Race Reports For The 2001 Season.
Oulton Park Island, Monday May 28th, 10 Laps
Clark in the park.
Peter Clark dominated proceedings at Oulton Park, claiming pole, a lights to flag victory and a new lap record. The Magna/Infinity twins Peter Richings and Clive Woodward chased for all they were worth, but with no chance of challenging.
The prospect of racing at, what some of us consider to be the UK's finest circuit, should have brought out a bumper grid. As it was a field of 18 assembled in Cheshire as the forecasters were predicting a horrible wet Bank Holiday. Luckily the weather remained dry and quite warm throughout the day and Peter Clark (who, since his historic inaugural victory at Rockingham, now has a thriving fan club apparently comprising mainly of pre pubescent school girls - what, me jealous, perish the thought!) stamped his authority with a 1-29.645 which was a clear 1.4sec clear of the field. Peter Richings led the mortals on 1-31.091, having benefited from a Saturday test session (along with Clarky, Jim Lindley and Paul Freeman). Closely following were Clive (don't call him Olive, it's not allowed) Woodward, Jim Lindley and Howard Payne. It was good to see Tim Colvill back in his EBX again, and he recorded a very respectable 1-32.625. 6th was the ever improving Paul Freeman in the Ardmore ahead of Webmaster Brian Jordan, John Kelly, Mike Luck (in the fully repaired Dart), Adrian Brown, Peter Burnham and Ian Mitchell. The final two rows contained some of the most significant cars and drivers - Chairman Jamie Champkin, Alan Avery (in the Avalan which oh so quickly adopted all enveloping bodywork - well done Alan), the very welcome return of Clubmans number one character - Mr Catchpole himself Barry Foley, having his first race in four years and Clubmans newest character, Marcus Bicknell, who presented the prize of a flight in his Piper aircraft to the jammy Howard Payne during the day.
The race took place late in the day after a number of red flags in preceding races. Despite this an apparently interminable red light preceded the start. Richings won the drag race to Old Hall and enjoyed the glory of leading until the hairpin when Clark swept round the outside. Clark immediately eased out an advantage over Richings, with Woodward and Lindley in pursuit. In the middle of the race Clark overcooked it at Knickerbrook and went straight on through the bollards, which put Richings and Woodward back on his tail. Try as they might Clark then eased away again to win by 4 sec. Richings held on to second despite the continued presence of Woodward in his mirrors. Lindley fell away from this pair but in a safe fourth. This was until it became clear that Jim had jumped the start and had a 10sec penalty, which dropped him to 6th - ouch!
Howard Payne and Tim Colvill had a good scrap for what turned out to be 4th place but the battle of the race was for 7th place between Paul Freeman, John Kelly, Mike Luck and Adrian Brown. Freeman always had the upper hand despite Kelly getting alongside a few times, but only on the wrong side! Luck was looking threatening and got past Brown, only to run out of fuel on the last lap. Whoops!
Two unfortunate retirements were Barry Foley with an unspecified electrical failure on lap two (you'll have to ask the team about the details...) and Brian Jordan who had a trailing arm break, which led to the axle moving and breaking the propshaft.
Arthur Dickens had suffered a diff failure, which also broke the halfshaft, in qualifying but a halfshaft loaned from Peter Clark, a diff from Howard Payne and a brazing job on the axle case by Adrian Brown had him out in the race for 13th place. Is this spirit of camaraderie typical of Clubmans or what?