8   3rd 6 8   3rd 4 6  
4th 5 6   4th 5 6   4th 3 4  
5th 4 4   5th 4 4   5th 2 2  
6th 3 3   6th 3 3   6th 1 1  
7th 2 2   7th 2 2    
8th 1 1   8th 1 1    

There are a few more gaps in the driver identification table for 1980, which is a bit disappointing. It should be noted though that in the past Spedeworth Scotland had been among the best at keeping driver information up to date.                
It was only from 1980 onwards that this efficiency dropped off.                
If anyone can help me with the "missing persons" or indeed if there are drivers missing entirely from the lists I would be grateful.

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The same goes for the Final Points Tables. Up to the late 70's this information was provided by the promoters in the programmes, but gradually petered out in later years. So any final points charts (probably from driver's newsletters) would be gratefully incorporated.

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The Saloon Stock cars average was up to 31 cars for 1980, two more than 1979.                 
Superstox up one at 15 cars, reversal of a four year drop.                  
The Hot Rod average remained in double figures at 10 cars.            
The highest attendance of Saloon Stocks was at the British Championship on the 29th June attracting a grand total of 36 cars. The Superstox achieved 25 cars at the World Championship, a very disappointing total in view of the status of the meeting.                
The Hot Rod peak was 19 cars for the Open Scottish.

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At the opening meeting of the 80's, Gwen was very upbeat and looking forward to the decade to come. However all was not well in the camp. Rumblings of discontent had grown stronger among some of the drivers in 1979. Nonetheless the programme of events for 1980 looked good.                
The British Championship for Saloon Stocks scheduled for June. The previous year the event had been held in December at Ipswich won by Conrad Self and had proved unsuccessful for the Scottish contingent. Though it must be said that Bob Jones did win the meeting final. Other international Saloon Stock meetings planned were the Open Scottish & UK Challenge Shield.                
                
The big news, the Superstox World Championship was scheduled for a return in August. The Open Scottish for June & the UK Challenge Cup for September.                
                
The Open Scottish for Hot Rods was penciled in for May.                
                
So with things looking so good - what could possibly go wrong? 

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The welcome re-opening of Armadale occurred on 23rd May. Keith Jarman won all the Saloon Stock races, Gordon McDougall the Superstox, the Hot Rod heats were shared between Dave McLaren and Graham Wait. Unfortunately Dave executed a spectacular triple roll in the 2nd heat when in the lead, after a clash with Graham, but was thankfully ok. Graham went on to win from the re-start unpenalised. Jimmy Blair won the final.                
                
Where were all the drivers though? Spedeworth Scotland had gone to considerable expense to re-open the track, yet only a grand total of 8 Superstox, 7 Saloon Stocks and 7 Hot Rods bothered to turn up. Very disappointing.                
Thankfully the following meeting was an overall improvement with the Hot Rods up to 9 cars, the Saloon Stocks a more healthy 17 cars, however there were only 5 Superstox!

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Following the debacle of the UK Challenge Shield for Saloon Stocks (see Saloon Stock summary for details) the fans voted with their feet, the following week, easily the smallest crowd of the season. This meeting was significant though not necessarily for the right reasons (depending on how you view the various formulae) it had the first demonstration races for Stock Rods.                  
Lawrence Ross won the first race.

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East of Scotland Championships in September were picked up by a couple of unlikely candidates, Stan Ross in the Superstox & Willie Miller in the Saloon Stocks. In the Hot Rods Kenny Ireland made a welcome return to form.

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Banger racing at Cowdenbeath continued to be over subscribed by competitors. Entrants for the event at the end of September was restricted to 66. The "Banger King" event to be held on the 19th October had already been fully booked.

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Ex Superstox driver and long time Stock Car Racing sponsor Bernard Hunter brought along his Formula Libre Championship winning car for a demonstration during the interval at a September meeting. 

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1980 Points Champion (By A Mile) Les Clark (photo J Fyffe)

1980 SUPERSTOX POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP

No records of where roof colour changes.

Note no official records available, points are therefore available from personal data.

Pos No Name Pts
1st 39 Les Clark 630
2nd 81 Bill Pullar 433
3rd 84 Les Brown 426
4th 41 Gordon McDougall 409
5th 175 Eric Brown Jnr 362
6th 94 Vic Russell 346
7th 49 Eric Moore 324
8th 87 Robin Brown 252
9th 214 Jimmy McAlpine 244
10th 22 Stan Ross 235
11th 100 George MacMillan Jnr 199
12th 47 Orr Thomson 183
13th 38 Ian Edmiston 118
14th 25 James Main 110
15th 24 John Adam 101
16th 33 Keith Stanford 55
17th 115 Ally Devine 14
18th 48 Hamish McNab 8
19th 17 Mike Jack 8
20th 45   2

Scottish Championship - 18th May                  Open Scottish Championship - 15th June

1st 39 Les Clark   1st 39 Les Clark
2nd 175 Eric Brown Jnr   2nd 81 Bill Pullar
3rd 87 Robin Brown   3rd 41 Gordon McDougall
4th 84 Les Brown   4th 175 Eric Brown Jnr
5th 94 Vic Russell   5th E18 Mark Eaton
6th 22 Stan Ross   6th 38 Ian Edmiston
7th 33 Keith Stanford   7th 84 Les Brown
8th 48 Hamish McNab   8th 94 Vic Russell


First Scotsman home in 2nd place the 1980 World Championship (photo J Fyffe)

World Championship - 17th August                        East of Scotland Championship - 21st September

1st E320 Dave Pierce   1st 22 Stan Ross
2nd 41 Gordon McDougall   2nd 81 Bill Pullar
3rd E206 Robin Randall   3rd 214 Jimmy McAlpine
4th G10 Weil Hermkins   4th 49 Eric Moore
5th E258 Bill Bridges   5th   N/A
6th E298 Jim Welch   6th   N/A
7th 49 Eric Moore   7th   N/A
8th G37 Willie Loff   8th   N/A


Gordon has a chat with Bill Bridges during one of the stoppages at the World Championship meeting (photo D Seaton)

UK Challenge Cup - Did Not Take Place                     Cock of the North - 2nd November

        1st 39 Les Clark
        2nd 214 Jimmy McAlpine
        3rd 84 Les Brown
        4th   N/A
        5th   N/A
        6th   N/A
        7th   N/A
        8th   N/A

1980 Race Winners 

Pos No Name Finals Heats   Pos No Name Finals Heats
1st 39 Les Clark 15 16   8th  100 George MacMillan 2 5
2nd 84 Les Brown 7 16   9th 38 Ian Edmiston 1 2
3rd  41 Gordon McDougall 5 14   10th  E320 Dave Pierce 1 0
4th  214 Jimmy McAlpine 4 5   11th  94 Vic Russell 0 3
5th  175 Eric Brown Jnr 4 3   12th  87 Robin Brown 0 2
6th 22 Stan Ross 3 1   13th  49 Eric Moore 0 2
7th 81 Bill Pullar 2 9   14th  24 John Adam 0 2

Meeting Top Points Scorers

Pos No Name Meetings
1st  39 Les Clark 11
2nd 84 Les Brown 10
3rd  41 Gordon McDougall 7
4th  175 Eric Brown Jnr 3
5th  100 George MacMillan 2
6th  22 Stan Ross 2
7th 214 Jimmy McAlpine 1
8th 94 Vic Russell 1
9th 81 Bill Pullar 1
10th 38 Ian Edmiston 1


4 Final Wins for Eric Brown Jnr in 1980 (photo D Seaton)

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Les Clark won all the races at the opening meeting of the season. This was a remarkable feat in that he had only won 2 of the previous 50.

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Ominously in April (for the Superstox), their numbers were exceeded by the Hot Rods.

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Gordon McDougall dominated the mid April "Stewards Cup" meeting taking both heats and final.

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Through the new catch fencing, late 1980, Superstox main contenders (photo D Seaton)

The Scottish Championship for Superstox and Hot Rods were held on the same day making for a bumper meeting.                  
Les Clark won in great style, this was the first Scottish Championship win for Les in almost 20 years competition, though he was a past British Champion. Gordon McDougall had entered the meeting as hot favourite, he had won 14 out of the last 16 Superstox races (failing to finish in the other 2). A crazy event occurred in heat 2 however when Gordon lost a wheel in a collision.                 
Spedeworth Scotland had introduced a new rule, which was, that if you lost a wheel during a race you were excluded from the rest of the meeting! If you are aware of a more stupid rule that has ever existed in Stock Car Racing please let me know!                   
I do know of a Spedeworth International procedure (as opposed to a rule as such)  that if your car caught fire (and you were not in it) the car should  be left to burn to the ground.                 
This procedure was only adopted for a short time! The reason for this piece of enterprising logic was that you did not want to waste the fire extinguishers putting out a car fire when they might be needed in the next race to put a driver out! It didn't take too many burnt out wrecks before the promoters realised better to spend a few more pounds on additional extinguishers.                 
Anyway back to Spedeworth Scotland's brilliant wheel rule. The rule had been introduced by the promoter's following a number of incidents where wheels had cleared the safety fence.                 
Now this had been occurring on a regular basis over the last 15 years and was not isolated incidents as claimed by the promoter to the general media.                 
It was a problem, but solutions had been proffered, the most obvious being catch fencing. This had been resisted on the basis that a catch fence would hinder the escape from stricken vehicles when the race was still in progress.                 
All tracks now have catch fencing thank goodness. This did not help Gordon at the time sadly and Les became the new Scottish Champion, amazingly 3 Brown's followed Les home, Eric in 2nd, Robin in 3rd & Les in 4th.

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Les Clark defended his Open Scottish Championship in fine style in June. He had debuted his self built "Higman" copy the previous week and it ran beautifully in the main race. Bill Pullar and Gordon McDougall battled for 2nd with the position changing hands a number of times before Bill claimed the place at the flag - great stuff. The English challenge for this meeting was particularly disappointing, in fact only Mark Eaton managed to finish in the top 8 places with a heat 4th and 5th.

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The first Scot home in the British Championship held at Ipswich on August 3rd was Gordon McDougall in 5th place. Winner was reigning World Champion Jim Welch followed home by reigning British Champion Dave Pierce. It probably should have been a win for Neil Bee, he was half a lap ahead with only a few laps to go when his gearbox failed.                 
Les Clark who had qualified for the British declined the invitation preferring to race at Cowdenbeath on the same day. Les collected a heat win, heat 2nd & final win, so it was probably the right decision for him financially & points wise.

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The week before the World Superstox Championship an almighty row took place at the stadium between the Scottish drivers and the promoter Roy Cecil. In fact the drivers left the meeting at the end of the day in the belief that the event had been cancelled. The dispute had occurred over the use of tyres in the race. The Scottish drivers had taken a vote on the issue which had resulted in 12-0 in favour of utilizing Dunlop tyres (which they had been doing all season), Roy then declared the event had been cancelled.                 
The following day however he retreated a bit from this position and stated that the meeting would proceed, without the Scottish drivers, but with additional drivers from England and the continent. Roy stated that the International Board of Control had decided that Avon Tyres would be the regulation tyre in all international events and that this was detailed in the Superstox specifications issued with every 1980 contract. Confusion had arisen due to discussions which had taken place between the drivers and the promoter in December 1979, in which the drivers wished to continue utilizing the Dunlop tyres in championship events in 1980, this not being disallowed.                 
There is no doubt that the enforcement of this rule would have a detrimental effect on the chances of any Scottish drivers, the cars being set up to use the Dunlop tyre. The Dunlop tyre was perceived as a "racing" tyre as opposed to the Avon "road" type tyre so therefore the visitors would be at a disadvantage if the Dunlop tyres were to be allowed. In other words it was a total stuff up.

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In an amazing piece of scheduling Superstox were on the race programme at Armadale 2 DAYS before the World Final was to occur. Gwen speculated in the programme that some of the visiting drivers for the World Final may appear in the racing on the night and they would be introduced to the spectators if they did. They didn't - and of course many home drivers didn't either. A grand total of 3 Superstox took part in the meeting!

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1980 World Champion, for the 3rd Time Dave Pierce (photo Frank Love / Retrostox)

World Final Day arrived, 12000 Stock Car fans crammed into Central Park, I confess that I don't know what the resolution was in relation to the tyre issue, so I would be grateful if anyone can enlighten me.                  
It was Dave Pierce who collected his 3rd World Championship, 12 years on from his first and he only just held on, preventing Gordon McDougall from being the first to hold the title 3 times.                 
The race had been stopped 3 times for a variety of reasons. On the 3rd occasion Roy Eaton who had been leading at the point of the stoppage, was excluded due to his car dropping oil. This left Dave and Gordon to battle it out for the honours. Gordon's effort from his dead set last drawn grid position was commendable but in the end was just quite not good enough.                 
The draw itself was amazing taking an interminable 1 hour to complete and in the end it was still stuffed up with cars in the wrong positions!                 
The other placings were Robin Randall 3rd, Weil Hermkins 4th, Bill Bridges 5th & defending champion Jim Welch 6th. 

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Robin Brown won his first Superstox race the week after the World Final meeting, in fact he won both the heats. Nothing too remarkable about that you might think, however Robin had been taken to hospital the previous week when he suffered concussion following an accident in the World Championship race. On regaining consciousness he duly discharged himself from hospital, repaired his car and appeared at the track the following week complete with surgical collar and go on to win his first two races - a supreme effort.

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Bill's last act at Cowdenbeath for 12 months (photo knockhillimages.smugmug.com)

The meeting at the end of September saw Bill Pullar, European, UK & Scottish holder, declare that he would no longer be racing at Cowdenbeath. Bill stated "that he was fed up to the back teeth with the promoters who in his view treated them like dirt" I believe this outburst came about after some altercation with another driver where Bill came off worst, and in his view unfairly.

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Mid October at Cowdenbeath and another spectacular crash - again captured by master lenseman the late Jim Fyffe. It was Les Clark and Les Brown who performed for the camera and all those present. They clashed as they crossed the finishing line and managed to rip up 50 metres of the fence at the same time.


Bit of a panic in the stands during this spectacular incident (photo knockhillimages.smugmug.com)

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For some reason the UK Challenge Cup for Superstox did not happen in 1980.

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For the end of season "Champion of Champions" meeting, a number of drivers became "non persons" in the programme, what was interesting, apart from this being a very childish act, was that the "non persons" included individuals who were even "just suspected" of joining the rival promotion.

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1980 SALOON STOCK POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP

No record of where roof colour changes

Note no official records available, points are therefore from personal records

Pos No Name Pts
1st 330 Robert Bruce 576
2nd 151 Bob Jones 491
3rd 46 Keith Jarman 483
4th 168 Allan McHattie 326
5th 131 Gordon Brown 264
6th 177 John Gilchrist 260
7th 67 Donald Laird 254
8th 108 Johnny Davidson 247
9th 241 Charlie Milne 244
10th 202 Neil Petrie 237
11th 121 John Burns 212
12th 120 Jimmy Forrest 145
13th 155 Bill Gray 131
14th 106 Hamish Buchanan 126
15th= 114 Bob McKay 99
15th= 8 Willie Miller 92
15th= 188 Tony Murphy 80
18th 74 Ian Stewart 71
19th 170 Jas Cochrane 64
20th 124 Robin Dowie 61
21st 182 Fraser Greenwood 60
22nd 111 Jimmy Gellan 47
23rd 62 Derek Donaldson 44
24th 204 Alistair Craigs 43
25th 10 Des Murphy 36
26th= 159 Ken Christie 35
26th= 193 Jim Borthwick 35
28th 165 Dougie McLean 29
29th 128 Joe Moir 26
30th 163 Bill Auld 17
31st 42 Tom Adamson 18
32nd 205 Barry Gardiner 14
33rd 68 Tommy Gilchrist 13
34th 32 James Paterson 12
35th= 129 Alf Clark 11
35th= 92 Lawrence Ross 11
35th= 144 Melvyn Henry 11
38th= 136 N/A 6
38th= 290 N/A 6
39th 132 John Maxwell 5
40th 36 Jeff Cousans 4
41st= 118 Brian McCann 3
41st= 110 James Honeyman 3
43rd= 176 N/A 2
43rd= 73 Ralph Carson 2
43rd= 125 Davey Forrerst 2
46th= 69 Russell Scott 1
46th= 109 John Bell 1
46th= 138 Marshall Hill 1
46th= 187 James Ritchie 1


330 Robert Bruce "shortens" his Capri a bit further (photo Frank Love / Retrostox)

Open Scottish Championship - 11th May 1980             British Championship - 29th June

1st 46 Keith Jarman   1st 46 Keith Jarman
2nd 330 Robert Bruce   2nd 241 Charlie Milne
3rd 168 Alan McHattie   3rd 168 Alan McHattie
4th 202 Neil Petrie   4th E238 Eddie Aldous
5th 120 Jimmy Forrest   5th 168 Alan McHattie
6th 151 Bob Jones   6th 114 Bob Mackay
7th 106 Hamish Buchanan   7th 151 Bob Jones
8th 114 Bob Mackay   8th 74 Ian Stewart

Scottish Championship - 6th July                    UK Challenge Shield - 31st August

1st 330 Robert Bruce   1st 168 Allan McHattie
2nd 168 Alan McHattie   2nd 46 Keith Jarman
3rd 155 Bill Gray   3rd 151 Bob Jones
4th 151 Bob Jones   4th 131 Gordon Brown
5th 131 Gordon Brown   5th 177 John Gilchrist
6th 67 Donald Laird   6th 131 Gordon Brown
7th 165 Dougie McLean   7th 241 Charlie Milne
8th 8 Willie Miller   8th 121 John Burns

Surprise winner of the EoS - Willie Miller, it was only the start of bigger things though, this pic at Armadale (photo D Seaton)

East of Scotland Championship - 21st September          Cock of the North - 2nd November

1st 8 Willie Miller   1st 241 Charlie Milne
2nd 177 John Gilchrist   2nd 202 Neil Petrie
3rd 241 Charlie Milne   3rd 151 Bob Jones
4th 124 Robin Dowie   4th   N/A
5th   N/A   5th   N/A
6th   N/A   6th   N/A
7th   N/A   7th   N/A
8th   N/A   8th   N/A

The most wins in 1980 were as follows:-

Pos No Name Finals Heats   Pos No Name Finals Heats
1st 46 Keith Jarman 10 11   11th= 121 John Burns 1 4
2nd 330 Robert Bruce 8 28   13th  10 Des Murphy 1 3
3rd 151 Bob Jones 6 5   14th= 8 Willie Miller 1 0
4th 168 Allan McHattie 4 3   14th= 120 Jimmy Forrest 1 0
5th 177 John Gilchrist 3 7   16th  114 Bob Mckay 0 3
6th 106 Hamish Buchanan 3 0   17th= 155 Bill Gray 0 2
7th 108 Johnny Davidson 2 6   17th= 182 Fraser Greenwood 0 2
8th 202 Neil Petrie 2 4   19th= 111 Jimmy Gellan 0 1
9th= 131 Gordon Brown 2 2   19th= 165 Dougie McLean 0 1
9h= 241 Charlie Milne 2 2   19th=  170 Jas Cochrane 0 1
11th= 67 Donald Laird 1 4            

Meeting Top Points Scorers:-

Pos No Name Meetings
1st 330 Robert Bruce 15
2nd  46 Keith Jarman 6
3rd 151 Bob Jones 4
4th= 108 Johnny Davidson 2
4th= 131 Gordon Brown 2
4th= 168 Allan McHattie 2
4th= 241 Charlie Milne 2
8th= 8 Willie Miller 1
8th= 10 Des Murphy 1
8th= 121 John Burns 1
8th= 155 Bill Gray 1
8th= 170 Jas Cochrane 1
8th= 177 John Gilchrist 1
8th= 202 Neil Petrie 1


121 John Burns and his very fast Toyota Celica (photo D Seaton)

Robert Bruce & Donald Laird debuted new Ford Capris which were actually anticipated to fail pre-race scrutineering, due to their length being considerably shorter than the production car. However they passed muster and they proceeded to dominate the meeting. Laird winning a heat & Bruce heat & final.


67 "Donald Laird in shortened Capri number 2, "shortens" the track a bit in this photo (photo Frank Love / Retrostox)

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Charlie Milne and Johnny Davidson made a very welcome return at the April "Stewards Cup" meeting. Indeed this meeting attracted no less than 35 Saloon Stocks. Robert Bruce dominated the meeting winning both of his heats and the final, Bob Jones winning the other heat. In fact "shortened" Capri's had now won 50% of the Saloon Stock races so far this season.

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John Gilchrist debuted a new mk2 Ford Escort at the end of May and put on a brilliant display winning the final by almost a lap in front of Neil Petrie and Robert Bruce, lapped Keith Jarman and almost lapped Charlie Milne in the process.

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Despite the British Saloon Stock Championship coming up at the end of June, it was reported that reigning Open Scottish Champion Keith Jarman had acquired Superstox specifications, stating that he was considering a move. 

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The British Saloon Stock Championship on the 29th June commenced with a draw for grid positions. Englishman Eddie Aldous (who always goes brilliantly at Cowdenbeath) drew a front row position alongside Scottish blue top Bob Mackay. Another Englishman Pedlar Palmer was drawn defending Eddy's rear alongside another Scottish blue top Ian Stewart. So things were shaping up well for the visitors. Robert Bruce looked to be Scotland's greatest hope lining up on the 3rd row of the grid, he was in a rich vein of form at that time. He started brilliantly and was through to the lead by the 2nd lap! Unfortunately his legendary skill for avoiding trouble let him down on this occasion as he got tangled in a big pile up and subsequently retired.                 
Eddy Aldous captured the lead position, his nearest challenger was Keith Jarman through from his 4th row grid position, he was half a lap behind but only closing the gap slowly. Eddy came a cropper when lapping back marker John Gilchrist. Keith stormed through for a brilliant victory, Charlie Milne was 2nd & Donald Laird 3rd, Donald incidentally coming through from the 2nd last row of the grid.                 
Other heats on the day were won by Bob Jones and Alan McHattie, Alan also went on to win the final. A very large crowd of 8000 watched the proceedings.

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The following week the Scottish Championship for Saloon Stocks, possibly not the greatest date for this fixture, following on from the high damage British Championship the week before.                 
Drivers had to qualify in the heats for the Scottish Championship Final. Only 13 cars made it through to the race then Keith Jarman and Johnny Davidson pulled out on the starting grid.                 
Robert Bruce won what was a very ordinary spectacle followed home by Alan McHattie and Bill Gray.

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Only 8 Saloon Stock cars turned up for the Armadale meeting on the 8th August.

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Bob Jones went off on holiday to Scarborough in July, he drove all the way back to Cowdenbeath to race on the Sunday and trotted off back to Scarborough to finish his hols!

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Reigning British and Open Scottish Champion Keith Jarman won the final at the July Spede Weekend at Ipswich - the Britannia Cup. 

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The West of Scotland Championship was up for grabs for the Saloon Stocks at the Armadale meeting two days out from the World Superstox Final, it only attracted 13 Saloon Stocks, and Bob Jones ran out the winner.

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Among the most eagerly attended meetings of the season for both competitors and spectators are the Scotland V England clashes in the Saloon Stocks.

The UK Challenge Shield was scheduled for the 31st  August.                 
The first indication that all might not be well was when the Edinburgh Evening News from the previous day warned that there may only be one visiting driver from outside Spedeworth Scotland.                 
I don't know if this report deterred many spectators from turning up, of course the vast majority of the 5000 fans that packed in would not have read the article. In any case a large crowd attended and paid the 50% surcharge over the normal admission price to witness the spectacle.                 
In the end NO visiting drivers appeared at the meeting. Promoter Roy Cecil took to the PA to lay the blame for this entirely at the feet of the English drivers / promoters. Though he did add later that the Scottish fans also contributed to this by scaring the English drivers away!                 
The Scottish fans may well have accepted the explanation that it was matters outside the control of the promoters that had brought this situation about, however they had then gone ahead and fleeced the spectators with the increased admission prices.                 
Roy's explanations were eventually drowned out by chants for refunds and loud booing.                 
If Roy returned to the control box thinking "well that didn't go too bad" he was wrong.                 
A hurried meeting took place between all the Scottish drivers out on the track, their contention was, the promoter had saved considerable sums in not paying the visiting drivers appearance money and they felt that they should get a share of this "booty".                 
Much on track negotiations then ensued resulting in an agreement that 360 pounds would be added to the prize pool for the event. It thus became the richest Stock Car event ever staged in Scotland, exceeding that of the World Superstox Championship the previous month.                 
This left the drivers happy but of course not the fans. One individual in particular a Mr D Prophit climbed over the safety fence on to the track and commenced a sit down protest in front of the cars on the grid. The fans of course provided plenty of encouragement to Mr Prophit, he achieved one of the biggest cheers ever heard at Cowdenbeath. In the end Roy Cecil took out his wallet and provided Mr Prophit with his refund!                 
One of the most well known Stock Car race commentators Bev Greenhalf wrote at the time "that if he had been officiating he would have instructed the competitors to drive over the top of him"!                 
It must be said that the UK's political "dark ages" were just beginning, so such radical statements as this were seen by some as acceptable! This disease would infiltrate everything - even Stock Car Racing!                 
This occurrence was the event that was the "final straw" for one Gordon McDougall. He felt that something had to be done to get drivers and spectators a better Stock Car Racing deal.                 
Mr D Prophit then, could be said to have been a major influence on the way Stock Car Racing was to be in Scotland over the next 30 years!                  
Amid all this palaver there was a "race" to be "raced" Alan McHattie collected the major part of the pot. In a "rich" vein of form this was his 3rd final on the trot.  He was followed home by Keith Jarman & Bob Jones.                 
So that was it for the 1980 UK Challenge Shield? Not a bit of it, the promoters and the officials did a "runner" after the meeting, so it was left to Superstox drivers Gordon McDougall and Alastair Forsyth to carry out the obligatory engine inspections for the first 3 cars as required by IBOC in a major championship. All three were ok.

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Des Murphy the star on this occasion (the little whipper snapper on the stair in the grey jumper is Current Thunder Valley Raceway starter Rikki Lumsden) (photo J Fyffe)

The infamous last meeting at the end of September referred to in the Superstox section above, also had excitement in the Saloon Stock ranks, yellow grade driver Des Murphy in a beautiful "shortened" Mk 2 Capri won all 3 races, spinning out John Burns in the 2nd heat on the last bend. However it was a horrendous crash in the final for which the meeting is remembered for. There had been evidence of continual "needle" between Robert Bruce & Keith Jarman for a few weeks, which is generally "great stuff" in Stock Car Racing. On this occasion Robert punted Keith heavily into the fence. Unfortunately he hit the fence at exactly the same spot where a post had been hit, snapped and just replaced. It was Tam Hilditch who had snapped the post, in fact Tam had already weakened it himself in an earlier heat, hitting the fence in the very same spot. Tam was rushed off to hospital for a check up.                 
With the post replaced the race re-started, Keith collected the post due to the Robert "hit", the post sprung loose ripping Keith's car open and turning the car over so that the roof was facing the on coming pack where it was rammed.                 
The race was immediately stopped, the roof on the passenger side of the car was flat with the top of the doors. Keith's seat had broken loose and he was slumped over the bonnet of his car.                 
A deathly hush came over the stadium and hundreds of spectators rushed to the place of the accident on the fence.                   
Quickly Keith's car was surrounded by track officials, then a ripple of applause could be heard emanating from those spectators closest to the car. This quickly spread all round the stadium as Keith was seen pushing his way through the throng of helpers. Minor cut & bruises (to almost every part of his body mind you) was the sum of his injuries - very lucky in the circumstances.                 
As for the Escort which had brought him the British & Open Scottish Championships - it was totally destroyed.


The frightening remnants of the British Championship winning Escort (photo J Fyffe)

Charlie Milne and Pete McVay resumed a long running feud at the mid October meeting which always made for great viewing, however when Pete started driving the wrong way round the track (having been spun out by Charlie 3 times), all he achieved was a lifetime ban - so we would obviously be seeing Pete again!


Pete McVay (photo knockhillimages.smugmug.com)

Hot Rod Points Championship

No record of where roof colour changes.

Note no official points records available, chart is therefore from personal data.

Pos No Name Pts
1st 140 Graham Wait 505
2nd 64 Les Kay 374
3rd 23 Dougie Farrer 323
4th 162 Malcolm Chesher 255
5th 196 Kenny Ireland 116
6th 127 Alex Grant  113
7th 258 Ronnie McKenzie 104
8th 141 Adam Manson 98
9th 181 Dave McLaren 88
10th 18 John Bisset 79
11th 134 David Dugan 75
12th 150 Jimmy Blair 74
13th= 195 Andy Johnstone 66
13th= 9 Brian Leckie 66
15th 246 John Ramsay 41
16th 207 John McWilliam 26
17th 50 Craig Bruce 20
18th 19 Andy Paterson 18
19th 34 Bill Graham 6
20th 98 Gordon Haston 4
21st= 61 John Johnstone 1
21st= 211 N/A 1

Open Scottish Championship - 27th April           Scottish Championship - 18th May

1st 140 Graham Wait     1st 23 Dougie Farrer
2nd E351 Barry Lee     2nd 64 Les Kay
3rd E242 Pete Stevens     3rd 141 Adam Manson
4th 64 Les Kay     4th 162 Malky Chesher
5th E23 Trevor Shaw     5th 127 Alex Grant
6th E134 Jerry Wilson     6th 195 Andy Johnson


Graham Wait on his way to Open Scottish win with Barry Lee & Pete Stevens on his tail. Graham was THE dominant force in Scottish Hot Rodding in 1980 (photo Frank Love / Retrostox)

East of Scotland Championship - 21st September        Cock of the North - 2nd November

1st 196 Kenny Ireland     1st 140 Graham Wait
2nd 140 Graham Wait     2nd 64 Les Kay
3rd 23 Doug Farrer     3rd 162 Malcolm Chesher
4th 162 Malcolm Chesher     4th   N/A
5th   NOF     5th   N/A
6th   NOF     6th   N/A

Most wins in 1980

Pos No Name Finals Heats   Pos No Name Finals Heats
1st 140 Graham Wait 18 41   8th= 195 Andy Johnstone 0 2
2nd 64 Les Kay 4 13   8th= 127 Alex Grant 0 2
3rd 23 Dougie Farrer 4 7   10th= 18 John Bissett 0 1
4th 196 Kenny Ireland 3 4   10th= 141 Adam Manson 0 1
5th 162 Malcolm Chesher 3 2   10th= 158 Ronnie McKenzie 0 1
6th 150 Jimmy Blair 3 1   10th= 181 Dave McLaren 0 1
7th E351 Barry Lee 1 1   10th= E242 Pete Stevens 0 1

Highest points scorers in 1980

Pos No Name Meetings
1st 140 Graham Wait 18
2nd 64 Les Kay 5
3rd 196 Kenny Ireland 5
4th 23 Dougie Farrer 3
5th 162 Malcolm Chesher 3
6th 18 John Bissett 1
7th 150 Jimmy Blair 1
8th E351 Barry Lee 1

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The Hot Rods matched the Superstox with  double figures at the first meeting of the season, Graham Wait appearing in a very nice Escort, the Imp finally getting the flick.                 
It was hoped Graham would find the Escort more controllable compared with the erratic Imp.                
Graham won all three races on the day. Unfortunately the control didn't eventuate though, Graham spun Les Kay in the first heat & Dougie Farrer in the final. Incidentally neither incident resulted in a penalty from the race officials.                
This lack of discipline by the officials resulted in post race confrontations firstly between Graham and Les in the first race, and then Dougie Farrer and Andy Johnstone in the final.

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3rd week of the season and still no discipline in the Hot Rods. This week however the stadium was covered in snow. The officials in fact had done a tremendous job of clearing the track to allow the meeting to take place.                
Andy Johnstone had won a fairly spectacular 1st heat, however the 2nd race saw plenty of contact between Andy & Graham Wait. Again no penalties were handed out by the race officials. This was too good an opportunity for the Cowdenbeath fans to pass up. So on Andy's lap of honour to accompany the booing from the crowd, numerous snowballs were also presented to Andy!                
There is no doubt that the Cowdenbeath fans were better educated in what was a legal manoeuvre in Hot Rod racing than the Cowdenbeath officials were!                
The final again was more akin to a Saloon Stock race than a Hot Rod Race, this time between Dougie Farrer and Graham Wait. Dougie won the race but dealt very harshly with first timer Andy Paterson on the last lap. For this Dougie was presented with a doze of snowballs too!

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An amazing event occurred at the April 20th meeting, Graham Wait received a black cross for spinning out Les Kay in heat 1. What was even more astonishing was that Graham received a one position penalty for the misdemeanour.                
The final saw Graham skilfully move through to the front, but as the race reached its conclusion he had Les Kay and Dougie Farrer in close contention, when Graham lost his sump plug. The resulting accident saw Dougie right off his car and Les receive bad damage and The Scottish Hot Rod Championship was coming up the following week.

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23 Dougie Farrer, 1980 Scottish Champion (photo D Seaton)

Much burning of midnight oil by Dougie Farrer was rewarded when he dominated the Scottish Championship race, though defending champion Les Kay was a close 2nd. 

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Scotland's qualifiers for the Hot Rod World Championship were to be Kenny Ireland, Les Kay, Dougie Farrer and Graham Wait. Jimmy Blair who had been challenging for a qualifying spot failed to make it due to car trouble in the 2nd qualifying round.

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We have had references to "the last meeting in September" in the Superstox & the Saloon Stocks so what of the Hot Rods? Well it was Dougie Farrer who stated "that he had run out of patience                  
with persistent rule breaker Graham Wait". It was another case of those "straw that breaks the camel's back" occurrences. In the 1st heat Graham persistently hit Kenny Ireland with no penalty.                
Incidentally Kenny refers to these tactics as "love taps"! Dougie came home 3rd. In the 2nd heat Graham won without hitting anybody!                
In the final however he simply spun Dougie out of 2nd place in what was a beautiful Stock Car manoeuvre! On this rare occasion the officials did drop Graham one place. Dougie was not satisfied with this though "if officials are not going to give drivers protection, then I'm going to look after myself. There will be no mercy from now on"!! - - Kenny went on to win the final.

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150 Jimmy Blair & his 200bhp Hot Rod (photo D Seaton)

Jimmy Blair debuted a very nice looking Hot Rod in mid October and proceeded to go on and win the final. While the car looked great, it was its motive power that was to be the subject of a lot of discussion.                
 

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Come the end of October Graham Wait collected his 59th race win of the season. This was a new record for race wins in a season. The previous record holder was Hamish Buchanan, it should be noted that Hamish achieved his record battling against 30 other competitors when the Saloon Stocks were at their height in numbers, Graham on the other hand, had 1 other competitor on occasion!                
Nonetheless quite an achievement and demonstrated an unquestioned commitment to Hot Rod Racing.

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SUM UP

The final traditional meeting of the season at Cowdenbeath was the Champion of Champions events. From a personal point of view, I found these meetings to be easily the worst during the season. I don't believe this was the case for the competitors though. There were occasions when this meeting was the best attended for some formulae.                
For the record Les Clark won the Superstox event - a very dreary race.                
Graham Wait won the Hot Rod equivalent, when only two other competitors bothered to turn up.                
Charlie Milne won the Saloon Stock version. Another bad clash between Keith Jarman & Robert Bruce saw Keith's new Escort severely damaged. Robert had announced that he was retiring from the sport at the end of the season, so maybe it was a "go out in a blaze of glory" scenario.                
                
Two additional meetings were trialled after the end of the official season at Armadale, - as non points scoring affairs they were doomed from the start. 12 Saloon Stocks and 15 Stock Rods appeared at the former, 8 Superstox, 13 Stock Rods and 2 Hot Rods at the latter. The only significant occurrence at these meetings being Lawrence Ross being dropped a place for the merest of contact in one of the races. Had discipline such as this been applied to the Hot Rods nobody would have won a race all year, with the possible exception of Malky Chesher who was probably the cleanest Hot Rod driver in the UK!               
                
And so an era had come to a close. Spedeworth Scotland had operated as a monopoly for "professional" Stock Car Racing in Scotland for 15 years. A less than satisfactory season in 1979 then deteriorated markedly in 1980. In a year which should have seen a return to the good old days with the quality of  meetings that had been programmed.

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1980 was a watershed year for Stock Car Racing in Scotland, hence I have covered a number of the events in a bit more detail. The reasons that a new promotion started up were many and varied. It needed to be like this for it to be sufficient to persuade Gordon McDougall that there was a better way                
                
Things would never be the same again. 

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