HSCC Oulton Park Gold Cup

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Decades before the current obsession with drifting – undeniably spectacular, yet utterly unfathomable tyre-frying folly to older generations – sliding cars gracefully through corners at the highest possible speed for the prevailing conditions brought success and adulation for racers who best mastered the art of balancing machines with more power than grip in days of yore.

Among British circuits, the undulating Oulton Park has showcased this four-wheel-drifting skillset better than any other since it opened in 1953.  Fast forward 70 years and the ability to control cars, twitching and writhing on and beyond the limits of their chassis’ dynamics and tyres’ adhesion, rewarded historic racing stars and spectators at the HSCC-run Historic Gold Cup event on 28-30 July, successor to the contemporary races, principally non-championship Formula 1 crowd-pullers.

Winner of both HGPCA races Justin Maeers added his name to the Gold Cup in his 2.5 Brabham BT11A

Ridiculous F1 calendars, now encompassing a Grand Prix pretty much every fortnight globally all year round, are detrimental to the product and way beyond the pocket of the average fan.  The relentless schedule clearly precludes such staples of yesteryear as Brands Hatch’s Race of Champions, the BRDC’s International Trophy at Silverstone and the Oulton Park Gold Cup, which fizzled out as a bush league F1 race in 1982.

Poleman Sam Wilson’s gallant intent was scotched when transmission failure stopped the Lotus 18 while leading on Saturday

Nonetheless, the annual retrospective in Cheshire, curated for the second year by circuit owner MotorSport Vision headed by former F1 driver, European F2 and British F3 champion Jonathan Palmer, is a colourful reminder of the sport’s glory days.  This year’s gathering saw machinery spanning 100 years, better grids and numerous stellar drives for racegoers to savour.  Marcus Pye Reports….

Spiers and Spanish trident-wielder Guillermo Fierro Eleta were sensational to behold. John’s committed ascent of Clay Hill, his Maserati’s tail wagging approvingly in time-honoured style, was among the sights of the weekend Photos Eric Sawyer

Centrepiece of the show, which began with qualifying sessions on Friday afternoon, was a bumper crop of Historic Grand Prix Cars Association competitors, whose races more than justified the feature Historic Gold Cup title bestowed upon it.

With a focus on Jim Clark – 60 years after his second successive GC win in a Lotus 25 – poleman Sam Wilson’s gallant intent was scotched when transmission failure stopped the Lotus 18 (Jimmy’s ‘62 Kentish 100 F2 race winner at Brands Hatch, when powered by a 1500cc Climax FPF engine, and not the 2.5-litre F1 unit) terminally while leading on Saturday.  A lap record was a tantalising reminder of what might have been.

Read all about it in our September 2023 Issue…..

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