Round Rounds 2 and 3

Oulton Park

19th May 2018

1st R1: Wayne Marrs (355/Ch) / R2: Wayne Marrs (355/Ch)
2nd R1: Gary Culver (328 GTB) / R2: Gary Culver (328 GTB)
3rd R1: Tim Mogridge (355/Ch) / R2: Nigel Jenkins (355/Ch)
report by William Moorwood
photography by Simon Cooke and William Moorwood

Oulton Park is a firm favourite of many of the PFfc racers and it has never looked better in the brilliant sunshine on a perfect day in May, with two races and the hospitality of the VSCC. With their eclectic mix of interesting cars it was the perfect antidote to the Royal Wedding.

There was a good entry of Ferraris with the race programme showing 23 cars but this was reduced to 21 on the day. There was a single qualifying session in which the two best times set the grid positions for the two races. In perfect conditions pole position was taken by Wayne Marrs in his 355 Challenge and his best time of 1.55.620 would prove to be the best recorded time of the day. The expected challenge of Nigel Jenkins 355 Challenge  did not materialise due to a mystery electrical issue and he would be starting at the back of the grid. Vance Kearney, 355 Challenge, did well to qualify in second position ahead of the ever consistent Gary Culver 9328 GTB) and Tim Mogridge  (355 Challenge).

Tris Simpson was close behind in 5th position with his 355 Challenge now cured of the lack of power apparent at Silverstone. Peter Everingham’s best time in his Group 3 328GTB was 100th of a second ahead of Chris Goddard’s Group 2 308GTB and behind them Nick Taylor qualified  his Mondial T in a time he would match later when he qualified his 1959 Elva 100 in one of the other races. Paul Ugo and his son Charlie (308GT4) were attending their first meeting of the season and qualified at the back of the grid hampered by an electrical issue and the surprising news that this was Paul’s first ever race at Oulton.

Race 1

Before the race even started Nigel Jenkins called into the pit lane with his running problems still not solved despite the full attention of the RnR team.

When the lights went out Gary Culver made a lightening start from the second row to take the lead ahead of Wayne Marrs. The other good starter was Paul Ugo who found space on the outside of the track and to get past a number of cars and lead Peter Moseley (308GTB) and Richard Fenny (308GT4) into Cascades.

As the race developed Wayne Marrs put extreme pressure on Gary Culver  and took the lead by lap 5, similarly  Tim Mogridge harried Vance Kearney to take third position by lap 4 so that the trio who been so close together at Silverstone continued their close fight at the front.

As the race developed there was close competition at the back of the grid where Paul Ugo fought off the close attention of Peter Moseley and Richard Fenny for the whole race and William Moorwood had to work hard to keep Pauline Goodwin (328 GTB) and Len Watson in his 308 GTB behind him for the entire race. As the race progressed these two groups of three would not only have their own race to contend with but be aware of lapping cars in the later stages of the race and generally this worked well with the flag marshalls being very good at providing warnings of faster cars approaching.

There was one close shave when Richard Moseley (328 GTB) correctly decided that the Esses after the hairpin was probably the only place on the track where two cars can not run side by side and chose to take a short grassy excursion rather than hit William Moorwood but this unfortunately let Nick Cartwright past in his similar Group 4 328 GTB.

Carl Burgar had been running until lap 5  when a misfiring engine in his 328 GTB caused his retirement two lap later, fortunately this would be sorted with seconds to spare so he was able to run well in race 2.

At the end of the race it was another win for Wayne Marrs ahead of Culver and Mogridge.

Race 2

By the time race two formed up on the grid the sun had been shining all day and the track would be positively warm. Missing from the grid was Charlie Ugo as in the first race an oil seal had failed at the end of the race and it could not be put right in the paddock.

When the race started it was Tim Mogridge who took the lead ahead of Wayne Marrs and Gary Culver but it seemed possible that there could be a challenge to these three as at the back of the grid Nigel Jenkins, now running on all eight cylinders, made an electric start up the inside and was up to 8th place by the end of the first lap. Similarly Pauline Goodwin also made a good start, putting her hillclimb skills to good effect to make up several spaces.

At the front Wayne Marrs was putting Tim Mogridge under a lot of pressure and on lap 6 Marrsgotpast coming out of Old Hall and in turn was followed by Gary Culver coming up to Island Bend. Hopefully the front three were looking in their mirrors as by then they would have seen Nigel Jenkins coming up into 4th place by the start of lap 7 and his inexorable rise continued as two laps later he was in the lead and took the win!  As this was happening Lee Moulden  (355 Challenge) moved up into 4th place following an assertive move going round the hairpin.

On the cooling down lap Pauline Goodwin had a fuel leak in the engine bay which ignited and was put out by the marshalls who were seemingly not in too much of hurry. The good news is that once the car was back in Nick Cartwright’s workshop the effects of the fire were not as bad as first feared.

When the race results were announced there was a surprise as Nigel Jenkins fine drive had caught the attention of race control and he had a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits added to his time which had the effect of dropping him to third place.  Our photographer, Simon Cooke, was on hand to note this from his position at Deer Leap. On the other hand, the drive was well appreciated by the commentators who gave him the RnR Driver of the day award.

The results sheet show a win for Wayne Marrs, second place for Gary Culver with two Group 4 wins for the day. Chris Butler, Chris Goddard and William Moorwood each had two wins in Groups 3, 2 and 1.

Helped by the weather the race meeting was a great success. Two races and a single qualifying on single day works very well for us and when it takes place in the relaxed atmosphere of the VSCC paddock at Oulton Park it made for as good a day’s racing that I can remember.

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