Rob McDonald secured his first National Hot Rod World Championship at the Foxhall Heath Stadium on Sunday afternoon – becoming the first Scottish winner of the title since its introduction back in 1972.
McDonald set the benchmark lap-time on Saturday morning in the hot laps with a 14.30 second lap time, which only Southern Ireland’s David Casey could get close too.
McDonald got away well on the initial start with Casey slotting into second place before the race was halted after Winnie Holtmanns lost his door and front right wing, bringing an early end to the German’s last World Final appearance.
There was 10 minutes repair time allowed with a complete restart issued. One of the pre-race favourites John Christie was one of a few drivers to carry out some work on his car as well as Roy Anderson. Casey was another to check over a few things during this time.
McDonald perfected the second resumption of the 75-lap encounter with Casey trying to challenge the Scotsman on the much dirtier and slippery outside line.
Glenn Bell’s 2019 title challenge ended on lap two after contact with Shane Bland down the back straight spun the 2012 World Champion out of the running and put him one lap down. Gavin Murray was another driver to fall victim to the slippery outside line after spinning on turn four. Both drivers eventually retired from the race.
With just over 10 laps gone and with McDonald opening up a big advantage, three-time world champion Chris Haird made his mark – diving up the inside of Casey on turn three to grab second place and begin his assault on McDonald.
Jack Blood also saw this as an opportunity to get involved and poked his nose up the inside before Casey slammed the door shut.
Further down the grid, Bland was holding sixth position from Adam Hylands and Billy Wood – with both drivers looking eager to take the position and make their mark on the race. As the race progressed, Bland managed to pull away from them, leaving Hylands and Wood to fight it out themselves.
Hylands later hit mechanical problems letting the out-going world champion through into seventh.
Wood closed the gap to Bland in sixth and started to challenge the former European Champion for his sixth spot with just 10 laps to go. Two-time European champion Carl Waller-Barrett also joined the fray.
As Bland and Wood moved over to allow race-leader McDonald through, Waller-Barrett also saw his opportunity and nipped underneath both with an opportunistic move. Wood managed to finally overtake Bland after pursuing the trickier outside line for many laps.
At the front though, it was all about McDonald who controlled the race from start to finish, negotiating the backmarkers incredibly well and keeping Haird at bay for the majority of the race.
Casey held off the race-long challenge from Blood to grab third – although the Irish driver was left a little disappointed by the result.
European champion Jason Kew came home a respectable fifth after getting a puncture mid-way through the race.
Waller-Barrett was sixth with Wood seventh in his gracious effort at defending the title with Bland coming home eighth. Carl Sloan was docked two places after contact with Bland in the last two laps and so finished ninth with Jeff Riordan rounding out the top-10.
Eleventh was Kym Weaver with Gary Woolsey in twelfth, with Perry Cooke handling his first world final excellently making up 10 places from where he qualified, finishing 13th.
Mark Heatrick was 14th with Ivan Grayson coming home in 15th – his best ever finish in the world final to date. Paul Gomm came home in 16th in his debut world final appearance.
Dutchman John van den Bosch came home in 17th in what was his last world final appearance with National Hot Rod legend Dick Hillard completing the list of classified finishers in 18th.
Congratulations to McDonald on a fantastic drive, becoming the first ever Scottish National Hot Rod World Champion.
By Jordan Hollands.