The BRSCC’s North Western Centre enjoyed its first day of racing of 2024 this past Saturday, as the Fun Cup Endurance Championship headlined an excellent programme of races, with saloons and single seaters also providing much entertainment throughout. Even though racing was curtailed at the end of the day due a massive sudden rain storm, there was no dampening of anyone’s enjoyment!

After plenty of hard work over the past 12 months, the Fun Cup Endurance Championship landed at Oulton Park for its season opener with five former champion teams and top drivers such as Johnny Mowlem and Scott Mansell in the line-up. PLR Racing were drawn on pole position alongside Skull Club Racing, with defending champions Team Olympian GRD starting last by default.

From the outset, a six car group quickly pulled away out in front, with PLR, Skull Club, MJ Tech and Morpheus Motorsport all taking turns in the lead throughout the opening stints. Morpheus and MJ Tech quickly broke away in their own private battle but the latter (Will Abraham/ Scott Jeffs) was clear by some ten seconds when the first pit window opened.

The gap between the top two stayed at around 15 seconds once the first stops shook out, and MJ Tech continued to extend their advantage as the race ticked on. Both Morpheus and MJ Tech also copped stop go penalties for track limits, and remained in the same order afterwards. Just shy of half distance, the safety car was called minutes before the third pit window opened, and radio problems coupled with getting caught in the queue straight away scuppered Morpheus’ chances of victory as they were left a lap behind.

This now put MJ Tech in something of an unassailable lead for the remainder of the race, but the four hour encounter wouldn’t end up reaching its full conclusion. Mere minutes from the flag, a sudden and inclement heavy rain storm severely saturated Oulton Park, catching the drivers by surprise and even leading to some cars skating off the road. This led to the race’s stoppage with three minutes to go, confirming MJ Tech’s Will Abraham and Scott Jeffs as first time race winners after a number of seasons trying. 

Team Olympian’s Simon Rudd, Riley Phillips and Chris Dovell took second as defending champs, while UVio/ Hofmann’s Motorsport’s “Farquini” and “Fabulous Randaccio” survived a late race off while battling with GCI Racing which led to the latter getting beached in the gravel with minutes to go.

Oulton Park also marked the opening rounds of the new season for the Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup, and a familiar surname ended up on pole position. It was a Doble that took pole, Joseph to be exact, fastest in qualifying by a staggering 1.4 seconds, and this set the tone for the rest of the day ahead. Race one was something of a formality as he led from pole position, resisted early pressure from second placed Connor Grady and ended up driving away to claim his first Compact Cup win to kickstart his season in fine form. Grady was also a first time podium visitor on his championship debut, and Ross Stoner took one of his best results to date with third place too.

A fast start from defending champion Gareth Claydon managed to get a grand start from fourth on the grid for race two to go second by Shell Oils Hairpin in a bid to chase after leader Joe Doble. Wasting no time in gapping the rest while they squabbled for second place downwards, Doble was a man on a mission as he cantered away out in front, and managed to extend an even bigger advantage in another lights to flag. Joe completed two wins from two by over four seconds this time, with Claydon holding second and Stoner in third, holding off a last lap battle between Grady and Mike Doble.

The second Super Classic Pre ‘99 Formula Ford 1600 Championship race day of the season produced another varied and well supported grid, as defending Champion of Oulton driver Richard Freye proved he had the measure of everyone else on the Cheshire circuit. From pole in qualifying to a dominant run to victory in race one, he was untouchable during the morning race, positively streaking away to clinch his first win of the season by just under six seconds ahead of Paul Mason and Jake Shortland in the top Super Classic C class car.

Freye’s efforts in the second race didn’t allow him to get away from his pursuers as well as he did earlier in the day. He was kept honest throughout the entire 15 minutes by Mason in second, while Shortland, Chris Stones and Peter Daly were all in that early leading pack before they settled for third to fifth respectively. As for Freye, he managed to hold on to claim the double, but only by 1.7 seconds this time with Mason in P2. Freye, Stones, Shortland and Oliver Buckton were all respective Super Classic class winners across both races.

There were mixed conditions and fortunes in the two Modified Ford Series races, with the first starting under rapidly falling rain and a changing track surface. Jim Hutchinson took the lead at the start from Piers Grange before the latter’s Mk2 Escort fishtailed its way down the pit straight and eventually into the Old Hall gravel trap. After a lengthy neutralisation, the short restart allowed Hutchinson’s beautiful green and gold Mk1 Escort RSR to claim a win ahead of Tom Ovenden’s red example, with James Allen’s Focus rounding off the top three.

Later in the afternoon on a now dry circuit, an early but shorter safety car kept the pack close together in the opening minutes, but when it did get going it was another chance for Hutchinson to stretch the legs of the Escort once more. On the restart, Hutchinson took Ovenden with him, but young Tom wasn’t able to find a way past for the remainder of the race, leaving Jim to pick up his second win in as many races with Ovenden staying in P2. A storming drive from the back from Piers Grange saw him collect the final step on the overall podium with third.

Written by Scott Woodwiss


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