Here we go again! Another season gets underway. All through the winter many drivers have sorted and rebuilt their cars and officials and marshals have planned the new season and taken part in training sessions. And this is what it is all for : racing!
The BARC North West Centre is pleased to be running this meeting at our home circuit. On the programme is a varied selection of sports and saloon cars. One thing that is pretty certain is that they should all provide some very entertaining racing so we hope you enjoy your day with us. Make sure that you put the icing on the spectating cake by visiting the paddock where you can see all the cars up close and speak to the drivers and teams.
Please find below some details of each category out this weekend.
HUGE GRID FOR CNC OPENER - Peter Scherer
There will be a huge 38 car line-up for this Saturday’s opening round of the CNC Heads Sports Saloon Championship at Oulton Park. A notable absentee is reigning champion Joe Spencer, who hopes to do selected rounds this year in his new Spire GT3.
The Saker’s of Paul Rose and Steve Harris head the entry, with Harris once again doing his best to beat his friend and biggest rival. Joining the Saker’s in class A are Stephen Keenan’s 2 litre MK Indy and Guy Carter’s TVR Tuscan, both debutants.
Class B welcomes back former multiple champion Paul Dobson, no longer in his familiar Mazda RX7, but debuting a Locost. This class is probably the strongest in the Championship, with Paul and Jon Woolfitt returning with their respective Lotus Exige and MK Indy, along with Tim Foxlow’s Escort RSR and the return of Tony Ellis, having replaced his Mazda RX7 with a Gemini Elva.
Although Spencer is absent, last years team mate Dave Harvey is back for with his Stuart Taylor Locosaki in class C, but has Danny Bird’s and Peter Davies’ Spire GT3 up against him, both striving for a bit more luck than they had in 2017. Both Alastair and Dave Chilton are back too with their Mk RR’s, while Sam de Haan is in a Caterham, seeking licence signatures for his British GT campaign.
Garry Wardle’s Porsche 997 should be the class D pacesetter, but with Oliver Thomas’ Subaru Impreza getting both quicker and more reliable, he will keep the pressure on too. Mike Hurst’s Seat Leon Cupra will be looking for podiums, while Ian Burrows, still a relative novice, showed pace last year in his Toyota Celica, especially in the wet. Philip Morris is back with his Golf GTi too, while Dan Crossley makes his championship debut in a similar car.
Class E is best supported in numbers. Paul Rotheroe’s back after a year out with his Citroen Xsara, but will be pushed hard by Jamie Cryer’s Ginetta G20 and the perennially luckless Steve Rowles with his Honda Civic Type R. Graeme Laslett and the evergreen Chris Maries are both back in their Lotus Elise and Honda Integra Type R, along with Nicholas Bartlett’s who ended the season strongly in his BMW M3. Having made occasional outings last year, John Seery brings out his Astra, as does David Jones and Alex Modro’s Ford Focus’s. But new to the class are Brian Allen, no longer a Fiesta driver but due out in a Ford Puma. Kristian Rose, son of Saker’s Paul, debuts a Honda Integra, along with newcomer Mike Storey with a Renault Clio 172.
Although the overall entry is strong, class F has suffered and only has three entries. Clive Dix’s Puma and Helen Allen’s Fiesta Zetec are joined by Robert Wakelin. He debuted in the championship at Anglesey last year in a highly modified Impreza, but will be racing a Honda Civic this weekend.
GET READY OULTON THE LEGENDS ARE BACK!
What a way to start the new sporting season here at Oulton Park…for the first time in three years the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres is back in Cheshire writes Marc Orme.
Having last visited the North West in 2015, the UK’s most action-packed category makes a very welcome return to Oulton this weekend where the 5/8 scale motorcycle-engined pocket rockets will deliver the ultimate in big grid racing. Based on pre-war Chevy, Ford and Dodge body styles, the ultra-popular Legends Cars never fail to entertain and here at today’s British Automobile Racing Club meeting you’ll be treated to three outstanding races.
Grid positions for Legends Cars races are drawn through ballot, rather than based on times set in qualifying, which guarantees action throughout the order. Points scored in the two Heats then determine the starting order for the Final. Before that gets underway, though, there’s another great twist – the highest scorers from the Heats have to begin the Final from the back. In short, you can expect to see more overtaking in the Legends races here at Oulton this weekend than you’ll witness in an entire season of Formula One!
Just over four months since he wrapped-up his record breaking third back-to-back title at Brands Hatch last November, John Mickel is back to try and do it all over again in a 2018 season which promises even more sensational competition. Also back for the new campaign are Mickel’s two closest rivals from last year, Vice-Champion Ben Power and third placed points finisher Steve Whitelegg, as well as both class champions – Masters title winner Paul Simmons and Rookie champion Miles Rudman.
Race winners Jack Parker, Sean Smith and Connor Mills will all be determined to get their respective seasons off to a successful start, while championship mainstay Nathan Anthony – who pilots the only ‘van’ in Legends Cars racing – is determined to break his duck and join the winners circle this year. Marcus Pett, who delivered some strong performances during his maiden car racing season in Legends last year, will be aiming to build on that in 2018 while another who debuted in 2017, ex-motorcycle racer Paul Simkiss, is also back for his sophomore year in the series.
Former champion Stephen Treherne makes a very welcome return, adding even more spice to the mix, and there’s plenty of international flavour too with Finland’s Miikka Riihimaa set for his debut in the UK category while Guy Fastres once again brings his GF Racing squad all the way from Belgium. Additionally, there are some exciting new names arriving in Legends Cars racing this year, including ex-Oval racer Sy Harraway and the brand new 24 Hour Solutions squad of motorsport debutant Phil Turner, who will be racing in aid of the Help 4 Heroes charity.
With 51 races scheduled, across nine race meetings, the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres is ready to get off to a sparkling start…and where better to do it than here at spectacular Oulton Park!
Caterham Graduates Racing Club (CGRC) - Mark Carter
The Caterham Graduates Racing Club enters its 21st season for ex-Academy Caterham 7 race cars supported by championship sponsor; APL Health, who provide a range of occupational health and wellbeing services from their smart clinic, dedicated towards managing and reducing staff absences for your organisation. The championship has six racing classes to cater for the Vauxhall, Rover and Ford Sigma engine variants of Caterham built since 1995, which are split across two grids:
• The SigMax and SigMax VCT (Variable Camshaft Timing) cars form one grid, with all cars starting on the lights; and • The Mega, Sigma, Sigma VCT and Classics form another grid, with the Classics starting on the flag after a time delay, following the lights start for the other classes.
The SigMax Graduates is the largest and most competitive class, which includes a number of leading drivers from other classes who have stepped up to SigMax; such as Andy Molsom, Barry White and Steve McMaster, who was the 2016 Classic champion. Reigning SigMax champion Oliver Gibson returns to defend his title and a strong challenge is expected from 2017 runner up, Jamie Ellwood, plus Harry Cramer and Mark Johnson to name but a few! Lee Collins is the sole SigMax VCT entry, so it will be interesting to see how he fairs against the rest.
The Mega Graduates also sees the 2017 champion, Declan Dolan, return to defend his title and he can expect to be joined at the front by multiple champion of the erstwhile Caterham Super class, Toby Briant, with Roger Ford, Kim Rayment and John Benfield also in the mix. Rob Winrow and Tom Mayman race in the Sigma class, with Tom Wood in a Sigma VCT.
The Classic Graduates race this weekend with the Mega, Sigma and Sigma VCT Graduates, and will start behind them on the grid, with the Mega, Sigma and Sigma VCT classes starting on the lights and Classics starting on the drop of the union flag after a time delay. Graeme Smith won the Classic Graduates Championship for the fifth time in 2017, so probably starts as the championship favourite, but there are several drivers who could challenge him. Amongst those are Robin Webb and Peter Tattersall, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in 2017, and Marc Noaro and Matthew Willoughby who are previous race winners.
This meeting sees the opening rounds of the 38th year of the BARC/MGOC championship.
The Classic Class is for standard production based Abingdon built sports cars ie. MGB and MG Midget. The reigning MGOC Classic Class champion Dave Amphlett will be looking to repeat his success of last year but Jim Baynam has been campaigning his familiar green and orange MGB every year since making his racing debut at Oulton in 1981 and will be looking to retain the championship that he has won four times in a long and successful racing career. Chris Millard showed great pace last season but his maiden MGOC win has been elusive. Bob van Vuuren joined the championship in 2017 and had a hugely successful debut year taking four impressive wins on his way to becoming MGOC Novice champion. Chris Flooks and Bob Fisher will continue the midfield battle they enjoyed over recent seasons. James Pryor has made the long journey up from Brighton for his first outing at Oulton.
The Class F and Class Z cars both use the 170bhp Rover K series engine and competition is always close between the ZR160 saloons and the MGF/TF sports cars. There is a high quality entry in Class F. The highly competitive quartet of 2013 and 2017 champion Simon Kendrick, 2014 champion Mark Baker and multiple race winners Stuart Plotnek and Martin Wills are returning for another season and all are potential winners in what is sure to be a close battle. Long time MGOC racer Phil Walker has forsaken the ZR160 he successfully raced last season and will be returning to his sports car roots in a newly built MGTF160. Ralf Tognieri enjoyed his debut season and will be looking to move up the grid in his second year in the championship.
The Class Z entry is headed by long time MGOC competitor Dave Mellor but Adam Jackson and Stuart Philps have both won races and will provide stern opposition for the experienced Mellor. Steve Darbey, Steve McDermid, Gordon Jeakins and the Hounslow duo of Nick and Maninder Golhar will add depth and competition to the ZR grid. Matt Gozalves is embarking on his first full season of racing and is relishing his first visit to Oulton.