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Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting concludes in style

Monday, August 29 2011

Day two of the Oulton Park Gold Cup provided a fine second helping of racing, the mixture of single seaters, sportscars and saloons proving to be a great formula. Off track there was plenty to see, especially from the rally drivers, who were demonstrating great car control on the rally stage.

On the circuit, Benn Simms and Robert Wainwright took the early lead in the Historic Formula Ford 1600 race, with David Wild and Ben Mitchell following. The two leaders were locked in a private battle for the win for the majority of the distance but Mitchell joined in for the final laps as Wainwright took the lead. Into the final lap they three were nose to rail, with Mitchell stealing second place at the end.

Mark Jones ran away with the Historic Touring Car race, so the focus was on the battle for second place. Tim Davies survived an early attack from Steve Shuttleworth, who spun exiting Lodge corner on lap 5 before losing further places. Trying to prevent an all-Lotus Cortina podium was Neil Wood, holding off Jonathan Gomm until they entered Deer Leap for the final time of asking, when both dramatically spun into the barrier. This left the Singer Chamois of Andy Jones to inherit third place.

Richard Evans stole the Derek Bell Trophy race win from under Michael Lyons' nose. The latter led from the rolling start and tried to pull away from the field but was unable to shake off Evans, who was never more than a couple of seconds behind. The gap reduced as the race headed towards its climax and with backmarkers to negotiate. Evans was able to sneak his March Formula Atlantic past the more powerful Lola Formula 5000 car halfway round the final tour.

John Burton's Chevron was initially kept honest by Charlie Kemp's Lola in the second Martini Trophy race but he pulled away in the late stages to claim another win, with Doug Hart's March also unable to hold on in third.

Jason Minshaw, Martin Stretton and Martin O'Connell fought a hard battle in the second E-Type Challenge race. Stretton took over the lead of the race on lap two, whilst John Minshaw made a superb start from the back to challenge them by lap 4, getting past Jason just before O'Connell took his turn to front the quartet. John Minshaw then grabbed second with a great move at Old Hall during a passing drizzle shower.

A slippery track caused all four to lose time at the chicane. Jason Minshaw suffered the most with a brief spin but they all kept their places, however the complexion of the race had changed and the four finished in the order of O'Connell, John Minshaw, Stretton and Jason Minshaw.

Further celebrations included a rare showing of the car that Graham Hill drove to victory in the E-Type's debut race, at Oulton Park 50 years ago.

John Ure's Cooper led the opening laps of the Woodcote Trophy, the car he shared with Patrick Blakeney-Edwards trading positions with solo driver Stephen Bond's Lister Bristol as the race developed. However, Ure pitted a few laps earlier and when Bond emerged from his stop, he found that he'd lost nearly a minute to the leader, another passing shower also conspiring against him. Revelling in the slippery conditions was Denis Welch, at one point eight seconds quicker than the leader! Despite the sun drying the track late on, he caught up with Bond as they passed the pits for the penultimate time, taking second place at Old Hall.

A spin for David Clark in the Classic Formula 3 race handed the lead to Jamie Brashaw, until he too slipped down the order. These developments handed Benn Simms the win.

The near-priceless Sir Stirling Moss Trophy grid set off under dark skies for their fifty-minute race with Jon Minshaw leading in his Lister 'knobbly' from Ewan McIntyre's Lotus 15 and Jason Minshaw's Maserati Birdcage. The Lotus was proving to be a more benign car in the increasingly slippery conditions and McIntyre was leading after five laps, the Lister-mounted Minshaw dropping to third.

Jon Minshaw was first to stop, handing over to Martin Stretton, and when Alan Minshaw jumped in the Birdcage two laps later, second place was already lost. The leader, however, had been given a ten second penalty for cutting the chicane as the rain continued to come down and when he stopped on the next tour, Stretton passed to take the lead. Whilst the Lister looked to be a handful, the laptimes showed that Stretton had the upper hand, and he duly won as he pleased.

The final race, for Historic Formula Ford 2000 cars was a two-way fight between David Wild and Nelson Rowe after third-placed runner Andrew Huxtable was given a penalty for cutting the chicane. Rowe then took the lead and pulled out a sizeable gap to the flag.

Next Saturday, Oulton Park hosts club racing from the BRSCC. Tickets are available in advance from £10 for adults, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.