PATERSON WINS AS SPORTS AND SALOONS SHINE
Although Roddie Paterson took two dominant victories, the Scottish Saloons and Sportscar races provided some of the best action with intensely close battles for the remaining podium positions.
In race one, Paul Brydon took up the chase in the early lap although he was delayed by a spin for Alastair Mcmillan and had to take avoiding action. This allowed Finlay Crocker to put his new Honda Civic TCR into second place but he soon had to fend off the attentions of Colin Simpson before a spin for the Marcos Mantis driver. It was left to Brydon to hunt down the Civic and he made a bold move at Duffus on lap seven, which secured second place.
Brydon’s form faded in race two and it was Crocker who provided the late-race drama after another frantic battle behind leader Paterson. Crocker made a late lunge on the last corner against Simpson and survived a drag race to take the runner-up spot by a tenth of a second.
Standings leader Gary Clark extended his advantage in the Scottish BMW Championship with two dominant wins. His nearest rival, David Mcnaughton, had a difficult day which led to him dropping down the order with time penalties in race one for exceeding track limits, but these were later rescinded, lessening the damage to his points tally. Lee Elrick resisted the pressure of a five-car train behind him and held a well deserved second place after a race-long battle. While Clark was edging away at the front, Mcnaughton drove a measured race to score valuable points for second in race two. The race was red flagged after a violent crash for Colin Gillespie, who went off at high speed on the main straight but thankfully emerged unscathed.
Despite starting on pole position for Mini Cooper race one, Malcolm Mcnab was left with little to cheer about on a weekend where he looked set to seize the initiative in the championship standings. Although Mcnab led the opening lap, his car slowed on the exit of the chicane with a gearbox problem. This left Morgan Murray to fend off Ian Munro and take the win. Race two started in a similar vein but Munro’s chances were quickly spoiled by a loose bonnet which flipped up and necessitated repairs.
Newcomer Robbie Dalgleish could not keep pace with Murray but found himself in an exciting battle with Paul Bell, who snatched second after a safety car restart. The top eight were reversed for race three which promoted Hannah Chapman to pole. Realising the opportunity, she pulled consistently away from Dylan O’donnell and controlled the race to take her first win. Bell provided some late drama after winning a drag race with rookie Walsh for third. Mcnab salvaged vital points with fifth place after his race one setback.
Neil Maclennan moved further ahead in the Formula Ford standings with two wins although the highlight of the weekend came from Sebastian Melrose, who celebrated third in race two after a race-long battle between four cars.
Kevin Whyte continued his winning form and took both Fiesta wins while Steven Gray had the measure of XR2 rival Jim Deans in both races.
After a torrid weekend at the last meeting, reigning champion John Paterson scored a hat-trick of wins to recover lost ground in the Legends championship.
Harry Simpson took a win in the second Classics race after some exciting racing with race one winner Tommy Gilmartin.
Anton Savage was the first winner in a trio of Formula Sheane races. He led race one until it was red flagged. He then trailed Kevin Sheane at the restart until the exit of Rocket on lap four. Brian Hearty retook David Parks for third on the last lap after a number of earlier exchanges.
A trip across the kerbs at the end of the opening lap dislodged Savage’s nosecone and meant he lost his early race-two lead. Sheane led from thereon, with Parks just holding off Hearty for second, having edged ahead from Rocket on lap 10.
A reverse grid spiced things up for the finale. Poleman Charlie Linnane made a first-lap break as the rest fought for second. Chris Mccabe had just hit the front on lap three and pulled clear until he went off at the Corkscrew. That brought out the safety car and handed the win back to Linnane, with Parks, Niall O’flynn and Robbie Allen line astern behind.
John Mickel won both of Saturday’s Legends heats, taking the lead in the first on the second lap and aided by Ben Power spinning out of second place, leaving Robert King and Connor Mills to complete the top three.
Mills led heat two initially but lost out to Mickel on lap five and Power with three laps to go. They took the flag 0.663s apart. In the final, Robert King spun away his second place at the Corkscrew, having lost out to Power into the Banking Hairpin on lap two. Power held on for the remaining laps with Mickel a closing second and Mills a distant third.
Power made the decisive move on King cresting Rocket for the sixth time to take victory in the first of Sunday’s heats, with Paul Simmons and Rickie Leggatt nose to tail for second after Nathan Anthony spun.
Mickel led the second heat from Rocket on the opening lap, with Power losing out to Mills too. As Mickel’s lead grew, Power struggled to repass Mills, but finally reclaimed second a lap from home.
Having eased himself clear on the opening lap of Sunday’s final it was an easy win for Mickel as five cars fell over themselves for second. Power finally claimed the place a lap from home, with Mills, Simmons and Leggatt line astern.
Greg Speight was unbeatable in the first two XR Challenge races. He led the first from lights-to-flag with Robert Clapton and Steve Poole nose-to-tail for second and third for the entire race.
In the second race, Speight’s domination was just about to come under threat from Michael Heath on the third lap when the latter’s engine blew. Poole reclaimed second place while Lee Bowron’s XR3I took third from Clapton out of the final corner.
Heath was back for the finale and broke Speight’s domination with a clear win from the very back, while Poole completed the podium places.
Jackie Cochrane’s Sunbeam Tiger won both HRCA Ireland races and, after winning the first CNC Heads Sports Saloon race from Paul Rose’s Saker, Rose took the second win after an early duel with Joe Spencer’s Locosaki.
Paterson took twin victories
Clark took the BMW spoils
Kevin Sheane won race two