Ian Bamber takes the CNC Heads Championship for 2023
The 40th Anniversary year of the BARC North Western Centre Sports/Saloon Car Championship, sponsored for the 16 consecutive year by CNC Heads came to an exciting climax at Oulton Park last Saturday. Going into the meeting two competitors had a chance of becoming the 40th Champion, Ian Bamber leading the way in his Class E Ginetta G20 from Roddie Paterson in his Class B Caterham C400. Although Ian had what seemed a fairly substantial advantage of 12 points, there were 21 up for grabs in each class from the two rounds. With the added complexity of dropped scores for Ian Bamber it was much closer than at first sight.
Ian had worked out that if he came second in his class in both races, he would be champion whatever Roddie managed to achieve. The forecast for the day was mixed at best and in fact the track was wet or damp the whole day making the task of simply staying on the track that much harder. In fact, the first race was stopped early because the high number of stranded cars due to the torrential downpour was too great and there was the danger of cars being damaged. Roddie came home second overall but winning his class with Ian matching Roddie with a class win but in his case no point for fastest lap. This meant that the title was taken to the last round with a second place being just enough for Ian. The second race was run in wet conditions thus continuing the jeopardy for both protagonists. This time Roddie went on to win the race outright and took fastest lap thus taking the maximum he could from the meeting. Ian, listening to his family, took the safety-first option and settled for second place in class behind Steven Parker's BMW Compact and also did not challenge for fastest lap.
The two drivers were now equal on points on 97 and so the count back regulation was called into action. Over the season Roddie had won his class a total of 9 times but Ian Bamber took the title having won his class a total of 10 times. Following much celebrating in the Bamber family garage, Ian Bamber, who won the Jock Sinclair Newcomer of the Year award in 2022, was presented with a celebratory bottle of Champagne by John Leck, the Championship Co-ordinator. He will be presented with the Champions Trophy at the BARC NW Centre's Real Night Out Presentation Dinner at the end of January 2024.