OULTON OPENS A NEW YEAR OF BRSCC ACTION
The last time the BRSCC North Western Centre was in action was way back in mid-November at Anglesey for our Winter Race Day. That was over four months ago, and for a racing driver, that’s a long time to wait to go racing again! However, the long cold winter has ended (just) and today at Oulton Park marks the start of the new BRSCC racing season for 2018!
Both of the NW Centre’s “local” series kick off here today with the Avon Tyres Northern Formula Ford 1600 Championship contesting its opening rounds and the first since the unfortunate passing of long-standing NW chairman and club stalwart Tom Dooley. All drivers will race on in his honour, and there will also be a debut of the “Driver of the Day” award system this season where the overall winner at the end of the year will receive the inaugural Tom Dooley Trophy. Reigning Post 89 champion Joshua Smith is back to aim for double success, but his task today will be somewhat more tricky thanks to the appearance of the Kevin Mills Racing duo of Michael Eastwell and debutant Hugo Bentley Ellis. Both will be gaining track time ahead of the opening rounds of the National Championship at Silverstone next weekend. The Pre ’90 category is also looking like a competitive one once again, with the usual mix of Van Diemens and Reynards on display.
The other regional championship to begin today does so with a brand new identity. In a bid to increase grid numbers, the XR Challenge has been rebranded to become the Kerax Hyperdrive ST-XR Challenge, with more classes added to accommodate a broader range of cars. New for 2018 is the inclusion of Class D for Mk6 Fiesta ST150 models (a different spec to those in the BRSCC Fiesta Championship), while Class E will cater to Fiesta XR2s running without a differential. An invitation class, Class F, will also permit cars from series such as the Puma Cup to compete too. Both reigning class champions Mark Robinson (XR2) and Michael Blackburn (XR3i) are registered for the season once again, so expect them to kick off their title defences eager to retain them.
As they did last year, the Toyo Tires Porsche Championships begins its 2018 campaign here at Oulton Park, off the back of a superb 2017 that saw more prominent and more competitive grids thanks to the principal regulations changes. More race-spec Boxsters are expected this season with Nick Hull, Garry Lawrence and Kevin Molyneaux all back to take on a raft of newcomers. This includes both Matthew Harris and Andrew Baker, who have converted their Production-spec Boxsters to run in Class A. The 924 class will be sans reigning champ Pip Hammond this year, but PDC Racing’s Gavin Johnson will still fly the team flag with hopes of emulating his teammate and taking honours for himself this season.
Alongside the BRSCC content, there’s also racing action set to be provided by the mighty British Superkart Association. The opening rounds of the National Championship for Formula 125 Open karts will see some of the bravest and craziest racers around racing at top speed just millimetres off the ground! You’ll be hard-pressed to find faster kart racing than this anywhere else in the UK. If even someone like the great Valentino Rossi can label superkarts as “great fun” and “quite incredible”, you know you’re looking at some serious machinery. Enjoy the spectacle they will provide racing on longer circuits – just make sure you remember to blink or you really will miss them!
At last, the wait is finally over – the sound of race engines, the smell of petrol and the atmosphere that great British club motorsport provides in spades have all returned. All signs point to 2018 being another sensational year for the BRSCC and hopefully we’ll be treated to some early Spring sunshine to add that little bit extra to proceedings. But, let’s not stand on ceremony any longer – let’s go racing!