FROM OUR CHESHIRE CORRESPONDENT
On a gloriously sunny day the new for 2011 Saker Challenge visited Oulton Park for the first time on 30th July when the BRSCC’s North Western Centre staged the first of two meetings in a fortnight at the Cheshire Circuit.
The action was as hot at the weather with no less than 5 cars – in various categories – catching fire during the course of the meeting thus keeping the marshals very busy indeed – and our profuse thanks go to them!
The spectacular purpose-built Saker sports-racers, which are already a huge hit in The Netherlands and Australia, provided a very unexpected set of results as Tim Wheeldon, who won three out of three last time out failed to find the top step of the podium in any of the four 30 minute contests that were staged at the weekend. This time around Graham Pattle was the most successful contender with victories in the first two Saker encounters.
Fun Cup maestro Paul Rose put Pattle under pressure in the early stages of both before either falling down the order or failing to finish. Third time out proved to be third time lucky for Rose when he took the win 0.7 secs ahead of Steve Harris and then it was Harris who claimed the final set of laurels in the best race of the day which featured 5 cars dicing for the lead including the fastest car from the Invitation Class – the Porsche 965 Turbo of Brett Winstanley.
The Avon Tyres Northern FF1600 Championship runners were joined by those also competing in the National series. This produced some bumper grids especially in the Pre 90 class which had an over-subscribed entry. These earlier cars produced drama right from the start when poleman John Loebell suffered a driveshaft failure at Cascades on lap 1. The resulting spin left him stranded in the middle of the track. Second placed Ian Parkington in his Reynard was unable to avoid the stricken Van Dieman but remarkably the remainder of the field negotiated the hazard without further contact.
Nigel Dolan inherited the lead and he was initially pursued by Mario Sarchet. When the Spaniard had a quick gyration on the exit of Cascades with a few tours remaining it was Stuart Jones who took up the challenge. The Loebell/Parkington crash had delayed Jones requiring him to charge through from 8th. Jones’ attempts to demote Dolan were unsuccessful but he made amends with a victory in race 2. This time Loebell was the frustrated pursuer having powered through to take the runner-up spot from the back of the grid.
Chris Middlehurst did the double in the Post 89s. Twice second placed Dougie Crosbie may have been able to mount greater challenges had he not had to recover from poor starts. The first outing had to be halted a few laps early when Chris Chisnall and Sam Charrington-Yates were involved in an accident at Lodge.
The man who scooped the single Euro Saloon & Sportscar event, Nick Williamson, was very happy particularly after he had endured a nightmare couple of months repairing cracks in the engine block of his Ford Escort Cosworth. Having been out supporting the Sakars, Brett Winstanley was his nearest challenger.
There was a showdown in the Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship thrash. Either Neil Smith or Roger Evans had won all of the 2011 rounds staged so far but Oulton Park was the first time they were entered in the same race. Aided by a brand new set of tyres it was Smith who was fractionally the faster and took the flag first. When Sarah Heels spun Andrew Robinson was unchallenged in Class C while Emma Karwacki emerged top of the Class E entrants after a thrilling four-way dice.
For the offficial results CLICK HERE