CATERHAMS CALLING THE SHOTS AT OULTON
This is a common sight in Caterham racing – nose to tail all the way! Photo – SnappyRacers
For those who like their racing full of sportscars that are small, twitchy and tons of fun, then there’s only one place you need to head this Saturday. Caterham Motorsport will be calling the shots at Oulton Park in Cheshire this weekend, with all of their championships out in force competing for glory.
Starting from the entry level series for those gaining a foothold in racing, the GQ Caterham Academy and the subsequent championships provides one of the most professional and structured methods of becoming a racing driver for those with no previous race experience. With sell-out grids, the entries are often so many that the Academy “class” so to speak has to be divided into two groups – White and Green.
The White Group is currently topped by Andy Perry, whose pair of wins last time out at Brands Hatch helps him maintain an 8 point lead over his latest challenger Russ Olivant. This comes after the disqualification of Daniel Bremner at that round which saw the young Scot leave with a zero score, dropping him to 7th in the standings and seemingly out of the title fight. This will take nothing away from his speed, so look for him to come back fighting. Lee Collins has also been pushed in contention as a result, so look out for him along with Chris Aubrey and Daniel Quintero.
Over in the Green Group, Portuguese man Rui Ferreira has been the one to catch as he heads into this Saturday with a 14 point lead in the standings. If you count dropped scores it’s Brands winner David Bevan who sits in second, however at the moment Irishman Kieran McAleer holds the spot with McLaren man Rob Yates not too far behind. Jon Curry and Andy Larholt had tricky weekends in the adverse conditions last time out and will want to reconcile for that, while Will Lloyd will wish for good fortunes at his home circuit.
The most recent Academy graduates have been duking it out in the Avon Tyres Roadsport Championship, with David Webber reaching the top of the table for the first time post-Brands thanks to a victory and 2nd place in both races. After a tricky season so far, things have come good for the #10 and could be set to get better as the calendar reaches his favourite circuit. Anthony Barnes is his nearest challenger after 4 podiums this season to put him just 9 points back, while Paul Aram and Damian Milkins will continue their scrap for 3rd in points. Of course, you can never discount the Wiggs either – Benjamin sits 5th in points, while Olly has been a frontrunner in the rounds he’s contested, even winning the second race ahead of Webber. Expect them to throw themselves into the mix as well.
The next step up from there is into the Avon Tyres Tracksports, where most drivers will have gained enough experience to being to really understand what it takes to handle something as temperamental as a Caterham. Arguably, it has produced the most competitive and action packed racing this season with a photo finish on more than one occasion! So, who’s in the title fight? Well, it’s a showdown between Timothy Dickens and Henry Heaton who, along with Dan Gore, have been the only men to see the top step of the podium this season. This means there’s only two points in it coming into Oulton, but with so many capable drivers chasing them down, they certainly haven’t had it easy. Expect Jack Sales, Lee Bristow, Jack Brown, Max McDonagh and Chris “Cheesy” Hutchinson to cause them some headaches.
Having carried the same car from the Academy all the way to this point (which also makes competing more cost effective), the final evolution comes in the Avon Tyres Supersports. Stephen Nuttall sits on top at the moment with Caterham veteran and former champion Clive Richards providing his biggest threat. Both have three wins each and it’s looking likely that on dropped scores they will be incredibly close on points in the run to the finals weekend at Silverstone, so this weekend could prove vital if either driver slips up. They will face stiff competition from the likes of Danny Killeen, William Smith, Andres Sinclair and Philip Jenkins. The paddock will also celebrate another birthday as Albert Vella will be racing on his special day, where he’ll hope he can give himself a satisfactory present in the form of a large haul of points or even a podium for his troubles!
Last, but certainly not least by any means, comes the ultimate expression of Caterham racing – the BookaTrack.com Superlight R300S Championship. With previous rounds this season supporting British GT at Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP, they are the last step for anyone who really wants to put their skills to the test after everything they’ve learned. So far this year, it’s been all about one man – David Robinson. Early on in the season he and Aaron Head were never seen without each other on track, usually out on their own at the front and putting on a show of their own. Moving towards the end of the season, Robinson is in control, while Head has had to surrender his 2nd place in the points to Sean Byrne. Sean has raced well in the previous rounds and holds a 4 point advantage over Head, so the race is on between the two of them. That said, it’s no question that the pair, along with Lee Wiggins, Jon Mortimer and co wouldn’t mind spoiling the party for points leader Robinson before he takes the title – with a clean and fair battle, you understand!
Whichever championship you follow, whichever race you watch, wherever you view it from and whoever you choose to support, one thing is guaranteed – the Caterhams quite literally provide non-stop action from the second the lights go green on the first race to the moment the chequered flag falls on the last. This has to be one of the best value and most exciting racedays of the season and it’s one you definitely cannot miss out on!
As an added bonus, it’s expected to stay dry all day, albeit a little cloudy. And besides, a little sprinkling rain (should it occur) wouldn’t hurt to spice up the action, would it? The forecast in full can be found at OULTON PARK WEATHER.
Also, the provisional timetable, final instructions and entry list can be located at OULTON PARK RACEDAY.