After showers on the trip North the first of the two Scottish events got underway under blue skies. A select band of sprinters were part of a mixed day of events that included four races, Super Lap Scotland and a drifting demonstration. During practice we ‘lost’ Jim Belt when the Juno went off song and he retired rather than risk damaging the engine.
In the first of the qualifying runs it was all going to plan until Heather Calder made a poor start and then spun off at Butchers. We were back to normality on the second qualifier with Heather back in second place but this time behind Terry Holmes. Colin Calder chose to sit out the second qualifier as his first run time was over two seconds inside the old record and dominated the qualifiers. Several competitors were slower on their second attempts possibly due to the increased temperatures. Top two litre was Mark Smith who was also over two seconds inside the old record and had co-driver Craig Sampson breathing down his neck. Glyn Sketchley just broke the class record for the 1600s and out qualified Gary Thomas who was also inside the record with Bill Gouldthorpe third. Louise Calder was the fastest 1100 by some margin and only just failed to match the existing record for her class. Paul Horrox was making his first trip to Knockhill and only had a handful of outings under his belt in his Honda powered Juno but was the top Sports Libre breaking the record on successive runs and finishing ten seconds clear of Angus Buchan’s Radical. Chris Bennett was the solo FF1600 present and he finished 2 seconds adrift from the record. The Tin-tops had a great battle which saw William Jarman lead initially however on the second runs Colin Metcalfe put his practice rotations behind him and came through to claim the ‘class’ win from Jarman whose co-driver Angela Jones who was getting closer to William’s times throughout the day. So all was set for the first Top 12 of the week-end.
Bill Gouldthorpe led the way and set the benchmark with a steady run just outside his qualifying time. Gary Thomas was next and he was again inside the old 1600 record. John Graham was next and a half spin dropped him back down the order. Next was Craig Sampson and the engine builder was another to get inside his respective class record time. The first of the V8s was next to the line in the shape of Graham Porrett. The garagiste improved on his qualifying time but only just and started to slip down the order. Next to the line was Heather Calder. No problems with the start on this occasion and a good steady run took her into the lead at that point.
Glyn Sketchley was next up and he was another to half spin but rather than carry on aborted his run. Steve Miles was next and as per usual our Inspector Gadget stepped up a gear improving on his Q-time by over a second. Mike Musson then brought his Pilbeam to the line and was swiftly into his stride. Everything went well for once and Musson blasted over the finishing line slotting neatly into second place behind Heather Calder. The top two litre man was next and Mark Smith was second fastest to the Intermediate split however the long drag up Stewart Straight meant he would slip into third behind Mike Musson. Terry Holmes was next away and he nailed his first lap being quickest to the split and then moved over a second clear of Heather Calder. Last runner was Colin Calder he once again went sub 90 and take the lead. His run to the intermediate split was near perfect and he was over a second clear of Holmes at that point. On the full lap he did extend his lead but only by an additional half a second.
Bill Gouldthorpe led off the second set of runs and as he left the line a big black cloud started to move towards the circuit. Bill was slower on his run to the split than earlier but picked up the pace to clip over a second off his first run time – it would be good enough for tenth and three well-earned points. Gary Thomas chose to sit out the second run and rely on his first run time. This would see him finish eighth and collect 6 points. John Graham was next and after his problem on his first run decided not to push too hard. He failed to beat his Q-time but would finish eleventh. Craig Sampson then put in a cracking run and posted his best time of the day going ahead of team leader Mark Smith in the process. Graham Porrett then posted his best time of the day which failed to elevate him any further up the order. Next it was the big orange Gould with the diminutive Heather Calder behind the wheel. This time the start was spot-on and through the early corners she was pushing hard. At the split she was just 0.15 down on her father’s leading time and her form over the flying lap had been stunning so far. On this occasion it was superb. Heather seemed to hit every apex just right and looked super smooth. Exiting the Hairpin and blasting over the line she stopped the clocks at 88.51 – a new outright course record but more importantly it propelled her into the lead.
That big black cloud was still moving towards the circuit as Glyn Sketchley lined up. On the green light he engaged gear and dumped the clutch. The car shuddered off the line and stopped. As all four wheels had crossed the line Glyn quickly restarted the Suzuki and drove round slowly to (a) get a time, but more importantly (b) earn a single point for twelfth place. Meanwhile on the line Steve Miles was overheating (as was the Van Diemen) because the black cloud was now depositing rain. Steve then got the green light and was off. His run to the split was faster by 0.18 and as he dropped down Duffus he suddenly lost it and spun to a halt. Mike Musson was next once the errant Super Mole had been recovered and he aborted after his out lap due to the rain now making the track very slippery. Mark Smith did take his run but in the wet he was off his earlier pace and had to settle for sixth place. Terry Holmes then decided to take his run on the basis off “who dares wins”. His out lap lasted only as far as Scotsman where he buried the Lola in the gravel trap. With Heather in the lead and his closest rival in the championship behind him Colin Calder opted out of his second run and settled for second place. Under the conditions I doubt he could have got close to the leading time but it also meant that history had been made. Heather Calder became only the second woman to win a British Sprint Championship round – the last being the great Patsy Burt back in 1970 when she became the Inaugural British Sprint Champion.