Oulton Results 260813

Oulton Park 26th August 2013 Lewis-Evans Trophy

Round 6 of the championship brought us to Oulton Park for a Bank Holiday run at the Gold Cup meeting. The event was also a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the circuit. 500s had attended that first test meeting, Leston winning from Parker and Sanderson in a fairly low-key entry.

New to the championship was Chaz Reynolds in a Kieft-JAP. Not to be confused with hillclimber Charles Reynolds (henceforth to be “Cooper” Reynolds), “Kieft” Reynolds has traded a piston for an extra wheel, joining us from the Morgans. Seeking to confuse us even further, Chaz’s car, whilst in Moss apple green lacquer and looking the spit of the Merrick Taylor car, has been built up from a bare chassis.

Meanwhile, Sir John Chisholm was attending but had lent the Arnott to Ian Rowley again, to blow out the cobwebs. In fact several drivers had also come with Juniors for the Sunday races (as had most of the others, knowing what a bunfight the Oulton Paddock can be on Gold Cup weekend) so a barbecue was held on Sunday evening, with John Furlong supplying a healthy quantity of beers.

Classic Oulton; Richard Utley (JBS) and Mike Fowler (Cooper Mk V)

With a nasty blip in the weather clearing out on the Sunday, Monday morning started out cool and misty but by the time of qualifying it had become and almost perfect bank holiday Monday. All twenty two entries were willing and able, and we even had Assembly reasonably well organised, with starter dollies to the side and push-starts downhill!

Steve Jones was back and it was no surprise to see him heading the final time sheets. But Nigel Ashman was much closer, finishing less than half a second behind over a two-and-a-quarter minute lap. Roy Hunt was once again hooked up with the Martin (admitting he’s found a little something in the set up this year), within a second of pole.

A quick jog from the Assembly Area allowed supporters to watch from the Avenue, seeing cars from the exit of the first corner (Old Hall), down through the tricky double-apex Cascades and away on the run out onto the International Circuit. Cascades is a corner that really shows good technique and best by some margin was Darrell – ignoring the first apex, setting the Mk XII in a long, continuous drift, before nailing the second apex and carrying much more speed down the long straight – so it was rather a surprise to see him in only sixth place nearly four seconds off pole and behind Gordon Russell and Mike Fowler.

Most of the others were broadly in expected order, allowing for lack of experience of one of the harder tracks to learn – Richard de la Roche being a little slower than we would expect, while Xavier was doing a good job in the Staride. Stuart Wright’s time was particularly good, given that he managed just a single flying lap in the Dastle. Similarly, Ian was having a fun time in the Arnott, which for once was behaving itself and getting a noticeable drift on.

Bad news was fairly limited, but a bit painful nonetheless. Nigel Challis had lost chunks of carburettor, but this was easily fixed. John Turner had half-dropped a valve when a collet popped out – the valve tapped the piston head, but neither were particularly damaged and a quick top-end rebuild had the JAP ready for action again. Richard Bishop-Miller’s gearbox was unhappy staying in fourth gear, and some threats with the hammer tender nursing convinced him that it would be worth a tip at the race distance. Poor old Kerry had his nemesis return - seized piston on the Trenberth – and would have to scratch. At least they have an idea now that an over-rich mixture is washing the bore clean of oil.

Unluckiest was Häkan. Back on Triumph power, a pre-race test run had shown up yet another bad misfire – this time on a 100% guaranteed magneto. A very long Saturday shift ensued to get it off, over to his mag-man for repair and back on the car. But in practice the engine went bang in a big way, splitting the crankcase. He too scratched. Finally, “Kieft” Reynolds was a way off the pace, but treating it as a acclimatisation session. A few minor tweaks and he was happy, smiling throughout. Twenty cars would be ready to race.

Spent all morning trying to figure out what's going on here....

Roy's line looks sensible, for once, but then things get strange. Has Mike turned in very, very late or just doesn't like the first apex? Richard seems to have changed his mind about just how much kerb the Revis can take and Gordon doesn't seem to want anything to do with any of it!.

Come the late afternoon start, and temperatures had risen markedly. Waiting in Assembly, shade and water bottles were in demand for drivers. A relatively long 20-minute race (about nine laps) was going to test both cars and drivers.

The now normal full rolling start was employed, and on such a long circuit all the slow starters were able to get back into position. Unfortunately Chaz’s Kieft gave up the ghost for reasons unknown at the Shell Oils hairpin. And some time after the pack had gone, Darrell rolled into he pits. His Cooper’s fuel cap had popped free, and every acceleration threw up a face-full of methanol. It took the better part of a minute to find someone to help, explain it, and get everything sorted out, which left him far behind the pack when he rejoined.

From the start Steve took the lead, but Roy and Mike got the jump on Nigel Ashman and it took Nigel until the run to Knickerbrook to pass the pair. Mike’s Mk V was clearly at a disadvantage at this circuit and he was soon losing ground, but Roy was really up for it, and hung on to the silver Cooper’s tail. Whether it was the threat from behind or the incentive ahead, Nigel also went hell-for-leather. Completing the first lap three quarters of a second behind Steve, he began chipping away at it. The gap would vary around the course – surprisingly so for two such similar specification cars – but completing the second lap it was down to barely a half second, just a couple of car lengths. And Roy was even closer than that. Nigel held the gap on the third lap, but Roy edged off to nearly a second behind, and knuckled down for a blistering fourth lap. Which is when it kicked off…

Someone (and let’s just assume it was one of the previous races) had been dropping a fair amount of oil around the track. Braking for the Knickerbrook chicane, Nigel got very squirrely as he pressed on to stay in contact with Steve. Roy, using Steve as a marker, was closer and faster, and had no hope. He got partway through the first right hand before the back end came past, and slid away onto the grass on the outside of the left hander for his first spin of the day. As ever, he was on the clutch before the engine stalled, and returned to the track about a couple of seconds before Mike and his chasers arrived on the scene. He was away and back up to speed before they had a proper chance to attack, and began pulling away again.

Nigel’s moment had also broken the elastic, and from here to the flag Steve began extending his lead for another deserved victory, this one harder fought than normal. Nigel accepted the inevitable and would take second place.

But enough of the leaders, what about everyone else? Continuing the tale of the season, once again all hell broke loose, although this time in a series of groups. Richard Bishop-Miller made a fine start to jump to fifth place, and spent most of the first lap trying to fend off Gordon’s Mackson. Once past, Gordon was onto the tail of Mike’s Cooper, but Richard stayed very close as these three pulled away from the next group - JB and Neil, who spent the opening couple of laps separated by inches. Richard de la Roche was half a second off these two looking for a spot to jump in. But he was the first to find oil and spun down to last place (except for Darrell). Ian Phillips had a wonky start and took four laps to catch and pass Neil and JB, by which time he was some seven seconds off the three in front. Xavier made a decent start and shadowed the group for the opening laps.

Steve Jones, Lewis-Evans Trophy winner and new leader in P3

Xavier was soon caught by John Turner, inevitably charging through from the back of the grid. But John then struggled to take that tenth spot (“no brakes, no power, no third gear”, but more of that later). Stuart Wright should have joined them, but clutch cable failure first slowed him then convinced him to pull up for the sake of the gearbox. As he tried to run at a slightly slower pace he was caught by Richard Utley’s JBS, but Richard could not pass, which in turn allowed first Shirley, then Nigel Challis (still settling into the Petty, and starting from near the back) to latch onto his tail. Ian made a good start in the Arnott, but a moment on lap 2 dropped him back through this group. And after his first lap excursion Richard de la Roche was closing up fast, passing the Arnott on lap 3 and over the next two laps getting close enough to make it a four-way battle. Only Roy Wright in the Flash was on his own, the car running cleanly but still not showing the speed it (and Roy) it has.

After a couple of laps setting things up, it was on lap 5 that it all kicked off again. Richard B-M had more than hung onto the back of the Mackson, which was still within half a second of fourth placed Mike, and decided it was time to do a bit more than watch. Richard had a decent run from the hairpin over the ridge to Knickerbrook chicane, and made a very bold dive for the inside – it was probably only because he was OFF the oily racing line that the car didn’t spear on straight up the escape road. Gordon was certainly surprised and took to the grass on the inside of the left hand element. Little time was lost, and Gordon returned the favour with a dive inside at Cascades, leaving Richard with the choice of giving up fifth place, or going on the grass and giving up fifth place. Richard chose the latter. He lost a couple of seconds, although co-incidentally (or not) the Revis’ clutch started slipping and he was soon falling back towards the chasers.

With Ian past them both for seventh, JB and Neil set to in their own private battle (notably, after six laps, or nearly 15 minutes, only the one car of the nineteen that took the flag had retired). JB had regained the edge by a second, but that was a suitable target for Neil. But past the Knickerbrook chicane (at what used to be Range corner) he had an oil-assisted spin as well, dropping a dozen seconds and one place to John Turner, and none too far ahead of Xavier.

Third place was not yet decided, as Mike had managed to stay fairly close to the tail of Roy’s Martin. Not too close, as he spotted that a rear damper had come adrift. Starting the seventh lap, Make made a move alongside first at Cascades, then a second attempt down to the hairpin stuck. Roy didn’t give up, and briefly got back past on lap eight. Gordon was a couple of seconds behind, but unable to capitalise.

Xavier Kingsland - Staride

The Revis was beginning to struggle, and fell quickly back to the charging Ian. He went for the pass at Old Hall, starting the eighth lap, but the left rear drifted beyond the exit kerbing and around he went. He got going again in a cloud of tyre smoke, and the familiar barbecue smoke smell of a dead clutch (actually, that was Richard’s car). He lost some fifteen seconds, restarting just behind John Turner (having also lost out to JB) but was a man on a mission. He repassed John before the lap was out.

The biggest battle, though was behind all of these, and was about to get even better Richard Utley was still leading this group of four, despite several runs by Nigel Challis. But Richard dlR had the fastest car in the group, passing Shirley and Nigel on lap 6. He promptly threw it away again as he had another grassy moment. He rejoined beside Shirley, and was back alongside Richard out of Old Hall for the eighth time, while Nigel had managed to nip past them all.

The Arnott had faded from this group, and retired after seven laps, but the forgotten man of the race was coming back into it. After his pit stop, Darrell had been just enjoying himself – fast tempo driving, focussing on fine tuning his driving. That changed when other cars came into view. The Flash was quickly dispensed with, then the Arnott on lap 6. He was some fifteen seconds behind the Utley group but going several seconds a lap faster. He was on course to catch them a lap from the end (if we got a ninth lap).

These final couple of laps brought all manner of changes, and the only way to be clear is to work through the final order.. The first two places were decided, and Mike was looking good for third. This was decided when Roy went off again. The Martin went round at Range, this time bumping the barrier with its behind. That was enough for him to lose the engine and he retired. Gordon was promoted to fourth and fought to the line, finishing half a second behind Mike.

Ian was the next man on the move. After his spin at the start of the eighth lap, he had quickly re-passed John Turner and with a red mist descending he was chasing down John Jones. But JB was running out of fuel and would pull up on the final lap. Ian refocused on the crippled Revis with the toasted clutch. Ian took ten seconds on the final tour and closed the gap on the final run from Lodge Corner. Richard looked to have it at the line, but the timing called it to Ian by 0.076” (or about a yard, or as Richard didn’t notice, about the distance from a well-placed transponder…). A more positive view is that his clutch should never have got him that far – several minutes later he was pouring pints of water on it, and it was still turning to steam.

John Turner should have come through in seventh, but his “no power” was confirmed by son Andrew as “no more fuel”. So maybe Neil Hodges would be seventh – but Neil had been slowed by magneto trouble, and Xavier passed him on the final tour. Neil came in eighth.

Ninth place was to be fought out by the large group. As Darrell joined the group, Shirley had to take her leave – the clutch disintegrated and she cruised the last couple of laps avoiding gear changes. She still brought the car home ahead of Richard dlR, also struggling for the last couple of laps.

On lap eight there was a nasty little moment that took out Richard Utley. Exiting the hairpin the JBS got squiggly, and went into the belting backwards. Richard banged his shoulder pretty hard. Out of the car, and probably a combination of shock and heat exhaustion, Richard hit the deck. He was hurried off to the medical centre, but re-appeared an hour later. His arm was in a precautionary sling, but basically OK.

Which left two from five. fighting for ninth place. Nigel led onto the final lap, but Darrell was right on his tail and had the speed. Exiting Old Hall he went to the Petty’s left, but Nigel moved over, unwittingly putting him on the grass. Darrell barely lifted, and inevitably it was at Cascades that he slipped to the inside and powered away.

After just one car failing in the first seven laps, another five retired in the final two. But once it was clear that Richard was OK, everyone was in good cheer. A decent crowd had stayed on to be entertained. And Steve Lewis-Evans and family had made the trip to present the Lewis-Evans Trophy (and some rather decent Gold Cup awards) to Steve, Nigel and Mike. Another successful weekend in a fantastic season.

Heads Down No Nonsense Mindless Boogie - Daryl

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap

Class P1: Shirley Monro - Cooper Mk IV-JAP

Class P2: Gordon Russell - Mackson-Norton

Class P3: Steve Jones - Cooper Mk X-Norton

JAP: Richard Bishop-Miller - Revis-JAP



DNF: JB Jones - Cooper Mk IX-Triumph, John Turner - Cooper Mk IX-JAP, Roy Hunt - Martin-Norton, Richard Utley - JBS-Norton, Iain Rowley - Arnott-JAP, Stuart Wright - Dastle-JAP


DNS: Kerry Horan - Trenberth-Vincent, Hakan Sandberg - JBS-Triumph


Photos: Mike Wood


Points Table

1 Steve Jones Cooper Mk X-Norton P3 20:32 9 2:14.598
2 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk IX-Norton P3 20:43 9 2:15.894
3 Mike Fowler Cooper Mk V-Norton P2 21:00 9 2:17.975
4 Gordon Russell Mackson-Norton P2 21:00 9 2:17.811
5 Ian Phillips Cooper Mk X-Norton P3 21:33 9 2:20.027
6 Richard Bishop-Miller Revis-JAP P3 21:33 9 2:18.832
7 Xavier Kingsland Staride-Norton P2 21:56 9 2:22.746
8 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII-JAP P3 22:07 9 2:20.221
9 Darrell Woods Cooper Mk XII-Norton P3 22:15 9 2:18.090
10 Nigel Challis Petty-Norton P3 22:22 9 2:25086
11 Shirley Monro Cooper Mk IV-JAP P1 22:29 9 2:26.748
12 Richard de la Roche Smith-Buckler-JAP P2 22:35 9 2:24.666
13 Roy Wright Flash Special-Norton P3 21.00 9 2:35.479


Nigel Challis now in the Petty-Norton