2006 - Looking back on a successful season Jun 15, 2010 12:32:24 GMT
Post by Catriona on Jun 15, 2010 12:32:24 GMT
by Mike Hogg
(Originally posted 7th January 2007)
Looking back at the SMRC classes in 2006, it's hard to suggest it was anything other than a vintage year. With the addition of cctv coverage of the whole track allowing quick decisions to be made along with some efficient racedays and the usual excellent marshalling, the organisation was very good indeed and the quality of the the racing couldn't be questioned. Knockhill was as usual its fantastic self, indeed the only thing that could have been improved upon would have been the weather but to the best of our knowledge neither Knockhill or the SMRC have any direct control over that!
Those of us who were around to witness the six car birth of the first season of the Scottish Legends Championship knew we were watching something with a lot of potential, but for the series to have become as top drawer as it has is something incredible. This is mostly down to the sterling efforts of Aly Hunter and his team who have created a monster - a benevolent and very fast one mind you. The grid was down slightly on the previous year in 2006 with a number of drivers opting to step into the National UK Championship, but on average around fifteen cars could be expected at each round.
Ben Mason was again the top dog, taking the Championship by a huge margin. His racecraft was nothing short of amazing, usually scything his way to the front in short order and showing without a shadow of a doubt that he was the class of the field. Gerard McCosh continued his upward trend of great results, finishing a long way ahead of series veterans David Thorburn and Alex Knight with Lance Gauld placing fifth, quite an achievement given that he didn't run the full series.
Carol Brown really stepped up in 2006, spending more time towards the front of the field than away from it while the Hynds (Frank and Pat) weren't usually all that far away - sometimes fast, sometimes a little wild but always entertaining. Mark Lees and Andrew Donald completed the top ten in the final standings, both picking up the pace and getting involved further up the grid. Not even a bit of inter-family relations which saw the brothers-in-law park their cars atop each other in the Clark gravel at the Speedfair meeting could slow them down!
Steve Coull, Ali Thom, James Willis and Gary Crawford were more often than not around to get involved, Thom especially giving a good account of himself when the likes of Mason and Co were trying to get to the front early in the heat races while Ben's younger brother Elliot Mason made a few starts, getting faster and faster until he took his debut victory in one of the heats at the final event of the year.
The Scottish XR2 Championship enjoyed another exciting season, made all the more interesting by the fact that the established "stars" from the front of the grid of previous years had mostly moved on to pastures new. Indeed, it was a story of two newcomers when it came to the points race this year, namely Scott Fraser and Andrew Winchester.
Fraser's patchy start to the year was soon turned into very consistent results, taking six race victories from the twelve races, including the double-header events at Croft and Silverstone. His points haul in the other races was usually very impressive and it came as no surprise when this mixture of speed and consistency brought him both the Championship and the Newcomer title with a handful of races still to go.
Andrew Winchester wielded much the same speed as Fraser but in the end he suffered from a very poor start to the season which started with a heavily damaged car and only a handful of points after three rounds. On his day though he was extremely quick, taking a victory at Knockhill in August, the only real blip in the second half of the year being a no-score in the eleventh round.
Peter Cruickshank, Stewart Scott and Colin MacKinnon were next up in the points standings, Cruickshank having probably his best season to date with a number of good finishes as well as a few offs while at the front of the field. Scott took his first victory at Knockhill in April and followed it up at the next Knockhill round June to cap what was easily his best ever season. MacKinnon missed a couple of rounds but was usually well on the pace, taking a handful of podium finishes.
The rest of the top ten in the points was made up by Alistair Fraser who scored consistent points all year, Jamie Bickett who actually won the first two races of the year but missed a couple of rounds and didn't manage to get to the front for the rest of the season, David Dryburgh who scored well in the first few rounds before dropping back a little and then Derek McDougall and Charlie Cope who both showed very well in cars they run pretty much by themselves, taking some great results.
John Findlay had some very good runs in his striking red and silver car while Alistair Hall came on in leaps and bounds in the half-season he completed, winning the final round of the year after a heavy accident with Winchester and Iain Fraser, who had also had a very good partial year but would lose his car in the accident. John Turner, Ian Maughan and Charlie Thornton were consistent runners through the year and appeared in the top ten at a few races while 2005 Champion Nick Sanderson ran in three races, losing victory to an engine issue at the June event at Knockhill and taking two very close second place finishes to Scott Fraser at Croft. XR2 stalwarts Marc Baynham, Andy Allan, Ian Milton and Dave Colville all showed up on occasion.
The sixteen-round Scottish Auto Trader Mini Cooper Cup was won so convincingly by Oliver Mortimer that he didn't actually run in the last two rounds! He dominated the year, winning eight races on the way and continuing his impressive run of hatchback Championships.
The fight for second behind him was much tighter and in the end Vic Covey Jnr took it, only a few points ahead of Garry Meikle and Paul Wilson who took the Newcomer's Cup. 2005 XR2 Newcomer standout Rory Butcher was next up, scoring quite consistently on the way and only just losing out to more Newcomer's honours. Mark Dryden held off Jamie Cleland for sixth in the end and as the Knockhill lap record holder will be hoping to continue the progress up the grid he made into 2007 as the series returns to a more domestic setting after its more National jaunt in 2006.
Sandy Forrest looked to be a real challenger for top honours after the first few rounds of the year but he withdrew after half the season while Steve Mitchell scored consistant points through the year. Alex Ferguson competed in most of the year's events and took tenth in the final standings.
The Scottish Saloon and Sportscar Championship saw a bumper entry of various machinery over the year, with Richard Reed emerging with overall honours at the end of the season in his Caterham which scored consistent points all year ahead of Robert Pritchard's amazingly fast Caterham Vauxhall and John Nathan's Escort.
When broken down into the various classes, Class A was taken by Pritchard with George Brewster's equally heavily modified Caterham next up. Colin Simpson's Marcos was the only runner near them in the final points. Class B went to Alan Dean's ever-present Porsche with Peter Taddei's ever-improving Fiesta next up. Paul Luti's huge MG-ZT was classed third despite only running three races.
Class C went to John Nathan's Escort with Andrew Morrison's MG-ZR next up after running the second half of the season while Class D was all about a season long battle between the Caterhams of Bob Lyons and Peter Frith, Lyons coming out on top. Richard Reed was the only consistant Class E runner and easily took the honours.
With the Celtic Cup for Radicals only running one round in the end (won extremely well by Duncan Vincent in April at Knockhill), the non-point scoring Scottish Supersports was where the Radicals could run along with various Caterhams. Roddie Patterson took an amazing victory at the season opener in his old Prosport which was sadly badly damaged in June but he did re-appear at the last race of the year to take another two superb victories. Colin Noble, Aly Hunter and Harry Simpson all took wins while interloper wins came from Robert Pritchard's fantastic Caterham on two occasions and John Borthwick's GT Light.
Willie Hourie, Mike MacPherson and David Thorburn were regular Radical runners while George Brewster's Caterham and Colin Simpson's Marcos also made the occasional appearance.
In the non-point scoring Historic categories, Geordie Taylor won every Formula Phoenix single seater race all season with the exception of the Speedfair Trophy in July when a mechanical failure dropped him from the field, Martin O'Connell's Chevron taking the honours. While Taylor was generally a long way ahead when the races got underway Barry Smith, Andrew MacGregor, David Robertson and David Kerr were generally involved in the battles for second place which were more often than not closely tied when the chequered flag flew.Graham Brunton made a return to the track in the final race of the year, getting as close to Taylor as anyone had all year.
The Classic Sports and Saloons became renowned for the amazing race-long battles between Al Fleming in his Lotus Elan and Stan Bernard's Porsche. The two were usually inches apart all race and produced very clean and exciting battles, Fleming taking four wins to Bernard's two with Sandy Watson's visiting Chevron B19 taking the other two race wins at the Classic Speedfair meeting. Adam Bernard joined late in the series in a Porsche which was just as quick as his father's while Steven Swan's beautiful Renault Gordini, Ian Longford's Escort, Jim Grant's Elan and the quirky Lotus Europa of Olly Ross were more often than not towards the front of the pack.
To finish off - it's the ScottishClubRacing.co.uk 2006 Awards! (Be aware these are all in good humour!)
Firstly, we present the Hammer Horror Unholy Experiments award to that evil Professor Gerrard McCosh for refusing to accept the untimely end of Napoleon the pig who fell from his legend into the path of oncoming traffic at the April meeting only to reappear at the next meeting with major stitching and false bits. Did the zombie stuffed toy attempt to eat the brains of the other fluffy mascots at the Legends Racing garage?
The Spirit Of Monaco '82 award goes to the entire XR2 field in the second race of the double header meeting in March. Jamie Bickett led but went off with Colin MacKinnon taking the lead. His engine blew, ending with him upside down in a gravel trap with Marc Baynham taking the lead... and promptly spinning off into the tyre wall. With Bickett gratefully regaining the lead, the rest of the field proceeded to go off in all directions, David Dryburgh and Alastair Fraser grabbing podium finishes by being the only two cars not to leave the track!
The Gretna FC award for inhuman amounts of winning goes to Geordie Taylor who took victory in all but one of the 2006 Formula Phoenix races - fancy giving anyone else a shot?!
The Like Father Like Son award goes to Jamie Cleland, who looked a lot like his Dad as he followed inches from the car ahead with headlights blazing - wonder if he swears over the team radio as well?!
The Forti-Ford award for giving it a shot goes to Chris Grieve for bravely taking his Jaguar XK140 out of its safe home in the Classic Sports and Saloons and running in the August Saloon and Sportscar Championship race where it finished an unclassified four laps down. Top marks for giving it a go in the true underdog style.
The Waltons Family "Resistance Is Futile" award goes to the Fraser family who eased into the Scottish XR2 Championship with three entries so as not to raise suspicion but will enter no less than forty-seven cars throughout the SMRC classes in 2007 on their march to world domination.
The Delight To Despair award goes to Andrew Winchester who in only his second ever Scottish XR2 race took pole position only to have a heavily damaged car to return to the ICR pit after a major accident on the second lap of the race in March.
The Mine Is Bigger Than Yours award goes jointly to Robert Pritchard and George Brewster for their monsterous Caterhams which were generally top runners in the Sports and Saloon Car Championship, occasionally entering in the Supersports category and taking the fight to the Radicals.
The Charlie Thornton New World Exploration award goes to Chris Doherty who explored most of the sections of the track even Charlie hasn't visited yet within two laps in his amazing Escort Cosworth at the July meeting. Unfortunately the officials took a dim view of the destruction of all the floppy markers and invited him into the pits. Thornton didn't come close to taking the award named in his honour, his XR2 staying somewhat stuck to the black stuff for reasons which scientists are struggling to explain.
The Don Corleoni "Respect The Family" award goes to the brother-in-law duo Mark Lees and Andrew "Sweetieman" Donald who got somewhat closer than family members should in the July meeting at Knockhill, a missed braking point resulting in one legend mounting the other.
The Second Coming award goes to Roddy Patterson who started the year brightly with his aging Radical Prosport with a victory only to have a massive accident a couple of rounds later. Not much was left of the car but amazingly he had it back out in time for the last two Supersport races of the year. Both of which he won!