DOUBLE TOP FOR JAMES BLAKE-BALDWIN & PATRICK SHERRINGTON


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James Blake-Baldwin increased his lead in the Mazda MX-5 Championship with back-to-back wins. Photo: Jon Elsey

A busy day of racing for various guises of sportscars took place when the BRSCC’s North Western Centre attracted large numbers of competitors to Oulton Park on 28thJune with more than one category having over 40 drivers taking part in qualifying.

James Blake-Baldwin took two victories in Group A of the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. He was followed across the line on both occasions by Brian Chandler. Blake-Baldwin had pulled out an advantage of a few lengths in the opening encounter but then the Safety Car was scrambled after Martin Tolley crashed at Druids. This bunched up the field for the final few laps and meant little more than half a second separated the winner from third placed Ben Short.

Short jumped his second start of the day and had a 10 second penalty to overturn. This proved to be a major problem as, although he again ran third on the road, he was at the head of an 8 car train which meant he was classified tenth in the final standings. Blake-Baldwin and Chandler circulated in close company with the latter initially out in the front for a couple of laps before the positions were reversed.

The first Group B event saw a fantastic 5 car dice in which Chris Hart came out on top. Having been relegated from Group A after the earlier contest, Will Blackwell-Chambers and Simon Goddard disputed the lead in Group B’s race 2 with the former standing on the top step of the podium at the end.

Polesitter Alistair Calvert had a dreadful start to his circuit racing career in the Pistonheads.com Caterham Academy Group 1 thrash when he spun at the first corner. Fortunately he was missed by the entire field despite everyone taking park in this (and the Group 2 contest later in the day) only previously having competed in sprints. Calvert crossed the timing beam in twelfth at the end of the first circuit but charged up the order and was swapping the lead with Olly Wigg as soon as lap 4. Wigg spun at Old Hall at the beginning of the final tour but recovered quickly enough to hold on to second as Calvert took an exciting win. David Webber took the Group 2 honours commandingly – he was 13 seconds ahead when the chequered flag was waved.

The day had begun wet but dried up after lunch. The BigProfile Sports2000 contenders raced in the worst of the conditions. Patrick Sherrington coped best with a very slippery track and came home 27 seconds ahead of David Houghton. Next time out, he won even more convincingly on a dry circuit with a victory margin of 43 seconds from John Owen.

Some variation on the sportscar theme was provided by the Avon Tyres Northern Formula Ford 1600 Championship. In the points scoring event for the Post 89 runners Tom McArthur took his maiden victory. Tom Hodgson had beaten him off the line but spun at Knickerbrook on the second lap. McArthur then had Doug Crosbie right on his tail but when he looked in his mirror at Lodge on lap 4 his pursuer had disappeared and he now had a 5 second advantage over Nigel Dolan. In the Pre 90 Invitation section, Mick Gardner held off Stuart Jones but handed his adversary the spoils when he had to pull into the pits.

Jones finished third in the Pre 90 Championship event. He had been running in the slip-stream of the two leaders, Josh Fisher and Chris Hodgen, but lost ground when he hit a kerb hard at Brittens and then was unable to make up the deficit. With Fisher having braking difficulties, Hodgen was able to outbrake him into Hislops in the deciding moment of the contest.

A presentation was held to honour Ian “Diz” Smith’s 50 years of service to motorsport. He became a marshal as soon as he turned 16 when his debut coincided with the final occasion that a meeting was held on the full Grand Prix layout at Aintree. He later became Competition Secretary at the venue and has been looking after the interests of amateur drivers ever since. At the turn of the Millennium, he became BRSCC FF1600 Championship Co-ordinator and continues to dedicate many hours to that role. As a mark of the esteem in which he is held, a recent collection in his honour raised £400 and was used to commission a painting of a speeding Formula Ford driven by Malcolm Barfoot who Ian assisted when he ran the Aintree Racing Driver’s School. A quantity of holiday vouchers were also purchased.

You can check out all the results and lap analysis courtesy of TSL OULTON RESULTS

Dave Williams