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Gold Cup kicks off with beauty and drama in equal measure

Sunday, August 25 2013

The Oulton Park Gold Cup really swung into life today (Sunday) as we witnessed the first races of the weekend, including a dramatic outing from the Super Touring Trophy.

As with the HSCC Superprix at Brands Hatch earlier in the year much of the attention going into today was on the Super Touring Trophy as well as star drivers John Cleland and Patrick Watts. Yesterday (Saturday) the limelight was stolen by Derek Palmer in his Nissan Primera who claimed pole position to start ahead of the two pros, alongside James Dodd in his Honda Accord.

It was Paul Smith who took everyone by surprise after the rolling start, storming past the newer machines ahead of him to take the lead from fifth into Old Hall in his Ford Sierra RS500. From that point the race settled into a rhythm for the first few laps with Smith leading from Watts' Peugeot as well as a chasing pack including Dodd, Palmer and Cleland. On lap three however Watts and Smith collided whilst battling for the lead, causing a safety car period. With Watts out of the race and Smith retiring a handful of laps later the initiative was handed to Dodd, who was able to pull out a comfortable advantage over the others.

The drama wasn't over by any stretch of the imagination however, and an enthralling battle ensued for the second spot on the podium between Palmer, Cleland and Stewart Whyte. Eventually Whyte prevailed, coming home ahead of Cleland's Vectra in third.

Super Touring Trophy Race 1 Result

1, James Dodd, Honda Accord, 10 Laps
2, Stewart Whyte, Honda Accord, +4.247s
3, John Cleland, Vauxhall Vectra, +5.063s
4, Richard Hawken, Nissan Primera, +20.762s
5, Max Goff, BMW M3, +23.029s
6, Mark Jones, Vauxhall Cavalier, +25.270s

The E-type challenge kicked things off earlier in the day and as ever it was a treat to see these beautiful cars out on the undulating tarmac. Alistair Dyson eventually took the prize after Alex Buncombe has car issues.

We were treated to two races today from the Historic Formula Juniors with a race each for front and rear engine cars. The front engine cars raced first with Simon Goodliff taking a commanding win ahead of Mark Woodhouse. Derek Walker earns a mention for his early cameo, storming from seventh to third on the opening lap before being forced into retirement by mechanical problems. The rear-engined machines produced plenty of excitement with Callum Grant and Sam Wilson contesting first place in their evenly matched Lotuses. This provided plenty of side by side action in the early stages before Wilson finally got past and pulled away to take the win.

The Guards Trophy is yet another category currently enjoying rude health, resulting in a split between the Sports Racing cars and GTs. In the Sports Racing contest, victory went to the Martin O'Connell/Sandy Watson Chevron B8, whilst Michael Whitaker's TVR Griffith led the GTs home.

We were also treated to a double helping of Road Sports with both the Historic and 70s classes out on track. Oliver Ford was victorious in the 70s class whilst Justin Murphy took top honours in the Historic race. There was also a win for Nick Fleming's Chevron B36 in the Martini Trophy for 1970s sports prototypes.

Finally Michael Lyons took pole position in qualifying for tomorrow's (Monday) Derek Bell Trophy Race.

A comprehensive timetable of events and entries for the Gold Cup is available  here.

Tickets for the Oulton Park Gold Cup on Monday 26 August are available on the gate for £22 per day on with free admission for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.