CNC HEADS SPORTS SALOON CHAMPIONSHIP 2017
ROUND ONE - OULTON PARK MARCH 18
WARDLE & ROSE SHARE FIRST DAY HONOURS
In the first race for Classes D, E & F Garry Wardle made it a debut win in his Porsche 997 in a lights to flag win after starting from pole. “Qualifying was my first time with the car on wets and it was great,” he said. Ilsa Cox’s Seat Leon Cupra was second quickest, “I went out on wets to be safe and it was the wrong choice,” she admitted.
Oliver Thomas’ Subaru Impreza headed the second row, “we sorted a few problems, it was a bit greasy but the car is still quicker than me,” he reckoned. He had ex Fun Cup racer Alistair Stenhouse alongside, with his BMW E36 M3 on its CNC debut. “I have had the car for years, but usually do one-off races rather than a championship,” he said. Class E leaders Steve Rowles and Gareth Pilling made it an all Honda third row. Rowles’ Integra had the edge by 1.3 secs over Pilling’s Civic. Andrew Smith debuted his VW Beetle, heading Graeme Laslett’s Elise on the next row, while row 10 had two race debutants, Ian Burrows’ Celica and Stephen Doran’s Seat Leon. “I have done trackdays and karting but never races,” said Doran.
Class F pole went to ex Clio racer Simon Sheridan now in a Honda Civic, over a second up on Geoff Morton’s similar car. Iain Gorrie’s Raw Striker was third best, from the Fiesta’s of Helen and Brian Allen.
The rain had returned for the race, so there was no question over tyre choice. There had been two casualties from qualifying, Peter Davies’ Civic after a massive engine blow and Michael Houlbrooke’s Seat Leon.
By the end of the opening lap Wardle and Thomas had got away, and for a while Cox was with them too, after ousting the fast starting Rowles on the opening lap. Stenhouse was in fifth and Roundell had made eight places at the start for sixth, but found Burrows closing in after a few laps. It remained close at the front for much of the race, “it was awesome, but I could see that Oliver was right there,” said Wardle after finally taking victory by 3.467secs. “Just marvelous, but later in the race I could hardly see,” Thomas replied.
Cox had been running solo in third but began to slow, “it was power related, so I went down the gears to try and keep going,” she explained. But after seven laps she was out and left Roundell closing on Stenhouse for third, with Burrows continuing to threaten him too.
Only a lap after Cox’s retirement, Roundell was gone too. “It just locked up at Old Hall and I was off,” he explained. Stenhouse was left clear to complete the podium. “I could see Richard gaining on me and I wasn’t sure if I had an answer,” Stenhouse admitted. Burrows had started to lose ground before Roundell’s departure, but was still a clear fourth, “I enjoyed the wet, especially being my first ever race,” he said.
Although Rowles had started well, he was forced to surrender the class E lead to Steven Hibbert’s Elise from lap seven. “My bonnet had started to come up though, it was frantic at the start and I could hardly see a thing,” said Hibbert. “I couldn’t see much in the spray either,” Rowles added, after completing the top six overall.
Pilling and Laslett were next home, before class winner Sheridan. “I just stayed in the middle of the road as it was hard to see the apex in those conditions,” said Sheridan. Jamie Cryer’s Ginetta G20 completed the top ten, with father Kevin another casualty with a dropped valve. Gorrie was second in class F, with Helen Allen ousting Morton to complete the class podium.
1 Garry Wardle (Porsche 997) 10 laps in 20m05.700s (80.37mph); 2 Oliver Thomas (Subaru Impreza) +3.467s; 3 Alistair Stenhouse (BMW E36 M3); 4 Ian Burrows (Toyota Celica); 5 Steven Hibbert (Lotus Sport Elise); 6 Steve Rowles (Honda Integra Type R); 7 Gareth Pilling (Honda Civic Type R); 8 Graeme Laslett (Lotus Elise); 9 Simon Sheridan (Honda Civic); 10 Jamie Cryer (Ginetta G20).
Class D: 1 Wardle; 2 Thomas; 3 Stenhouse; 4 Burrows; 5 Stephen Doran (Seat Leon Cupra); 6 Bob Claxton (VW Golf Gti).
Class E: 1 Hibbert; 2 Rowles; 3 Pilling; 4 Laslett; 5 Cryer; 6 Nicholas Bartlett (BMW E30 M3); 7 David Jones (Ford Focus); 8 Tony Harman (Ginetta G20); 9 John Seery (Vauxhall Astra).
Class F: 1 Sheridan; 2 Iain Gorrie (Raw Striker); 3 Helen Allen (Ford Fiesta Zetec S); 4 Geoff Morton (Honda Civic); no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Wardle 1m57.842s (82.23mph).
There was a familiar pattern to the grid for the Class A, B & C race, with Paul Rose’s Saker outrunning Joe Spencer’s Locosaki for pole by 0.376s. Defending Champion Rose was on his own in the Saker team though, as Steve Harris had to withdraw after oil pressure problems in testing. “I almost overshot Shell Hairpin and then did at Brittens, trying to make up time, but it was still my quckest lap,” said Spencer. “It was just impossible to get a clear lap,” Rose added.
Heading the second row was Paul Woofitt in his radically bodied Lotus Exige with Dave Harvey’s Locosaki alongside. Jon Woofitt’s MK Indy shared the next row with Peter Davies’ Spire GTR, while Roddie Paterson’s Caterham and Darren Smith’s TVR Tuscan shared row four. Matt Spark’s Caterham and Tim Foxlow’s Escort rounded off the top ten, while Danny Bird’s Pell Genesis was sidelined with engine woes and Dean Macdonald’s Ginetta G40 having crashed at the Water Tower.
Spencer made his customary lightning start to lead into Old Hall, with Jon Woolfitt briefly second until Rose aqueezed through on the inside. Harvey was in the mix too, with Paterson and Paul Woolfitt the early top six.
As Rose shot ahead into Old Hall on the second lap, the lead pair were well clear as Jon Woolfitt, Harvey and Paterson disputed third. Paterson’s pressure finally told on Harvey on lap four, before both started closing in on Woolfitt J’s third place. Woolfitt P continued to hold fifth, but Foxlow and Smith started to close on him, after Smith had ousted Spark’s Caterham for seventh. Colin Robinson’s Escort had a solid tenth after Ian Bamber’s Ginetta G20 dropped back.
Paterson was into third after five laps, but the lead pair were long gone. Woolfitt J continued to hold off Harvey for another lap, before a blown engine put him out. ”I lost sixth gear then the engine went,” he explained. “I had got close to challenging him then missed a gear, locked up and he was away again,” Harvey added.
Harvey was left clear in fourth, with Woolfitt P and Spark completing the top six, after Foxlow was forced to pit. “I wasn’t brave enough when I could see,” admitted Woolfitt. “It had all been going well until my bonnet came up,” Foxlow added. Robinson, Chilton’s MK and a misfiring Bamber rounded off the top ten, after Smith’s TVR also had an engine failure. “I had just made sixth place when it went,” said Smith.
Rose’s victory had been comfortable, “straightforward really, but I did have two wheels on the grass at Druids passing a backmarker,” he said. “It went well on my old wets and I tried to stay in the middle but when I braked Paul still got through,” said Spencer.
1 Paul Rose (Saker RAPX –S1) 11 laps in 21m13.679s (83.69mph); 2 Joe Spencer (Stuart Taylor Locosaki) +16.142s; 3 Roddie Paterson (Caterham R400); 4 David Harvey (Stuart Taylor Locosaki); 5 Paul Woolfitt (Lotus Exige); 6 Matt Spark (Caterham C400); 7 Colin Robinson (Ford Escort); 8 Alastair Chilton (MK Gti); 9 Ian Bamber (Ginetta G20); 10 Tim Foxlow (Ford Escort RSR).
Class A: 1 Rose; no other finishers.
Class B: Paterson; 2 P.Woolfitt; 3 Spark; 4 Robinson; 5 Bamber; 6 Foxlow; 7 Karl Mason (Gineta G20); 8 Natalie Norman (Honda Integra).
Class C: 1 Spencer; 2 Harvey; 3 A.Chilton; 4 Dave Chilton (MK); 5 Les Kirk (Fisher Fury); 6 Barry Long (Maguire Mini).
Fastest lap: Rose 1m53.763s (85.18mph).
NEXT ROUNDS APRIL 22/23 ANGLESEY
Published by Peter Scherer for BARC North West, March 21st 2017