SALOON STOCKS 85 CARS
|10||Robert Chapman||110||James Honeyman||166||Bob Sneddon|
|11||Alex Sharp||111||Jimmy Gellan||168||Allan McHattie|
|19||Robert Cameron||114||Bob Mckay||170||Jas Cochrane|
|21||Alan McLachlan||120||Jimmy Forrest||171||Tommy Davidson|
|29||Robert Forrester||121||John Burns||176||Alex Jones|
|36||Jeff Cousans||123||Bill Ritchie||177||John Gilchrest|
|42||Thomas Anderson||124||Robin Dowie||178||Allan Pryde|
|46||Keith Jarman||125||Steven Leslie||182||Fraser Greenwood|
|53||Davidson Watson||130||Gordon Stevenson||183||Derek Meldrum|
|54||George Ward||131||Gordon Brown||187||James Ritchie|
|57||Arty Edmond||132||John Maxwell||188||Tony Murphy|
|58||Muir Kilday||136||David McInnes||189||Colin Aitkin|
|62||Derek Donaldson||137||Glyn Davis||190||Cliffe Combe|
|67||Donald Laird||138||Nat Hill||193||Jim Borthwick|
|74||Ian Stewart||142||Ian Laing||199||George Chirray|
|75||Billy Kerr||144||Fred Selby||200||Allan McLaren|
|77||Alex Camber||148||Gordon Ferguson||202||Neil Petrie|
|82||Terry Carrington||150||Jimmy Blair||203||David Taylor|
|86||Chris Duncan||151||Bob Jones||204||Alistair Craigs|
|90||Rab Melrose||152||James Dillon||210||Norrie Grierson|
|91||James McLean||154||Archibald Lyall||215||Michael Lewis|
|92||Lawrence Ross||155||Bill Gray||218||James Duncan|
|95||Peter Anderson||157||Andrew Pillans||221||Duncan Shand|
|96||Neil Miller||159||Kenneth Christie||235||Jock Robertson|
|98||Gordon Haston||160||Chris Rae||236||Allen Bruce|
|101||Clifford Stockley||161||Bill Shortreed||240||Allan Ross|
|108||Ian Morrison||163||Bill Auld||241||Charlie Milne|
|109||Cliff Simpson||165||Douglas McLean||246||John Ramsay|
SUPERSTOX 24 CARS
|7||Terry Henderson||55||Bob Morton|
|8||Alistair Bowman||56||Tommy Carruthers|
|17||Mike Jack||76||Harry Gilespie|
|22||Stan Ross||81||Bill Pullar|
|25||James Main||84||Les Brown|
|28||David Thompson||87||Robin Brown|
|38||Ian Edmiston||94||Vic Russell|
|39||Les Clark||100||George MacMillan Jnr|
|41||Gordon McDougall||115||Ally Devine|
|47||Orr Thompson||140||Graham Wait|
|48||Hamish McNab||175||Eric Brown Jnr|
|49||Eric Moore||214||Jimmy McAlpine|
HOT RODS 27 CARS
|16||Clive Downie||156||Dick Gracie|
|18||John Bisset||158||Ronnie McKenzie|
|23||Dougie Farrer||161||Bill Shortreed|
|50||Craig Bruce||162||Malcolm Chesher|
|52||Sandy Elliot||174||George Barrie|
|61||John Johnstone||181||Dave McLaren|
|64||Les Kay||186||David Dryborough|
|102||Ronnie Burns||191||John Buchanan|
|106||Hamish Buchanan||195||Andy Johnstone|
|126||Peter Matthew Jnr||196||Kenny Ireland|
|127||Alex Grant||207||Ian Bruce|
|134||David Dugan||222||Fraser Dunlop|
|140||Graham Wait||244||Jimmy Low|
The points awarded for the 1979 season were as follows:-
|Saloon Stocks||Superstox||Hot Rods|
The Saloon Stock cars maintained a good average of 29 cars for 1979, only down one from the previous year. Superstox down one at 14 cars, the fourth year in a row where a drop had occurred and it was now a big concern. The Hot Rod average was down two at 10 cars.
The highest attendance of Saloon Stocks was at the UK Challenge Shield on the 26th August, attracting a grand total of 39 cars. It wasn't just the spectators that loved this meeting! The Superstox achieved 23 cars at the Open Scottish at the 29th April. The Hot Rod peak was 19 cars for the Open Scottish on the 3rd of June.
For the opening meeting of the season Gwen made the big statement that "racing a Superstox, Hot Rod or Saloon Stock, the cheapest Motor Sport & Hobby in the World". The question is whether this was tongue in cheek or simply out of touch!
Gwen went on to say that start money was paid out at 7 pounds down to 4 pounds 50p, depending on formula and grade. Prize money was paid in addition to this and drivers insurance was also paid. This was a recruitment add for new drivers then!
1979 SUPERSTOX POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Note No official record of points. Table is therefore from presonal records.
No records of where roof colour changes
|9th||175||Eric Brown Jnr||170|
|16th||100||George MacMillan Jnr||24|
1979 SCOTTISH POINTS CHAMPION BILL PULLAR (photo knockhillimages.smugmug.com)
OPEN SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - 29th APRIL SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP 27th MAY
|1st||39||Les Clark||1st||94||Vic Russell|
|2nd||81||Bill Pullar||2nd||39||Les Clark|
|3rd||E209||Barry Watson||3rd||81||Bill Pullar|
|4th||E323||Dave Turner||4th||41||Gordon McDougall|
EAST of SCOTLAND CHAMPIONSHIP - 23rd SEPTEMBER BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP - 12th AUGUST
|1st||81||Bill Pullar||1st||E320||Dave Pierce|
|2nd||41||Gordon McDougall||2nd||81||Bill Pullar|
|3rd||22||Stan Ross||3rd||E482||Neil Bee|
|4th||8||Alistair Bowman||4th||E258||Bill Bridges|
UK CHALLENGE CUP - 30th SEPTEMBER "COCK of the NORTH - 28th OCTOBER
|1st||81||Bill Pullar||1st||41||Gordon Mcdougall|
|2nd||41||Gordon McDougall||2nd||81||Bill Pullar|
|3rd||22||Stan Ross||3rd||94||Vic russell|
|4th||8||Alistair Bowman||4th||39||Les Clark|
The biggest winners for 1979 were:-
|1st||94||Vic Russell||8||19||8th=||22||Stan Ross||1||0|
|2nd||41||Gordon McDougall||6||11||8th=||49||Eric Moore||1||0|
|3rd||84||Les Brown||6||7||8th=||175||Eric Brown Jnr||1||0|
|4th||81||Bill Pullar||3||9||11th||17||Mike Jack||0||4|
|5th||39||Les Clark||3||4||12th=||47||Orr Thomson||0||1|
|6th||38||Ian Edmiston||3||1||12th=||214||Jimmy McAlpine||0||1|
|7th||E320||Dave Pierce||2||1||12th=||Ir32||Ian McNight||0||1|
The meeting top points scorers were:-
The above tables make you wonder why Vic Russell didn't walk away with the points championship in 1979.
The 1978 Superstox Scottish Champion Ian Edmiston had sustained a bad leg injury in a crash, threatening to end his racing career, he had missed a large portion of the previous season.
However he was back in fine fettle for the 1979 season and in fact won the final at the second meeting of the year.
There was no doubt that Vic Russell was demonstrating his best run of form in 1979 and had acquired a new aggressive bent to his driving, and was seen to unceremoniously dispatch a number of drivers fencewards, with much determination. It was looking like a bag of titles were going to come his way. He was almost winning every race he finished.
The Open Scottish Superstox saw Les Clark ending a 9 month drought, to win the Championship, helped no doubt by his front row grid position draw. It was Gordon McDougall though who looked most likely, picking off cars relentlessly from his 7th row spot, he had almost closed on Les's back bumper, when Englishman Derek Hales cut across Gordon when he was lapping him. Gordon's avoiding action took him into the fence and retirement. Bill Pullar collected 2nd & "Anglo" Scot Barry Watson 3rd. Les wasn't about to wait another 9 months for a win and duly completed a very successful meeting by also winning the final.
A spectator was seriously injured, Mrs Linda Dargie, when a wheel sheared off Gordon McDougall's Superstox and cleared the safety fence, she suffered head injuries and was knocked unconscious, she was described as being in "very serious" condition the following day in the national press. Linda remained in a coma for 10 days. Six weeks later, though still be treated as an outpatient for some paralysis on one side, she was making steady recovery.
Championship meetings coming thick and fast then. Scottish Superstox Championship, Vic Russell continued his great season by winning his 3rd Scottish. No other driver had won it more than once. Les Clark was a close 2nd, Bill Pullar and Gordon McDougall were also closing fast, but when Mike Jack did a triple roll along the top of the fence and came to a halt on top of it, the race was stopped and declared. Mike was OK with only a few cuts and bruises.
The first qualifying round for the Superstox World Championship had yellow roof Jimmy McAlpine through some brilliant performances, 2nd top points scorer of the day. Vic Russell who had been brilliant this season failed to score a point. In the end after the second round the contenders were Gordon McDougall (defending), Bill Pullar, Les Clark & Ian Edmiston, (Jimmy missed out on a qualifying position in a race off between him and the latter two).
8th July saw the emergence of Eric Brown Jnr as a star of the future, a career that would see him end up racing Formula One Stock Cars. Only 17 at the time, Eric had shown a great turn of pace in the 2nd heat behind Gordon McDougall. It was in the final for the "Boness Fair Cup". Eric shot into the lead, in atrocious conditions he drove with impeccable skill while others floundered, it was only on the very last lap that Gordon managed to find an opening through to take the win, Eric a thoroughly deserved 2nd. He proved it was no fluke by getting yet another final 2nd in the first meeting after the mid season break.
The Superstox drivers at the Ipswich Spedeweekend were not as successful as their Saloon Stock counterparts, Bill Pullar scored a 3rd in the first heat, Les Brown an 8th in the 2nd heat, Les Brown & Gordon McDougall got 9th & 10th in the 4th heat.
The Superstox this season had taken a noticeably more aggressive slant compared with recent seasons. Drivers seemed to be more comfortable propelling opposition to the fence, rather than the skilfully executed hit to take the opposition wide & create the overtaking opportunity. This was not a sensible change in attitude, particularly with the continuing reduction in Superstox numbers. In one particular meeting final in early August, Gordon McDougall had suffered this fate courtesy of the Vic Russell front bumper. Vic in particular as stated previously, had developed this streak of no compromise, it had taken him to 2nd in the points at this stage of the season only 9 points behind Bill Pullar and winning a fair number of races. This action often resulted in a non finish however. Back to the plot, Gordon was not particularly enthused with this treatment, until Vic pointed out the he had received the self same fate at the bumper of Gordon a few weeks earlier. In the same race Bill Pullar handed out the same medicine to Vic and motored through to a well deserved final win.
The 79 British Championship for Superstox was indeed a special day in the History of Scottish Stock Car Racing, for Spedeworth Scotland and for Roy Cecil. There is no doubt that Roy had done a supreme job nurturing Scottish Stock Car Racing to the high standard that existed at that time.
Scottish Superstox drivers had won two World, two European and three British Championships.This meeting marked the silver jubilee of Stock Car Racing and Roy's involvement in the sport, he had been involved in Stock Car Racing almost from it's very inception. It also happened to be his birthday!
If the Superstox racing at the British was somewhat tame, this couldn't be said about the Saloon Stocks. The star attraction? None other than Charlie Milne. He had won the first race of the day with relative ease, but was spun out of the 2nd race by Robert Bruce, he rejoined and then unceremoniously planted Robert into the fence. John Gilchrist won this particular race.
However the best or worst was saved for the final. It was Keith Jarman who dished out the same treatment to Charlie that had just been mooted out to Robert Bruce in the previous race, Charlie then tried unsuccessfully for a few laps to take out Keith as he drove past. Having eventually resigned himself to a non finish & non successful retaliation. Keith drove past and gave Charlie a victory salute! This incensed Charlie and he made moves to rejoin the action. In the end he seemed to think better of it or perhaps his car wouldn't restart.
After the race promoter Roy Cecil stated that Charlie would not race again at Cowdenbeath, there had been a disagreement between Charlie and Roy the previous week about another issue, after which Charlie stated that he would quit at the end of the season. Of course it would be the Board of Control that would decide Charlie's fate. Suffice to say that Charlie did not compete again that year. He had won the Scottish, Open Scottish and was sitting third in the points behind Keith Jarman & Bob Jones. Had already won 6 finals at the half way point of the season. The maximum number of finals won in 79 was 7 by Bob Jones! A great shame, one of the sports greatest entertainers and crowd pleasers. Thankfully he was back racing in 1980 though.
In September Bill Pullar was defending his European title in Kaldenkirchen in Germany, he made a brave fight of it, in a close dice with Dave Pierce, Dave won through though, Tony van den Oetelaar was 3rd.
Eric Brown Jnr just missed out on his first final win on the last bend of the last lap at the 16th September meeting when his steering failed.
Only two English Superstox arrived for the UK Challenge Cup. Current holder Dave Pierce and Dick Gamblin, It was enough though as Dave passed Les Brown with 3 to go to win the trophy.
The 7th September was the date chosen for contesting the "Walter Brown Memorial Cup", over a year had past since Clerk of the Course, ex Superstox star driver Walter Brown & his wife Spedeworth Scotland receptionist Bunty Brown had died.
The "Walter Brown Memorial Cup" had been instigated by Walter's fellow workers at the Longannet Coal Mine, where Walter worked as an Electrical Engineer. Gordon McDougall won the event. Mr & Mrs Burnett representatives of Walter's colleagues at the mine travelled round with Gordon on his lap of honour on the control car to loud applause from the 5000 fans.
On 14th October 1979, Eric Brown Jnr won his first final, he had been threatening this for some time. The truth is all he really needed was his photograph in the programme and Gwen's seal of approval "Eric Brown Jnr - A Star in the Making", this had occurred this previous week. It was quite scary how often this seemed to work!
Eric driving an ex Bill Pullar car, hit the front on the 3rd lap and although Gordon McDougall had closed right up behind him at the flag, Eric held on. Despite all the high level International Meetings and drama that had occurred during the season I don't believe there had been a more popular result with the 7000 fans. In fact my wife noted in the programme that commentator John Kelly simply "cracked up"!
1979 SALOON STOCKS POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP
NOTE NO OFFICIAL RECORDS OF POINTS TOTALS, THEREFORE CALCULATED FROM PERSONAL RECORDS. NO RECORD OF WHERE ROOF COLOUR CHANGES
Bob Jones on his way to Points Championship in 1979
A good season for Bob Jones but no so much for Robert Bruce (photo knockhillimages.smugmug.com)
SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - 13th MAY OPEN SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - 20th MAY
|1st||241||Charlie Milne||1st||241||Charlie Milne|
|2nd||46||Keith Jarman||2nd||46||Keith Jarman|
|3rd||330||Robert Bruce||3rd||151||Bob Jones|
|4th||155||Bill Gray||4th||E636||Conrad Self|
|5th||151||Bob Jones||5th||E226||Eddie George|
|6th||131||Gordon Brown||6th||E99||Wally Hall|
UK CHALLENGE SHIELD - 26th AUGUST EAST of SCOTLAND CHAMPIONSHIP - 23rd SEPTEMBER
|1st||150||Jimmy Blair||1st||330||Robert Bruce|
|2nd||121||John Burns||2nd||131||Gordon Brown|
|3rd||330||Robert Bruce||3rd||92||Lawrence Ross|
|4th||151||Bob Jones||4th||193||Jim Borthwick|
|5th||168||Allan McHattie||5th||62||Derek Donaldson|
''COCK of the NORTH' - 28th OCTOBER
The winners from 1979 were as follows:-
|1st||151||Bob Jones||7||10||10th||177||John Gilchrist||0||5|
|2nd||46||Keith Jarman||6||17||11th=||120||Jimmy Forrest||0||3|
|3rd||241||Charlie Milne||6||5||11th=||193||Jim Borthwick||0||3|
|4th||150||Jimmy Blair||5||3||13th=||92||Lawrence Ross||0||2|
|5th||330||Robert Bruce||4||4||13th=||168||Allan McHattie||0||2|
|6th||121||John Burns||2||1||15th=||62||Derek Donaldson||0||1|
|7th||170||James Cochrane||1||3||15th=||67||Donald Laird||0||1|
|8th=||155||Bill Gray||1||0||15th=||131||Gordon Brown||0||1|
|8th=||E238||Eddie Aldous||1||0||15th=||204||Alistair Craigs||0||1|
The meeting top points scorers from 1979 were as follows:-
Scotland's Greatest Ever Saloon Stock Driver? Keith Jarman (photo knockhillimages.smugmug.com)
Over the Scottish close season in Scotland Keith Jarman achieved a brilliant result in gaining 2nd in the British Championship at Wimbledon.
Keith Jarman also got off to a flying start at the beginning of the new season debuting a rather smart looking Mk 11 Escort, collecting a heat 3rd, win and final win. He had numerous doubts over the suitability of the Escort over the Mk 1 Cortina and all the way up to the Scottish Championship in May often switched cars, even during meetings!
He had just failed though to hold on to his Scottish title on 13th May. As stated he had been switching between Escort and Cortina. In the first heat used his Cortina but failed to finish. Out came the Escort for the 2nd race which he proceeded to win at a canter. Escort for the big one then?
Keith reckoned the Championship race would quite an aggressive tussle and reckoned the Cortina was sturdier and less edgy. In the event the race turned out to be one of these fast clean affairs and Keith could not quite latch on to the brand new car of Charlie Milne. Robert Bruce came home 3rd.
Normally the engines of the podium finishers are stripped for verification of their legality, however on this occasion Roy Cecil decided that as the Open Scottish Championship was the following week, that the engine examination should be left until then. Keith Jarman was decidedly unhappy with this ruling and intimated that if the engines were not checked as set out in the rules he would be forced to submit a protest.
It was therefore decided to proceed with the checks. Keith's & Robert's engines were declared legal however there were question marks over Charlies'.
Roy Cecil announced that the title, prize money & points would be withheld pending a Board of Control meeting after the following weeks Open Scottish. Charlie would be allowed to compete next week, but not utilising the car used in the Scottish Championship.
The first ever Open Scottish Saloon Stock Championship, witnessed a continuance of the needle between Keith Jarman and Charlie Milne (don't the spectators just love these confrontations), Keith had surgically made his way to the front in the Championship race and was apparently on his way to victory, however Charlie was driving like a man possessed and on his way through the field he spun English car after English car from his path until there was open tarmac between himself and Keith.
The lead shrank until the last corner of the last lap - Charlie connected, and Keith hit the fence. The crowd went berserk, Charlie went berserk, and unfortunately Keith went a different form of berserk!
He had successfully rejoined the race to collect 2nd, Bob Jones 3rd, but then unsuccessfully attempted to start a "biffo" with Charlie after the race. This prompted Charlie to put an official protest re Keith's behaviour. (Maybe he just wanted company at the forthcoming Board of Control Meeting.) Keith to answer for his violent behaviour & Charlie to see if he was going to keep his Scottish Championship.
Board of Control meetings in Stock Car Racing are in the most part "fizzers" it doesn't matter if its Formula One, Two, Spedeworth, Hot Rods etc. This one was no exception.
The report was as follows:- Charlies engine was initially declared by the scrutineers as being legal, after the Scottish Championship meeting and Charlie had been sent on his way. Later discussion however raised the suspicion that in fact the cylinder head "may" have had irregularities ie Lotus Valves and machined ports. However as Charlie had now "done a bunk" there was now no way of checking. The BOC therefore declared the verdict was "Not Proven". Charlie was therefore the Scottish Champ, and kept the prize money & points.
In Keith's case it was alleged "Keith poked a finger at Charlie and threatened him", it was confirmed that this had been witnessed but that no fight had occurred. BOC verdict "severe reprimand!"
Charlie had stated after the Open Scottish Championship meeting, "I'm over the moon, It's like a dream come true, and I could not possibly have won the title in a more satisfactory manner than pipping Jarman at the last bend". (I'm not so sure that he used the word "pipping" though!)
Charlie then went on to win the final - and yes Keith was 2nd.
With all this attention on the top two Scottish protagonists what happened to our English visitors? well they did alright, Conrad Self collected 4th in the Open, & Eddie George 5th plus a 2nd in his heat, Wally Hall 6th in the Open. Dick Hilliard 3rd in his heat & 6th in the final.
In a repeat of the wheel incident 6 weeks ago, four spectators were injured when the wheel of Saloon Stock driver Ian Stewart's car sheared off and was catapulted into the stand.
It seems crazy now to think of Stock Car tracks with no catch fencing around them but in the 70's that was the case. I remember the Newton Aycliffe back straight in particular giving me the "willies" as 2 tonne Formula One Stock Cars came at you from only 2 metres away! It was still the best place to watch the racing though!
Thankfully the 4 spectators were not seriously injured and were not detained at hospital.
At the Ipswich Spedeweekend the Scottish Saloon Stock drivers made a big impression, Keith Jarman got a 4th in the first heat & Charlie Milne a 6th. It was in the final though that they really stamped their authority. Bob Jones twice winner of Scotland V England major events so far, repeated the dose by taking the weekend final, Geoff Morris salvaged some pride for England by coming home 2nd, however 3rd & 4th also went to Scotland with Charlie Milne & Keith Jarman respectively.
Last meeting in August was the 3rd running of the UK Challenge Shield for the Saloon Stocks, Bob Jones had won the race for Scotland on both occasions. This year it was Jimmy Blair who collected the trophy, as before the race itself was mayhem. First English driver home was Eddie Aldous in 7th. In fact could easily have finished 3rd had he not been preoccupied trying to stop Bob Jones from collecting the title. John Burns came through for 2nd, Robert Bruce 3rd.
Lawrence Ross picked up a heat win. With no Scottish star drivers in the next race the English star men had a field day, spinning and fencing the white and yellow tops like they were swatting flies, however elimination of opposition in lieu of just pushing it wide takes up time, and there were two flying yellow tops they couldn't catch, John Gilchrist 1st & Lawrence Ross 2nd, Conrad Self collected 3rd.
The final saw a more concentrated effort to win instead of eliminate and it paid off, Eddie Aldous taking the win from Bob Jones & Keith Jarman. I think it would be fair to say that the 8000 fans went home happy.
East of Scotland Championship wins went to Les Kay in the Hot Rods, and Bill Pullar in the Superstox. Les because he got into the lead within a lap, & Bill because then leader Les Clark spun out when his diff failed on the 10th lap. The Saloon Stock event was a very different matter. A battle had ensued at the front between Jim Borthwick, Jimmy Forrest & John Burns, it was no holds barred and Keith Jarman had now caught up. Forrest punted Borthwick out, then Burns belted Forrest out only then to be spun by Jarman. Robert Bruce who had been 7th prior to all this, found himself in 2nd, he sailed past Gordon Brown to take the win.
1979 HOT ROD POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Note no official points record, therefore points calculated from personal records. No record of where roof colours change.
|16th||126||Peter Matthew Jnr||15|
SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - 22nd APRIL OPEN SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - 3rd JUNE
|1st||64||Les Kay||1st||196||Kenny Ireland|
|2nd||207||Ian Bruce||2nd||207||Ian Bruce|
|3rd||23||Doug Farrer||3rd||E114||Ted Allen|
EAST of SCOTLAND CHAMPIONSHIP - 23rd SEPTEMBER "COCK of the NORTH" - 28th OCTOBER
|1st||64||Les Kay||1st||23||Dougie Farrer|
|2nd||196||Kenny Ireland||2nd||196||Kenny Ireland|
|3rd||23||Doug Farrer||3rd||195||Andy Johnstone|
|4th||127||Alex Grant||4th||140||Graham Wait|
1979 Race winners were:-
|1st||196||Kenny Ireland||10||12||8th||162||Malcolm Chesher||1||2|
|2nd||64||Les Kay||9||12||9th=||102||Ronnie Burns||0||1|
|3rd||23||Dougie Farrer||3||6||9th=||126||Peter Matthew Jnr||0||1|
|4th||140||Graham Wait||3||4||9th=||134||David Dugan||0||1|
|5th||207||Ian Bruce||2||8||9th=||141||Adam Manson||0||1|
|6th||174||George Barrie||2||6||9th=||E19||Duffy Collard||0||1|
|7th||195||Andy Johnstone||2||3||9th=||E242||Pete Stevens||0||1|
1979 Meeting top points scorers:-
Hot Rod driver Ian Bruce managed to win a final at Wimbledon over the close season.
Scotland were granted 3 representatives for the 1979 Hot Rod World Championship, (1 more than in 1978). However the qualification system for the event as mooted last year was to revert to the dreaded sudden death method over two meetings.
Les Kay regained the Scottish Hot Rod Championship on 22nd April. Les had been the inaugural winner of the event in 1973, becoming the first man to win it twice. Ian Bruce continued his good form by coming 2nd & Dougie Farrer 3rd after recovering from a spin.
Great season for Les Kay, multiple championship and Scottish points winner (photo J Fyffe)
George Barrie took the ex George Polley Anglia to his first final win at the Scottish Saloon Stock Championship meeting.
Open Scottish Hot Rod Championship next. English youngster Paul Knight had shot out to an early lead, but Kenny Ireland was closing fast. Kenny managed to get passed. Other cars travelling well were Ted Allen in his Sunbeam, Pete Stevens & Ian Bruce. Kenny won, Ian made it through to 2nd, Pete Stevens finished 3rd. Pete also managed a heat win along with Duffy Collard.
The favouritism stick was unleashed by the promotion in the Hot Rod final. During a stoppage for a spectacular fire in Ian Bruce's car, Pete Stevens received some outside assistance, not the end of the world you might say, except that Saloon Stock driver Charlie Milne was disqualified on the spot for the self same offence less than an hour earlier! The Cowdenbeath crowd are very knowledgeable when it comes to rules in Stock Car Racing and also very vocal, so they let the race controllers know all about their folly.
Kenny completed his successful day by winning the final, Pete Stevens collected second.
In the Hot Rod World qualifying it was red roof drivers Ian Bruce & Graham Wait who missed out.
Dougie Farrer while holding a blue roof had amassed the highest points total from the first meeting, and even though he could only get 3 points in the next qualifying meeting (having been promoted to red roof in the meantime), still managed to qualify. Ian Bruce managed to gain 14 points in the 2nd leg, this was not enough to gain a place. Remember Ian had a secured a final win at Wimbledon already this year.
It was simply a crappy system.
Les Kay achieved an excellent 5h in the World Championship, particularly praiseworthy in view of the fact that Les started 24th position on the grid, all six finishers ahead of him started from the top 10 grid positions.
Ex Saloon Stock car driver Andy Johnstone collected his first Hot Rod final win in late July when the stars were away on World & European Championship duty. Andy repeated the win in a far more competitive field the following meeting, however in doing so he executed the most blatant baulking manoeuvres ever witnessed in a Hot Rod race at Cowdenbeath. Every time Les Kay moved to the inside or outside the Andy Johnstone car swerved to block his path. Of course these actions went completely unpenalised by the officials, but the Cowdenbeath crowd with considerably more backbone were not going to turn a blind eye. Just to prove that the pie throwing "missiles" after the Saloon Stock International were not a racist action. Andy received some for his own consumption! Andy's reaction created much amusement when he challenged all the patrons in the stand to a fight on the track!
The World Cup for Hot Rods was held at Kaldenkirchen in August, the British Rods were of course heavily disadvantaged racing the "wrong" way round. Dougie Farrer actually managed to roll his Hot Rod, the car landed back on it's wheels so of course Dougie continued on. Duffy Collard just managed to catch his own car from a roll. German's Joseph Thissen won the race in his VW Scirrocco.
Kenny Ireland and Dougie Farrer were the Scottish representatives at Buxton for the British Championship. Kenny was a non starter, and Dougie started 20th on the grid out of the 22 starters. Lowly grid positions do not always result in poor finishes though sadly this was the case as far as Dougie was concerned, but not for Ireland's Ormonde Christie (my candidate as best Hot Rod driver ever). Ormonde drove brilliantly from his 16th grid spot, quickly dealing with Barry Lee & current World & European Champion Gordon Bland. Pole sitter Jim Mensley had opened up a huge lead, but it was still not enough to stop Ormonde now with his Ford engined Triumph Vitesse (Ormonde's Spitfire having previously been banned). The Vitesse would be banned at the end of the season!
Jim Mensley held on for 2nd with Paul Grimer 3rd.
The final meeting of the season. Always the forum for the Champion of Champions event, this saw Gordon McDougall win a record three in a row of such events. Keith Jarman and Bob Jones battled it out race long, with the lead changing hands a number of times, Keith just managing to hold on by the smallest of margins. Les Kay & Kenny Ireland had a similar battle in the Hot Rods, in which Kenny Ireland eventually triumphed, it was not for the win though however as Dougie Farrer had disappeared into the distance.
The patrons were amazed to see Adam Manson appear in one of the Hot Rod events, as his car had been written off in a terrible smash the previous week, in fact Adam had been knocked out and the passenger side wheel of his car was found where the passenger seat should have been. Adam had acquired an ex Les Kay car, the fans celebrated his determination as he came home for his first win.
The Grand Prix Series continued again in 1979. While Scotland was again denied a round of the series by the NHRPA, due to the track being unsuitable for a large number of Hot Rods. Ian Bruce did represent Scotland in a number of the rounds & achieved some creditable results.
Duffy Collard won the second series.