WSSCC rounds 3/4 Oulton Park Circuit. Race reports by Nick Rocke
The Saturday morning brought a dry but cold start at Oulton Park Race Circuit, it also brought some bad news Chris Everill was unable to race due to having engine problems the day before in testing, Verity Banks’ new race car was not ready in time, so we were at 14 competitors going into Qualifying.
Simon Hutching had also been having car problems his exhaust had snapped in testing the Friday before, fortunately for Simon there was a custom exhaust center local to Oulton Park who agreed to open up at 7am to fix his damaged exhaust proving not all heroes wear capes.
We were joined by a selection of Invitation drivers some new faces, Patrick Smyth with his Millington powered Lotus Elan S3, Mike Nash in a Seat Cupra, Mark Jones and Steve Cunniffe were sharing car #98 another Seat Cupra, each driver was doing one race each, and were both also driving in the GT challenge. There was one familiar face Greg Barlow in the beautiful Mk1 Escort, Greg joined us last year at the Oulton Park rounds.
A past champion, Blake Edwards was ready to race his first race in 25 years, Blake has decided to make a return to racing this season. Blake was the very first WSSCC champion in 1991 & 1992, back then he was racing a Ford Capri, now Blake is sporting a MK2 Renault Clio 182 sport, he was looking forward to getting stuck into the thick of it again after a very successful test session at Llandow Circuit earlier in the year, with all of Blakes experience and a well prepared car he will be one to watch this season.
By the time qualifying came around the weather had brightened up there were clouds in the sky but the forecast was looking to be a nice dry day. With fewer drivers on our grid at Oulton Park this season it gave more room for drivers to really push for the best possible qualifying times.
By lap 3 Patrick Smyth had secured pole position with a time of 1.52.98 which was almost 4 seconds clear of 2nd place competitor Mark Jones, Mike Nash grasped 3rd on the grid from Fabio Luffarelli by two tenths of a second, Fabio was not in his usual bike engine powered Corrado he was actually borrowing his daughter’s (Mellisa Luffarelli) Bike Engined MIni.
Mike Moss was sat in a very respectable 5th place and also 1st in class BS in his Caterham, by the looks of it he was going to keep our current WSSCC champion Tyrone Luffareli honest. Tyrone was running in 6th and had his work cut out to try get past Mike Moss. Simon Hutchings with his newly repaired exhaust was going strong and almost matched Tyrone’s qualifying time.
Daryl Radford was 8th in his Honda Civic but unfortunately sheered a aluminum mount for a auxiliary belt pulley, despite trying to source a welder or someone local to repair it he was left with the only other option which was to retire the car for the meeting and enjoy a bit of spectating. Greg Barlow in the fabulous Mk1 Escort was 9th on the grid with class BT Colin Dunn snapping at his heels in 10th.
Ellis Wiggins in the Vauxhall Nova was in 11th and Andrew Williams in the MG ZR was in 12th, Gareth Haycocks Qualifying session was rather eventful as he tried to get used to the Car he had rented for the weekend, Gareth had problems keeping the grip through the rear end of the Smokey diesel VW Golf, he may have had a few nail biting moments but he managed to keep the car out of the Armco, he later found that the tyres that came with the car were no good and changed to his alternative set and this rectified the problem. Gareth has been slowly rebuilding his V6 powered VW Golf since a nasty accident at Mallory Park in 2017, he is approaching the end of the rebuild but to satisfy his craving for motorsport he decided to support the championship by renting one of the Grant Motorsport cars for this weekend, we look forward to seeing his V6 beast back out with us hopefully this season.
Blake Edwards had qualified in 14th and last on the grid. Blake was still getting used to the new car and was getting quicker lap by lap, he was enjoying pushing the car around the fantastic circuit that is Oulton Park, he had not driven round it for many years.
Race 1 (Round 3)
The rolling start was far from perfect as the lights were a little late going out but they all got away safely, Tyrone Luffarelli jumped straight in 4th from 6th taking 1st in class position from Mike Moss, Fabio was up into 2nd by the end of lap one, Patrick Smyth had pulled away massively by the end of lap one and had a huge 8 second lead over 2nd place Fabio. Mark Jones had dropped to 5th off the line and was waiting for his chance to pass Tyrone’s 106.
Number 17 Gareth Haycock had got past Ellis Wiggins in the Nova but it was short lived as Ellis regained the position on lap 2. By lap 2 Patrick Smyth’s lead over the pack had grown to 10 seconds, Mike Nash had managed to pass Fabio Luffarelli and Mark Jones was passed Tyrone and up into 4th, Now Mike Moss could focus on trying to get that Ford Sigma powered Caterham past Tyrones Pug 106 they were less than a second from each other the whole lap but Tyrone was leaving no doors open for Mike to squeeze through. Simon Hutchings MX5 was running in 3rd in class BS but couldn’t quite keep up with the battling pair in front.
The pack stayed the same until lap 5 when the racing started to get you off your seat and watching in anticipation, Mark Jones had taken 3rd place from Fabio’s Mini and was now hunting 2nd place Mike Nash, Tyrone Luffarelli was under some serious pressure from Mike Moss, who’s Caterham is far lighter than the Pug 106 and has far better braking due to this lightness. I imagine Tyrone had to keep his defense very tight to fend off Mike Moss.
This competitiveness continued further back in the pack as Ellis Wiggins had been trying hard to get past Class BT driver Colin Dunn, Simon Hutching was going well but although putting in some very consistent lap times he could still not catch up with the BS battle between Tyrone and Moss.
Greg Barlow was also very consistent and was still running in 9th overall, now that car will make any blue oval fan weak at the knees, absolutely spectacular seeing the pinto powered Mk1 Escort being put through its paces the way it should be. Andy Williams was hanging in there and holding off Haycocks Derv propelled golf. Blake Edwards was running at the back but was enjoying his first race none the less.
Mark Jones set the new invitation class lap record for Oulton Park with a time of 1:54.409 in his Seat Cupra, well done Mark Jones.
On lap 6 Mike Moss made his move and grabbed hold of 1st in class BS Tyrone Luffarelli was trying to regain the position so Mike Moss had his work cut out to retain his position. Patrick Smyth was still running in first and had a comfortable lead so just needed to finish, Ellis Wiggins was still fighting to get past Class BT Colin Dunn in his Renault Clio 172, Ellis had and fantastic 7th lap and took another 3 seconds off his lap time, this hard work paid off as he was now in front of Colin’s Clio.
As they all came through Lodge corner on the final lap there were some who took it right to the line Moss and Tyrone Luffarelli drag raced to the line but it was too late, Mike Moss had taken his first class win of the season.
The finishing order was Patrick Smyth taking the overall race win and 1st in class I with a gigantic 14.1 second lead. Mark Jones 2nd overall and 2nd in class I, Mike Nash in 3rd overall and 3rd in class I, Fabio Luffarelli brought the Mini in 4th and 1st class M.
Mike Moss in 5th and 1st in class BS Mike also played his Joker so will receive double points for this round also had fastest lap in class, Tyrone Luffarelli in 6th and 2nd in class BS, Simon Hutchings in 7th after a very lonely race but retained 3rd in class BS, Greg Barlow drove that Mk1 beautifully all race, he started in 8th and finished in 8th and also 4th in class I.
Ellis Wiggins brought the Nova home in one piece or so we thought later to find he had broken yet another drive shaft/ CV joint,9th overall and 4th in class BS he drove amazingly and finally conquered Oulton Park. After last years issues I am sure he was one happy guy. Colin Dunn came 10th and 1st in class BT and was also the last competitor to complete 8 laps.
Andrew Williams brought his MG ZR home in 11th and in 2nd in class BT, Gareth Haycock tamed the Derv powered golf and kept it on the black stuff to come 12th and 1st in CT.
Blake Edwards drove that Clio Sport to the limit and came 13th and 5th in BS, Blake was also awarded ‘Driver of the Race’ as he showed us there is still hope for Robert Allender’s return to racing, watch this space!
Photos of the action and prizegiving on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheWRDA/
Results from TSL Timing – http://www.tsl-timing.com
Race 2 (Round 4) Well it was not long before we were on the grid for the final race of the day, we were last on the programme for the day and time was tight with Oulton Park having a 6:30pm curfew on noise, so we were praying for no incidents. Unfortunately Patrick Smyth had retired the Lotus Elan s3, i do believe due to a tyre issue.
Mark Jones’ team mate Stephen Cunniffe was in the drivers seat for round 4 and because of the rules had to start from the back of the grid. Andrew Williams had been having a few battery issues with the MG ZR and needed a bump start out of the holding area.
Fabio Luffarelli being the only class M competitor wanted to have some fun so opted to start from the back of the grid but was not there long. They lined up on the grid for the green flag lap and off they went to start the 4th round of the 2018 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship.
The rolling start this time was text book and everyone got away with any issues, as they came around for the first lap at race speed, Andrew Williams’ battery problems came back to haunt him and his car began to miss-fire, but good Andy is also a experienced track marshal, so he new exactly what to do with it and he pulled off next to the nearest marshals post and reversed behind the Armco barrier, this meant there would be no need to delay the race with a red flag or safety car! Well done Andy proves its good to not only know how to drive quick round a circuit, but you also benefit from knowing how the orange army operate.
By the end of lap 1 car #98 Stephen Cunniffe was motoring and was already running in 2nd. Blake Edwards had taken 10th from Haycock’s diesel VW Golf and was pushing that Clio to its limits, Blake was already 2secs quicker than his fastest lap in race 1 (round 3). Ellis in the Vauxhall Nova was now reeling in Greg Barlows Mk1 Escort.
By Lap 2 Tyrone Luffarelli was in 3rd and had got past his rival Moss. Fabio, father of Tyrone, had managed to get from the back to the front very quickly in the bike powered Mini, and he was now in 4th overall.
Positions stayed the same for a few laps and Moss was finding it hard to try make a pass on Tyrone because Fabio’s Mini was sandwiched between the two BS competitors. Mike Moss was pushing hard and on lap 4 managed to set the new WSSCC Oulton Park Class BS record with a time of 1:58.894. Ellis Wiggins in the Vauxhall Nova had reeled the Escort of Greg Barlow in and had made the move that put him into 7th overall.
Stephen Cunniffe took the lead from Mike Nash on lap 4 but Nash was not ready to give up without a fight. Haycock made a move on Blake as the approached lodge on lap 4, Blake tried to fight back and put a rear wheel on the grass this resulted in a massive sideways moment for Blake, he recovered well and showed us that despite being a lot older than most on the grid his reaction times are still as sharp as they always were! Simon Hutching was pushing hard to try catch the BS battle between Moss and Lufferelli.
By lap 6 Fabio had got past Tyrone’s 106 and Moss was pushing to get pasts, both drivers were only two tenths of a second away for each other this is some exciting motorsport for ours supporters to watch. Despite all his efforts MIke Moss could not find a kink in Tyrone’s armour and they continued mirroring each other for the remaining laps of the race.
The class M (WSSCC) Oulton Park lap record was set by Fabio Luffarelli on lap 7 with a time of 1:57.224. Also Colin Dunn set the new class BT Oulton Park lap record with a time of 2:05.745 on the final lap.
As they came across the line for the last time it was Stephen Cunniffe who took the cheqeured flag followed by Mike Nash in 2nd and 2nd in class I, Fabio Luffarell was 3rd across the line and 1st in class M, a fantastic drive from Fabio starting from the back and making up 9 places in 8 laps! In 4th, just missing out on a podium spot, was Tyrone Luffarelli although he was 1st in class BS after an exciting race with 5th place Mike Moss, who arrived home in 2nd in class BS.
Simon Hutchings finished 6th overall and 3rd in class BS, Ellis Wiggins stayed in 7th till the end and finished 4th in BS, Gregory Barlow finished 8th and 3rd in class I, Colin Dunn crossed the line in 9th and 1st in class BT, Gareth Haycock finished 10th and 1st in CT, Blake Edwards finished in 11th and 5th in BS.
Ellis Wiggins was awarded the ‘Driver of the Race’ for his dice with Greg Barlow and his Mk1 Escort.
A fantastic days racing alongside the Aston Martin Owners Club I would like to thank everyone for coming and I look forward to seeing you all at Pembrey on the 10th of June. Nick
Photos of the action and prizegiving on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheWRDA/
Results from TSL Timing – http://www.tsl-timing.com
Preview. WSSCC competitors ready for Oulton Park + Ben Hingeley ready to rock in Pau!
A select band of WSSCC championship regulars will be at Oulton Park on Saturday 12th May for Rounds 3 &4 of the 2018 Championship. 2017 Champion Tyrone Luffarelli will be joined in Class BS by Blake Edwards, who was the very first champion in 1991 & 92. Blake is having his first race in the 2018 series in a Renault Clio. The regulars will be joined by some guest with some intriguing cars, including the Seat Cupra which Rhys Lloyd used to win the Championship in 2008!
Live Timing from Oulton Park is available on TSL http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/181954
The remaining dates in the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship are all Sundays
- June 10th Pembrey
- July 29th Donington Park National Circuit
- August 19th Pembrey
- Oct 14th Pembrey with Trucks
Meanwhile Wrda member, and 2017 Young driver of the Year, Ben Hingeley starts his season of in the FIA European F3 Championship at Pau in France, the famous track near the Pryenees. The race is live on BT Sport 1 at 10.00 am, or live streaming through the FIA F3 website http://www.fiaf3europe.com/
BTW 1960s Welsh Racer Jack Lewis finished 3rd in the 1962 Pau Grand Prix, which was for F1 cars at the time. After a race long struggle with Ricardo (brother of Pedro)Rodriguez in the works Ferrari, Lewis, at the wheel of his Ecurie Gallois BRM, settled for third place in the 1962 Pau Grand Prix.