OULTON NIGHTMARE FOR MAZDA FRONT-RUNNERS
Darron Lewis was one of many to share the glory at Oulton Park – Photo: Jon Elsey
Glorious sunshine made an appearance at Oulton Park on 22nd August and chased away the forecasted rain which only added to the fantastic day of racing that the BRSCC’s North Western Centre organised at the Cheshire Circuit. They were helped by a very efficient squad of marshals who enabled 3 practice periods, 5 qualifying sessions and 9 races to take place. Two people who didn’t have such a good time were a couple of front-runners from the Mazda MX-5 Championship – Simon Baldwin and Brian Chandler – who both had a day to forget.
Chandler was the first to hit trouble when he crashed out of qualifying without completing a lap. With the size of the MX-5 entry being large enough to fill two grids, Chandler’s failure to set a time put him at the back for the opening “B” race. He put in a superb drive to come through the field to win and get promoted to the rear of the grid for the second “A” race.
The first contest for the “A” cars had seen Simon Baldwin retire to the pits with a failed engine allowing Ben Tuck to take the win in a race that was red flagged early due to a car coming to rest in a dangerous place at Lodge.
Baldwin’s crew did sterling work to replace his power unit in an hour allowing him to take part in the second “B” encounter in which he was a comfortable victor while Chandler’s outing in the final “A” event suffered a major set-back when he spun at Island on the opening lap and then was collected by another car. He continued well adrift of the pack with a large dent in his bonnet and was destined to finish down in nineteenth. Sam Smith had led the earlier event for the “A” rated runners until he slipped down the order. It looked like he was going make amends and stand on the top step of the podium this time until Darron Lewis overtook him during the final lap.
Alan Henderson took a brace of Mazda MX-5 SuperCup wins but these were by no means easy because James Blake-Baldwin was never far away and was actually in front for a number of laps. John Davies held off Liam Murphy to take third in race 1 while Jonathan Greensmith occupied the final place on the podium later in the day.
The SRCC Sport 2000 Championship brought along an eclectic entry of 30 cars for their two rounds. It was an all MCR front row for the opener but when the red lights went out, Michael Gibbins got too much wheelspin in his example of the marque and was engulfed by the pack. Pole-sitter Patrick Sherrington had no such problems as he opened out a comfortable advantage. Gibbins recovered and was soon closing in on the leader. When Sherrington ran wide at Druids on the final lap, Gibbins tried to seize the moment to pounce but took the chequered flag 0.172 secs behind. The finishing order was the same when battle resumed later in the day after another close duel. David Houghton had taken third earlier in his Van Diemen RFSC02 with Paul Martin earning that accolade on this occasion to make it an all MCR podium.
There was one Avon Tyres Northern Formula Ford 1600 Championship encounter but it was an absolute cracker. It finished with the first 3 cars covered by little more than half a second. Doug Crosbie (Van Diemen JL013K) took the laurels from Tom McArthur (Van Diemen LA10) and Josh Fisher (Van Diemen RF99). There was another trio contesting the spoils in the Pre90 Class in which fourth overall was also at stake. This time all the cars were Reynards and Matthew Cowley recovered from a poor qualifying result due to a puncture to overtake Jamie Jardine and Jaap Blijleven. His pass round the outside of the latter into Hislops made him a worthy winner.
You can view the full results at OULTON PARK RESULTS.