Oulton Results 310809

Oulton Park Gold Cup 31st August 2009

A wet and windy weekend didn't dampen our spirits and produced one of the best races on the programme for the Historic Sports Car Club's Gold Cup meeting. What's more a good turnout of twenty three cars helped to produce a great atmosphere on and off the track. Most arrived on Saturday to enjoy the day's circuit action and evening BBQ, though rain showers and high winds enlivened one but not the other. Fortunately, nothing was going to put out Mr Fowler's barbie so all were  thoroughly fed and watered for the night and some unofficial practice was had on the Dodgem cars. We were pleased to welcome some less familiar faces, Patrick Morin brought his Cooper over and Hakan Sandberg, our official foreigner, had his JBS. Also now living back in England was Richard Utley to make up a pair. Stuart Wright would finally make his debut in the Dastle after the chassis problems of Mallory and Duncan Rabagliati had the wonderful Trimax. After spending the majority of this year on the hills with his Staride. Darrell Woods was back in his Cooper Mk VIII now with Norton power.


Monday morning started sunny and, while the clouds had arrived by the time of the session, it was still dry. The wind made things entertaining on the more exposed parts of the circuit where a sudden gust could make a big difference to a car's trajectory. Nigel Ashman showed everyone how its done and took pole with a 2:18.421 but he was certainly trying,  a wild spin at Lodge convinced him that he's found the limit as well as entertaining the punters. Another "Lodge comedian" was Richard Bishop-Miller who contrived to take the grassy way out of the corner more than once. By the third time, the marshals were warming up the tow truck convinced they would soon have a customer. Behind Nigel was the Martin of Richard Ellingworth and Gordon Russell's Cooper, 0.15 separating them and Mike Fowler who'd done a tremendous job to get his Mk V onto the second row. Row three, and fastest JAP, would be the Mk VIII of Neil Hodges and the sister Martin of Roy Hunt with the Coopers of Nigel Challis and Brian Jolliffe filling row four. Mechanical maladies were mostly minor; Shirley's Cooper had no spark and the Trimax had no clutch but Martin Sheppard blew up his Norton so spent another lunch time in oil swapping the spare and Mike Bell blew up his JAP but was able to borrow one for the race.

With the trivia of practice out of the way, attention turned to the important part of the day, the cake making competition or, to be precise, the cake eating competition. Quite why the 500 OA should have such a thing is still a mystery as no one thought to ask, being too busy filling their faces. Well done to all who took part.


Julie and Martin Sheppard "creamed" everyone in the cake making competition and, before anyone starts questioning Martin's tendencies, just take a look at those hands........Photos Nigel Ashman


At around midday, it rained heavily, a joy for some and a worry for others but through the afternoon it steadily dried. As the cars sat in assembly, it rained again but only very briefly to add to the tension so, as they took the green flag lap, the track was only damp but with no standing water. Some only just made it though, Mike Bell completing his engine change with minutes to spare. From the lights, Nigel Ashman again showed the way, leading into Old Hall and never headed. Over the first couple of laps he built up a five second lead and by lap five it was a comfortable ten seconds. Behind him, however, it was very different story. Richard Ellingworth's Martin was left standing on the grid and Gordon Russell also made a slow getaway in his Cooper. Mike Fowler and Neil Hodges made good starts and were second and third respectively as they headed down to Cascades. A recovering Gordon disposed of Neil under power on the way up to Island and was back to half a second of Mike by the end of lap one to commence their race long duel. Roy Hunt, Nigel Challis and Brian Jolliffe all made good starts and would complete the fist lap in that order with Roy catching Neil. After avoiding the confusion at the start and a remarkable first lap, JB Jones brought the Cousy round in eighth which would briefly become seventh before a blown engine ended his day on lap five. JB wasn't downhearted describing it as one of the best races he'd had.  Sadly the Trimax only lasted a lap before a hold piston ended Duncan's day and the Monro Cooper only two before a similar problem. Mike Bell managed three laps before enthusiasm resulted in a terminal spin at Lodge.

After his terrible start, Ellingworth dove an excellent first few laps, quickly getting down under the 2:21s, in spite of having to overtake numerous cars, to steadily bring himself back into contention. Art the end of lap one, he was thirteenth, then ninth, then eighth. Meanwhile nearer the front on lap two, Gordon was right on Mike's tail through Cascades and alongside as they climbed again but on the way back, Mike braked later for the chicane and took the place back. Roy out dragged Neil but came a cropper at the chicane, two wheels on the grass at the kink put the car sideways and he entered the first part of the chicane sideways with Neil trying to avoid being T boned. By the time he's recovered, Roy would be down to eighth behind the Cousy so both Martins had work to do.

Neil was delayed slightly by Roy's spin giving Mike and Gordon breathing space to concentrate on each other, which they duly did, swapping places several times per lap over the next three laps with Mike usually slightly ahead as they crossed the line.

Rabagliati's Trimax

Mike Fowler pushing on

On lap seven,  Russell was just ahead as they came down from Old Hall but Fowler pulled a move (which he says he'll remember for the rest of his life) swooping down the outside and side by side through Cascades! Towards Island, Mike backed down from the challenge but out braked Gordon into Shell maintaining position to Warwick Bridge then Gordon sneaked alongside getting the line for Lodge Corner and over the line. By now they were in among the back markers allowing Gordon to ease out a couple of seconds advantage. Mike, seeing the pace of the battle behind, could not afford a mistake so decided the game was up with Gordon and drove one last consistent lap to hold his third place overall and class win.

After a relatively uneventful middle part of the race being entertained by Gordon and Mike, Neil found his mirrors full of Martins by lap six, Richard and Roy having recovered from their respective dramas and setting very fast times. With no defence on the up hill sections, both were past on lap eight with Roy ahead at the line and only a second covering the three of them. To settle matters, Roy set the fastest lap of the race (2:18.656) on the final lap to finish only 1.5 seconds behind Mike Fowler and take a very well deserved fourth overall and second in class B. But things weren't settled behind him, Neil also setting a personal best on the final lap and right on the tail of Richard as they passed Warwick Bridge. They arrived at the braking zone for Lodge at the same time as a backmarker where Neil dived down the inside to nick fifth by a tenth of a second at the line. Nigel Challis came home in seventh with Brian Jolliffe in eighth. Richard Bishop-Miller came home sixteenth overall in his Cooper Mk II to take victory in class A. Sadly Martin Sheppard's luck in the cake baking didn't hold out in the race and he retired on the last lap.

So a well deserved, if slightly lonely victory for Nigel Ashman and some terrific battles behind. At the finish, four cars were covered by just over two seconds and more overtaking than any other race of the weekend, yet all performed with respect and consideration. A fine display of how historic racing should be conducted and a terrific advertisement as well as being great fun to participate in. The punters who stayed certainly got their money's worth.

Richard Bishop-Miller on track for a class win in his Cooper Mk II

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap: Roy Hunt - Martin - 2:18.656

DNF: Martin Sheppard - Cooper Mk XII, John Jones - Cousy, Mike Bell - Cooper Mk X, Shirley Monro - Cooper Mk IV, Duncan Rabagliati - Trimax

Championship Standings


Photos by Darren Sellings, Mike Fowler, Nigel Ashman, Nigel Challis & Richard Ellingworth

Report by Neil Hodges.

Our thanks to the HSCC

1 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk XI C 21:15 9 2:20.176
2 Gordon Russell Cooper Mk VIII C 21:28 9 2:20.252
3 Mike Fowler Cooper Mk V B 21:32 9 2:22.443
4 Roy Hunt Martin B 21:34 9 2:18.656
5 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII C 21:34 9 2:18.769
6 Richard Ellingworth Martin B 21:34 9 2:19.127
7 Nigel Challis Cooper Mk VIII C 21:59 9 2:23.898
8 Brian Jolliffe Cooper Mk IX C 22:26 9 2:26.163
9 Darrell Woods Cooper Mk VIII C 22:43 9 2:28.771
10 Rodney Delves Kieft CK 52 B 22:58 9 2:29.482
11 Mike Gilbert Cooper Mk IX C 23:03 9 2:30.584
12 Kerry Horan Trenberth B 23:18 9 2:32.742
13 Geoff Gartside Cooper Mk VIII C 23:50 9 2:34.579
14 Stuart Wright Dastle C 21:25 8 2:32.324
15 Richard Utley JBS B 21:35 8 2:36.129
16 Richard Bishop-Miller Cooper Mk II A 22:17 8 2:43.166
17 Patrick Morin Cooper Mk XI C 24:20 8 2:55.749
18 Hakan Sandberg JBS B 21:30 7 2:45.436

Gratuitous? Possibly. Jealous? Certainly. But at least she's better looking than the normal occupant..... ..

Another win for Nigel Ashman puts him in an almost unassailable lead over Gordon Russell in class C with Neil Hodges in third and fastest JAP. The real action is happening in class B where Richard Ellingworth's lead has been cut to just two points over Mike Fowler with Roy Hunt only a point behind that. In Class A, Richard Bishop-Miller has enough in the bag already to take the championship.

Miss Laura Fowler (delighted) and Miss Olivia Sheppard (gutted).