JUSTIN FOR A DOUBLE!
Justin Roberts began the season in the best possible fashion by winning the opening rounds of the Kerax Hyperdrive ST-XR Challenge – the revamped-for-2018 series now with 5 Classes attracted an impressive entry to the BRSCC’s first race meeting of the year organised by the North Western Centre at Oulton Park on 24th March.
Roberts was the early bird when the field gathered in the Assembly Area prior to qualifying so that he was first to go out on the circuit and benefit from clear tarmac. He certainly put this to good use claiming pole by more than a second in his Fiesta XR2.
A slipping clutch in the early stages of race 1 allowed Steve Poole in another XR2 to take the lead but once the speed of Roberts’ gearchanges were back to normal he was able to carry more speed out of Brittens enabling him to out-brake his rival into Hislops on lap 4. He then eased away.
Poole again made the best start later in the day but a rapid exit from Cascades translated into a pass at Island for Roberts on the third circuit. The remainder of the contest was by no means plain sailing after Justin felt something snap in the left rear of the car. This turned out to be a wheel bearing but yellow flags at key overtaking points helped him to keep Poole behind.
There were class wins for Michael Blackburn (Escort XR3i), Mark Noble (Fiesta Si), Christopher Rowlands (Fiesta ST) and Paul Green & Michael Morton (Fiesta XR2).
Another to taste victory despite not having a car in prime condition was Adam Southgate in the Toro Tires Porsche Championship. Despite a failure in the competition-spec exhaust system of his Boxster he set the fastest time in qualifying. This meant he had to race with standard componentry handling the waste gasses from his engine. Nonetheless, he won both encounters, aided at the first time of asking when the drivers who started from second and third on the grid managed to collide at the first corner causing mayhem amongst the rest of the field.
In the Porsche 924 Class Richard Styrin was another to do the double although David Jones kept him on his toes all day.
In the Pre90 section of the Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 Championship, Jack Wolfenden was uncatchable in the Myerscough College Reynard 88FF – so much so that in the combined qualifying session alongside the newer Post89 cars he was fifth quickest overall.
With a performance that saw him voted the BMTR FF1600 Driver of the Day, Wolfenden took the first chequered flag 38 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Mario Sarchet (UCLAN Racing Reynard 86FF), a margin which increased by 7.75 seconds when the stewards applied a penalty for an incident that saw Sarchet hit the back of Wayne Poole’s Van Diemen RF88 at Old Hall. This promoted Poole to second after Ray Smith (in a Van Diemen RF88 prepared by Poole) ended up in the gravel trap having tried to pass Sarchet on the last lap. The second set of results featured an identical first 3 after that contest was interrupted by a couple of Safety Car laps towards the end.
There was joy to be had for Smith later in the day when his son, Rory, steered a B-M Racing run Medina JL18 to his first ever win in the second Post89 thrash. The first had gone to his B-M Racing team mate, David McArthur (Van Diemen LA10), after Oldfield Motorsport’s Josh Smith and Kevin Mill Racing’s Michael Eastwell had a coming together while disputing the lead over the crest of Clay Hill in their Van Diemen JL13 and Spectrum 011C respectively.
McArthur was therefore on pole when the field came under Starter’s Orders once more but on the formation lap a problem with his gearbox emerged and this allowed Nigel Dolan’s Van Diemen JL012K to take the early lead with Smith not too far behind. By lap 3, Dolan had been demoted by both Smith and McArthur. Over the next few tours, McArthur began to close in on Smith as he got used to steering with one hand as he used his other to hold the car in gear but the ‘box failed completely forcing his retirement.
We had two guest races on the schedule for the amazing F125 Superkarts. Liam Morley comfortably took the first of these but the second was twice halted by red flags due to incidents at Shell and Druids. Oulton’s 6:30 pm curfew meant there was no time for a further attempt at getting the event completed thus it was declared null and void.
You can view the full results at OULTON PARK RESULTS.