Oulton Park Gold Cup - 26 August 2013 - Race Report
Beautiful late summer weather greeted the HRSR Historic Touring Cars for the August Bank Holiday Gold Cup meeting at this challenging Cheshire circuit celebrating it’s 60th anniversary and attracting a large crowd of spectators for the three days of racing, exhibition rally stage and car club displays.
An oversubscribed entry had prompted the HSCC to put the large engined Appendix K cars with the Super Touring Cars for the race though all 38 HRSR cars practiced together in one session. Mark Jones put his Appendix K Lotus Cortina on pole with a time of 2-02.182, a full one and a half seconds quicker than Neil Brown’s similar car with Tim Davies’ 2 litre Cortina a further second back. Newcomer Andrew Haddon was next up in yet another Cortina in front of Richard Dutton’s Mustang, with Joe Gomm’s BMW, John Avill’s Cortina, Tom Andrew’s Alfa, Jimmy Fuller’s Alfa and Robyn Slater’s Ford Anglia rounding out the top ten. Simon Benoy’s Imp just pipped Andy Jones’ Chamois for Class E honours whilst Class D was headed by the Mini of Pete Morgan from Tim Harber and Roger Godfrey’s similar cars. Further back Louis Bracey, Ken Lark, Mark Garritt, Tim Brook and Ian Brown’s VW Beetle all made their first race of the season. Other newcomers to the series were Ben Shuckburgh in an Alfa Guilia Super, Celia Stevens in an App K Ford Anglia, David Erwin (who also races in Historic Road Sports) in an Alfa, Thomas Jones in the ex-Les Ely left hand drive Lotus Cortina and Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy pedalled (sorry!) a Mini Cooper ‘S’. Thomas was unable to take the start as he suffered gearbox problems after just one practice lap and Ian’s Beetle suffered a minor fire in the engine bay but was also a non-starter owing to engine maladies.
First out were the large engined Appendix K cars at the back of the Super Tourers grid and experiencing a rare rolling start after a couple of laps behind the pace car at a brisk pace so the more modern saloons could warm their tyres. Richard Dutton led the real touring cars from the off but Mark Garritt had a spin at the top end of the circuit and came round behind Louis Bracey’s similar Mustang and Richard Owen’s Galaxie. Richard pulled clear of Louis for a couple of laps before falling back to second place as Mark slowly caught the leading pair. Louis led for a couple of laps but gear selection problems slowed his pace and Richard went back in front with Mark now right behind. In the last half lap Mark took second place but all three were covered by less than a couple of seconds with the Galaxie in fourth.
Richard Dutton was allowed to compete in the main ‘ByBox’ race as an invitee but had to start from the back of the almost capacity grid. Mark Jones led from the off and had a comfortable buffer at the completion of the first lap which he increased to 10 seconds by the end in a fine drive by a talented driver. Tim Davies and Neil Brown continued the battle they seem to have been having all season and were nose to tail throughout with Tim leading across the line every lap and although Neil got ahead once at cascades Tim regained the place at Knickerbrook . Great stuff! Joe’s BMW followed in fourth about five seconds back. He made a tardy start and lost the time in the first couple of laps and had a lonely race keeping the gap to the pair in front constant and losing sight of those that followed. Richard Dutton flew the Mustang through the field purely for the fun of it eventually finishing fifth. Incredibly, Andy Jones held fifth for the first half of the race in his Class E Singer Chamois and mixing it with the Lotus Cortinas of John Avill and Andrew Haddon, Robyn Slater’s Anglia and the Alfas of Jimmy Fuller and Tom Andrew. It didn’t last and Andy dropped out just after halfway with overheating to leave the Class win to Simon Benoy’s Imp. A couple of laps earlier the quick App K cars of Tom Howard and John Avill made contact at Knickerbrook ending the race for both. Although Robyn’s Anglia led Jimmy’s Alfa each time they crossed the line this didn’t relly reflect the whole story as they were another pairing spending the entire race side by side or nose to tail. A great scrap for Class D honours was led for the first half of the race by Pete Morgan’s Mini Cooper ‘S’ followed by Roger Godfrey and Tim Harber before Roger took the lead at Old Hall on lap 8 which he held to the end with Tim a couple of seconds further back. Next up was a good scrap for a few laps between the Imps of Steve Platts and Adrian Oliver, David Morrow’s Alfa, Barry Long’s immaculate Mini and Dave Tomlin in Joe Gomm’s old Anglia though the latter three dropped out one by one leaving the two red Imps to fight for second in Class E, eventually in favour of Steve. Ken Lark’s Alfa had also been up there with them until a ‘moment’ on lap 4 lost him some time though he recovered to be right on the tail of the Imps at the finish. Chris Hoy made good progress after a troubled practice left him well down the grid but it only lasted 4 laps before being saddled (sorry!) with water pump failure.
The ‘ByBox’ Historic Touring Cars put on a splendid race for the large crowd and even though the entry had to be split between two races this did not detract from the spectacle provided in the main event.
Report by Peter Wray
We were there!