CATERHAMS CHARGE INTO CHESHIRE
Will we see any finishes as close as this from the second R300 race at Snetterton? – Photo: SnappyRacers
The lush greenery of the Cheshire countryside is the host setting for Oulton Park, one of the UK’s finest circuits and one that always provides drivers with real pleasure whenever they compete here. Today the International layout is invaded by the boys and girls of Caterham Motorsport, as all 6 of their championships descend to continue the 2016 campaign on a circuit that will suit the wide variety of Caterham 7s out in force.
Starting at the bottom rung of the ladder, The City Magazine Caterham Academy heads to its 3rd circuit venue of the year with both the Green and White championships still very much up for grabs. It’s a spread of just 4 points between the top 3 drivers in the Green Group as Peter Spencer, Steven Tozer and Tom John are so far proving to be the stars of the field. Spencer and Tozer share one circuit win each, while John and 4th placed man Pete Walters, another 3 points back from the points lead, have been podium placers too. It’s not quite clear if anyone else can knock these 4 away from the rostrum, but perhaps a circuit that’s as reliant on handling as Oulton may bring one or two drivers out of obscurity.
Over in the White Group, it’s a little more spread out but only ever so slightly. A win last time at Snetterton (thanks to a time penalty to rival Jay McCormack) has given him a 7 point advantage over James Beardwell, whose pair of 3rd places have helped him hold runner up spot, albeit only by a point. That’s thanks to the points deducted from McCormack’s score due to the penalty. Still, a win at their first circuit encounter at Rockingham means that Jay is definitely one to be feared, no less being the constant thorn in Gillias’ side all race last time. All 3 will certainly be hungry for victory, while a podium could be on the cards for the likes of James Potts, Caroline Everett, Richard Everett and Eric Tiv if fortunes go their way.
It’s seemingly looks as though it’s all about Russ Olivant in the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship if you’re judging the standings. A 32 point gap to Daniel Quintero with Rui Ferreira a further 6 points away would have you fooled into thinking he’s had it easy – but not so! Snetterton saw Olivant given the big hurry up by both Rob Watts and Guy Hawkins, with the latter snatching both victories while Watts ended up swapping with Olivant for the other two podium spots. As for Ferreira and Olivant, they both had weekends to forget as incidents that forced them out in the first race left them with it all to do in Race 2, ending up 9th and 5th respectively. All 5 will be hungry for success, with plenty of others hoping to spoil the party.
A one-off performance provided by Matthew Lambert in his father car heralded two wins in the Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship and positively shook up the regular frontrunners. Anthony Barnes enjoyed all race long in both encounters with him, whilst chief title rival Daniel Bremner couldn’t better 5th with a time penalty for track limits before exclusion in the second race for perceived unsafe driving. Not only does Barnes now hold a substantial advantage in the lead, but Damian Milkins now finds himself in 2nd leaving young Bremner with it all to do to catch up. Barry Moore, Paul Aram and Steve McCulley will also hope to be key players today too.
You almost begin to run out of superlatives when it comes to describing how good and how competitive the ITC Compliance Caterham Supersport Championship has been all year. With the majority of last year’s stellar Tracksport field reacquainting themselves with each other here, the races have been nothing short of absolute nail-biters from start to finish. William Smith has been the main success story this season, although his fellow race winner Henry Heaton has kept with him every step of the way. Of course, there’s a plethora of top drivers that will all be snapping at their heels to cause trouble, but there’s too many to mention. How competitive is this bunch? Put it this way – the qualifying gap across the top 20 in Snetterton was only a staggering 1.9 seconds. Enough said!
Finally, the crème de la crème of Caterham racing takes the form of the Bookatrack.com Caterham Superlight R300-S Championship with the fastest drivers present in the fastest cars. Aaron Head is very keen to add a second title to his 2014 success, but this season has seen a new rival in Lee Wiggins come to the fore. That, along with top Supersport graduates Clive Richards, Stephen Nuttall et al means that it’s far from easy for Aaron to leave a race weekend unchallenged. Plus, they should all be very afraid as with a rebuilt car underneath him, the mighty Danny Winstanley is back with his sights firmly locked on taking home a winner’s trophy or two from today. Seeing as these guys produced the closest finish of the Snetterton weekend at just 0.017 seconds, you can bet that victory is never safe until they take the flag.
So, you can take your pick of which championship you’re most looking forward to observing from the grandstands and grass banks throughout the day. One thing that’s for certain is that wherever they head to and whichever ribbon of tarmac they grace, the Caterham Motorsport brigade are guaranteed to put on an awesome display. Plus, you’re safe not to place any bets on any winners either. The saying with these guys is that the worst place to be is in the lead at the last corner at the last lap, as there’s no guarantee you’ll stay there! Enjoy!
The weather forecast for the weekend via the Met Office can be found here – OULTON PARK WEATHER.
Also, the final instructions, timetable, supplementary regulations and entry list can all be found here – OULTON PARK CATERHAM RACE DAY.