SUPER SMITH SOARS AT SWELTERING OULTON
Smith survived the hot conditions to be undefeated in the Northern Formula Ford contests – Photo: Rachel Bourne
The action on the circuit was as hot as the weather when the BRSCC’s North Western Centre organised a packed programme featuring no less than 13 races on a glorious Summer’s day at Oulton Park on 17th June. Marshals and officials did an excellent job to keep a tight timetable on schedule despite a short delay while repairs were made to a manhole cover at Hislops Chicane after a spinning car ripped it out of the ground.
Another doing a superb job on Saturday was double Avon Tyres Northern Formula Ford 1600 winner Josh Smith in the Myerscough College entered Firman RF16. Despite being unable to test the day before, he set the fastest time in qualifying 3 tenths ahead of David McArthur who was driving a Van Diemen LA10 prepared by B-M Racing.
When the red lights went out for the first time to unleash the single-seaters, Smith made the best start although McArthur had better race pace and was all over the leader, Smith who was struggling with a braking issue, but kept having to drop back to get cooler air through his radiators when his engine began to overheat. The Mancunian was preparing for one final effort on the last lap but red flags resulted in an earlier the expected finish due to a stranded car that had spun off at Druids. Matt Round-Garrido (Medina Sport JL17) in third lost touch with the leaders in third.
With the Post89 and Pre90 Classes sharing the circuit, Jack Wolfenden had the opportunity to shine in the Reynard FF88 usually driven by his father. He came home fifth overall on the tail of Van Diemen RF00 driver Matt Chisholm.
Race 2 was even better for Wolfenden as he ran as high as third before a mechanical failure put him out of the contest handing the Pre90 laurels to Wayne Poole (Van Diemen RF88). Up ahead, Smith and McArthur renewed their battle which was even more intense on this occasion. The leader drove as defensively as possible and was so on the limit that he slid off across the grass triangle in the middle of Hislops at one point. A bad start from Matt Round-Garrido and Wolfenden’s retirement allowed Portuguese student, Luciano Carvalho, to make his debut on the podium by taking third in the UCLAN Racing Van Diemen RF05.
No less than 9 events on the programme were for Mazda MX5s so there was plenty of door handle to door handle dicing to entertain the spectators. The fastest examples were those taking part in the Clapham North Supercup in which Luke Herbert was the man to beat. Having been fastest in qualifying, he won all 3 races. This sounds like complete and utter domination but he always had a train of cars in his mirrors and the winning margin was never more than 0.6 secs. Twice following him home was Jack Harding while Tom Roche was the other runner-up. Roche was third in the final outing taking the final place on the podium which had been occupied by Jonathan Greensmith and Liam Murphy earlier in the day.
James Harris overtook Joshua Jackson on lap 8 of the opening encounter of the Triple Header for Mk1 MX-5s and from then on led every lap of all 3 events. The pair were neck and neck at the start of races 2 and 3 but Harris’ outside line when they arrived at Cascades always gave him extra speed down Lakeside Straight to provide a crucial advantage. Jackson was twice runner-up but faded in the closing stages of the third thrash and was demoted by Oliver Allwood.
As usual there were enough MX-5 entries to support ‘B’ races. These were won by Patrick Collins, Charlie Burge and Jack Rawles.
Justin Roberts could easily have won both Electrovape.co.uk XR Challenge contests in his Fiesta XR2 but it just wasn’t his day. Things started to go badly when a wheel bearing collapsed in the early stages of qualifying putting him at the back of the first Hot Hatch grid of the day. He charged up to second and was in position take over when leader Mark Robinson pulled into the pits – he too had suffered a wheel bearing failure. Roberts appeared to be a sure bet for victory but on the last lap a front shock absorber lost all its oil. The lubricant was picked up by his rear wheel which caused him to spin at Druids, missing the inside barrier by fractions. Such was his advantage that he was able to re-join still ahead but with a hobbled car he was unable to defend his position when Greg Speight snatched the win away at the final corner.
Before race 2, Roberts repaired his shock absorber but forgot to clean the oil from his rear tyre. This resulted in first lap spins at Shell and Hislops which put him well down the order. He gained pace as running on the tarmac cleaned his tyre but he later retired with a seized gearbox. Robinson had also fixed his Fiesta and recorded a comfortable victory.
In the XR3i category, Michael Blackburn’s sick car paved the way for Danny Leigh to do the double while T-Boning Pete Lancaster’s XR2 didn’t prevent Mark Noble from twice taking the Si spoils.
At the back of the XR pack we had ST mounted visitors from the Scottish Fiesta Championship. They were led home in race 1 by Peter Cruickshank but a first lap spin for him at Hislops later in the day prevent the double being accomplished and allowed Wayne McAuley to take the honours.
You can view the full results at OULTON PARK RESULTS