SMRC Round 2 Review

10 October, Knockhill

The second SMRC race meeting of the year had a good entry, changeable but mainly dry weather and some surprises. The shortened programme was run on Saturday afternoon. Due to Covid-19, there was a limitation on the amount of people allowed on site but Knockhill were able to let 200 spectators into the venue for this event, which was good. Once again 8 races were run for 4 championships. The track conditions seemed to be very good, as several lap records were set.

Scottish Fiesta ST Cup supported by Yokohama Tyres

Steven Gray dominates race 1, then there’s a twist in the tail in race 2

Race 1 – Steven Gray dominated this race from pole. He was 2 seconds clear by lap 2 as Dave Colville who has been racing Fiestas for over a decade, took 2nd from guest Liam McGill. Gray continued to pull away but Colville had McGill close until lap 8, when he finally eased a second clear but McGill still held 3rd to the flag.  After a fast start Lorn Murray held 4th but was demoted on lap 2 by Simon Smail followed by veteran Peter Cruickshank at MacIntyres. These two ran around a second apart all race as Jonathan O’Neill moved into 6th on lap 5. Andrew Elliot got up to 7th by lap 6 having dropped to 11th on lap 2. There were 6 challenge class cars (slightly lower suspension spec, though the same engine power) in the 13 car field, as Fiesta ST numbers are growing. Top challenge car was Liam McGill in 3rd. Gray set a new lap record for STs as he finished over 3 seconds ahead.

Steven Gray

Race 2 – Dave Colville made the better start and led at Duffus the first corner. Steven Gray was close behind but he dropped to 3rd as lap 1 ended being outbraked by Simon Smail at the hairpin. Gray retook the place as they raced up the hill to start lap 2. He was soon on Colville’s boot lid with Liam McGill right with him. Smail had dropped to 4th, so 3 cars disputed the lead as Smail had dropped back a second and had Jonathan O’Neill and Peter Cruickshank in pursuit. The top 3 were treated to a class in how to defend by Dave Colville, who would open out a car or two length lead by the time they got to Macinytres, only for Gray to be all over him as they came through the chicane forcing Colville to defend at Clark and the hairpin. It was a game of cat and mouse. On lap 11 Colville got a second clear as Gray was passed by McGill going up the hill. But a lap later which was their last, they were all close again, and then disaster for Colville at the final corner, the hairpin. He led but was tapped by McGill and half spun, but kept going. This let Gray nip past both Colville and McGill and take his second win of the day. Colville got home 2nd with McGill 3rd. Into 4th came Peter Cruickshank who was quite racy and had moved from 6th on lap 8, passing O’Neill, then with a smart dive up the inside at Clark he took 4th from Smail on lap 10. Smail then lost 5th to O’Neill but regained it on the final lap at Macintyres. In 7th a second back was Duncan Langton, who held off non stop pressure from Andrew Elliot from mid distance. They finished nose to tail. It had been a good race, but with a  twist in the tail, as post race both Gray and McGill received penalties, and Dave Colville was named race winner. McGill was 2nd and Gray 3rd.

SMTA Scottish Citroen C1 Cup

Biggest grids of the day, race 1 stopped with 3 cars off the road, and two different race winners following non-stop action.

Race 1- The first start saw polesitter Ross Dunn lead from James McCracken as 8 cars ran nose to tail at the front. On lap 2 Tom Denham slid across the grass at Macintyres he was around 10th after qualifying 12th. He regained the track in the middle of everyone and finished up sliding into the tyre barrier and rolled onto its roof and perched on the tyrewall. Two other cars followed him into the gravel so the race was stopped. All the drivers were okay. Red flags stopped the race. So 20 minutes later we had a restart. Ross Dunn led again from James McCracken and Dan Martin. These three got clear by lap 2 as 8 cars scrapped closely behind them. This group was led by Colin Mann from lap 2 until lap 7 when early 4th placed man, defending champion Findlay Brunton, took over in 4th but now over 3 seconds down on the top 3. He closed right up onto Martin’s bumper half way round the final lap. Colin Mann took 5th easing away from guest Paul Luti who was driving well, but he lost 6th on the final lap to last years’ runner up Ryan Smith, who dived past him at MacIntyres. The race winner Dunn was under a second ahead at the end, but Ross Dunn had now won 2 of the first 3 races in this years cup, and he set a new lap record.

Race 2- James McCracken outdragged Ross Dunn to lead on lap 1, but Dunn took over at the front on lap 2 passing him at the hairpin. But he didn’t get away as McCracken stuck to him. They swapped places again on lap 6, with McCracken holding off Dunn to record his first win of the year in a close finish. They had Dan Martin for company as he stayed close, never more than a few car lengths back all race. Finlay Brunton had run 4th then 5th before going back to 4th by lap 5, which is where he stayed. He got onto Martin’s bumper on lap 9 but didn’t find a way past.  Paul Luti was again up with the quick drivers in 5th for much of the race, after demoting Colin Martin on lap 5 as they went up the hill.  Ryan Smith took 6th on lap 6 and chased Luti as they finished close together. Colin Mann went off on the last lap at Butchers when 7th heading a 3 car train, letting Kieren Preedy through.

James McCracken

Celtic Speed Scottish Mini Cooper Cup +  R53 Cooper S Cup supported by Yokohama Tyres

Two Mini Cooper S cars dominate on track with their extra power, as the Cooper Cup provides lots of close racing action. Two double class wins and a new race winner were the result.

Race 1 – At the front poleman Jamie Blake raced away in his Cooper S into a few seconds lead by lap 3, but from the back of the grid the other Cooper S of Adam Morrison was on a charge. He had only completed a lap in qualifying, but soon made up for this. As lap 3 started he had got into 2nd passing the 9 Cooper Cup cars. He had been right behind top Cooper Robbie Dalgleish by the bridge as lap 2 started such was his progress. Adam then hunted down Jamie. By lap 6 he had caught him and the two leaders went side by side up the hill and Adam out-braked Jamie at Duffus to lead. He didn’t pull away as Jamie sat on his tail a few car lengths back. Lap 9 saw Adam twitch as he exited the chicane these two at the front were trying hard. At the flag 3 laps later they were only a few metres apart. In the Cooper Cup Robbie Dalgleish ran 3rd on track and  carried on leading all the way, easing a couple of seconds clear, as 4 cars fought over 2nd in the Cup. Right behind him newcomer Chad Little held off former champion Mark Geraghty who was tied to his bumper for 12 laps. Daniel Patterson stayed with them until mid distance, then drifted a couple of seconds back before a late charge took him back close to the squabbling duo. Tom Porter had been 5th in the Cup and 7th on the road for 3 laps before Neil Hose demoted him, and held onto the place though they were only around a second apart on track. We had a new race winner with Morrison, and Dalgleish took his 3rd win in a row in the Cooper Cup.

Robbie Dalgleish

Race 2 – Jamie Blake beat Adam Morrison in a Cooper S dash to Duffus, but they entered the corner side by side and Morrison was leading 100 meters later by Macintyres. He then blasted away into a second lead before the safety car came out on lap 4, as a car was in the hairpin gravel trap.  Blake was 2nd with Dalgleish around 5 seconds back under lots of pressure as he led the Cooper Cup from Geraghty and Little with 6 cars nose to tail at the front of the Cooper Cup, fighting over 3rd on the road. When racing resumed we had suffered a slight rain shower. The Cooper S cars were on slicks so it would be interesting, whereas the Cooper cars run treaded Yokohama’s. Morrison opened out a 5 seconds lead in 2 laps. More light rain fell on lap 8 and by now Morrison was 10 seconds ahead of novice Blake in the other Cooper S. On the penultimate lap Blake had a real slide going sideways at Clark so he wasn’t easing up! But into 2nd overall was Robbie Dalgleish. Jamie Blake had retired the Cooper S on lap 5 at the hairpin trioval road. Dalgleish had Mark Geraghty close all race, and these two were shadowed a second back by Chad Little. He got a few seconds clear of a race long battle between Neil Hose and Daniel Patterson. Hose kept ahead until the last but one lap, when Patterson finally got past only to lose the place back on the final lap. The leading Cooper cars had a back marker tangled up with them over the last two laps which didn’t help the 3 leading Cooper Cup cars. Dalgleish the defending champion took the Cooper Cup honours again by just over a second, that’s 4 wins from 4 starts.

Scottish Classic Sports and Saloon Championship

Big grids with V8s dominating, as the big Rover SD1 saloon beats all the sportscars.

Race 1 –  John Kinmond was in fine form in his big V8 engined Rover SD1, and led all the way despite plenty of pressure from guest David Brown in a V8 TVR Griffith from the early 90s. These two were over a second apart after 3 laps, but Brown closed the gap over the closing laps, as they finished less than a second apart. They pulled well clear of two Triumph TR8 sportscars which are also V8 Rover powered. The TR8s ran nose to tail all race, after they both demoted the fast starting Porsche 911 of Adam Bernard by lap 3. Shonny Paterson held 3rd until lap 11, when Andrew Graham got past him and opened up around a second gap by the flag. Bernard held a steady 5th in the Porsche, untroubled by the scrap well behind him, as Champion Bruce Mitchell in his Lotus Europa held off the big Mustang of guest Scott Brenan until mid distance, then American power prevailed and the Mustang surged past. Mitchell held on and repassed the muscle car on lap 10 at Clark corner as Brennan ran wide,  but next time round he had been repassed by Brennan  and that’s how they finished in 6th and 7th. Alasdair Coates green Mark 1 Escort was next . He’d run behind a spirited dice, as Jimmy Crow’s Escort held off Alastair Baptie’s Fiat X1/9 sportscar. Crow spun at the exit of Clark on lap 8 delaying Baptie, so Coates swept past them and took 8th, followed by Craig Houston in an MGB GT V8. Baptie was next on the road and won class A.

Race 2 –  John Kinmond again led all the way to record another fine win. Unfortunately David Brown’s Griffith started slowly and retired on lap 1. But a safety car had to come out so the Griffith could be removed from Macinytres. This bunched them up, but Kinmond simply powered away despite the two TR8s chasing him. He was 3 seconds clear within 3 laps and then maintained the gap. Shonny Paterson held 2nd with Andrew Graham dropping back to 4th behind Adam Bernard’s 911, then he passed Adam and set off after Shonny, who was a couple of seconds clear. On lap 5 the safety car was out again this time for 3 laps as the little Austin A30 saloon of guest Bruce McWhirter was on its roof at the exit of the chicane, but off the racing line. The driver was okay. So the marshals did a great job getting it back on its wheels and recovered to the paddock. It was then towed home looking not too bad, they built them tough in the 50s! He had been going quite well near the back behind the spirited MX5 scrap featuring the MacGreggors.   When racing resumed Kinmond led the racers home. The TR8s scrapped as Shonny Paterson had over a second gap on Andrew Graham. But Graham caught Paterson late on and took 2nd on the final lap, holding on by less than a second at the line.  Adam Bernard finished a few seconds back in 4th. He was well ahead of a race long scrap between Bruce Mitchell’s Europa and class rival Alasdair Coates Escort. The Europa triumphed again. The big Mustang of Scott Brenan was next, around a second back as he eased away from Baptie’s fast Fiat which won class A again. Craig Houston was not far behind, 9th in the MGB GT V8.

John Kinmond

Kevin Pick