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Oulton Park International 11th August 2012 – Race Report

The sixth round of the Motoring Classics Thoroughbred Championship for 2012 arrived at Oulton Park for a race on the beautiful International circuit with most competitors having had a gruelling five or six hour journey on Friday on packed motorways.  Russell and I though competing the journey in a comfortable three and three-quarters, although I left at 3.15am on Saturday morning from Banstead driving the car and trailer and Russell came up from Exeter after being at a Friday Wedding competing the journey in the same time up the M5.

The weather was due to be dry and sunny.  We got the dry bit but the sun seemed to be behind a few clouds so it was hot and sticky, but that was fine after the wet year we have had.

A very disappointing twelve had entered but only eleven turned up on the day.  The Bentley Drivers Club meeting at Silverstone had taken away a few drivers and TSCC had attended this meeting for the past few years but had not received our invitation in 2012.   The MGCC meeting was an alternative venue and on initial discussions we were due to have a 20 minute race but when the entry forms came out the races had been reduced to 15 minutes so perhaps it is a very long way for a lot of us to go for just 15 minutes of track time.

Five of the MG drivers had entered the BCV8 race to make the journey worth while but unfortunately the tight programme with only one race between made it impossible for three of them to practice so if they could rectify their problems they would have to start from the back of the grid.

Eventually only newly Registered Ken Deamer could.  Neil Fowler had every intention of racing after he had sorted an engine problem only to get a hole in his radiator.    Ian Prior was not allowed to race as he had not completed three qualifying laps.  He had tested at Brands Hatch just a few days before with no problems, he only managed a few hundred yards in the BCV8 practice before electrical problems appeared.  By the time he was towed back to the paddock and had started his engine again he had to go to the TSCC practice where again he would have problems after a few hundred yards. He tried to get another practice but was told there were none available and he would be unable to race.

A compromise was decided and he would be allowed to follow the Course Car for two laps if he went immediately.  However, he was given no time to try and find what the problem was so again only managed a struggling one lap.   He worked on the car for two hours and found that his distributor was faulty and replaced it. Engine fired up problem sorted but the Clerks of the Course were unable to let him race as he had not completed three laps and he had not raced at the circuit within the previous twelve months as the MGCC meeting in 2011 was in May.

The green flag lap could possibly have been used to gain the extra lap but all arguments fell upon deaf ears.  Two race entries, six hours on the motorway to the circuit, fuel for racing and the return journey all totalling around £700 plus, gave a nasty taste for the experienced Club racer who has supported the BCV8 Championship for twenty years and TSCC now in his second season and knows the circuit well.

At a time when we need all the support we can get to put cars on the grid and the extortionate costs that the Club racers pay in entry fees for their track time, perhaps the Clerks of the Course could use some basic common sense.  I am sure they would be more than capable of putting a case forward to the MSA if required giving their reasons why they had allowed an experienced driver to compete. Every case is different and on the day it is Clerks and Officials at the circuit that have the last say only guided by their rule books.

PRACTICE

Practice started at 9.30 and thirty three drivers completed practice with only a few problems. Grahame Bull in the E Type Jaguar only managed four laps before coming in as did Spencer McCarthy out in Dads V8 that had been rebooted and fitted with new brakes but had developed a pedal box malfunction.  Roger Connel finally managed to be on track after another few hours trying to sort out various problems forgot to add fuel but luckily he was still running mechanically so would be out in the race.

Clio’s Josh Files entered as an Invitation Class C TR6 again managed to put himself on Pole with a 2.27.658 alongside Ken Paton in his Ram D Type on a 2.28.412.  Row Two, D Class Pole Simon Cripps in his MGBGTV8 on 2.29.401 next to Andy Green in the Morgan +8 on a 2.30.015 with row three being occupied by Rob Spencer alongside Russell McCarthy in their MGBGTV8’s.

Row four Ian Prior alongside Jon Ellison’s vacant spot, his TR6 developing clutch problems and on Row five (Inv) Paul Conway in the Morgan +8 alongside (Inv) Graham Bull in the E Type.   Row six Spencer McCarthy and Tim Falce and row seven Barry Holmes and Ulrich Vierhaus who says this is definitely his last race (we shall see Ulrich!).  On row eight B Class Pole Joe Parrington and Richard Abels and on row nine Sharlie Goddard and John Yea.

Row ten Babak Farsian and Neil Cawthorn and on row eleven Bob Lines and Colin Jones.  On row twelve Neil Fowler and Jeff Hooper and row thirteen Mark Scott and Alan Charlton.  Row fourteen Ben White and Alan Kyson and on row fifteen Roger Connel and Bob Innes Ker and on the penultimate row the A Class of Inv David Lamyman, Brian Playford, with row seventeen (Inv) Andrew Moore and Peter Hiscocks who had practiced out of session.

THE RACE

Lights extinguished and from the commentary Simon Cripps took immediate lead but from row six Spencer McCarthy came through to take second place with a massive slide and the TR of Josh Files and the D type of Ken Paton all went down to the Hanger Straight nose to tail.  By the time they arrived at Brooklands the order was Simon Cripps, Ken Paton, Spencer McCarthy, Rob Spencer, Josh Files, Andy Green, Russell McCarthy and Grahame Bull.

Around the circuit the positions at the front changed several times with Josh then Ken then Simon and then on the return to Brooklands Spencer McCarthy had powered past to taken the lead where he remained for five laps being hassled by Ken. The battle for second and third behind had been electrifying with Josh driving superbly biding his time and Simon Cripps and Rob Spencer having a great battle until Rob spun and re-joined at Brooklands Corner,  leaving Andy Green to take on his task.

By lap five positions were changing and Ken  Paton passed Spencer McCarthy to take the overall lead soon followed by Josh Files who nibbled away at Ken taking race lead by lap ten to take the field home and eventually take the Overall Win.  Behind the class battles had continued through the whole race but stringing out with Andy Green heading the D class with Simon Cripps and Ian Prior a few lengths behind.

A mid field battle lasting the whole race between Babak Farsian MGB, Neil Cawthorn MGA  and John Yea MGB all three keeping in touch for the whole race with Neil finally reeling in Babak on lap seven and staying in front to the flag, Neil achieving driver of the race for his efforts and first MGA home gaining him the Longstanding Watkinsons Trophy.

Another race long dice between the Gulf coloured MGBGTV8 of Joe Parrington and the Morgan V8 of Sharlie Goddard with Sharlie powering past on lap ten just managing the win by .100 by the flag and Joe taking the Class B Win and a new lap record.

Overall race Winner Josh Files crossed the line after 13 laps but the flag was forgotten and taken by Ken Paton who came home in second place overall but in effect was the Championship race winner as Josh was out on Invitation, Josh also breaking his own Lap Record held from 2011.

The race overran slightly and some drivers ran out of fuel, some just didn’t have big enough tanks but others had counted on a 30 minute race but with a 3.6604 mile green flag lap it ended up as 35 minutes.  Spencer McCarthy retired on lap 12 after fighting with his brakes for the whole race having to pump them every time to make sure they were there.   Ben White and Neil Fowler ran out of fuel, Jeff Hooper and Alan Charlton had an accident at The Loop and parked up, Russell McCarthy had a broken throttle linkage, Colin Jones had no oil pressure and Bob Lines found the pit wall on the new GP pits on the first lap.

Congratulations go to

Josh Files for Overall Race Win

Class D             1st Andy Green              2nd Simon Cripps        3rd Ian Prior

Class C             1st Ken Paton                  2nd Rob Spencer           3rd Tim Falce

Class B             1st Joe Parrington      2nd Neil Cawthorn      3rd Babak Farsian

Class A             David Lamyman (INV)           1st  Brian Playford       2nd Andrew Moore 

 

Pam McCarthy

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