BEAUTIFUL NOISES IN THE PARK
Craig Brookfield has a very successful day at Oulton with two XR wins. Photo: www.bournephoto.co.uk
There were some beautiful noises to be heard – and sights to be seen – when the BRSCC’s Northern Western Centre took charge at Oulton Park on Saturday 23rd May as Ferraris and Alfa Romeos were part of the 10 race programme on the International Circuit. They made a glorious sound through the Cheshire Circuit’s sweeping corners.
In the opening Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic encounter, pole man Gary Culvert retired in the pits after a slow opening lap. This meant James Cartwright took a comfortable victory ahead of Chris Butler. All the excitement was centred on the quartet who were fighting for the final place on the podium. This went to Tim Walker from Darren Wilson after Pete Fisk spun at Old Hall and then Nick Cartwright (father of the winner) did the same at Hislops. The finishing order for the first four was the same later in the day although the winning margin was much less as N. Cartwright protected his brakes.
After Roger Evans and James Nicholls both succumbed to engine failure at Old Hall, the red flags were brought out to bring the single round of the Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship to an early conclusion. There was a large amount of oil close to the apex of the corner and officials were concerned about further drivers losing control and hitting the stricken cars. A great start by Evans meant he was the early leader before he was demoted by Graham Seager who pulled away until the premature ending. Andy Robinson and Bryan Shrubb joined him on the podium. Ray Foley took the Power Trophy class win and Paul Plant was the first driver home in the new Twin Spark class.
The arrival of the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championship was eagerly awaited at Oulton Park given that the circuit is a real hotbed for the category. The first of the two thrashes also counted towards the Northern series and attracted such a large entry that separate races were required for the Post 89 and Pre 90 classes. In the newer cars, Canadian Patrick Dussault recorded a brace of victories although Luke Williams had a healthy advantage in the first encounter until he suffered an electrical failure. Jonny McMullan had to take avoiding action at Island Bend when David McArthur lost control while both were running at the front enabling Chris Middlehurst and Doug Crosbie to take second and third. McMullan and Williams took these places later in the day having featured towards the front of a 7 car train which formed after the Safety Car period that was triggered when McArthur was again pushed into a spin at Island, on this occasion Jake Byrne was caught up in the resulting incident.
Jamie Jardine looked set to extend his Pre 90 National Championship advantage as he kept Calum McHale at bay but his engine developed a misfire and he slipped down the order to tenth as McHale took the flag ahead of Jaap Blijleven and Andrew Thomas. Jardine was unable to take part in the National-only event during the course of which McHale too suffered misfortune and was a pitlane retirement meaning the first three in this class were Matthew Cowley, Michael Beaver and Tom Brown.
Steve Poole was out in front at the end of lap 1 of the first XR Challenge but he was then demoted by Craig Brookfield and Ralph Fernihough. An incident at Lodge between the latter and the initial leader resulted in Poole’s driveshaft being pulled out of its housing, causing a small fire to develop when oil poured onto the hot exhaust system. Following a brief Safety Car period to enable the marshals to attend to this problem, Brookfield went on to win from Mark Buxton and Michael Heath. At the first corner in race 2, Buxton spun following contact with Fernihough allowing Brookfield to take win number two unchallenged. Poole stormed through the field from the back of the grid to claim the runner-up spot with Fernihough third. George Orr was the first across the line of the Scottish Fiesta contingent in both races. Kevin Whyte and Peter Cruickshank completed the podium for the first race. Wayne MacAulay took P2 in the second race demoting Kevin Whyte to third.
The first ever events in the Caterham Open Series saw two fine races. Both had a similar theme with Philip Jenkins establishing an early advantage only for James Needham to reel him in and go away with the spoils. Robert Cooper was third in the inaugural encounter but demoted Jenkins to annex second later in the day.