Posted on In General
A huge 30 car grid made it to Oulton Park for the season’s finale and for once it was dry.
Although Peter Belshaw led into Old Hall on the first lap for Team Sherardize UK, Philip Jones took charge for MCAC and continued to head the field for the next 14 laps.
Marcus Batty pitted for DFDC from second on the fourth lap, which left Belshaw heading the chasers. But the top six began to edge away, as Track Focused, Eco 209, Kinetix and CCS Media followed, with Julian Thomas seventh for Racelogic. “I could hold the gap and see them, but couldn’t close,” said Thomas.
Nigel Greensall started to work his way through the order for CCS Media and was third into Old Hall on lap 13, before challenging Belshaw. The Sherardize driver initially repelled him at Old Hall, but finally fell at Knickerbrook, before taking CCS into the lead at Lodge a lap later. “I love taking cars into Old Hall, especially when they are not really expecting it,” said Greensall. The first safety car was at 17 laps when Bill Addison was off, but the first pit stop window soon followed.
Keen led for Sherardize but in second, Bob Tomlinson’s CCS was under attack from David Denyer’s Racelogic. There was contact and Tomlinson was off, bringing the safety car out again, with CCS down to 19th.
At the first hour Sherardize were 3 seconds up on Kinetix, with Racelogic, Team Honeywell, PW and MCAC completing the top six. “People thought it was me in the car not James Harrison, but when it’s going that well I will accept it,” added Kinetix Chris Webster.
The second pitstop window coincided with the third safety car period, but from the green flag it was Paul Abraham’s turn to lead for Eco 209, from Andy Bicknell’s DespatchBay.com, which gradually got demoted by MCAC, PW, JPR UVio and Team Honeywell on consecutive laps.
Eco 209 still led at the halfway point, but PW and JPR UVio were very close with all three covered by less than a second.
Through all the changes and safety car interventions Sherardize stayed in contention and going into the final hour were three seconds down on Eco 209’s lead, with DesapthBay.com, JPR UVio and MCAC all in close contention.
Keen had been off however, “I just made a pig’s ear of passing a backmarker at Island,” he admitted. But replacing a damaged splitter had dropped them to ninth, before Keen was back in again for the final stint.
With 30 minutes remaining Littlejohn had the lead from Racelogic’s Jon Tomlinson, Team Lane Evolution, CCS, Track Torque 2 Rent Dominos and Track Focused, with Eco 209 down to seventh.
The light was fading and there was another final safety break, before the green flag waved for a final 19 minute sprint.
Team Lane Roofing had contact and were off, then after Greensall had taken second into Knickerbrook, Racelogic were punted off too, which brought Keen into third.
There were still 17 cars on the lead lap, but Keen was into second at Old Hall and soon had his sights on the lead. “Proper racing but I couldn’t see Phil coming as my mirror had folded in,” said Greensall.
A lap later Littlejohn made a small mistake at Druids and Keen was through. Greensall followed a lap later but at the flag only 0.401 secs covered all three after 99 stunning laps. “That was very tight, I felt I had it under control though and Pete told me on the radio to drive it as if I stole it,” said the victorious Keen.
“I came out of Lodge hoping to make another challenge on Phil into Old Hall and the flag was out,” Greensall added, after Ciro Carannante, Bob Tomlinson and Alan Honarmand joined him on the podium to celebrate CCS Media’s first podium finish.
“Once they were passed I couldn’t match their pace,” Littlejohn admitted, but still pleased to be on the podium for DespatchBay.com. “When James was leading and the time was running down, I felt quite emotional,” Bicknell admitted.
MCAC ended a successful day just holding onto fourth from the closing Track Focused car, while Henry Dawes coming in sixth was enough to secure third in the championship for Track Torque 2 Rent Dominos, just ahead of Eco 209’s Tom Mills, who pipped them for the runner up spot. “We just didn’t have the pace today, we were Ok in slipstream but not on our own,” said Dawes. “I led before the last safety car and then lost both mirrors and damaged the steering,” Mills added.
But with three wins this season Farquini Deott and Graham Roberts spent the day trying to stay out of trouble and their reward was the 2016 title. “I tried to avoid being bunched up so had to go for it a bit in my last stint, but just carefully,” said Farquini. “Apart from clipping the tyres at Knickerbrook and keeping an eye on the brakes it was just safety first and nothing silly and we did it,” Roberts concluded.
1 Team Sherardize UK (Peter Belshaw/Phil Keen) 99 laps in 3h59m.14.917s (66.83mph); 2 CCS Media (Nigel Greensall/Bob Tomlinson/Ciro Carannante/Alan Honarmand) +0.103s; 3 DespatchBay.com (James Littlejohn/Andy Bicknell); 4 MCAC Racing (Matthew Jones/Morgan Jones/Philip Jones/Gareth Jones); 5 Track Focused (Sean Cooper/Michael McCollum/Sean Smith); 6 Track Torque 2 Rent Dominos (Henry Dawes/Neil Burroughs); 7 Eco Racing 209 (Tom Mills/Paul Abraham/Paul Turner); 8 Racelogic (Julian Thomas/David Denyer/Jon Tomlinson); 9 Team Lane Roofing Evolution (Nigel Griffiths/Chris Weatherill); 10 Team Honeywell (Tim Wheeldon/Neil Plimmer).. Fastest lap Keen (Team Sherardize UK) 2m00.579s (80.36mph).