THE weekend’s predicted heavy rain and gale-force winds played havoc with half of the September race meeting at East Fortune, when at the latest possible moment, after regularly checking Sunday’s forecast, it was decided to cancel Sunday’s racing because it was deemed too dangerous to race.

The finale of the weekend was to have been the annual Steve Hislop Trophy race, which will now be run during the opening meeting of the 2014 season, so the current holder, Roy Houston, will keep the trophy until next April.

The Melville Club rearranged the race programme to run both Scottish Championship sets of races on Saturday, and as a bonus, the riders got a further set of races to ensure they felt in some way compensated for the well-considered cancellation of Sunday.

The forecast turned out to be accurate and at no point during Sunday’s daylight hours was it considered a safe wind speed to race and the club apologises to race fans who had hoped to attend Sunday’s meeting.

Saturday’s practice, qualifying and racing took place in perfect weather conditions, with Haddington’s 600 Superstock rider Paul McClung securing pole position after just four laps with a very quick time of 1:06.9. So too did Haddington’s sidecar team David Wrinn and Stuart Clark, while Perth’s Torquil Paterson took pole in the Superbike class.

Wrinn and Clark, aboard their F1 outfit, secured both the open and club championships with their three race wins, each time by more than seven seconds. Having had a commanding lead throughout all of their races from the following F2 sidecar team of Phil Bell and Tony Belsey, they were able to roll off in the last couple of laps to preserve their engine. The only real battle was between young Kenny Andrews and returning driver Hugh Ducat with passenger Iain Souter, who had never been on a sidecar before; they were using the late Andrew Couper’s outfit.

Current 600 Superstock Championship leader McClung’s first race was for Scottish points and he was up against strong competition with Bryan Duncanson and the returning Paul Wishart. Race one was very close throughout all 10 laps, with McClung maintaining his lead over Wishart. On the approach to the chequered flag, McClung and Wishart had a hard fight into the last chicane to reach the chequered flag, both either side of a back-marker, with McClung collecting the win and 25 points with a sideways finish over the line.

Race two, also for Scottish points, didn’t provide a very good start for McClung, who was sitting in fourth place coming into the hairpin on the second lap, when he was T-boned along with another two bikes, so his race was over, but thankfully there were no major injuries for any of the riders.

McClung’s bike was repaired in time for the six-lap dash Melville Club race, in which he was leading until an incident caused a red-flag to be waved. The race was restarted but then soon abandoned, after yet another incident in the opening lap caused time to run short for the 6pm circuit curfew. McClung, currently sitting at the top of the Superstock Championship, leads Bryan Duncanson by 40 points, so with 50 points still available, the winner will be decided later in the month at Knockhill in Fife.

After the first of three Superbike races, all won decisively by Paterson, his first win secured yet another Scottish Championship title for the Perth racer, who currently leads Roy Houston by 88 points, and with only 50 available points in the final rounds at Knockhill, Paterson cannot be beaten.

Tranent’s Bryan Campbell, 96 points adrift of Houston, is lying third in the Championship closely followed by Donald MacFadyen, who is just six points behind Campbell, so the last two rounds will determine which rider will finish in third.

In the Scottish Lightweights’ class, Gifford’s Lewis Rollo was three times runner-up to Craig Shirlaw and with sufficient points, Rollo secured the Melville Club and Open Championship titles, but, like McClung, Rollo still has two more rounds at Knockhill in which to secure the Scottish title.

Thanks went to the marshals who stand trackside all day in all winds and weathers to ensure racing can take place, as well as to David Paton Snr, Melville Club chairman, and the team of volunteers who turn out on many weekends over the winter to carry out track improvements, and Diana Dyce, the club secretary, who puts in many hours of her own time to organise the admin side of the meetings.