Oulton Park Report
A day of action bathed in sunshine awaited us at Oulton Park. Despite a superb day of racing from our own championships, along with regular additions from the Porsche Club GB Championship, the day was overshadowed due to a first-lap incident in the opening MG Trophy race. Report by Leanne Fahy and pictures courtesy of Dickon Siddall.
The John Woods Motorcare MG Trophy Championship
The entire MG Trophy grid was banded with black armbands throughout the day, in memory of Andrew Martin who sadly passed away recently, following a battle with leukaemia.
An incident on the first lap of the MG Trophy race saw the race immediately stopped. As the cars ventured along Lakeside, a collision saw two drivers out of action. Gianni Picone and Adrian Wray were the drivers involved. Unfortunately, due to unavailable time, the race was not restarted.
Race two took place without drama, with Ross Makar sealing the spoils, following a fiercely entertaining adventure.
A commanding drive from the word go, Makar was the man to beat, as Colin Robertson, Graham Ross and Doug Cole tried in vein. Unable to unnerve him, the latter trio were forced to battle amongst themselves.
Robertson had looked set to claim second place, after holding the position for a number of laps. However, as remaining laps decreased, an outstanding manoeuvre into Old Hall launched Ross into second place. A move that deemed him worthy of Driver of the Race.
With just two minutes left on the clock, the chequered flag was waved earlier than expected, crowning Makar victorious, ahead of Ross, Robertson, Cole and Gary Wetton.
Fergus Campbell triumphed in Class B. Paul Luti had looked set to claim second in class, however, his chanced diminished when he came into the pits unexpectedly. Adam Jackson finished second, ahead of Jack Roberts, Ryan Firth and Tom Butler.
Class C ended with a spectacular battle, with the top three just millimetres apart. Andy Spencer was the man to beat, who won ahead of Matthew Turnbull and Paul Croker.
MGCC WES BCV8 Championship
James Wheeler just managed to steal the victory in the opening BCV8 outing, after a fierce tussle with Russell McCarthy throughout.
Wheeler led the way early on, but he was unable to defend from the determined McCarthy. With McCarthy ahead, the battle was far from over, as the pair grappled lap after lap.
As the duo raced through their final lap, a brief coming together at Lodge Corner on the final tour was enough to upset the rhythm. Separated by dust, it was Wheeler who had the better exit at Deer Leap, to take the win, ahead of McCarthy.
Ian Prior had a somewhat solitary race to third place. Ollie Neaves finished fourth, ahead of Simon Cripps, who enjoyed a busy outing, and Paul Khouri in sixth place. Simon Cripps’ efforts deemed him worthy of the prestigious Driver of the Race award.
Ian Prior emulated his Cadwell Park performance to seize race victory in the second race of the day.
The Wheeler-McCarthy battle reignited once again, with the pair each sharing the top spot. After McCarthy slipped to third place, it looked as though Wheeler would be our first double winner of the day, however, an issue on the final lap meant it was Prior who exited Deer Leap ahead, with the chequered flag unfurled in time to catch him.
McCarthy held on for second place, ahead of Ollie Neaves and Khouri. Simon Tinkler was awarded the Driver of the Race for his seventh place overall, and Class AB victory.
MGCC Peter Best Insurance MG Cup
Matthew Simpson caused a stir in the first Peter Best MG Cup outing, taking the race win in something other than an MG. After securing pole position in his Rover Tomcat, Simpson led for much of the outing, but not without a fight.
Simpson claimed the advantage from the off, to lead the way into Old Hall. Behind, Iain Dowler and Peter Burchill battled for second and third places, with Dave Nixon not far behind.
After problems earlier on, the championship leader Alan Brooke looked set to have a mountain in front of him. However, as he raced his way through the field, in true Alan style, he soon found himself leading the way.
Looking as comfortable as ever in the lead of the race, Brooke’s chances for victory were soon eradicated, when an issue with his car forced him to pull onto the grass and into retirement.
As Brooke watched from the sidelines, Simpson reclaimed his lead, to steer his Rover Tomcat to victory. Peter Burchill finished second, despite his ferocious efforts to try and steal the lead. Iain Dowler claimed third place, ahead of Nixon and James Darby.
Although Burchill narrowly missed out on a race win, our commentary team awarded him the Driver of the Race accolade.
Dowler delivered a commanding drive in the second MG Cup outing, to claim victory. Chased by the Rover Tomcat duo of Nixon and Simpson, Dowler was able to fend them off.
As the chequered flag fell, it was Dowler who grasped the win, just 0.1 seconds ahead of Nixon. Burchill again glued himself to the rear of Simpson’s Tomcat, keen to find a way passed. Hopeful of surpassing him this time around, Burchill’s persistence paid off, when he passed him for third place on the final tour.
Sadly Alan Brooke was unable to take part in this second race after problems befell him during race one.
The final Driver of the Race honour was awarded to Joshua Wright for his sterling drive against Paul Lind.
MGCC Drayton Manor Park MG Metro Cup
Jack Ashton battled brother Andrew profusely throughout the sole MG Metro Cup outing. As the pair rounded Old Hall side by side on the first lap, it was clear it would be a thrilling excursion.
The Ashton battle was made into a three-way scrap when Mike Williams hoisted himself onto the back of them.
As the trio lapped, the space between them was non-existent. With Williams harassing Andrew Ashton, Jack was eventually able to pull away, stretching to a comfortable four-second gap by the end of the race.
Andrew Ashton’s race was not as straight forward as his brother’s. As Lee Connell found his way to third place, he hounded Ashton lap after lap. As the pair exited Deer Leap for the final time, he held onto second place, just 0.200 seconds ahead of Connell, with Williams a further one second adrift. Tony Connell and Mark Eales completed the top six.
Jack Ashton’s race winning performance not only deemed him worthy of the Driver of the Race award, but also the Driver of the Day.
A commanding charge saw Tom Smith race to victory in the Equipe GTS race. Wilf Penrose had led the way from the start, but as the pit window came into play, things began to change.
In what was a shorter race due to earlier delays, Penrose held his ground for much of the first half. Chased by Smith, Penrose was forced to make way for the MGB Roadster driver, after a brief safety car period closed up the field somewhat.
With the pit stops behind them, the race was on to the chequered flag. Having expectedly dropped back due to the mandatory stops, Smith had a battle on his hands. After chasing the field, he was soon back ahead, to claim victory by over five seconds.
Penrose held on for second place, whilst Mark Ashworth held on for third place, despite immense pressure from fourth placed Simon Cripps.
A number of drivers enjoyed a sterling progression from their qualifying performance. Pete Foster steered his way to fifth place, after starting towards the rear end of the top 10. Robin Ellis and Ivan Hayward emulated a strong race, to progress from their grid slot. The shared MGB Roadster of Motor Sport Magazine Editor Nick Trott and former fellow Motor Sport Magazine journalist, Ed Foster finished 14th.
The Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship
Mark McAleer claimed victory at Oulton Park after early leader Mark Sumpter fell by the wayside.
Sumpter steered his way to top spot from the start, as he led the way around the Cheshire circuit. However, when his car suddenly slowed, due to losing gears, he was forced to give way to McAleer.
From here, McAleer managed to steer his way to a commanding victory, courtesy of an eight-second advantage. Craig Wilkins claimed second place, whilst Sumpter held on for third place, despite only having third gear by the time the chequered flag fell.
Steve Cheetham was victorious in Class 2, after another furiously entertaining battle with Jake McAleer. The pair had swapped places a number of times during the race, but it was Cheetham ahead when it counted.
Armed with a fully working gearbox Sumpter was victorious second time around, to steal victory from McAleer, after a ferocious battle.
McAleer had led the way for part of the race, however as Sumpter found a Porsche 996 sized gap alongside him, he made his way ahead.
Despite a hairy moment towards the end of the outing, Sumpter held on for the victory, ahead of McAleer and Peter Erceg. Chris Dyer and Mike Price completed Class 1. Jake McAleer triumphed in Class 2 second time out, with Cheetham runner up this time.
MGCC Cockshoot Cup
Philip Standish’s late decision to race at Oulton proved to be a wise move after a dominant drive saw him steer his MG TF LE500 to victory. Having only decided to race the previous night, he was untouchable in the race, to finish some five seconds ahead of his nearest challenger.
Peter Bramble cemented himself in second place for the duration, defending his position from Mike Peters. His strong performance for second was also enough to deserve the Driver of the Race accolade, as decided by our commentary duo.
After starting down in 12th place, Ashley Woodward had some work to do. A determined drive saw him land in fourth place, with enough time to pester Peters in third place. Despite his best efforts, Woodward remained in a strong fourth place, to win the battle of the MGZS’.
Fellow MGZS drivers, Peter Burchill and Philip Bowden completed the top six, with Burchill crossing the line sheer millimetres ahead. David Coulthard’s birthday weekend ended without celebration when his early strong performance was met with a retirement after four laps.
The battle of the ladies was won by Helen Waddington this time. Maddy Maguire was a strong performer early on, however, slipped back after seemingly struggling with an issue.
Oulton Park always delivers excellent racing, and this year was certainly no different. Despite a good day of action, we wish the drivers involved in the MG Trophy incident a speedy recovery. We hope to see you both back out for the final round at Snetterton next month.