HAIL MCHALE FOR OULTON DOUBLE
Calum McHale scored the first, then second victories of his career at Oulton on Saturday. Photo: James Roberts
Under a cloudless blue sky the BRSCC’s North Western Centre got their season under way when they utilised Oulton Park’s all-action Fosters layout to deliver a slickly run 12-race meeting that finished ahead of schedule.
For the past two years Jamie White has won the Super Mighty Mini Championship but his bid to make it a hat-trick of titles got off to a bad start after qualifying when his car was found to be slightly under-weight. His penalty was to start the opening round of the series from the back of the grid, 10 seconds after everyone else. No doubt he saw a red mist before his eyes as the clock ticked down.
He then put in the drive of the day to fight his way through a very competitive field to finish fourth. He was less than half a second away from being runner-up. Scott Kendall managed to make a break on the opening lap to take a comfortable win with Ian Slark and Paul Inch completing the podium places. White was then part of the leading trio in the second outing for this category along with Kendall and David Berney. He led for much of the contest before Kendall got ahead in the closing stages to make it two victories out of two.
The first time the Mighty Minis took to the tarmac, it was a battle of the teenagers with a delighted 18 year old Brayden Fletcher getting to stand on the top step of the podium for the first time in his short career. Josh Young, who is a year his junior, followed him home with Maria Brown in third. Later in the day, Fletcher was less than four tenths away from doing the double following a thrilling dice with Liam Sullivan, who took the chequered flag, and third-placed finisher Stuart Coombs.
The burgeoning XR Challenge provided a couple of thrilling encounters. Once the Safety Car had peeled in after a couple of cars collided immediately after the first start of the day, spectators had the familiar sight of the Robinson brothers, Mark and Simon, leading the field however the latter had to give way to Ralph Fernihough when he took no prisoners moving up to second at Cascades. S. Robinson subsequently dropped down to seventh. Craig Brookfield took up the challenge of demoting Fernihough from the runner-up spot. Twice he outbraked him at Fosters Corner only to run wide and immediately hand the place back. S. Robinson recovered to take fourth.
It was this quartet who headed into Cascades as one on the opening lap of race 2 with Brookfield finding himself edged on to the grass. He was unable to regain the tarmac before Fosters was reached which meant he had little retardation when he hit the brakes. Mark Robinson had taken the corner before Brookfield arrived but the rest of the field had to come almost to a halt to avoid a nasty collision. This enabled M. Robinson to take the spoils once again with the top 4 coming home in the same order as earlier. All these contenders were driving Fiesta XR2s. Adam Burgess and Andrew Lennie took a win apiece in the Escort XR3 class.
There was drama on the first lap of round 1 of the Avon Tyres Northern Formula Ford 1600 Pre90 Championship when the 4 cars of Jamie Jardine, Andrew Thomas, Chris Hodgen and Jaap Blijleven that occupied the first 2 rows on the grid were all involved in an incident at the first corner. With these potential front-runners in the tyre wall at Old Hall, 20 minutes later Calum McHale was celebrating his first ever victory. Because the grid for round 2 was set by these results, those who were caught up in the accident had to work their way up from the back of the pack in round 2. Hodgen and Thomas were the most successful in this endeavour as they finished second and third as McHale once again occupied the top step of the podium to complete a very memorable weekend for the Preston based 22 year-old.
Josh Fisher was a leading light in the Pre90 Class last year and has stepped up to the Post89 category for 2015. He began this season in fine style by winning the opener having kept the McArthur brothers, David and Tom, at bay for the duration. Next time he had to give best to D. McArthur by 2 tenths of a second.
Garry Lawrence in his Boxster led both of the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship races but on each occasion he lost out to Croydon’s Gary Duckman, who put down a marker of his championship ambitions with back to back wins. Another title contender, Ed Hayes, rounded out the podium in each race. Simon Hawksley, the reigning 924 champion, got the defence of his title off to the perfect start with two class wins. Former 924 champion Alistair Kirkham, Karl Rossin (twice) and the returning Adam Croft completed the top three places in the class.
You can view the full results at OULTON RESULTS and listen to all the raceday commentary, courtesy of Downforce Radio, at http://downforce-radio.co.uk/racedaylive-brscc-oulton-park/