Sports/Saloon Car Championship – Rounds 7 & 8 - Oulton Park
ROSE & WOOLFITT TAKE THE WINS, BUT CRYER TAKES THE TITLE!!
A short but competitive season came to an end at a wet Oulton Park, with former Champion Paul Rose and Paul Woolfitt each taking a win, while the overall 2020 CNC Heads Sports Saloon Champion was Jamie Cryer.
It was very wet for the mornings qualifying session, but it only started to come down as the cars left the assembly area. Luke Armiger took pole by a massive 2.704 secs in his Vauxhall Tigra. “I can’t complain about the weather really, I just had a chance and went gun ho,” he said. Sharing the front row was Paul Dobson’s Locost Mazda, “I had to come in for wets after going out on slicks, otherwise drama free,” he added.
Paul Rose’s Saker should have had Danny Bird’s Spire with him on the second row. Rose did four laps and came in early, but for Bird it was his day over. “I had been tagged when I was lapping slower cars, it must have loosened the pins for the rear bodywork as he flew off as I passed the pits. Then I got to Cascades and had no grip and was off,” he explained.
Oliver Thomas’ Subaru Impreza was next up. “Positive for once, but it was so greasy I had all four wheels spinning on the straights,” he said. Like Saker team mate Rose, Steve Harris did his three laps and pitted. “It wasn’t worth staying out as I was thinking of starting from the pitlane anyway,” he explained, still sixth quickest.
The Woolfitt Brothers qualified to share the fourth row, with Paul’s Exige 2.846 secs up on Jon’s Spire. “I could barely see as there was so much spray,” said Paul. “I used the force, risk and reward, oh and I needed a roof,” Jon added. Completing the top 10 were Allan Davies’ BMW M3 and David “Scrappy” Clark’s Saker. “Just hard getting a clean lap,” said Davies.
Garry Wardle had swapped back from his Porsche to his Mini Cooper S, “very good, but very wet. Perfect until I lost a wiper on the last lap,” he explained. Paying his personal tribute to Les Kirk, Chris Grimes completed the sixth row in Les’s Fisher Fury. “Very wet and a couple of moments up Clay Hill,” he admitted. Tim Foxlow was fairly happy with his Escort RSR’s session. That felt good and quicker than my time suggested, so a lot more to come,” he reckoned.
Andy Bicknell was out for the second time in his Ginetta G50, similarly Kevin Smiles’ Honda Civic. “It was wet and slippery but I stayed on,” said Smiles. Seat Supercopa driver Mike Nash was another to do his three laps and return to the pits. “I put old wets on, it wasn’t a problem,” he said. Rejoining the fray was Chris Maries, but he did have problems with his Honda Civic. “It’s our third engine, but with no inner wheel arches, the water was washing out the injectors,” he explained.
Robert Wakelin managed to aquaplane flat in fifth gear in his Peugeot 205, “it was OK otherwise,” he said. For Jamie Cryer it was a matter of looking after the car, as he went into the races as championship leader. “I was on intermediates or old wets,” said the Ginetta G20 racer. Ben Griffiths’ Honda Civic completed the top 20 qualifiers, fractionally ahead of Conor Modro’s Ford Focus. “I was going out on slicks so had to change to inters. It still slid around a lot and then I lost the rear and finished up in the Druids grave,” said Modro.
Modro was still 0.141 secs quicker than team mate David Jones, “wrong tyres and a misfire so an easy fix,” he reckoned. With daughter Olivia in the Junior Saloons, Jamie Martin made his CNC Heads debut with his VW Golf GTi, sharing the 12th row with Graeme Smith’s Mazda MX5. “No dramas for a change,” said Smith.
Gary Warburton’s Mini Miglia was next up, with Riccy Walker’s newer style JCW Mini alongside. “Last time I was here it snowed, now it’s standing water,” said Walker. Bruce Carter brought his MG Midget out too and he had David Green’s Honda Civic alongside. “I had to come in for wets after going out on semi slicks,” said Green.
Peter Koukoulas admitted to “little wet experience” and wanting to adjust his MR2.” Ian Bruce managed a slight excursion in his Honda Civic, while Honda CRX driver Guy Carter and class F championship leader admitted to “being cautious as I couldn’t see.”
Returnee Jason Hennefer struggled for vision in his XR3. “It was misting up,” he added. Rob Phillips was also back with his Renault Clio, while Richard Roundell’s BMW 116, Brian Allen’s Puma, Helen Allen’s Fiesta and Andrew Smith’s VW Beetle completed the line-up. “Discretion being the better part of valour, so I came in after two laps,” said Helen. I stayed out, found puddles and wasted petrol,” Brian added.
Dobson made his usual flying start, but it was Thomas in second at Old Hall, before gradually falling down the order through Cascades. “Having qualified so high up I had to try and lead as far as far as the first corner,” Thomas admitted.
But Rose soon hit the front and left Armiger and Dobson duelling for second, while Paul and Jon Woolfitt were already on their own in fourth and fifth, with Thomas still a strong sixth. But as the leaders went through for the sixth time, out came the red flags after Helen Allen had lost it at Druids. “I had touched the kerb and spun and it fired me across the track into the barriers. Probably the hardest crash I have ever had,” she explained.
The restart was over eight minutes, but this time Rose had led from lights out, with Dobson and Paul Woolfitt fighting for second. Woolfitt had the edge exiting Cascades, with Armiger into fourth and Jon Woolfitt making it an immediate five-car break. Over Hilltop it was still three cars line astern for second, with Rose just ahead as Woolfitt P, Dobson and Armiger ran inches apart.
Armiger was into third up Clay Hill and as Rose’s lead continued to increase, Dobson started to lose touch in fourth. “I just couldn’t stick with them,” said Dobson. Woolfitt J was on his own in fifth, while Harris was up to sixth from a pitlane start, followed by Thomas and the duelling Foxlow.
Rose had picked up a 10 second jump start penalty, which left his win in doubt until the closing laps. After his penalty was added, he had only 0.791 secs in hand over Woolfitt, who had been pursued throughout by Armiger. “I was on the right tyres and it all felt good,” said Armiger, who had a mid-race strop when he though he wasn’t leading his class! “I knew I wouldn’t catch the Saker, so I was just managing Luke,” added Woolfitt.
Although Jon Woolfitt retained his racelong fifth, another lap and he would have probably have succumbed to Harris, while behind them Thomas had retained seventh from the end of the opening lap. “I could see Steve coming and just defended hard, as he could get me on the straights,” said Woolfitt. “I kept trying, but he was blocking me,” Harris replied.
It took a while for Davies to get the better of Foxlow, but after getting by on the third lap, he got clear in eighth, with Clark in the third Saker following two laps later. “It was a really tight fight with Tim, I couldn’t live with his power over Hilltop, but I had more grip,” said Davies. “It was better for me when it was full wet, a good race though, but when the Saker caught me, I just had to let it go,” Foxlow replied. “I didn’t crash as I used the force,” Clark reckoned.
Foxlow still rounded off the top 10, with Nash and Wakelin next home, after they had both ousted Wardle. “I was OK until the restart, then it dried out and the power passed me,” said Wardle. “It’s still a standard engine, but I had the odd battle and fight,” Wakelin added. Behind Wardle were the class E Focus’s of Modro and Jones, both having seen off Griffiths, who dropped to 16th.
Bicknell, Class C frontrunners Grimes and Warburton followed, with 20th placed Smiles the last finisher on the lead lap. “I did the International Circuit and rejoined dead last,” Bicknell admitted! Walker headed the rest from class F duellists Green and Graeme Smith, both having got the better of a cautious Cryer. “I had a big spin at Cascades chasing Modro and Griffiths,” Cryer admitted.
Koukoulas, Hennefer, Roundell and Brian Allen also went the distance, but after Helen Allen, Bruce, Martin, Bruce Carter, Philips and Maries were all out before the restart, Andrew Smith and Guy Carter joined them in part two. “It went on to three cylinders, so that was that,” Maries confirmed.
1 Paul Rose (Saker RAPX S1-500) 6 laps in 9m59.968s (80.14mph); 2 Paul Woolfitt (Lotus Exige) +0.791s; 3 Luke Armiger (Vauxhall Tigra); 4 Paul Dobson (Locost 7 Mazda); 5 Jon Woolfitt (Spire GTR); 6 Steve Harris (Saker RAPX S1-400) 7 Oliver Thomas (Subaru Impreza); 8 Allan Davies (BMW M3); 9 David Clark (Saker RAPX S1-400); 10 Tim Foxlow (Ford Escort RSR).
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 P.Woolfitt; 3 Harris; 4 Clark; 5 Andy Bicknell (Ginetta G50) no other starters.
Class B: 1 Armiger; 2 Dobson; 3 J.Woolfitt; 4 Foxlow; 5 Robert Wakelin (Peugeot 205); no other starters.
Class C: Chris Grimes (Fisher Fury); 2 Gary Warburton (Mini Miglia) no other finishers.
Class D: 1 Thomas; 2 Davies; 3 Mike Nash (Seat Supercopa); 4 Garry Wardle (Mini Cooper S); 5 Connor Modro (Ford Focus); 6 David Jones (Ford Focus); 7 Richard Walker (Mini R56 JCW).
Class E: 1 Ben Griffiths (Honda Civic Type R); 2 Kevin Smiles (Honda Civic); 3 Jamie Cryer (Ginetta G20); 4 Peter Koukoulas (Toyota MR2); 5 Brian Allen (Ford Puma); no other finishers.
Class F: 1 David Green (Honda Civic); 2 Graeme Smith (Mazda MX5); 3 Jason Hennefer (Ford XR3i); 4 Richard Roundell (BMW 116) no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Rose 1m37.332s (82.33mph).
The red flags were out again at the start of the second race, when Rose had a touch with Jon Woolfitt and speared into the barriers. With Rose’s car recovered for a pitlane start, the restart got under way with Dobson initially leading into Old Hall, before Paul Woolfitt took charge.
There was no sign of a second Woolfitt however, “a driveshaft broke at the start,” said Jon. Armiger was soon into second on lap two, taking the inside at Cascades, with Thomas holding fourth for a while, as he headed a train of cars through Cascades. Clark was also being harassed by the duelling Foxlow and Davies for fifth up Clay Hill.
Further back Wardle, Wakelin, Cryer and Griffiths all ran in line, with Wardle back to ninth at Knickerbrook as Wakelin charged passed. As the lead trio were in the clear by lap four, Rose had charged through from the pitlane into fifth, while Davies had lost touch with Foxlow, and slipped back behind Clark to eighth. Rose’s charge continued with Foxlow the next scalp, but Dobson’s third place was still a long way ahead.
Harris was making progress too and broke into the top 10 on lap four, with Nash following him through, at the expense of the Wakelin, Griffiths, Cryer and Wardle train. Woolfitt continued to ease himself clear, despite Armiger’s efforts. “Once I was in the clear I just kept my head down,” he said after taking victory by well over 15 seconds.
Armiger was equally comfortable in second, which gave him the class B title and runner-up overall. “It was a good weekend to finish on and I just did the best I could,” he replied. Dobson straight lined the Knickerbrook chicane on lap eight, which allowed Rose to get much closer and couple of laps later he had third place sealed. “It was great off the line, but I couldn’t stay with them,” Dobson admitted.
The Saker’s of Harris and Clark completed the top six, the latter having pipped Foxlow on the last lap. “I made Scrappy work for it, maybe I could have held him off,” said Foxlow. “I was going to start on wets, but then ended up on cold slicks,” Harris added. “I had to show my intentions, following Bobby’s instructions,” Clark replied.
Davies was next home, while having held onto ninth with two laps to go, Thomas lost out to both Grimes and Nash to take the flag 11th. “I couldn’t live with Tim in the dry, but had a short scrap, but then could see Oliver as a target,” Davies explained.
Bicknell was 12th and Andrew Smith snatched 13th on the last lap from Griffiths, with Cryer not far behind too, as he secured the overall title. “10 years of trying and just made sure I stayed out of trouble today, but still had a go at Ben,” Cryer admitted.
Wakelin and Wardle spent most of the race in close contention and were still only 0.743 secs apart at the flag. Smiles, Bruce and Jones rounded off the top 20. Walker and Class F winner Guy Carter were both a lap down at the finish, while Bruce Carter, Graeme Smith, Koukoulas, Hennefer, Warburton, Roundell and Brian Allen completed the finishers. Martin and Phillips had been early retirements and were joined by Modro and Green after six laps too. “I had problems with the gear stick and could only get third or fourth,” said Modro. “I just lost it Island and it went a lot faster on the grass,” Green added after piling into the tyre wall.
1 P.Woolfitt 12 laps in 17m52.353s (89.67mph); 2 Armiger +15.714s; 3 Rose; 4 Dobson; 5 Harris; 6 Clark; 7 Foxlow; 8 Davies; 9 Grimes; 10 Nash.
Class A: 1 P.Woolfitt; 2 Rose; 3 Harris; 4 Clark; 5 Bicknell; no other starters.
Class B: 1 Armiger; 2 Dobson; 3 Foxlow; 4 Wakelin; no other finishers.
Class C: 1 Grimes; 2 Bruce Carter (MG Midget); 3 Warburton; no other starters.
Class D: 1 Davies; 2 Nash; 3 Thomas; 4 Andrew Smith (VW Beetle); 5 Wardle; 6 Jones; 7 Walker.
Class E: 1 Griffiths; 2 Cryer; 3 Smiles; 4 Ian Bruce (Honda Civic Type R); 5 Koukoulas; 6 B.Allen.
Class F 1 Guy Carter (Honda CRX); 2 G.Smith; 3 Hennefer; 4 Roundell; no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Rose 1m25.860s (93.33mph).
Final Championship Positions
1 Jamie Cryer 67 and Class E
2 Luke Armiger 63 and Class B
3 Guy Carter 54 and Class F
4 Garry Wardle 42 and Class D
5 David Green 37
6 Paul Rose 36 and Class A
7 Paul Woolfitt 35
8 Paul Dobson 34
9 Danny Bird 33 and Class C
10 Richard Roundell 33
Published by Peter Scherer for BARC North Western Centre, November 3rd 2020