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Exciting B Sport dicing at the HSCC GOLD CUP MEETING, Oulton Park August 2015

Oulton Park Gold Cup – August 31st.2015
A Walk in the Park
On a day of very unpredictable conditions, Mark Charteris won at a canter after Ray Mallock failed to make the starting grid. In Class B, Clive Wood won again after the initial challenge from Adam Paterson faded.
In a year of struggling numbers, it was a rather disappointing entry of 18 cars for this very prestigious race. There was an even split of 9 A Sports and 9 B Sports with some welcome additions to the grid for the first time this year. In A Sport, it was great to see Steve Chaplin finally making it out in his Phantom and Keith Whyman in his Mallock, taking a break from racing his Mustang. In Class B it was good to see Paul Marshall joining the regulars at his favourite circuit.
A special mention must go to both Clive Wood and Trish/Brian Hunter, who had been racing at Brands on the Saturday and Sunday and who motored the 200 plus miles up to Oulton straight after wards. Also a special mention for Steve Littler, who ventured out in between two bouts of serious surgery. That’s real commitment, well done Steve.
Full wet conditions for qualifying, although thankfully, no standing water and once again it was Mark Charteris who dominated with a lap time some 2.5 seconds clear of Ray Mallock in second and over 6 seconds clear of Mark Hales in third, Mark once again in the Childs Centaur.
Peter Carter was fourth and John Harrison a disappointing fifth, these two just ahead of Rob Manson in the first of the two Mallock run cars.
On row four were the first of the B Sports, Clive Wood comfortably securing the class pole from Paul Marshall. Alan Cook in the second of the Mallock Sports run cars shared row five with Phil Bisgrove, whilst Dave Facer and Adam Paterson shared row six.
Keith Whyman shared row seven with John Muirhead, Keith struggling to get back up to speed in his Mallock after a prolonged spell in his American muscle car. Adam Wheeler and a ‘Jetlagged’ Trish Hunter shared row eight whilst Steve Littler, struggling to get comfortable in the car, and Steve Chaplin, experiencing a range of issues after a complete rebuild occupied row nine.
It seemed to have been raining all day, and yet as race time approached, there was a serious chance that the track could at least be partially dry. 17 out of the 18 cars made it on to the track for the warming up lap. Sadly, the woes incurred by Ray Mallock whilst leading the Derek Bell race returned and he failed to even make the assembly area.
Although very greasy, the track was drying rapidly and yet it was only Mark Hales who made the brave decision to venture out on slicks. The Dunlop wets have proved to be extremely capable in the near drying conditions, so the decision was relatively easy for the Dunlop shod runners. Anybody running Avon wets was sure to destroy a set in the race, so Marks decision was as much commercial as tactical.
As the lights went out it was Mark Charteris who took advantage of pole position and shot into a lead he was never to lose. John Harrison got a flyer from row three and was soon up to second, these two pulling well clear of the rest.
Mark Hales was initially struggling to get the slicks up to temperature, so Peter Carter took advantage to move into third. Mark held onto fourth, but only just from a charging Rob Manson and Alan Cook. Mark Charteris, John, Rob and Alan had all had significant track time in the Derek Bell race earlier and so had a distinct advantage.
The race for Class B honours was very tight right from the start. Clive Wood had the lead, but was being severely pressured by Adam Paterson, Paul Marshall and Phil Bisgrove. A little further back, John Muirhead was under pressure from Dave Facer and Adam Wheeler.
Steve Chaplin’s woes continued and he peeled off into the pits at the end of lap one. Mark Charteris had eased out a comfortable lead over John, these two pulling away from the rest of the field at a significant rate. Peter Carter held third, but now under pressure from Rob Manson and Mark Hales, who was getting his tyres to work. Adam Paterson had sneaked by Clive to lead Class B, with Paul and Phil in very close company. John Muirhead was keeping Dave Facer at bay with Adam Wheeler drawing menacingly close whilst Trish and Steve Littler were having a ding dong battle a little further back.
At half distance Peter Carter succumbed to mechanical woes and dropped back before retiring, promoting Rob Manson to third overall. In Class B, Clive found his way back past Adam and started to ease away. Paul Marshall overcooked it at Druids trying to keep pace and sadly smote the barrier on the outside quite hard, bringing out the yellow flags. Adam Wheeler had out dragged Dave Facer down to the hairpin and did the same thing to John Muirhead a lap later to put himself up to fourth in class. Dave then out braked John into Lodge to secure fifth.
At three quarter distance we lost Keith Whyman to mechanical gremlins, reducing the A Sport runners to five. As the race drew to a close, Mark Charteris had eased back, just to maintain his lead over John. Mark Hales had the slicks working and found his way past Rob for third, with Alan Cook in close company. Mark took the flag some six seconds clear from John with Mark Hales securing the final podium position. Rob was fourth and Alan fifth.
In Class B, It was another win for Clive, now ten seconds clear of Adam Paterson. Phil Bisgrove took the other podium place, well clear of Adam Wheeler. Dave Facer held on to take fifth from John Muirhead and the battle between Trish and Steve Lttler continued to the end with Steve just gabbing the honours, having sneaked by Trish a lap earlier.
Not a great weekend for numbers but a good race, particularly for B Sport. The profile of the formula was raised significantly during the Derek Bell race, with four Clubmans cars in the first six, including another spectacular win for Mark Charteris, who dominated in the wet conditions, his second ever outright win in the anything goes, open wheel formula.
Driver of the day was deservedly won by Rob Manson, with a great drive, just losing out to Mark Hales for the final podium place. Mechanic of the day went to Gavin Childs, who worked tireless all weekend on the Phantoms of Steve Chaplin and Peter Carter.
It’s worth mentioning some scrutineering issues. Several Mallocks with rubber skirted sidepods failed the ride height test after practise, a couple of which, were lucky to pass again after the race. It is important to ensure that your car meets the 40mm clearance requirement ON BOTH SLICKS AND WETS.
See you all at Brands for the season finale. Please make every effort to be there as numbers are critical to us remaining an HSCC formula.

Sue Facer
The Demonic Perm

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