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|
|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||John Baird||248||Allan Ross|
|74||Ian Stewart||138||Marshall Hill||290||N/A|
|77||Alex Camber||139||David Baird||330||Robert Bruce|
|80||John Jackson||144||Melvyn Henry|
|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|
|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|
Hot Rods 24 cars
|9||Brian Leckie||150||Jimmy Blair|
|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|
The points awarded for the 1980 season were as follows:-
|Saloon Stocks||Superstox||Hot Rods|
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
1980 SUPERSTOX POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP
No records of where roof colour changes.
Note no official records available, points are therefore available from personal data.
|5th||175||Eric Brown Jnr||362|
|11th||100||George MacMillan Jnr||199|
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|
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|
UK Challenge Cup - Did Not Take Place Cock of the North - 2nd November
1980 Race Winners
|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
|4th||175||Eric Brown Jnr||3|
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.
Ominously in April (for the Superstox), their numbers were exceeded by the Hot Rods.
Gordon McDougall dominated the mid April "Stewards Cup" meeting taking both heats and final.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
For some reason the UK Challenge Cup for Superstox did not happen in 1980.
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.
1980 SALOON STOCK POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP
No record of where roof colour changes
Note no official records available, points are therefore from personal records
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|
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|
The most wins in 1980 were as follows:-
|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|
Meeting Top Points Scorers:-
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Only 8 Saloon Stock cars turned up for the Armadale meeting on the 8th August.
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!
Reigning British and Open Scottish Champion Keith Jarman won the final at the July Spede Weekend at Ipswich - the Britannia Cup.
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.
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.
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. Des had been a Saloon Stock driver for a long time, in fact you can find him as a 17 year old sporting the 181 number at Motherwell in 1971. Des used to tow his Stock Car to the track 5 miles away (without a trailer!). John Burns came up and congratulated Des after the race wins "a true gent" declared Des.
The inspiration to give the Capri a go came from the Super Rods, so when an accident damaged car became available, Des set to work to produce the handsome car you see here. The shortened bodywork was not a copy of the Robert Bruce & Donald Laird Capri's but simply because the front had been badly smashed up - so it was easier to cut it off! This was Des's first run at Cowdie since 1973 & it was entirely successful. I believe Des could easily have gone on to to be a consistent star driver, unfortunately Thatcher's destruction of Scotland's economy had a particularly bad impact on Des in the 80's & that put paid to a very promising Stock Car Career.
Notwithstanding this brilliant display by Des it was however 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.
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!
Hot Rod Points Championship
No record of where roof colour changes.
Note no official points records available, chart is therefore from personal data.
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|
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|
Most wins in 1980
|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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.