Oulton Park Gold Cup 29th.August 2016
On a glorious day in the Cheshire sunshine, Mark Charteris wrapped up the 2016 A Sport championship with another dominant win and Barry Webb has one hand on the B Sport trophy after his main rival, Clive Wood, had one of those frustrating days you long to forget.
Not the best entry for such a prestigious meeting. For the first time this season, The A Sport cars outnumbered the B Sports.
Included in the A sport numbers, a welcome first outing for Anttt Denham in his immaculate Phantom and a rare outing for local boy and Oulton specialist, Mike Evans. Missing from the B Sport ranks after Croft, were Dave Barnett, who didn’t want to travel that far south, Phil Hart (illness) and Dave Facer (No diff/no money!)
Roger Waite was the singleton Sports 2000 entry in his pristine Royale. Hopefully the Sports 2000 numbers will increase as word gets around.

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Qualifying started in gorgeous late morning sun and it was immediately obvious that Mark Charteris was not going to have it all his own way. Spencer McCarthy had his act together and was swapping fastest times with Mark until Mark posted a pole winning time and immediately retired to the pits.
Mike Evans used local knowledge to secure the inside of the second row, joined on the row by Antt Denham, flying in the Phantom. The third row was occupied by the two Mallock run cars of Alan Cook and Clubmans newcomer, David Wale, rapidly getting to grips with the ex Rob Manson car.
Steve Chaplin in his Phantom was on row four, joined by the B Sport pole man Barry Webb. Clive Wood was unable to match his stunning time from last year and shared the fifth row with the final A Sport runner, Peter Carter.
Adam Wheeler headed the timesheets early, but had to settle for third and shared row six with John Muirhead. Roger Waite, the lone Sports 2000 entry in his very pretty Royale, shared row seven with Steve Littler and Trish Hunter shared row eight with Rachel Green in the Penfold. Rachel found the Knickerbrook gravel trap on the first lap and didn’t log a time.

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Classic Clubmans were last on track at the end of this three day meeting (You know what they say about saving the best till last!) and we were into early evening when Mark led the cars onto the warming up lap. As the lights went out, it was Mark straight into the lead, but it was Mike Evans who got off the line best and was quickly on Marks tail, with Spencer McCarthy in third.
Barry Webb matched his qualifying performance and shot off into the class lead. Peter Carter however, used the A Sport power to prevent Clive Wood from latching onto Barry’s tail, so Clive held second, closely followed by Adam Wheeler and a very fast starting Rachel Green.
At the end of lap one, Mark was over three seconds clear of Mike Evans, hotly pursued by Spencer McCarthy. Anttt Denham held fourth, clear of Alan Cook, David Wale and Steve Chaplin.
Barry Webb had a clear class lead, with Clive Wood still trying to find a way past Peter Carter. Adam Wheeler was third, now clear of Rachel Green. A small gap then John Muirhead, ahead of Roger Waite and Trish Hunter just keeping Steve Littler at bay.
Steve Chaplin pulled into the pits with a terminal mechanical problem at the end of lap three. Otherwise no change in the running order as we reached one third distance. However this this did disguise the fact that there were several personal battles in progress. Spencer McCarthy was hounding Mike Evans for third, Anttt Denham was doing a sterling job keeping Alan Cook at bay, Clive Wood was desperately trying to get past Peter Carter, whilst keeping Adam Wheeler at bay and Trish Hunter had her mirrors full of Steve Littler.
By half distance, Mark had scampered off into the distance and Spencer had finally got the better of Mike Evans. Otherwise the order was unchanged. In B Sport it initially looked as if Rachel would be fighting for a podium place, but Adam was gapping her at a rate of three seconds per lap, so it looked as if Rachel was under strict orders to bring the car home in one piece so that development could continue on the Penfold.
On lap nine the only other retirement was posted as Antt Denham felt the engine tighten in the Phantom, so he switched off immediately and coasted to a stop just before Lodge.
As we entered the last lap, Mark had lapped the entire B Sport field and was some 45 seconds ahead of the second place man. Finally Clive’s constant harrying had paid off, Peter Carter going off on the exit of Druids, allowing both Clive and Adam through. Sadly it was far too late for Clive to eat into Barry’s class lead.
At the flag it was Mark from Spencer, with Mike Evans securing the other podium place. Alan Cook was fourth and David Wale fifth and the last unlapped runner, after a lonely race.
In Class B, Barry took the flag some 16 seconds clear of Clive. Adam Wheeler grabbed the final podium place, albeit a little further back, having backed off when Peter Carter went for his excursion at Druids.
Peter recovered to take the final A Sport place ahead of Rachel Green, who took fourth in class B. John Muirhead, also having a lonely race was fifth, just clear of Roger Waite in his Sports 2000.
Trish Hunter managed to keep Steve Littler behind her to log sixth in class, with Steve finishing seventh.
Not a classic race by any means, but free from accidents and major incidents, allowing the marshals to pack up quickly and bring the meeting to a close. Driver of the day was awarded to Mark Charteris, not necessarily for his win. He’s had a few of them this year, but for his stunning new lap record, the first time a Classic Clubmans car has lapped the full circuit in under a hundred seconds.
Mechanic of the day was awarded to Clive Wood who despite his own oil leak issues, still found time to help fix a couple of other cars with his brazing skills.
It was pretty well dark before even the quickest packer uppers left the paddock. I’m sure that many people saw in the new day long before they reached home.
However that did not apply to the Facer/Wheeler contingent. Along with Paul and Jean Webb, we drove all of 100 yards, parked up behind the Chequers restaurant and spent the remainder of the evening eating, drinking wine and having a quick game of horseshoes!
Tuesday morning saw a full English in the Chequers restaurant before departing for a leisurely drive South on roads free of the bank holiday traffic!
I would highly recommend it. See you at Brands.

Lots of Love
The Demonic Perm


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