Scottish BMW Championship 2017Back to March 2018
It was the 5th season for the popular BMW Compacts. They are 3 door 1900cc T1 cars made from 1996 – 2002. They continued with a treaded tyre from Nankang. Cars are virtually standard keeping costs down.
Numbers were again down, though the racing was as competitive as ever. We noted that quite a few entries that had come from Aberdeen in 2015, hadn’t returned. We still had 20 drivers competing, with 2 of them being guests, which was also down on the previous 2 years. The average entry was just over 13 cars. The highest grid was 15 at 5 races and the lowest 12. The BMWs had 16 rounds, including two away rounds at Rockingham raceway. Top race winner was Ally Smith with 6, Gary Clark the 2016 champion got 3, then 3 drivers each won twice Lee Elrick (2017 Champion) , David McNaughton and Liam McGill, while Greig Sutherland took a win early in the season. The points scoring system which saw less of a gap between top scorers, again kept the Championship open all season. While 3 of the top 4 drivers also finished every round, and the top 6 also entered and started every race.
As we went into the final meeting in October and with 80 points available to a driver who won both races it as still all to race for. There were only 8 points between the top 2 drivers, Lee Elrick and 2016 Champion Gary Clark, but David McNaughton and Cliff Harper could also win the title if the top 2 to scored very few points. While Steven Goldie and Douglas Simpson in 5th & 6th had a mathematical chance, but the top 4 would all have to score either low or no points for them to win.
At the final meeting it was Lee Elrick who took enough points to win the title for the first time. In 16 rounds he took 2 wins, one 2nd and two 3rds, but scored well in every round. Gary Clark was runner up and had 3 wins, one 2nd and six 3rds, but had one low score of 1 point. David McNaughton took 3rd with two wins, five 2nds and two 3rds, but had two low scores of 1 point. Cliff Harper took 4th – a consistent front runner with one 2nd his only podium, but he scored well in all rounds. Douglas Simpson in 5th also had one 2nd, as did 6th placed Jake Hutchinson and they were also consistent points scorers. Steven Goldie was 7th with two 3rds his top scores though he didn’t score in 3 rounds. In 8th Ally Smith was quick with 6 race wins, and two 2nds, but he missed 6 rounds.
In BMWs there was a Driver of the Day award at Knockhill meetings. This was awarded to Frazer Huntly in April and Douglas Simpson in May. In June Ally Smith, with July’s award going to Lee Elrick. In August it was David McNaughton, as he took two fine race wins. September in went to rookie Liam McGill for his two winning drives in the rain, and finally in October Ally Smith as he won both races, making him the only driver to win the award twice, just as he did in 2016.
2017 points: 1. Lee Elrick (557) 2. Gary Clark (546) 3. David McNaughton (534)