TOM TOM – BRADSHAW NAVIGATES TO DOUBLE VICTORY
Tom Bradshaw on his way to a double win at Oulton Park. Photo: www.bournephotographic.co.uk
The National and Northern Avon Tyres Formula Ford Championships began in fine style on Saturday 13th April with a very large entry for the double header meeting at Oulton Park when the BRSCC’s North Western Centre staged their first day’s racing in 2013.
Despite struggling to get heat into the tyres of his Van Diemen RF92 during qualifying, Tom Bradshaw took pole position for the opening Post-89 encounter. He catapulted off the grid to lead the field into Old Hall and was never headed. He won on his second outing in a similarly dominant fashion. David McArthur was runner-up on both occasions – comfortably so in round 1 but round 2 was a different matter altogether as he became embroiled in a fantastic battle with James Raven and Austin Kimberley. Their fun came to a premature end when an incident at Lodge involving Luke Cooper and Tom McArthur (David’s brother) resulted in the final 3 laps being run behind a Safety Car. Cooper had been charging through from the back of grid after a collision with Scott Moakes put him out of the earlier event on lap 1.
Chris Hodgen was the fastest in the Pre-90 Class although he never came home in the top 3 in either of his races. After failing to finish the morning’s event due to a loose lower rear wishbone – having been leading by 7 seconds – he had to start from the back of the grid in the afternoon… and then his day went from bad to worse when a nudge sent him on an excursion through the Cascades’ gravel trap on the first lap. Nonetheless, he managed to make it up to fourth at the end. In the absence of Chris, Jaap Blijleven and Wayne Poole battled it out at the ahead of the field – on the road at least for, while Poole took one hard fought victory, both front row men jumped their last start of the day and earned themselves 10 second penalties. When applied, this handed the laurels to Chris Stones.
The Fun Cup runners also began their campaign at the Cheshire circuit. They had a 4 hour contest on the twisting tarmac. A new rule for this season sees the winners of the previous race start from the back of the grid and, as reigning champions that “honour” fell to Team Racelogic (Julian Thomas & Nigel Greensall) for the opening round. This didn’t prove to be too much of a handicap as they were ahead after just 7 laps. They then proceeded to put in a masterful performance, building a gap of over a minute before 3 Safety Car periods negated their advantage. The final of these “full course yellows” occurred just before the last round of pitstops. This was the one moment when a question mark hung over a win for Racelogic as, with the field bunched up, a longer final stop than their challengers pushed them down to fourth position with 30 minutes to go to the chequered flag. However this proved ample time to overhaul the 3 cars ahead of them.
It’s good to report that all qualifying sessions featured a healthy number of cars – 20 or more – and this included the Advantage Motorsport XR Challenge. Their single race saw a four-way dice at the front that enthralled the spectators until lap 6 when Michael Heath appeared over Hilltop with an uncatchable lead over Ralph Fernihough and Andrew Lennie with the final member of the quartet, Steve Poole, missing having gone off the road at Shell.
Aside from the on-track action, Saturday was particularly memorable for some of the BRSCC’s hardworking marshals and officials. Mike Waite was assessed for a licence to be Clerk of the Course (CoC) – initial reports are that he gave an excellent account of himself. Meanwhile Andy Holley began his probation as a CoC and Ian Lewis took up the post of Observer for the first time. Well done to each of them!
Full results can be viewed here: Oulton Results: 13th April 2013