DespatchBay.com Clinch Oulton Victory In Six Car Thriller
It’s usually a close finish in any Fun Cup race at Oulton Park and round two of this years Championship was no exception.
The grid draw favoured some of the quicker teams at the front, with Truman’s Jonathan Hoad starting from pole and Kennedy Racing’s Charlie Kennedy alongside.
The front row held station into Old Hall from the start, with Team Viking’s Nick Nunn in third. But Hoad quickly upped his pace and only Kennedy went with him, as Nunn shared a couple of exchanges with Racelogic’s David Denyer, which allowed JPR GT Radial’s Ellis Hadley to join them.
Both Team 7 Fun Bikes’ Alan Brown and Crossacre’s Adrian Watt were early stoppers with damage, before the safety car appeared on lap eight, to recover Ryan Lewis’ Greensall Motorsport car.
After six laps the green flag waved, but 2Rent Dominos Chris Hart and TFL’s Andrew Bentley both picked up stop go penalties. Hart had climbed to fourth place, but dropped to seventh as he served the penalty, but only five laps later the first pitstop window opened.
Colin Kingsnorth took over the Trumans car and retained the lead, to complete the first hour over 12 seconds clear, with JPR Axiametrics in second, with Chris Dovell having taken over from Chris Weatherill.
Despite their penalty, 2Rent Dominos Henry Dawes was still third, from JPR UVio’s Fabio Randaccio, Apollo’s Ryan Burke and Racelogic’s Julian Thomas. Early frontrunners Viking and Kennedy Racing had both lost ground after colliding at Cascades, just after Mark Holme and Graham Pattle had taken over.
“It was a good clean start, but the safety car didn’t help us, but I eventually pulled a gap on the Kennedy car,” said Trumans’ Hoad.
“The car was good, the start was OK, but I think I could have done better,” added Axiametrics’ Weatherill. “Apart from getting squeezed onto the grass by Racelogic,” it was mega,” said Kennedy. Apollo’s Guy Wenham commented, “well I avoided contact but, it was a crazy start, but well behaved.”
But 2Rent Dominos Hart was ruing the penalty he had been given, despite having fought back to third. “Julian said I overtook before the start, but he’s a fibber,” he reckoned. “I think he did though,” admitted co-driver Dawes.
Another safety car period coincided with the second pitstop window and every car pitted together on the same lap. Hoad, Hart, UVio’s Farquini Deott and Axiametrics Kristian Rose, broke clear from the green flag and battled it out to the completion of the second hour.
After a great stint by Riley Phillips, Marcus Clutton was in the DespatchBay.com car and had managed to snatch the lead from the battling quartet. But all the stops once again coincided with the safety car and the halfway stage in the race.
DespatchBay.com just had the edge over Trumans, with JPR UVio, JPR Axiametrics, 2Rent Dominos and Racelogic completing the top six.
“So far, so good for us,” said Kingsnorth. “I could keep with Henry but couldn’t challenge him,” added Randaccio. ”Just fantastic,” Dovell reckoned, a similar view echoed by Racelogic’s Thomas, “the car is amazing.”
After a promising start, JPR GT Radial had lost some ground but were still seventh, “we had a splitter go, but a great recovery,” said Martin Gibson.
The fight between Clutton’s DespatchBay.com car and Trumans Hoad became a highlight, with a number of exchanges, but with 15 cars still on the lead lap at the three hour mark, it continued to be wide open. “We just had to get out of the tow and work together,” said Hoad. “It’s about staying in there and being ready for the last stint,” Clutton replied.
“It’s all fairly even but some of the tyres may be on the way out,” suggested Deott.
Apollo’s hopes were dashed when Burke had an off at Lodge, but another safety car spell preceded the completion of the penultimate hour, which had Racelogic as the new leaders, from Trumans, Agua Caliente’s Matt Hogg/Rob Perry, 2Rent Dominos, Axiametrics and FNS’s Steve Walton/Greg Evans.
DespatchBay.com had dropped out of the top six, but with Phillips in for the penultimate stint, they were back in contention and duelling for the lead with Trumans again.
As Clutton had forecast it all came down the last stint again. The final changes had been completed, but the safety car was out again for the fifth and final time. Kingsnorth led from Rose, Clutton and Randaccio, but there were still 14 cars on the lead lap and when the green flag appeared there was only 16 minutes on the clock
Clutton was second into Cascades and led into island, but it was Randaccio second from Rose, with Kingsnorth down to fifth behind Dawes.
Dawes briefly fell back leaving it three for the lead, with Clutton under tremendous pressure from Randaccio. But with eight minutes to go it was a six car train for the lead, as Evans had joined them for FNS along with Track Focused’s Sean Cooper, all six covered 1.2 secs.
But into Old Hall for the 115th time, Randaccio lost rear grip as he challenged for the lead. “It had been great fun and a win would have been good again, but when I lost it there was damage where Kristian hit me, and lost a place to 2Rent Dominos, but thanks to Henry for offering it back to me,” Randaccio explained.
For Rose is was race over, “I was trying hold on and Fabio ran wide and lost the rear end, I went wide to go around and he over-corrected and I hit him and went off. I will now just wait for Dad’s bill,” he said.
The incident proved decisive for DespatchBay.com, taking their second win with Bicknell and Clutton helping Phillips to become the youngest winner in Fun Cup history. “A great success for our Track Life team,” said Bicknell.
JPR UVio still just held on to second, from 2Rent Dominos and FNS. “That was super close, still all together with 30 minutes left,” said Deott.
“I had been mugged, lost three places with one mistake. It was on the verge of aggressive, just the right side, but outbraked myself at the Hairpin and Fabio was back through for second,” Dawes replied.
It was another best ever result for FNS, “just great for the team,” said Walton. “The car is just right and now we have the confidence and it’s a step at a time.” Evans added.
JPR GT Radial and Track Focused completed the top six. “A few more laps and we could have been closer, but had too many issues,” Gibson explained. “We were just down on power,” Cooper added.
In seventh were John King and the Bridle twins for Team 7 Fun Bikes. “I could feel the front hub going but just held on,” said Chris Bridle.
After starring for much of the race Trumans finished eighth, with RAW’s Alex and John Macleod and Agua Caliente completing the top 10.
Having led into the final hour Racelogic had a premature end again, when the throttle pedal went.
It’s off to Croft for the next round on May 18th.