It was a wet old weekend at the Chester based circuit of Oulton Park, with tyre choice playing a crucial part in the weekends proceedings. With the rain still falling at the start of race 1 everyone was deciding what tyre choice to go with, full wets, full slicks or a mix.
As the lights went out it seemed the best choice was the wets, as the slicks struggled for grip it was a free for all into the first corner with Sheddon, Plato and Mcdowell all going for the lead. As the race went on though a dry line started to appear and the cars that had opted for the slicks started to climb the ranks. It was Sheddon who came out on top and stayed there for the rest of the race with his slick fronts and wet rears, Plato and Mcdowell made up the the final top 3 places despite running on full wets.
There was utter heartache for Tom Boardman – on slicks all-round and closing on the battle for sixth at some five seconds per lap in the late stages, he looked certain to at least pass Neal on the final lap. However, as he negotiated the hairpin his Special Tuning SEAT Leon was side-swiped by Jeff Smith’s Pirtek Vectra that had been put into a spin behind following contact with Neate’s Focus. The heavy collision resulted in instant retirement for both Boardman and Smith whose cars were badly damaged in the impact.
Race two and there were a few cars missing off the grid, namely the SEAT Leon of Boardman and the AmDMilltek racing golf. After the big smash in race 1 Boardmans car was still being rapidly repaired by the STR team, it later came out but 3 laps down, unfortunatly the Amd Golf never made it out the reason came to light a little later.
It was once again an action packed race with the weather playing its part again. Sheddon was off to another flying start and at one point in the race was a full 10 seconds ahead of 2nd place. When a saftey car was called out to retrieve the Chevrolet of John George the field bunched up and Sheddon could see his team mate in the rear view once again, althougth it would become clear later on that he wished he hadn’t. On the restart and the two hondas were away closely followed by Plato in the Chevrolet, last corner and out of no where Matt Neal went for a move on his team mate which went oh so wrong, as Neal’s wheels locked up he collided with Sheddon forcing the pair off the track into the gravel gifting Plato the win.
As the cars lined up on the grid an announcement came through to say that teh AmD golf wouldn’t be back out as Tom Onslow Cole had announced he was leaving the team, later it would transpire that he would be moving back to Team Aon.
The Airwaves Racing team had been having a tough weekend with qualifying not going to plan and rebuilds going on into the early hours they were starting to wonder when their luck would change, and thanks to a reverse grid decision in Matt Jackson’s favour it did. The reverse grid saw Jackson on pole for the final race, a position he wasn’t going to give up lightly. Jackson stretched his legs and despite Sheddon’sa advances on him in the early stages Jackson left the field behind to take his second win of the season and move him up to 3rd in the overall drivers table. Elsewhere Tom Boardman headed a queue of cars to finish the race in fifth in his Special Tuning Racing SEAT Leon while Andy Neate achieved a career-best sixth in his Team Aon Ford Focus. Neate and Boardman’s respective team-mates Tom Chilton and Dave Newsham – making his debut with STR this weekend – took seventh and eighth with Foster being bundled down to ninth. He had held off this group for a long period until contact with Boardman at Druids Bend sent him wide off the track.
Well with a weekend of ups and downs over for most teh teams its a 2 week break before heading to Croft. Most of the teams have now got to grips with their new turbo cars and are making great progress, so long as they keep going for the ultimate filter in BTCC I’m sure they’ll jhave now problems. Congratulations to all the Pipercross drivers this weekend, once again a true show of skill and determination.