CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Car Championship – Final Rounds 12 & 13 - Oulton Park
CRYER TAKES THE TITLE, BUT IT’S ANOTHER DOUBLE WIN FOR ROSE
36 cars set out for the final qualifying session of the season in damp conditions, so it was a mixture of slicks and wets. It was a Saker on pole, but not Paul Rose. Knockhill winner Steve Harris had the edge on this occasion. “Wets were the right choice. It was all Ok and I managed to settle at P1,” he said. Paul Woolfitt was back with his Lotus Exige, 0.716 secs off Harris’ best. “I was on slicks, but it went sick on the last lap, an injector I think,” he explained.
Rose was still third quickest, despite only doing four laps. “It wouldn’t change up, then wouldn’t change down after about three laps. So I came in and had to return to the paddock to fix it. Then I couldn’t get back out again as the assembly was full of C1’s, but finally got out for one lap to check it was all Ok,” he said.
Completing the second row was Jon Woolfitt’s Spire. “I had slicks but there was no temperature in them, then it wouldn’t shift into sixth,” he added. Next up was Luke Armiger’s Vauxhall Tigra, “I snapped a half shaft, but didn’t notice at first on slicks in the damp,” he said. “I was on slicks too as there were just damp patches, but no heat in the tyres,” added Locost Mazda racer Paul Dobson.
David Clark in the third Saker was seventh, “I just struggled for a clear lap and then got held up on my best lap,” he explained. Next to Clark was Kingsley Ingram’s Ford Mustang, “we are making progress but I spun at Old Hall,” he admitted.
Reigning Champion and Championship leader Jamie Cryer was ninth best in his Ginetta G20. “Inters were the right choice for me, no spins and all seemed Ok,” he confirmed. Rounding off the top 10 was Ric Wood’s Nissan Skyline, fractionally ahead of Andy Bicknell’s Ginetta G50. “Old wets and no grip,” said Bicknell. Paul Rotheroe admitted he could have gone faster, “I was on wets but didn’t have enough front end grip and just struggled to turn in,” said the Citroen Xsara driver.
Having missed the last few rounds Steven Parker was back with his BMW Compact, “fairly good but my brakes were overheating,” he said. He had Ric Walker’s Mini R56 JCW alongside, “I had inters, but got my best time on the last lap,” he added.
David Green found it “a bit dodgy” in his Honda Civic, but all was well with Don Hughes’ VW Golf. It was slicks for Guy Carter’s TVR Tuscan, “new tyres would have been better, a few moments but no spins,” he admitted.
Graeme Smith had rebuilt his Mazda MX5’s old engine, “I had a half spin at Knickerbrook, but felt it was quicker than it had been all year,” he reckoned. Clive Dix’s Mazda RX7 and Chris Maries’ Honda Civic Type R rounded off the top 20. Maries having had a hairy moment exiting Lodge sideways onto the grass. Rob Wakelin’s Peugeot 205 headed row 11, “no grip, old treaded tyres which were too hard, but I have brakes,” he said.
Back at Oulton Park after many years away, Mark Primett’s Banks Europa’s returned. “It was good but I was listening for things and slicks seemed Ok,” he explained. In his last foreseeable race day before focussing on fishing, Ian Bruce professed his Honda Civic Type R was, “all Ok but greasy for slicks, good for fishing though,” he reckoned. David Jones was back in his Ford Focus, just ahead of Gary Warburton’s Mini, which needed an engine change before the opening race.
Alex Harris was out for the first time this year with his VW Golf GTi, while down in 27th was Richard Hall’s Caterham. “I had lovely spins at Brittens and Old Hall on slicks. I should have used the inters I had in the truck, but always make the wrong choice,” he admitted.
Championship debutant Julian Hamer was next in his Mini Cooper S, ahead of Peter Koukoulas’ Toyota MR2, Jake Johnson’s Fiesta and Connor Modro’s Focus. Patrick Smyth had a noise problem with his Lotus Elan, while behind him were Bob Claxton’s Golf GTi, Helen Allen’s Fiesta, Andrew Smith’s VW Beetle and Brian Allen’s Ford Puma.
From the start it was Jon Woolfitt, Rose, Harris, Paul Woolfitt and Dobson leading the charge down the Avenue, but Rose was already ahead into Island. “Unusually I had a really good start and had a run on Steve into Old Hall and then got Jon on the first lap,” said Rose. Despite a huge lock up into Knickerbrook, Harris was still in third, under pressure from Paul Woolfitt, with Armiger completing the top six, from Wood, Clark, Cryer and Bicknell.
Wakelin shot through the chicane and clattered Carter’s TVR, both continued but Carter retired to the pits at the end of the lap, and Wakelin a lap later. “The CV joint locked and I went straight on,” Wakelin explained. After Paul Woolfitt had taken Harris for third at Island on lap two, Armiger gave the Saker driver a “love tap” at Knickerbrook, after he had ousted Dobson for fifth. With Jon Woolfitt having gear selection problems, he slipped to fourth behind his brother and Harris, “I lost sixth gear and just had to manage in fifth and revved it hard, “Jon explained.
With Armiger consolidating fifth, Dobson couldn’t stay with him, while behind him Wood had headed pitwards with a fuel pressure problem, promoting Clark to seventh, with Bicknell eighth, after he had passed Cryer. Paul Woolfitt was next to hit trouble when his exhaust broke. Harris was back into second after five laps and a lap later Armiger and Jon Woolfitt followed.
Further back Rotheroe was in 10th, but had Primett closing, similarly 12th placed Walker had Ingram closing in. The order was settling down with Rose well clear, as Harris, Armiger, Jon Woolfitt and Dobson were well spaced in the top five, after Paul had retired to the pits. “It was all going well until the exhaust came apart internally,” he explained.
Clark had settled in sixth from Bicknell and Cryer, but there were still battles further down the field. But on lap 11 as Harris went up Clay Hill, blue flags were waved as he came to lap Warburton’s Mini. As Harris took his line the pair collided and red flags brought the race to a premature end.
Rose was the victor by almost 20 seconds, “the car was spot on,” he said. Armiger was classified second. “When I was chasing Jon, every backmarker went his way, then I got clear and chased Steve Harris,” he added. Woolfitt was still third, despite his gear selection problems, with Dobson fourth. “It was Ok then I just fell back until Jon and Paul had problems, but explored the legal limits,” Dobson explained. Clark and Bicknell rounded off the top six. “I had my own race but it ran well,” said Clark. “It just took a while for me to get heat in the tyres,” Bicknell added.
In seventh Cryer was a comfortable Class E winner again. “Very lonely but I will take that,” he said. Behind him Primett finally got the better of Rotheroe. “I don’t know if Paul thought I was lapping him, but he waved me by and then repassed me, but I got him back,” said Primett. “I knew he wasn’t in my class, but there was a blue flag. I followed then retook him, but he got me again,” Rotheroe added. Ingram completed the top 10, with Parker, Walker and Smyth finishing in close contention. “I had some good battles and finally got Walker at Shell,” said Parker.
Maries was 14th, with Green just holding off Hall for 15th. Hughes would have won class F from 17th overall, but a penalty for a flag infringement, saw him swap places with Graeme Smith. Dix completed the top 20, from Bruce, Harris, Jones and Andrew Smith, with Warburton, Hamer, Koukoulas, Johnson, Claxton and Helen Allen completing the finishers.
1 Paul Rose (Saker RAPX S1-500) 10 laps in 17m30.960s (92.21mph); 2 Luke Armiger (Vauxhall Tigra) +19.859s; 3 Jon Woolfitt (Spire GTR); 4 Paul Dobson (Locost Mazda); 5 David Clark (Saker RAPX S1-400); 6 Andy Bicknell (Ginetta G50); 7 Jamie Cryer (Ginetta G20); 8 Mark Primett (Banks Europa); 9 Paul Rotheroe (Citroen Xsara VTS); 10 Kingsley Ingram (Ford Mustang).
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 Clark; 3 Bicknell; 4 Ingram; no other finishers.
Class B: 1 Armiger; 2 J.Woolfitt; 3 Dobson; 4 Primett; 5 Patrick Smyth (Lotus Elan); 6 Chris Maries (Honda Civic Type R); 7 David Green (Honda Civic); 8 Richard Hall (Caterham 420R).
Class C: 1 Gary Warburton (Mini Miglia); no other starters.
Class D: 1 Ric Walker (Mini R56 JCW); 2 Clive Dix (Mazda RX7); 3 David Jones (Ford Focus); 4 Andrew Smith (VW Beetle); 5 Julian Hamer (Mini Cooper S); 6 Bob Claxton (VW Golf GTi).
Class E: 1 Cryer; 2 Rotheroe; 3 Steven Parker (BMW Compact); 4 Connor Modro (Ford Focus); 5 Ian Bruce (Honda Civic Type R); 6 Alex Harris (VW Golf GTi); 7 Peter Koukoulas (Toyota MR2); 8 Jake Johnson (Ford Fiesta).
Class F: 1 Graeme Smith (Mazda MX5); 2 Don Hughes (VW Golf); 3 Helen Allen (Ford Fiesta Zetec S); no other starters.
There were a number of cars missing from the grid for the second race, the Saker’s of Harris and Clark, Smyth, Warburton, Carter and Paul Woolfitt, plus Armiger, Ingram and Wood all pitted after the green flag lap. With there now being less than 4 starters in Class A, Paul Rose was at a disadvantage to the other two competitors still in line to take the title, Cryer and Jon Woolfitt.
With Rose starting from the back, there was plenty of work to be done too, as Jon Woolfitt and Dobson went side by side through Old Hall on the opening lap. Cryer managed to hold off Bicknell for third initially, with Primett and Rotheroe following and Rose already up to eighth by the end of the opening lap.
But the safety car was out for three laps from lap two, with Andrew Smith off. Hughes and Wakelin were out too, with Brian Allen joining them after the opening lap. Both Wood and Armiger were back in the pits too, Armiger having broken the same half shaft as in qualifying. Just before the safety car appeared, Bicknell had snatched third into Old Hall and Rose had quickly managed to jump both Primett and Rotheroe.
As the green flag was waved at the start of lap five, Rose leapt ahead of Cryer into Old Hall and Bicknell into Island and was now second as Dobson headed pitwards. “I lost power and didn’t want to risk blowing it up, what a cracking first corner though,” said Dobson. Rose had caught Woolfitt for the lead and as they crested Hilltop he had the lead, before Woolfitt took it back under braking for Knickerbrook. “I had a fair start and that great first corner with Dobbo. Then it was the safety car so I started looking for Paul. I made him work a bit for it, but he took me back up Clay Hill, “said Woolfitt.
At the flag Rose was just over nine seconds clear of Woolfitt, with Bicknell a solitary third. “I made progress, the car was great, but it was just getting the tyre temperature up again,” said Bicknell. Primett passed Cryer for fourth on lap eight and Wood followed on the final tour. But Cryer’s sixth placed and class E win was enough to crown him 2021 Champion. “No concerns, I just got on with it and it was a great day,” said the Champion. “The first race had bedded me in and I was ready for this one,” Primett added.
Rotheroe was almost caught by Ingram on the last lap for seventh, while Hall and Parker completed the top 10. “The car was brilliant but I’m just not quick enough, it’s a familiar story,” Rotheroe admitted. “Didn’t miss a beat,” Parker added. Just outside the top 10 Walker was almost caught by Bruce at the flag, while Harris headed home class F winner Smith. Dix was 15th, from Green, Hamer and Koukoulas, while Johnson, Claxton, Maries and Allen were the final finishers.
1 Rose 11 laps in 22m59.839s (77.25mph); 2 J.Woolfitt +9.845s; 3 Bicknell; 4 Primett; 5 Ric Wood (Nissan Primera); 6 Cryer; 7 Rotheroe; 8 Ingram; 9 Hall; 10 Parker.
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 Bicknell; 3 Ingram; no other starters.
Class B: 1 J.Woolfitt; 2 Primett; 3 Hall; 4 Green; 5 Maries; no other finishers,
Class C: no starters.
Class D: 1 Wood; 2 Walker; 3 Dix; 4 Hamer; 5 Claxton; no other finishers.
Class E: 1 Cryer; 2 Rotheroe; 3 Parker; 4 Bruce; 5 Harris ; 6 Koukoulas; 7 Johnson.
Class F: 1 G.Smith; 2 H.Allen; no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Rose 1m44.077s (93.11mph).
Published by Peter Scherer for BARC North West, October 25th 2021