Round 8 Oulton Park 12th September 2015

Words and Pictures by : Phil (Scoop) Broster.

‘e’ mail : phil_scoop@hotmail.co.uk phone : 07912537640
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The next round in the Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge was scheduled for Oulton Park but it was a disappointing entry after the well subscribed Croft event. An imminent meeting on the continent saw many people saving their cars, we still had 15 entries though and the possibility of some close battles on this fabulous circuit.

Qualifying took place early in the morning with the race scheduled for about 1.30. It was a drawn out field with only 12 runners on track at one point. Sibley was noticeably quickest but the Class B cars of Andy Southcott and Watkins were looking quite rapid and the only two in close company.

These three took the first places at the flag with Chadwick close behind. Wildman qualified next after just one flying lap before being sidelined with a broken fan belt. Dunkley, the only other Class A runner, was next up with Burgin and the ever Improving Bridge ahead of Dear. Chris Southcott completed the top ten, he too only getting one flying lap with a rotor arm problem sidelining him. Clews was next with Tewson, Homer, a returning John Hughes and Simpson completing the order.

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There was a bit of activity in the Paddock with those various issues being sorted but everyone would be ready in time for the race. Wildman and Southcott C. would have to start at the back of the grid despite posting quicker times because of not completing the required three laps in qualifying. How long would it be before they came to the front?.

The track was damp at the start with those with a choice gambling on whether to start on ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ tyres. At the lights Sibley took off into the lead with Watkins getting a good start into second place. Dunkley made up places to slot into third. Southcott A. got away badly and was following a fast starting Bridge through the sweeping left handed Cascades.

Burgin, Tewson and Clews would follow from Wildman who was making places already. Hughes, Simpson, Homer and Dear and a slow starting Chadwick went onto that opening lap with the unfortunate Southcott C. having his car get away from him into the barrier at the first corner ripping off part of his rear wing.

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He continued with the wing, tethered only by a wire, dragging around behind him for much of the race. He was lucky not to be black flagged and would eventually make it up to sixth.

Meanwhile at the front Sibley was pulling out a gap, making the best of the damp conditions with his wet tyres. Dunkley was pushing Watkins and would get ahead in the next lap or so. Likewise Southcott A. was up into second having passed Dunkley who had a spin coming out of Shell. He would soon be being chased again by Dunkley who was waiting for a drying track for his tyres to come into play.
Watkins was now into fourth and being chased by Wildman, these two going ‘hammer and tongs’ for the entire race. Wildman would get alongside going up the hill on the far side of the circuit a couple of times but just couldn’t make it stick.

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Another fight further back was between Homer and Simpson, the latter having his first race for 27 years, in a car only just finished in time and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. It would be settled in Homer’s favour at the end.
Likewise, Clews was having his first race for a while. Chadwick became a victim of the gravel trap at Druids much to his annoyance, and Hughes had only lasted a lap before his engine failed. Tewson too retired on lap eight, an electrical fault, the result of going over the rumble strips.
After 10 laps the flag came out and Sibley finished 17 seconds ahead of Dunkley. Sibley told me at the end of the race how he had changed from wet tyres to dry before finally opting for wets, not a bad decision as they didn’t look too bad at all given the drying track by the end.

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Dunkley was second on dry’s which came good towards the end but that spin thwarted any chance of challenging for the lead. Third was Andy Southcott, then the battling Watkins and Wildman were next. Chris Southcott was next from Bridge in his best race to date, Burgin, Clews, Dear, Homer and Simpson completed the finishers.

So despite the small numbers we had witnessed a good race, Dunkleys climb back to second with Southcott A holding him off for a while, Wildman fighting with Watkins, Southcott C. making his way back through the pack, and the tail end scraps we always see.

We go to Snetterton next to the annual M.G. Car Club weekend meeting to take in the final two rounds of the Championship season.

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