Sunday, August 26 2012
Spectators at Oulton Park have enjoyed a superb opening day (Sunday) of action at the annual Gold Cup historic meeting, with many in 60s and 70s-themed attire. Under glorious skies parades, rally demonstrations and classic car displays have provided just some of the entertainment as a packed programme of racing, recalling the Cheshire circuit's halcyon days kicked off at midday.
In the opening 70s Roadsports race, Julian Barter's TVR 300M led Chris Barter's Datsun 240Z from the start, setting fastest laps to ensure a safe enough gap. Even a red flag stoppage couldn't halt his progress, with Oliver Ford's and James Dean's Lotus Europas hanging on for third and fourth places.
Stuart Roach led Simon Goodliff in the front-engined Formula Junior cars until the latter took the lead before the halfway point but was unable to complete the race, so Roach came home a long way in front of Andrew Tart. There was also a race for the newer rear-engined cars and despite a strong start, Brabham BT6 driver David Methley could not resist Jon Milicevic's Cooper T59. Nevetheless, the pair staged a tensely-close contest.
Historic Roadsports king Paul Tooms was chased all the way to the flag by the similar Elan S1 of Peter Shaw, whilst Justin Murphy's fifth-placed Ginetta prevented a top seven lockout for Lotus. Two sevens joined the Elans, celebrating their 50th anniversary year.
Michael Scott and Ian Jones made the Classic Racing Cars encounter their own, the Brabham BT28 leading the Lotus 29 from the first lap. However Jones hit back at the halfway point and once ahead, started to pull away at a prodigious rate, claiming an advantage of 15 seconds at the flag.
Alex Buncombe was the early leader in the first E-Type Challenge race of the weekend but it didn't last long, with Nichol-Jones taking over from Jason and Jon Minshaw. A stop for the leader at the halfway point left the Minshaws to build up a gap and they held a 1-2 to the flag, despite third place man Dave Coyne's best efforts to reduce the deficit.
In the sports racing division of the Guards Trophy, Chris Goodwin held the early advantage, his McLaren M1B leading the Chevron B8 of Nick Fleming, who then took the lead with the Ginetta G16 of James and Graeme Dodd also following through. Goodwin fought back however, to lead two laps later but conceded once more, this time for good and to the Ginetta's benefit, which took the win after holding on during the pitstop sequence. A strong finish for the Chevrons saw Fleming and Michael Schryver finish on the podium at the marque's home circuit.
In the GT race, Jason Minshaw picked up from where he left off in the E-Type Challenge to power his Jaguar into the lead from Mike Whittaker's TVR Griffith. However team mate Martin Melling was needed to pit the car several times, leaving Nick Fleming's and Stuart McPherson's Lotus Elans to complete the podium.
Tickets for the Oulton Park Gold Cup are available on the gate for £21, with free admission for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.