Oulton Park is always a challenging circuit to race on, but especially in the rain, and as first qualifying for the 2CVPARTS.com championship got underway, there was plenty of that in the air, and on the track!
Although there were many spinners in qualifying, most of the drivers got away with no damage, or just a few scratches. However, that wasn't to be the case in race 1.
Richard Lambert claimed a well deserved pole position for race 1 in treacherous conditions. Behind him, a superb effort by Nick Roads secured a place alongside on the front row. 3rd was taken by Jon Davis (sharing with Pete Sparrow in the #97 Fine Print car) and 4th was Philip Myatt, returning to the series and sharing Nick Paton's car. Glen Oswin, Alec Graham, Caryl Wills, Louis Tyson and Mick Storey rounded out the top 10.
For quite a few cars, race 1 lasted one corner. Some cars went wide onto the grass-crete on the outside of the corner, and spun back onto the track, causing others to lock up and hit each other. Much of this transpired because the pole sitter was tipped into a spin by a spinning Nick Roads. Nick finished up broadside in the middle of the track and was hit by several cars, most notably Sammie Fritchley, who had started low down the order due to an engine change. As she rounded the first corner she was unsighted by cars in front, and as they sweved to avoid the carnage, Sammie had nowhere to go but head first into the side of Nick's car.
Despite some heavy bruising to his thigh area, Nick was able to get out of his car within minutes, but there was concern over Sammie's condition, so an air ambulance was called to the circuit. Sammie was having trouble breathing due to serious bruising and a suspected cracked rib. Fortunately there turned out to be no broken bones.
Sammie is at home and recovering well. She said about the accident:
"I'd just like to say a huge thank you to the marshals, medical and rescue team at Oulton park on Saturday. They were fabulous and so reassuring. Very scary not being able to breathe but plenty of trained people around me to make sure I carried on! I think a new record as well of how many people can get in a 2cv! Not sure what I was most scared of; how broken I was, or how broken the car was. I do remember telling them not to cut the roof off though! Hospital staff were really good too got me scanned then up and about a few hours later full of drugs.
A huge thank you to everyone who looked after my dad at the circuit and to Paul who came to the hospital with him, he wouldn't have coped with out you all so thanks again.
And now a huge thank you for all the texts, calls and Facebook messages. I really appreciate all your well-wishes, thanks again. I will be at Brands Hatch but not behind the wheel as I can't hold a steering wheel yet and need to buy new race kit. Watch this space for Cadwell - I'll be back. Thanks again everyone xxxxx"
After a long delay to clean up after the accident, and of course to wait for the air ambulance to land and take off again, race 1 resumed with most taking their original grid spots but some drivers electing to start from the pitlane. As well as Fritchley and Roads, Glenn Oswin and Alec Graham also picked up damage and did not take the restart.
With a shortened race due to the stoppages, the front-running quarted of Kris Tovey, Jon Davis, Richard Lambert, Steve Walford wasted no time in battling for the lead. Walford initially gained a place or two but slipped back to 5th. Tovey moved into a slender lead by lap 2, and while Davis and Lambert swapped places, Louis Tyson (starting 8th) slowly creeped up on the leading pack. Further back, Caryl Wills was charging through the field, and Philip Myatt slipped back due to engine problems. After 4 laps, Tovey was able to hang on for a very well deserved win in his brand new car, with Jon Davis snapping at his heels, only half a second behind. Lambert crossed the line for 3rd, followed by Tyson, Walford, Nick Crispin, Nick Clarke, Matt Hollis, Chris Yates and Caryl Wills making up the top 10. Tyson claimed fastest lap.
With a strong wind blowing and the afternoon sun finally breaking through the clouds, race 2 was a much dryer affair. 2014 champ Pete Sparrow was on pole, with Matt Lambert in 2nd and Phil Myatt in 3rd. As the lights went out, Sparrow flew into the lead and was never seen again - finishing the race 8 second ahead of the pack! Battle was resumed between car 5 and car 43 for second place, this time with Matt Lambert in #43. However at the end it was Tovey in the #5 car taking the nod at the finish for 2nd, with Lambert having to settle for 3rd. Behind them, the #44 car of Myatt/Paton began slipping down the order, again a victim of some engine gremlins. This allowed Caryl Wills to rise up the order to 3rd, before falling back down on the last lap to 9th. Also on the rise was Mick Story, taking over from Nick Clarke - starting 11th, he made it up to 4th by the finish. Matt Hollis finished 5th - an excellent race for him having started 14th!. Paul Taylor, taking over from Tyson, finished 6th, and Alec Graham, Julie Walford, Caryl Wills and Martin Fox rounded out the top 10 finishers. Simon Crook was the only non-finisher, suffering engine problems due to debris stuck in his carburettor.
Video from Richard Lambert's car: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrxPi_M01U4
Click here for a link to the TSL timing sheets
Maria's photo gallery: http://www.2cvracing.org.uk/gallery/category/55-oulton-280315