OULTON HOSTS A MAGNIFICENT MAZDA MELEE
The MX-5 SuperCup has always seen great races at Oulton Park over the years – Photo: Jon Elsey
The Cheshire countryside hosts the magnificent venue that is Oulton Park and today’s race day sees a multitude of sports car tackle the swoops and undulations of this awesome circuit with a little bit of tin-top and single seater action thrown in for good measure. All this, courtesy of the BRSCC North Western Centre!
We’re now reaching the crucial half way point in our pair of ultra-competitive Mazda MX-5 championships and things are already looking fairly tight with the competition really hotting up on both sides of the paddock. Despite a weekend at Silverstone that he probably would prefer to forget, Will Blackwell-Chambers still has the lead in the Mk1 Championship with dropped scores as his saving grace. That said, he now know that every single result has to count if he wants to remain at the top of the table. At the same time, some of his immediate rivals such as Oliver Allwood and James Harris had mixed fortunes as they hit highs with podium finishes, yet had to end their weekends in the Group B race which also forced them to rely on dropped scores too. As it was, Joshua Jackson was the main benefactor with his first two wins while Samuel Smith kept it smooth and steady with some mega results. At the time of writing, 50 Mk1s are ready to tear it up today by the lake.
Their more contemporary brethren in the MX-5 SuperCup for Mk3 models really saw plenty of drama as a first race incident left a brief sprint for victory won by Tom Roche. After then winning the second race, Rob Boston capped a weekend of two sides with another victory but a Race 1 exclusion for an incident between he and Luke Herbert now means he’s slipped out of the top 10 in points with a mountain to climb now. Other drivers like Jack Harding had tough times while Ben Short really found his groove with a couple of podiums. Oulton Park always seems to produce brilliant races in this championship and with 3 of them on display it’s to be one fine spectacle. A near capacity field of 37 cars is expected to take to the track on this occasion with one or two new faces.
In terms of single seaters, it’s time for another highly anticipated meetings for the awesome Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 Northern Championship, a formula that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. With the racing we’ve already seen both in the National and Northern contests, it’s no wonder that Formula Ford is still going strong after half a century and is healthy as ever before. Post ’89 points leader Joshua Smith is back in attendance as are the McArthur brother Tom and David, Sebastian Melrose and Matt Round-Garrido. They are expected to the main frontrunners while Dutchman Jaap Blijleven takes another trip from his native Holland to contest the Pre ’90 category alongside Jack Wolfenden, Simon Fleet and Trevor Morgan keeping him company on the grid. It’s difficult to find a dull Formula Ford race and today’s encounters should be anything but.
The Electrovape.com XR Challenge gains a special guest driver today, as 2001 Clio Cup champion and former BTCC driver Danny Buxton goes back to his roots to takes to the wheel of a Ford Fiesta XR2 to take on the championship regulars. One name he’ll have potentially standing in his way will be points leader Mark Robinson, who will have to contend with nearest rivals Steve Poole and Alistair May on his tail too. Danny Leigh and Michael Blackburn will also be duking it out in Class B in their Escort XR3is, while Mark Noble holds firm in Class C aboard his Fiesta Si. The XR Challenge is one of the longest standing championships in club racing and mainly conducts its races at venues in the North West such as Anglesey and here at Oulton Park. They always put on a good show wherever they go!
Joining the XRs on the grid at the same time will be some special guests as the runners and riders from the SMRC Scottish Fiesta Championship make the trip across the border for their “away day” here at Oulton. There’s two classes within this championship to cater for both XR2 and ST models of the Ford Fiesta, with the STs set to be the quickest of the two. All of the main contenders are here today including Wayne Macaulay, Barry Farquharson, Peter Cruickshank and Nicholas Forsyth, while the XR2s will be a fierce contest between Graeme Cuthbert, Duncan Fox and Robert Kerr, plus new boy Kristian Leith also enters the fray here today.
Plenty of top line racing is in store once again today on a circuit that rarely disappoints. Oulton Park always gets fantastic local support, so we’re expecting to see plenty of spectators trackside watching all the action unfold. Sit back, enjoy and hopefully the weather will be kind to us too!