FJHRA/HSCC “Silverline” UK Championship Round 9; 25th – 26th August 2018: Oulton Park Gold Cup

Well the Long hot Summer was over!!

Saturday morning and the three open wheel tests were very wet. Iain Rowley shook down the new brakes on his own Lotus 22 pre-Goodwood, while Adam Sykes having his first race for 9 years, testing the family Merlyn Mk 2. Adrian Russell used the opportunity for lots more track time, and Phil Foulkes did some very wet exploratory laps on his first visit the track, despite having spent much of the last three months based with the Longdon’s in nearby Knutsford. Also great to see our SA trip friend Patrick Dunseith.

Around midday the sun came out and the front Juniors were out to qualify on a near dry track with Mike Walker in the prototype Bond just pipping Alex Morton’s Condor S II on the penultimate lap, with Mark Woodhouse just adrift. Duncan with his oldest engine pressed into service was troubled by ill-fitting clutch assembly, while Xavier Kingsland, who was making a welcome break from 500 duty, had a distributor drive fault and Rudolf Ernst broke a camshaft in the Tim Bishop maintained Mitter.

Still fine and dry for the rears with Andrew Hibberd well ahead on the road and times from the start  but Jack Woodhouse improving was all the time and new boy Adrian Russell up into third, jumping ahead of Kubota-san. Pete de la Roche came in after only four laps with difficulty getting his hand to select 3rd gear and shot off home to get more foam to rebuild the seat. Andrew Turvey in his very original MRP Lola 5A was also having a first race after a 7 year break, and in good mid field position, while Gordon Wright was back after his return at Silverstone Classic in the ex-Andrew Taylor/Peter Green Britannia and both Andrew and Peter spent much time trying to diagnose electrical problems without success.

There was some wonderful food at the FJ “Silverline Social” that evening  kindly arranged by Robin and Sue Longdon, and nearly 50 enjoyed the fare – in sunshine!

Sunday was scheduled to be very wet but Clerk of the Course Julian Floyd confidently predicted that it would stop at 1 pm and at 1.02 it really did, although still damp in the air, so it was wet on track for the front race, with an extra green flag lap and race reduced to 14 minutes. Taking advantage of the Bond front wheel drive slow grid start, Alex led into the first corner from Mark Woodhouse, Adam Sykes, and Mike, and a battling Tart and Mike Fowler, who had made a very good start.

Lap 4 and Mike Walker took to the grass at the Chicane and the Bonds swapped places, while Mike Fowler drifted further back into Duncan’s clutches, but although Duncan was nearly alongside on the last lap, he could not risk a brave move in the slippery conditions.

With two laps to go Mark got by and pulled ahead to win, John Arnold pitted with both pulling brakes and water in electrics and Bernard Brock, now with 1 litre motor unfortunately had his Croft problems return.

The rain was now almost stopped but quite a number had already withdrawn in the wet conditions leaving just 13 runners and almost two less as both Iain Rowley, now in Ian Robinson’s Lola 5A and Adrian Russell, both arrived in the holding area after the rest had departed, because the timetable was running well ahead of itself. There were allowed to join in, but it was after the grid had been set up, so they came along to try to find their original slots, without the room to do so; result a bit of a crush at the first corner, with Russell tagging de la Roche and both spinning without harm but left adrift of the competition.

Up front Jack got the jump on Andrew Hibberd and kept it that way, although by the second lap he was catching, but gradually drifted back; Katsu was third, though some way back until the recovering Russell got by two laps from the end with de la Roche also getting by Rowley, the latter followed home all within 1.1 secs by Andrew Taylor and Andrew Turvey, much enjoying himself, with Mark Haynes in 10th in the Ex Alford Ex Spence Elva 200, feeling slower than his front engined Nota. Richard Ferris (with Marylin) was enjoying FJ with the overweight Donford but looking to shed some kilos over the winter while Martin McHugh looked happy, hot and smiling in the so original North Star in 11th and 13th respectively, split by John Hutchison in the only 18 to take the start.

A jolly prizegiving celebrated Pete de la Roche’s 21st birthday and sadly bade farewell to Kathy and Phil Foulkes, back to NZ.