MORTIMER’S STILL GOT IT!


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Mortimer earned himself a birthday present – 2nd place in Race 2 with a strong comeback drive – Photo: SnappyRacers

Despite a fogbound delayed start for the Caterham Festival at Oulton Park on 19th September, the BRSCC’s North Western Centre still managed to finish the meeting on schedule having run a packed programme of 6 qualifying sessions and no less than 10 races.

Having celebrated his birthday the day before, Jonathan Mortimer would have been very disappointed when a driveshaft failed on the green flag lap of the opening Bookatrack.com Caterham Superlight R300S encounter. He missed out on quite possibly the best race of the season at the Tarporley track as the first 5 cars staged an epic 30 minute high speed duel for victory. This was by no means a train of cars patiently looking for an overtaking opportunity as the front runners were constantly changing position.

Lee Wiggins fell by the wayside with 5 laps to go but the remaining quartet took the chequered flag separated by little more than half a second. Aaron Head scooped the honours fractionally in front of David Robinson, Danny Winstanley and Sean Byrne.

The Superlight of Mortimer had been repaired in time for the second outing of these fastest Caterham racers but, with the starting order determined by the results from earlier in the day, he had to start at the back of the grid. Nonetheless, he proved his speed by charging up the order to take the lead in the closing stages. This was short-lived as Winstanley fought back to win by 0.048 secs. This duo broke away from Robinson, Wiggins and Head.

On the podium, Mortimer was presented with a most unusual birthday present – a nose cone that had been signed by all his fellow drivers.

Thanks to his results this weekend, David Robinson has joined the elite ranks of triple Caterham champions by winning the R300S championship. The former Tracksport and Supersport champion has driven peerlessly this season to take nine victories from twelve races; although nearly all have been nail-bitingly close, with the 26 year-old crossing the line less than 1/10th second ahead of 2014 champion, Aaron Head, on no fewer than three occasions. Robinson started his car racing career in the 2011 Caterham Academy, finishing third, before moving to Tracksport in 2012, then Supersport in 2013, winning both championships. He was runner-up to Head in the 2014 R300 championship.

Another person who went “back to front” at the second time of asking was the pace-setter in Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsports qualifying. David Webber was disqualified from the results of his first encounter for driving an unsafe manner. This left Olly Wigg to take the laurels as Alistair Calvert held off Steve McCulley.

From last on his second grid of the day, Webber went from zero to hero when he overtook everyone to win what he later described as his best ever motor race. He crossed the line a tenth before Guy Hawkins as Calvert (third) visited the podium once more. Wigg was fourth as a 10 second penalty for jumping the start pushed McCulley well down the order.

Caterham racing being what it is, there were multi-car battles for the lead in just about every contest. Jack Brown did the double in the Avon Tyres Tracksport thrashes. The next 3 drivers (Dan Gore, Henry Heaton and Max Robinson) were less than a second behind the first time he saw the flag however later in the day Brown bucked the trend by recording a 14 secs victory. The podium on that occasion was completed by Christian Szaruta and Robinson after 7 cars fought over the runner-up spot.

Runners in the GQ Caterham Academy Championship were the only ones to have a single race but, such were their number, there were enough cars to fill two grids. This has been the situation all season necessitating the division of the entrants into two groups – the Whites and the Greens. In the former, Daniel Bremner started from the outside of the front row but lost control at the first corner and was collected by two other cars. This brought out the Safety Car. When racing conditions resumed the man in fourth, Russ Olivant, was the one to watch. With brakes locked up he dived past a couple of cars into Hislops on lap 4 to move into second. Next time round he executed a similarly spectacular manoeuvre at Cascades to take the lead from Daniel Quintero who was further demoted by Andrew Perry before the finish.

In the Green Group of the Caterham Academy, the lead swung back and forth between Rui Ferreira and William Lloyd before the former built up an advantage of a couple of lengths. It all went wrong for him on the final circuit however when he ran wide at Cascades. Lloyd didn’t need asking twice to take the victory as Ferreira rejoined in second just ahead of Rob Yates. There was cause for celebration afterwards, as Ferreira has secured one of the two parallel Academy championships with a round in hand; continuing a trend that sees older drivers perform well in Caterham racing.

Clive Richards was able to establish a comfortable winning margin in race 1 for the Avon Tyres Caterham Supersport contenders as Stephen Nuttall and William Smith fought over the minor placings. These drivers provided a fantastic conclusion to the day as they, along with Danny Killeen and Philip Jenkins, fought over the same piece of tarmac. The fun and games ended when Killeen clipped one of the tyre bundles that delimit Hislops Chicane. This broke his suspension resulting in immediate retirement and forced Jenkins to take avoiding action. Smith was victorious from Nuttall, Jenkins and Richards.

Dave Williams