It was a one-two for Datum Motorsport’s Ginetta G56s in Race 1 at Oulton Park, with Maurizio Sciglio leading Marco Anastasi home by half a minute.
Ian Astley, though, starting the SVG Ginetta from the front row alongside pole-sitter Sciglio, split the Sicilian pair in the first half of the 50-minute race, with Jonny MacGregor’s Mazda RX8 staving off Robin Grimwood’s G56, though MacGregor dropped well down the order on lap 2 – a spin perhaps, around the Shell hairpin area? Jack Meakin’s Clio led the rest of the field, but Fynn Jones in the TSR Golf, and the Honda Civic of Ed Cook were in a hurried Class 3 tussle, and took their fight ahead. Pit lane starter Callum Noble had been carving though the field, but posted an early retirement for the Thorney Motorsport BMW E46 with gearbox issues. Another retirement was, sadly the impressive Fynn Jones, withdrawing the Golf as the pit window opened, by which time the MacG Mazda had recovered back up to fifth place. Travis Coyne pitted his Dragon Sport Clio well after the pit window closed, which attracted a long stop/go penalty that Jack Hewlett had to take, and once the positions settled again, Neil Wallace, having relieved Astley in the SVG G56, retained second place but had Anastasi on his tail. Probably realising resistance would be futile in the remaining 15 minutes, Wallace left a Ginetta-size gap on the inside of Lodge corner and Anastasi slipped through.
So Datum Motorsport continued their unbroken run of overall wins, Sciglio and Anastasi separated by 32 seconds at the flag, with Wallace completing the overall and Class 1 podium, ahead of lone driver Robin Grimwood’s Ginetta, and Josh Tomlinson, a lap down after taking a stop/go penalty in the MacG Racing Mazda RX8, with sixth in class going to newcomer Fraser Smart, assisted by James Simons in the Stanbridge BMW 235i. The Clio result intensified towards the end – a late stop/go penalty for class leader Rhys Lloyd, who had taken over the #66 Dragon Sport car from Meakin, incited second-placed Andy Tucker to sniff victory in the High Row machine shared with Ollie Meadows, but Lloyd responded to Tucker’s spurt, and the Welsh wizards were separated by three seconds at the finish. Claiming the final Clio podium place was the Sim Dynamics machine of Chris Bialan and Simon Mason, a much improved performance after the team had received input from a renowned Clio expert. The Coyne/Hewlett duo were fourth, ahead of High Row’s James Harrison / Ben Jenkins, with Craig Guest in the Spires car sixth.
Arthur McMahon cut a lonely figure on the Class 2 podium, his Honda Civic being the lone contender after issues in qualifying eliminated title hopeful Simon Clark’s Porsche (damage) and the Team BRIT BMW 240i of Paul Fullick and Tee Mathurin (suspension). Lone driver Will Puttergill triumphed in Class 3, his Honda Civic finishing a lap ahead of Steve Cook’s Mauger Motorsport Civic, started in racy style by son Ed, with Paul Goodlad completing the podium, impressive on his first visit to the circuit in his hand-controls VW Scirocco. Alex Turnbull picked up the Trophy for the Ginetta G40 win, and he wasn’t the last classified finisher, so well done him!
Words: Steve Wood; photos: Paul Cherry, Stevie Borowik and Chris Valentine.