LOEBELL SECURES PRE 90 TITLE
John Loebell won the Pre90 Northern FF title on Saturday and the Champion of Oulton crown. Photo: Bourne Photographic
Four of the eight races were for Caterhams at an action packed Oulton Park on Saturday, 3rd September when the BRSCC’s North Western Centre took charge. Underlining their commitment to club level motorsport, no less than 6 of the day’s events had support from Avon Tyres.
Lap 12 in the first clash of the Caterham Supersport contenders proved to be decisive. With Reece Somerfield well out in front, firstly Carlton Brown crashed out of a four-way dice for second at Old Hall and then championship leader, Jeremy Webb, exited stage left into the gravel trap at Shell. This left Lee Wiggins to take the runner-up spot just over a tenth of a second ahead of Steve Day.
As the finishing order determined the grid for the next encounter Brown and Webb lined up on the 13th row. This proved to be unlucky for the former as, after a fair amount of contact during his charge up the order, he was out of the reckoning two laps from the end. Webb fared better and came home 6th. Somerfield again took the spoils but this time he had a real battle on his hands with Ian Payne and Wiggins taking the chequered flag within 0.222 secs of the winner after a large amount of place swapping. The race was neutralised at mid-distance after Simon Cassidy and Andrew Salmon had a coming together on the exit of Cascades. Salmon rolled several times into the Lakeside barriers and, as his fuel tank ruptured in the process, the fire tender and rescue unit had to be deployed under the cover of the Safety Car – the driver walked away however.
Having set the third fastest time in Qualifying for the Roadsports Caterhams, Aaron Head must have been gutted to go off at the first corner. He rejoined to finish 14th. Upfront a quartet were going at it hammer and tongs until four became three when Australian Kurt Brady had a quick spin at Old Hall on the final lap. This left points leader, Wes Fox, to extend his lead in the title chase with a narrow victory over Jonathan Mortimer and Mike Hart.
When the Roadsports returned for more action, a light rain shower made conditions very difficult. Hart coped with the slippery track best as he cruised to a comfortable victory over Fox. Head was another revelling in the conditions as he fought through to take third on the last lap. Chris Bingham was surprised to discover that his Roadsports entry had been changed to Number 40 instead of the usual 71 to celebrate his recent milestone birthday. He took a 4th and a 5th in his two outings.
To get some racing mileage under his belt prior to the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy, Stuart Gough made a welcome return to the Post 89 section of the Northern FF1600 Championship. While poleman Chris Middlehurst made what he later described as an “average start” Gough made a perfect getaway. By the time Middlehurst had relieved John Murphy of second at the Island/Shell section of track on the first tour, Gough was long gone. Murphy immediately put himself out of contention by colliding with Neil Winn. A huge train of cars vigorously battled for third – Martin Short eventually took the spot.
In the Pre 90s John Loebell and Stuart Jones were literally wheel to wheel for four laps until the former eased out a slight advantage which proved to be decisive and gave the MedinaSports boss an unbeatable lead in the series as well as wrapping up the Champion of Oulton title. Veteran driver Robin Booth was taking part in his final Formula Ford race – alas he retired at the end of the first circuit having suffered contact in a melee at Old Hall.
Two helpings of sports-racing cars were also on the bill. In the SRCC Sports 2000 Pinto thrash, former double Northern FF1600 Champion, Alaric Gordon, made an appearance at the Oulton Park circuit that he knows so well. He led away from the start but Paul Street had demoted him before the end of lap 1. Gordon kept the pressure on Street only to pull off at Knickerbrook on the final tour.
Mike Jenvey was the fastest of the March Racing Academy Sports 2000 Duratec runners. His rocket-ship (otherwise known as a Gunn TS6) crossed the line 38 seconds ahead.
For the offficial results CLICK HERE