Winners at Oulton Park Gold Cup 2018
August Bank Holiday Monday saw our annual trip to Cheshire’s picturesque Oulton Park circuit, for the Gold Cup race meeting.
Sundays racing saw heavy rain for some of the other races, which would normally favour our front wheel drive Mini Cooper S, but Monday’s weather forecast looked much drier…
Qualifying was scheduled for first thing on Monday and whilst the varied Historic Touring Cars were lined up ready to go out, there was a rain shower, making the track a little wet. With Barry at the wheel for the whole event, rather than sharing with father Jimmy as they had done at Croft, Barry felt very at home in the slippery conditions. After the short sharp 15 minute qualifying to set the starting grid for the first of two races, Barry ended up fastest Mini, and fastest overall, by over 3 seconds! A huge margin in any races, let alone the tightly contested HTC races, with Mustangs, Cortinas, Imps and a gaggle of similar Cooper S’s.
Race 1 was completely dry at 12 noon and Richard Belcher’s 2 litre rear wheel driver Lotus Cortina blasted passed Barry on lap 3. The well admired “fast mini” kept within 3 seconds of the yellow Cortina and ended up second overall at the chequered flag. A great result overall, but one where any driver is always slightly disappointed at not getting the pole to flag victory….
Race 2, again dry, saw Sime almost take the lead out of the first corner and again stay in close quarters to Belchers superior straight line speed. Lap 3 though saw one of the 5 litre Mustangs blast past on the straight, but again the Mini was hanging on and catching up on some of the slower corners. Possibly putting the Mustang under a bit of pressure to make a move on the Cortina – the driver tried just that, but lost it under braking and T-boned the Cortina – taking both out of the race.
The race continued for 2 more laps, with our Mini in a now comfortable lead, then the safety car was deployed to back the field up and safely recover the wreckage. This recovery took a good few laps and when the safety car pulled back into the pits, there was only one racing lap left to complete – could the Mini hang on for an unlikely win overall, in the bone dry conditions?!
An empahtic yes, keeping the fast starting rear wheel drive cars at bay, saw an elated Sime in car and a similarly elated Sime on the pit wall with the rest of the team!
So Sime junior wins in the very same car that Sime senior won in, with many years in between!