The FunCup race saw a 4-hour thriller with reigning champs JPR Uvio coming out on top – Photo: Marvin Hall

There was a cheerful, relaxed atmosphere when the BRSCC’s Northern Centre took charge at Oulton Park on 6th May as the thrilling on-track action the club laid on was part of the VW Budburg Festival which celebrated all things connected with the iconic German marque.

A great time was had by all who attended the Cheshire circuit but one who was happier than most – ecstatic in fact – was James Nutbrown who took his first ever car race victory in the opening BMW Race Days Compact Cup encounter.

He was leading at the end of lap 1 following a collision at Cascades between front row starters James Gornall and Ian Jones. The former was pitched into a spin but recovered to take seventh at the flag having passed numerous cars. Jones continued only to have a massive accident at the very next corner, the super-fast Island Bend. Possibly there was damage to his vehicle that he was unaware of.

Although Nutbrown was never headed after this point, the pressure from Owen Hunter in his mirrors never relented particularly on the approach to the Shell Oils Hairpin were defensive action was required throughout the 15 minutes. Gordon MacMillan focussed on driving as smoothly as possible, despite the distraction of a train of cars behind him, to claim the final place on the podium.

With the second BMW grid also decided by qualifying times, Gornall and Jones were once again on the front row although the latter’s bodywork was in far from pristine condition with few panels that matched the designer’s specification while he also lacked a full complement of windows! As Gornall drove away to take a comfortable victory, Jones slowly dropped down the order until he was black flagged when his exhaust system came loose and began dragging on the floor. The sparks were flying in more ways than one…

Hunter once again finished as runner-up as Giles Dawson took third.

Another celebrating a first victory was Neil MacLennan who did the double in the Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres in his Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GR14 although many wins have been recorded in his native Scotland.

MacLennan had only set the sixth fastest time in qualifying but moved into second on lap 2 of race 1 by taking advantage of the confusion that occurred when James Roe Jnr (Bernard Dolan Racing Van Diemen RF99) locked up under braking for Hislops while challenging the Firman RF16 of leader Luke Williams.

Now running a close second, MacLennan took the win in the final classification when the lap record breaking Williams incurred a time penalty for Track Limit infringements. There was further success for Scotland as Ross Martin completed the podium in his Ray GRS17.

With Williams suffering clutch problems and then having a coming together with Martin when the Formula Fords returned to the tarmac, MacLennan had less pressure as he took the laurels once more. Runner-up was a delighted Luke Cooper who didn’t think he would be competing at this meeting when a piston melted on his Swift SC16 at Castle Combe on May Bank Holiday Monday but Barnett Racing Engines rebuilt his power unit in 2 days. Despite a radiator sticking out of his bodywork following the earlier contact, Williams recovered to take third.

In the Clubman Classes, Ben Edwards’ Van Diemen RF92 took the first set of Post89 honours after John Ferguson went off on the exit of Cascades in his Spectrum 012. Ferguson made amends by beating Edwards to the flag later in the day. Mark De Rozarieux was the man to beat in the Pre90s but he only won the category once in his Van Diemen RF88 after a delay when another car spun in front of him during the second encounter allowed Ivor Mairs to take the category in his Reynard FF84.

The 4 hour Fun Cup contest saw victory for reigning champions JPR Uvio. Following the first round of pit-stops, Track Torque 2Rent Dominos had found themselves with a healthy advantage after component failure sent the car into the gravel at Lodge. However, the leaders themselves had problems with a broken exhaust following contact in the frantic opening stages. Impressively, their mechanics were able to make repairs without losing a lap. The driving team made it back up to second behind JPR Uvio following the final stops but, by this time, Team Trooper Iron Maiden had put their star man, Anthony Reid, behind the wheel and he was able to move up to the runner-up spot in the final classification.

While it was a familiar story in the XR Challenge Double Header with the XR2 of Mark Robinson winning both encounters, he did not have things all his own way with the similarly mounted Justin Roberts matching him for pace. Their opening duel was decided around half distance when Robinson got ahead exiting Druids. A spin for Roberts the first time the duo negotiated Cascades resolved matters very early the second time around.

There was a similar battle for XR3i honours between Michael Blackburn and Andrew Lennie. A superb pass on the inside at Cascades on the last lap saw the initial verdict go to Blackburn and the door was left open for him to do the same in the final race of the day when Lennie appeared to clip the tyre stack at Hislops and damaged his steering.

Although there were plenty of cars requiring recovery between races, the BRSCC’s marshals and official managed to keep the tight timetable on schedule, completing the day’s proceedings 5 minutes before the 6:30 curfew.

You can view the full results at OULTON PARK RESULTS

Dave Williams


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