OULTON PARK ROUNDS OFF 2023 BRSCC SEASON WITH MORE CHAMPIONS CROWNED
The final regular race meeting of the BRSCC’s 2023 racing season took place at the end of October at Oulton Park, where three championships were left to settle their title winners for the year. The day was dominated by the final two races of the Fun Cup Endurance Championship, which featured a dramatic final race in which the title contenders swapped the points lead numerous times throughout, while the Metro Cup and Super Classic Formula Fords also provided some superb sprint racing entertainment too.
FUN CUP ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
The final outing for the Fun Cup Endurance Championship in 2023 would see a superb double header of races at Oulton Park, the somewhat traditional venue for the last rounds of the championship. Going into the weekend, as many as eight teams still had a mathematical chance of winning the title, but at the head of the points it was all about Team Olympian, UVio/ Hofmann’s Motorsport, PLR Racing and Team Viking/Ursus Capital Racing. They would prove to be the main contenders of the day.
Race one saw JPR Team LRS start on pole position alongside new team Jackpot Racing, while the main contenders for the championship were all over the random drawn grid. UVio and Viking shared the fourth row, while PLR Racing and Team Olympian were towards the back of the grid with Olympian mandated to start last after winning the previous race.
A rapid start from Viking gave them the lead from Team 3 Motorsport midway through the opening lap while UVio first got tangled up with Signature RV’s car at Hislops, before tangling with another car on lap two gave them damage that required a length pit call, thus ending their championship chances on the spot. The first safety car of the race was called when EDF Motorsport saw one of their cars stuck in the gravel at Shell Oils, with the field bunched up again by one quarter distance.
Olympian had risen to third from the back of the grid by now, and challenged Viking and JPR Team BSP for the top two positions, passing for second at Druids and then for the lead outside of Old Hall Corner. BSP, Viking and Olympian scrapped over the lead for the next few minutes while the pit window opened, and once the stops had shaken out the order, it was JPR Team BSP in the lead from MJ Tec and Olympian, with PLR Racing also having risen to fourth ahead of Team Greenheath and Viking in sixth.
The order changed little in the second pit stop window, with JPR Team BSP retaining the lead going into the final minutes and driving on to clinch a fantastic win. Mikey Porter and Reza Seewooruthun were winners on their debut, but co-driver Ted Bradbury already had a Fun Cup start under his belt and thus the trio just missed out on the £10,000 prize for a team of completely new drivers winning on their first start. MJ Tec took second ahead of Olympian scoring strong points with third, while PLR placed fourth and Axiametrics just beat Viking to the line for the final top five place.
The longer three hour finale later in the day produced one of the most dramatic Fun Cup final rounds the championship had ever seen. Axiametrics were drawn on pole alongside Team Ratters Racing, with Olympian and Viking placed on row two together while PLR Racing were towards the rear of the pack. Axiametrics’ lead was aided by a lap one safety car after Greenheath, Red River Sport and GT Radial all fell foul in incidents, prompting the neutralisation of the race for just over the first twenty minutes. Axiametrics continued to lead heading towards the first pit window, but behind them an off for Olympian at Druids was caused by a burnt alternator cable causing gear selector issues. A fix in pit lane put them back out on track, but now three laps off the lead and deep in the pack. The rest of the race would now see them fighting back to stay in the title race.
Race one winners JPR Team BSP led after the first pit stop window with UVio on their tail, before the two teams swapped places in the next one just before another safety car was called when Team 3 Motorsport left the road at Knickerbrook. Olympian’s recovery had only taken them back to 17th by half distance, while Viking and PLR were both in the top ten and in a position to steal the title. Another safety car for Greenheath’s stranded machine at Brittens left the pack bunched up again with an hour to go and Viking scrapping for the lead with JPR BSP and UVio.
Olympian’s cause was helped when the #214 car of Seed Data pulled up on the exit of Brittens, helping them again a crucial place to remain championship leaders, aided further when a fast stop in the final pit window under the subsequent safety car saw them finally leapfrog Jackpot Racing, whom they’d been chasing ever since fixing their issue early in the race. This put them in 15th, and second in the safety car queue behind UVio, before they backed out and sat back to watch an enthralling six car fight for the win inside the final ten minutes.
Containing UVio, JPR BSP, Viking, Axiametrics, Signature RV and MJ Tec, all five teams behind leaders UVio practically took turns to try and take it from them, until a mistake at the Hislops chicane allowed Viking to take over in front. Marcus Clutton put the pressure on in the Signature RV car and after snatching the lead at Lodge heading onto the final lap, he drove away from the ensuing melee behind and clinched the team’s first win alongside John Whitehouse and Steve Ruston. JPR Team BSP held on to second ahead of UVio in third, followed by Viking/ Ursus Capital in fourth and MJ Tec in fifth.
PLR Racing couldn’t better seventh, but fifteenth proved to be enough in the end to give Kristian Rose, Chris Dovell and Riley Philips the 2023 Fun Cup Endurance Championship crown!
SUPER CLASSIC PRE ‘99 FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP
Even though all four class titles were effectively out of reach heading to the final rounds at Oulton Park, the Super Classic Pre ‘99 Formula Ford Championship concluded its first season as a “classic Formula Ford-only” series in 2023 with two final races to round off the year, as all four classes were once again represented.
Super Classic A runners Richard Freye and Paul Mason took up the front row with Freye on pole, and Richard maintained the lead as race one got underway while Mason had to deal with fast starts from Colin Williams and Scott Rawlinson before settling into second place. In just a couple of laps, Freye had managed to open up a lead of over five seconds over Mason, who himself was comfortably ahead of Rawlinson in third place while Neil Hunt needed a couple of laps to find a way past Colin Williams for fourth. A five minute extension to the race came with Juiceie Bruceie’s Reynard stopped exiting Cascades, leaving a short dash for the last couple of laps for Mason to unseat Freye from the lead. Despite the late pressure, the finishing order remained unchanged as Freye won outright and in class ahead of Mason in second and Hunt in third. Grace Parkington took Super Classic C honours in fourth overall ahead of Super Classic D winner Scott Rawlinson in fifth, and Trevor Morgan also won Super Classic B.
Mason didn’t make the start of race two later in the afternoon, leaving Freye to be unchallenged from pole as racing began. The final fifteen minutes of the season were fairly straightforward for Freye, leading every lap and securing another overall and class win, thus also helping him achieve the Champion of Oulton title in the process too. Behind him, all the action was over the podium spots as Rawlinson, Hunt and Williams battled between each other. Hunt’s chances literally went spinning at Hislops, residing him to fourth place while Rawlinson took second ahead of Williamson. Hunt and Super Classic B winner Chris Stones completed the overall top five, with Freye, Stones, Parkington and Rawlinson all winning their classes respectively.
HICKFORD CONSTRUCTION MG METRO CUP
The Hickford Construction MG Metro Cup came down to just two men at the final rounds at Oulton Park – Rhys Claydon and Mike Williams. With Rhys in the lead by enough to be able to secure the honours in race one, he entered the first race of the day starting on pole position knowing exactly what had to be done to claim enough points and be crowned champion.
A perfect start ensured Claydon was unchallenged at Old Hall beginning race one, as Williams fell in line behind him and quickly set about going with him. Williams put the pressure on in the early laps at times, but Rhys’ pace just seemed to be enough to put him and keep him out of reach, with the gap yo-yoing between one and over two seconds throughout. At one stage, Williams was right back underneath Claydon’s bumper in the second half of the race and a small drizzle of rain only tried to complicate matters further, but to no avail. Claydon reeled off the final laps to not only win race one, but to clinch the Hickford Construction MG Metro Cup title with a race to spare, winning ahead of Williams in second and an impressive third for Robbie Kenning ahead of Mike Simpson and Mark Wilson in the top five.
With Claydon’s title secured, there was no need for him to push too hard in the final race of the year and this was evident when Williams went sweeping round the outside at Old Hall corner to take the lead as Rhys chose not to defend the place too hard initially. Enjoying giving chase, the pair eventually ended up side by side into Shell Oils on lap two but now with a racey Matt Simpson for company in third as the trio pushed on. Claydon took the lead at Old Hall on lap three, then lost it back again at Cascades before a hairy moment under brakes for Claydon at Shell Oils saw the two cars make light contact. This brought Simpson, Kenning, Ben Williams and Wilson all into the mix, forming a six car lead group.
All of this briefly shuffled Kenning into the lead, but Williams snuck back past moments later and was unheaded to the flag. He completed the season with the final race win of the year with Kenning on his tail in second, followed by Simpson, Ben Williams and Wilson in the top five. New champion Claydon settled for sixth, knowing wherever he finished would still see him confirmed as Metro Cup champion for 2023.