Peter Philips (left, 2nd) Mark Gilliland (right, 1st) (click to enlarge)
XRAY drivers Mark Gilliland and Peter Philips took a 1, 2 at Sunday's Scottish Indoor GP, Dunfermline, near Edinburgh. The race was hosted by the Dunfermline District Radio Car Club and was a class event. Although there was tough resistance from the Scottish locals, Mark and Philips, both from Northern Ireland, took the top spots this year!
The Scottish Indoor Grand Prix Took Place on Sunday 13th February at Dunfermline High School, Scotland. Gathering 120 racers from all over the UK and one from Canada. With so many drivers it was a big meeting with the coveted A final positions open to anyone.
Timed practice in heat order started at 9am and as usual the early leader was Scotland’s Martin Wallace (Losi) taking the fastest time with Kevin Nicholson (Losi) and Centre point’s Gavin Clinch taking up the second and third spots in the top heat.
Qualifying started with Alan Bickerstaff (Associated) taking the top honours with an impressive time of 22 laps in 5m17.429 from Ross Kerr (Losi) and reigning champ Martin Wallace Third.
Round two was to be a good one for Northern Ireland’s BRCA 235mm IC Champion Mark Gilliland. Coming from the back of the grid in the top heat Mark soon made his way through the field leaving the rest of the drivers for dust and setting a new time of 22 laps 5m6.263 knocking fellow Irishman Alan Bickerstaff off the top spot. Coming from Heat 10, Derek Kerr set a new ftd of 22 laps 5m5.205.
Round 3 sees Mirage team driver Mark Gilliland and his highly dialled XRAY Factory Team lap the whole field in the top heat including defending champ Martin Wallace to further his lead and in dominating style further his own ftq by another lap to 23 laps 5m11.547. Mark wins the round with Kevin Nicholson and Allan O’Brien taking second and third.
By now Marks place in the coveted A final is well secured. So all he has to do in round four is make it final and try to stop anyone else improving their times. With Derek Kerr, Peter Phillips and Mark Penney all in close contention to improve their times the pressure was all on Mark. Could anyone improve?
Mark again dominates the top heat in round four but setting a slightly slower time but his round 3 time was more than enough for the Flying Irishman to take overall Tq and pole position in the A final..
A Final Grid
1 Mark Gilliland XRAY
2 Derek Kerr
3 Mark Penney
4 Martin Wallace
5 Kevin Nicholson
6 Alan Bickerstaff 7 Peter Phillips XRAY
8 Colin Leslie
9 Fraser Low
10 Allan OBrien
The A final is contested over 3 legs.
Mark made a brilliant start from pole position of the A final and within 5 laps had lapped nearly the whole field. His car was so well setup and handling perfectly nobody could even keep up with him. It was almost like his car was running on rails. Perfect lines and absolutely blistering speed down the straight meant Mark made a great start to the 3 leg final by taking a huge lead of 1 lap and 4 seconds from fellow Irishman Peter Phillips and Scotland’s Kevin Nicholson.
Again the flying Irishman got off to a blistering start and building up a gap from Derek kerr of 2.4 seconds in the first lap. Mark was able to keep his lead although being chased hard by Scotland’s Derek Kerr and his nerves getting the better of him, started to pull away a small lead of 3 seconds from Derek. This was soon ate away when defending champ Martin Wallace came from nowhere to push Mark hard and put him under a lot of pressure.
Mark never faulted during the whole race eventually keeping his lead of just over 3 seconds and winning the leg to be crowned the new Scottish Indoor Grand Prix Champion.
With the title secured Mark decided to run anyway. This time the racing was much closer with Mark being chased by the pack behind. Derek Kerr hit the front only to make a mistake and to let Mark through again and possibly onto what would be his 3rd victory in 3 legs but this was not to be. Teammate Peter Phillips was on a charge from 7th on the grid and soon caught up with the fast lapping newly crowned champion. During the final few laps Mark made a small mistake that cost him his lead temporarily and letting Peter through into first. With the title already decided the pair decided not to battle it out for the position but to build a lead up between themselves and the rest of the pack. They did this with ease and took an Xray 1-2 finish securing Peters and securing an Xray 1-2 overall result.
Mark's winning XRAY (click to enlarge)
1. Mark Gilliland XRAY
2. Peter Phillips XRAY
3. Martin Wallace
4. Derek Kerr
5. Kevin Nicolson
6. Colin Leslie
7. Alan Bickerstaff
8. Mark Penny
9. Fraser Low