CIARAN MAKES AN EXCELLENT FIRST IMPRESSION AT OULTON


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Young Scot Ciaran Haggerty made an impressive Oulton Park debut on Saturday. Photo: www.bournephoto.co.uk

The BRSCC’s North Western Centre were in charge at Oulton Park on Saturday, 31st May when circuit debutant, Ciaran Haggerty, impressively won the Avon Tyres Northern Post 89 Formula Ford Championship race.

The Scot, who recently turned 17, is being nurtured by none other than Dario Franchitti and upheld the retired Indycar Champion’s faith in his ability by qualifying on pole almost half a second ahead of Oulton regular David McArthur. In the race, McArthur beat Haggerty to the first corner but then had a large, unwanted dose of oversteer at Old Hall which forced him wide and onto the grass – this dropped the Mancunian to sixth. Haggerty had made a break when the Safety Car appeared on lap 3 because Stuart Jones’ bid to take the lead from Chris Hodgen in the Pre 90 Invitational contest that was running concurrently had seen him fly off the tarmac backwards and come to rest in the gravel trap at Cascades dangerously close to the action.

Haggerty managed the restart with the aplomb of someone far more experienced and cruised away to victory as McArthur battled up the order to claim the runner-up position. Hodgen had only entered the Pre 90 section of this event to ensure that the throttle problem he experienced during qualifying had been fixed ahead of the championship round for that category later in the day and so, with that question answered in the affirmative, he retired to his pit garage leaving Will Alterman and David Murphy as the main protagonists in this trophy dash – the honours went to the latter.

With his car in full working order Hodgen duelled it out with series leader Jamie Jardine at the start of the main Pre 90 encounter. He was ahead by the time they reached Island where he survived a massive moment that was triggered by hitting a squirrel! Hodgen hung on infront and was able to open up a decisive advantage when Jardine’s passing manoeuvre at Old Hall failed at the start of the following tour. As Haggerty had already made his mark on the meeting, he was not part of the Post 89 Invitation field that ran alongside the Pre 90s. This was initially headed by David McArthur until Doug Crosbie made a race-winning move round the outside into Cascades in what was the pass of the day.

More drama was provided by the other North Western based championship on the programme as Tony Rudd took the lead of the Demon Tweeks/Sparco XR Challenge thrash at the first corner from fourth on the grid. Before he completed the opening circuit he had ceded the place to Craig Readyhough and fell back to become embroiled in a 4-way fight for what became the final podium place which he won. Readyhough ran wide exiting Old Hall on lap 3 and dropped well down the order before retiring in the pits 2 tours later with a sick sounding motor car. This left Jason Minshaw out front but he had been adjudged to have jumped the start. The 10 second penalty he was awarded pushed him down to second behind Greg Speight.

Another man to beat the front row into Old Hall was Darelle Wilson in the Alfashop Alfa Romeo race. He used the torque of his diesel motor to get ahead and it took poleman Graham Seagar a couple of circuits to overhaul him. Wilson then became involved in a dice for second with 3 others before an engine problem forced him to drop back. Clive Hodgkin was eventually the runner-up from Vincent Dubois after Andy Robinson went off at the entrance to the newly resurfaced Shell hairpin.

It was a pleasure to welcome visitors from Scotland as that country’s Saloon & Sportscar Championship and BMW Compact Cup made the trip down to Oulton Park for two rounds apiece. Alan Kirkaldy showed impressive speed to take a brace of BMW wins while the fastest car in Saloon & Sportscar qualifying – Graham Davidson’s Noble – suffered engine failure before the end of the session and failed to take either start allowing Cameron Purdie’s Westfield to do the double. Fiona Kindness’ Subaru secured the runner-up spot in race 1 just ahead of Andrew Morrison in his Seat Leon. Next time out Kindness was the early leader but she fell out of contention when her brakes failed allowing Morrison to take second with Chris Whiteley (Ginetta G50) occupying the final place on the podium.

Whiteley came to Cheshire as part of the Arrowpak Saloon & Sports Championship and raced alongside his Scottish counterparts as a guest. This meant he saw the red lights go out on the starting gantry no less than 4 times and seemed to lap faster with each appearance. His final outing was in the second Arrowpak encounter which had been combined with the Pipe Center/Geberit Ford Racing Series. He led this until a brief excursion at Brittens allowed David Matthias to steer his Ford Escort Cosworth to its second win of the day.

At lunchtime, your correspondent was honoured to be presented with the 2013 BRSCC (NW) Achiever Award by Centre Chairman Tom Dooley for enhancing the web presence of the Club in the region.

Dave Williams

Full Results: Oulton Results