Oulton Park Race Report - MGOC Championship 2017

2018 MG Owners' Club - Production MG Championship


 

RACE REPORT

Rounds 1 and 2  -  Oulton Park  17th March 2018

For the opening round of the 37th season of the championship the drivers ventured to the Cheshire countryside for two 20 minute races on the challenging 2.69 mile International circuit, this is one of the longest circuits in the UK and includes the famous banked Shell Oils hairpin.

After a week of pleasant Spring weather, the forecast was for a very cold snap and some snow.  Little did the drivers realise quite how cold and snowy the Saturday races would be.

Qualifying


The first three places on the grid were taken by MGF's with reigning MGOC champion Simon Kendrick starting the new season where he left off last year by taking pole position ahead of Martin Wills. Row 2 saw the MGF of Stuart Plotnek and the leading ZR of Dave Mellor. Row 3 saw the MGF of Mark Baker ahead of the ZR's of Nick Golhar, Stuart Philps, Gordon Jeakins, Maninder Golhar and the MGTF of Phil Walker.  Jim Baynam took Classic Class pole ahead of Chris Millard, Dave Amphlett, Bob van Vuuren, James Pryor, Chris Flooks and Bob Fisher.

Round 1


Intermittent snow was forecast and whilst the race started in bright and sunny conditions the snow fell heavily and the race was red flagged on lap 3 as visibility was considered unacceptable.

The race restarted after a short delay and would be run for a reduced 12 minute duration.  Kendrick took an early lead before spinning off at Old Hall corner and hit the tyre wall backwards, his MGF sustained only light damage and rejoined the race in last place.  At the end of the opening lap the lurid pink MGF of Martin Wills held a three length lead over the ZR of Mellor with the F's of Plotnek and Baker in 3rd and 4th places ahead of the ZR's of Philps and Darbey who had moved up to 6th from 12th on the grid.

As the race progressed, Wills held the narrowest of leads from Mellor with Plotnek 100 metres back in 3rd place and well clear of Baker, Philps and Golhar. Mellor clearly wasn't intent on taking the Class Z win and kept the pressure on the MGF of Wills who was equally intent on taking the overall win.  The gap between the leaders closed on the final lap and Mellor squeezed past at the Chicane and went on to take a hard fought win from the MGF of Wills.  Plotnek took a well deserved 3rd place ahead of Baker with the ZR's of Nick and Maninder Golhar taking 5th and 6th places with Kendrick recovering from last place on the opening lap to take a hard earned 7th place.

The new Class B for roadgoing specification ZR's saw entries from Jeakins and Gozalves.  The more experienced Jeakins finished 8th and took the Class B win ahead of Gozalves.

In the Classic Class, Baynam made a good start and despite losing time avoiding two spinning ZR's had opened up a lead of over six secs by the end of the opening lap.  He went on to take the Class win by a comfortable margin from Pryor who drove well to take his first ever podium position ahead of van Vuren and Amphlett who dropped back in the latter stages of the race with a brake problem.

Round 2


Kendrick was on pole again with arch rival Wills alongside him on the front row with Plotnek and Mellor on row 2. After a number of earlier delays due to the snowy conditions the race was reduced to 15 minutes duration. There was drama at the start when the MGF of Wills developed an engine problem and he was absent from the grid.

Mellor made an excellent start from Row 2 and took an early lead from MGF's of Kendrick with Plotnek a length behind in 3rd place and a few lengths ahead of the chasing pack of Nick Golhar and Philps. Despite the best efforts of Kendrick who was never more than a couple of lengths behind, Mellor was driving well and looked to be heading for his second win of the day from Kendrick who by this time had his mirrors full of a hard charging Plotnek.  

Mellor looked set for the win but on the penultimate lap a shock absorber broke at the ultra fast Island Bend, he did well to bring the stricken car to a stop without hitting anything but Kendrick went through into the lead.  Kendrick made the most of this and despite a last lap charge from Plotnek he took the win from Plotnek with Philps in 3rd place and taking the Class Z win from Nick Golhar with Baker in 5th place ahead of McDermid who took an excellent 6th place and 3rd in Class Z.

In a repeat of the earlier race, Jeakins took the class B win ahead of Gozalves.
The Classic Class race was a repeat of Race 1. Baynam made an excellent start and with Millard and Amphlett being delayed by a spinning ZR held a comfortable lead into the fast left hand corner at Cascades and quickly opened up what looked like a race winning lead.  With Millard and Amphlett delayed by the spinning ZR, Pryor moved through into 2nd place ahead of Millard, Amphlett, van Vuuren, Fisher and Flooks.  By mid-race, Baynam was well clear of Pryor who was maintaining a 100 metre lead over Millard in 3rd place ahead of Amphlett and van Vuuren. Baynam went on to take his second win of the day ahead of the impressive Pryor with Millard taking 3rd place ahead of van Vuuren and Amphlett.

Star Drives


James Pryor: two well judged drives in his MGBGT to take two 2nd places.
Stuart Plotnek: a welcome return to form taking two well deserved 2nd places in his MGF

Click here to see the full race results.

 

Next races: Snetterton - 6/7th May

Race Reports
Silverstone National
Castle Combe
Thruxton
Rockingham
Donington Park
Snetterton
Cadwell Park
Silverstone (International)

 

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