OULTON PARK GOLD CUP; 24th – 25th August 2019
FJHRA/HSCC UK “SILVERLINE” CHAMPIONSHIP Rounds 10 & 11
A steaming hot Bank Holiday weekend, with traffic jams to match, but most Juniors arrived early nonetheless to set up campers along the main strip. A few ventured out for early testing, including a smiling and enthusiastic Richard Ferris in the Australian Donford; sadly before 2 laps were up, Richard was off, after a broken stub axle, but fortunately no other damage, but Marilyn and Richard stayed on to enjoy the fun weekend.
Despite a smaller than usual entry, qualifying fully vindicated the decision to combine front and rear engined cars and to no one’s great surprise, Peter de la Roche, in Pat Barford’s Lola Mk 2, produced a superb time to pip Laine Martin’s ex-Fred Boothby Lotus 20 for pole by 0.029 seconds. Sadly, Laine had set this time on his first flying lap, and next time round kissed the barriers, after an attempted pass on a revitalised Andrew Hayden in the ex-Rivers Fletcher Lotus 22, and was unable to take up his front row position, elevating Andrew when the revised grid was published.
Peter Anstiss was back in the family 22 and it was the second FJ race ever for John Hutchison Jnr in Envoy 1.006, while long awaited returnee, Robert Goodwin made his debut in the ex-Bob Soltis Kieft FJ with very original chassis plate 1/1, last raced [and crashed] by Bob at Lime Rock, Connecticut in 1968.
Fun continued long into the evening with the FJ cheese and wine party, kindly organised by Robin and Sue Longdon, Robin having rotating to the beloved Mk 5A this weekend, with many FJ drivers past and present enjoying the camaraderie, with families.
A really memorable race in the true tradition of FJ, Andrew Hayden and Peter de la Roche led off, side by side to the first corner where de la Roche braked latest and gained the lead. This continued until lap 6, each time Hayden had fractionally more straight-line speed and would draw alongside on approach to Old Hall Corner where the Lola would somehow outbrake the disc shod Lotus and emerge just in front – repeat for 5 laps!
On lap 6, the Lola’s inner driveshaft coupling sheered and having lost all drive, de la Roche parked it as far from trouble on the gravel at Shell Corner, race over, leaving a delighted Andrew Hayden to take his first ever race win.
Further back Michael Hibberd in his ex-Dietrich Merkel Lola Mk 2 BRJ 11 held off an advancing Morton in the Condor S II and further back still a rather subdued Longdon in 4th after being left on the grid.
Andrew Taylor had the misfortune of a puncture on the green flag lap – it was rectified but with insufficient time left to classify as a finisher.
So, three front engined cars in the first five! Poor Keith Pickering, full family in tow, did not even fully complete one racing lap.
This time Hayden made a great start, leading away from Longdon who made a far better start than before – de la Roche in 3rd – his ”team” had made a superb effort with the complicated repair being completed just in the nick of time – well done, especially to Mike Fowler who provided instant facilities, and a heavy right foot in the “get back to the circuit” car!!
There followed a wonderful scrap between Hayden, de la Roche and Longdon – Longdon looked to have it but ran fractionally wide at Old Hall and de La Roche was through into the lead. 2 laps later, Longdon regained the lead and Hayden finished 2nd, 3 sec behind. It must be said that these three, finishing with just over a second covering the lot, drove hard, lots of passing but never any hint of bodily contact – all in the best traditions of FJ. Further back, Alex Morton gradually reeled in Michael Hibberd reversing the result of race 1 but by an equally close margin.
Close racing throughout – a brace of Taylors (Andrew & Nick) dicing with Peter Anstiss finishing under 2 seconds apart.
As Andrew was in race one, so Robin was in race two, a delighted winner; the 5A is definitely no longer for sale!!! [says Sue!]
Nice to see the unusual cars of Keith Pickering (Britannia)- now repaired overnight – Martin McHugh (North Star) and John Hutchison Jnr (Envoy), as well as Andrew Turvey’s very historic MRP 5A, running reliably and well – Rob Goodwin, giving his Kieft its first run for many decades, sadly ended up in the gravel at Druids on the very last lap.
A sad non starter was Bill Grimshaw in one of the very earliest British Juniors – the one and only Moorland – this lost its exhaust during race 1 and it could not be found before Race 2!
So, two really good races further enhancing FJ’s reputation for close exciting racing
Finally- the Pub Quiz – what do the following drivers have in common;
- Stirling Moss
- Jack Brabham
- John Surtees
- Jim Clark
- Jackie Stewart
- Jackie Ickx
- Marty Bullock
Answer – each has won the Oulton Park Gold Cup – Marty in his sublime Williams FW06 won the Aurora races on aggregate thus winning the famous Gold Cup with such a history since 1954 -actually Marty is the 3rd FJ driver to win the Cup – the others being Jim Clark and John Surtees !!
Other FJ faces around the Paddock included James Murray, having a very good run in his F2 Chevron, hopefully as a “selling plate”, before concentrating on the FJ Mk 5A, Ford man, Simon Goodliff in a Mini, but the Nike Mk 1 is “ready to go”; Andrew Hibberd, convincingly winning the, otherwise very exciting, HF3 races; Peter Hamilton, the Cooper T 52 nearly ready; and Bond “works drivers” Andrew Tart and Mike Walker having some HF3 fun, but plans for another exciting FJ project are under way for this Winter
DRB with DCPR