MORRIS MISSES OUT
Peter Morris could have won both rounds of the Michelin backed Porsche Club Championship that were staged at Oulton Park on 2ndJune when the BRSCC’s North Western Centre took charge, but he was beset by misfortune. First time out he coasted into pits around two thirds distance having had to switch off his engine when the throttle of his 996 C2 jammed.
He seemed to be enroute to making amends in the second outing for the rapid German sportscars when he stormed ahead of race 1 victor Mark Sumpter. A late Safety Car period after Lee Atkins had a heavy impact against the Lakeside barriers meant there was time for just one more lap when the cars were released. With the field bearing down on his back bumper Morris spun his wheels while negotiating Hislops and gyrated to the back of the pack. Sumpter was again the man to benefit but generously admitted in later interviews that Morris deserved to have visited the top step of the podium at least once on Saturday.
The Avon Tyres Northern Formula Ford runners produced a couple of fantastic contests. In the rain affected practice for the Post 89 contenders John Murphy could only qualify 5th, but after the red lights went out to release the grid, the Liverpudlian was able to pedal his Van Dieman RF90 faster than anyone on the now merely damp circuit. With Neil Winn spinning at Old Hall (and later at Hislops) Murphy moved into 4th. He was then part of a hectic three-way dice for 3rd with David McArthur and Martin Short before breaking clear. Soon he had reeled in James Hammond who had been 2 ½ seconds ahead to take a very satisfying win.
Things were no less frantic in the Pre 90 thrash which saw the welcome return of the 2004 series’ runner-up, Mike Bibby, who showed that he still has plenty of pace by pursuing leader Stuart Jones in the early stages before fading to 4th. Nigel Parkington and Nigel Dolan then took up the challenge with the former getting ahead of Jones at one point. Jones snatched the lead back on the next lap and the resulting loss of momentum meant Dolan was also able to demote Parkington. Poleman Andrew Thomas was squeezed onto the grass at Hislops on the opening tour. He spun back on to the circuit and was hit by a couple of cars. The resulting damage caused Thomas a few hairy moments and he finished outside the top 10.
The meeting had a distinct Caledonian flavour with three championships organised by the Scottish Motor Racing Club (SMRC) visiting Cheshire. In the Scottish Legends, Nick Brace lived up to his name by taking a brace of victories in the two 6 lap heats – in the second his brother Dean took up station behind him to give an exemplary demonstration of bump-drafting. The pair were to be frustrated in the 8 lap Final when they both spun out on the final tour in separate incidents leaving Ross Marshall to take the laurels.
There was more sibling rivalry amongst the Celtic Speed Scottish Mini Cooper entrants with David and Tim Sleigh coming home 1 – 2 after a race-long dice with Kenneth Brewster. The partially reversed grid for the second encounter saw David Sleigh successfully battle through the traffic to do the double with ease.
Andy Smith was another man who was first to see the chequered flag on two occasions. His glorious sounding Morgan +8 was uncatchable in the Scottish Classic Sports & Saloons.