Racers hit the track at Oulton Park 2019 opener

Steve Yates, from Stockport, took two class wins at Oulton Park
Steve Yates, from Stockport, took two class wins at Oulton Park (www.mphotographic.co.uk)

The 2019 Oulton Park season kicked off with four-wheel action organised by the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC).

On the programme were races for Pre’66 and Pre’83 Group 1 Touring cars, Kumho BMW, Pre’93, Pre 2003 and Pre 2005 Touring cars, Junior Saloons, Blue Oval Saloons & Classic Thunder, and CNC Heads Sports/Saloons.

The CNC Heads Sports/Saloon championship had a 20-minute plus one lap encounter.

With 2018 champion Paul Rose not in attendance, pole position was up for grabs and was taken by Andrew Southcott in his MG Modsport.

The car was, however, withdrawn prior to the start which left Stockport driver Danny Bird on pole in his Spire GTR. Alongside Bird was David Harvey in his Locosaki.

On row two was Jon Woolfitt in his MK Indy with series sponsor Ric Wood in his newly acquired Holden Commodore alongside.

In all, 34 cars lined up to start the 20-minute encounter.

Having run out of fuel after winning his previous race, Wood was unable to take his place on the grid and would have to start from the pit lane – a multiple car incident on the start line then eliminated eight cars from the midfield and brought out the red flags immediately.

David Harvey, NW Sports/Saloon Championship, Oulton Park
David Harvey in the NW Sports/Saloon Championship, Oulton Park (www.mphotographic.co.uk)

At the second attempt, reduced to 15 minutes plus one lap, Harvey lead from Woolfitt and Paul Dobson from row three.

Bird had to correct a lurid slide off the line which lost him places.

At the end of lap one it was Woolfitt from Harvey and a recovering Bird, Dobson now in fourth.

The quartet started pulling away from the rest of the field when, with eight minutes remaining, the Safety Car was deployed so that a stranded car could be recovered from the circuit.

Unfortunately the Safety Car failed to pick up the front four and so they circulated until they caught up the rear of the grid, effectively almost a lap ahead.

As it happened, this made no difference, because the recovery took too long and the race finished under the Safety Car, the finishing order saw Harvey win, from Woolfitt, Bird and Dobson.

Garrie Whitaker, Kumho BMW Championship, Oulton Park
Garrie Whittaker in the Kumho BMW Championship (www.mphotographic.co.uk)

In other events there were two wins for Garrie Whittaker in the Kumho BMW’s. AJ Owen took two wins in the Pre ’93, Pre 2003 & Pre 2005 Touring Cars and Mark Osborne two wins in the Pre’66 & Pre ’83 Group 1Touring Cars.

In the Junior Saloons there was a win apiece for Lewis Saunders and Scott McIntyre and a win apiece for Ric Wood and Andrew Wilson in the Blue Oval Saloons & Classic Thunder races.

Local drivers Steve Yates (Stockport) took two class wins in the Pre’66 & Pre ’83 Group 1 Touring Cars races, and David Bird took a class win in the CNC Heads Sports/Saloon race.