Race Reports For The 2006 Season.
Oulton Park (Foulstons), Saturday June 17th, 10 Laps
Paul Gibson consolidated his lead in this years Clubmans Cup, by taking victory in a red flag interrupted race, after he had clashed with Alex Osborne at Old Hall.
Osborne's Mallock secured pole by 0.329secs over Gibson after the morning qualifying session. "I only had one spin and that was trying to take Cascades flat," he said. Gibson had trouble in scrutineering when his Mallock's front bodywork was too low. "We altered the ride height, then it messed the set up completely," explained Richard Mallock. Both Mike Evans and Barry Webb were within 0.752 secs of the poleman too. "I don't think I can match the pace of the front two, but I pushed as hard as I could," said Evans.
Guy Parr was fifth quickest having missed the previous days test returning from England's latest World Cup match. Completing the third row Howard Payne was already planning changes for the race. "I think we had the wrong diff in, and it kept stepping out at Cascades," he explained. Clive Fidgeon was delighted with seventh, "I think it matches last years performance, even though we were on a different circuit," he said. Paul Freeman declared his Ardmore as "OK," in eighth, while Des Andrew s claimed a lack of commitment at Druids and Old Hall as his downfall. Mark Cousin was back with his Mallock in 10th, just ahead of Chris Hart and Peter Richings. "It's going from bad to worse, I think I have just lost it," said Richings.
Marcus Bicknell shared row seven with Jamie Champkin's Phantom. "The car was fine, the silly old git behind the wheel was the problem, just not fast enough," said Champkin. Brian Jordan made his return in Bicknell's spare Mallock, while Gareth Salter and Richard Gilmour completed the 17 qualifiers.
All 17 cars made it through to the grid, but the numbers were soon reduced once the race was underway. With Gibson left at the start, Osborne led the charge to Old Hall, from Evans and Webb, with Gibson back into fourth by Fosters on the second lap. As they went onto Avenue Evans was alongside Osborne and had the lead into Cascades, while Gibson ousted Webb from third into Fosters. The top four had made a telling break when Osborne's attempts to fend off Gibson for second, proved to be his undoing. "I was clipped by Paul and spun backwards into the Armco before bouncing back into the track, facing the wrong way with my eyes closed," he explained. Freeman just clipped the stricken car as he went by, but as Fidgeon slowed, he was hit up the back by Andrews, and was pushed across the bows of Osborne's car. Red flags were soon out, with a restart readied for the remaining 14 cars.
Gibson missed out again from the restart, as Evans, Webb, Payne, Parr and Freeman all beat him into Old Hall. "I just can't get the thing off the line, it's getting better overall though every time we race," said Gibson. His recovery took him past Parr before the end of the opening lap, as the top four began to make a break.
Gibson was third into Fosters on lap three, but as they crossed the line at the end of the lap, Evans had his hand in the air, pulled off and handed Webb the lead. "It was either the diff or a driveshaft, I just lost drive," said Evans.
Webb was soon under pressure as Gibson had the scent of another victory. Parr and Freeman were fairly settled behind but Richings upped his pace to take sixth from Cousin. Behind them Champkin had Bicknell pressing for eighth, as Hart closed in too.
Gibson's pressure paid off into Lodge on the fifth lap. From thereon he eased himself to victory to consolidate his championship lead, with Webb well clear of Payne in second. "My 26 year old car stopped development 15 years ago, and it wasn't that far behind the brand new Mallock. It was just nice to back on the pace though," said Webb. "My car was a lot better than in qualifying, but I was hitting the rev limiter at Druids and Lodge after changing the diff," replied third placed Payne.
Parr was a solitary fourth and Freeman retained over the rapidly closing Richings. "I had loosened a mudguard in the red flag incident and it flew off at Druids leaving a groove in the tyre. I just hoped it would hold on," explained Freeman. "It just took a good start to get me all motivated again and chasing after Paul," said Richings.
Cousin held onto seventh and both Hart and Bicknell made it past Champkin in the closing laps, rounding off the top ten. Gilmour, Salter and Jordan completed the finishers.
Issued by Peter Scherer for the Clubmans Register on June 19th 2006.