ROCHE MASTERS MAZDAS AGAIN
Jaap Blijleven took the honours in the Pre 1990 Formula Ford 1600 race as the Northern Championship took to Oulton Park for the third time in 2016.
Despite Blijleven only narrowly beating guest driver and MSA Formula race winner Josh Smith over the line, it was Nick Barnes and John Murphy who completed the podium following Smith’s 10-second penalty for jumping the start. It meant that the entire race was a recovery drive for Smith, made worse when he lost third gear, struggling to maintain high speeds on the straights and having to settle for a fifth behind Brian Soule.
Doug Crosbie had it equally as comfortable as Blijleven in the Post ’89 race. Starting from pole he remained unchallenged, finishing 17s ahead of Matthew Cowley as he bounced back from engine failure in the last round. Jack Wolfenden rounded out the top three with his first ever podium in the series, holding off a late attack from David Mcarthur, who had found himself as low as sixth after a spin at Lodge.
Returning from a European excursion to Zolder, the Mazdas were back in Blighty for the MX-5 Championship. Once again, it was Tom Roche who dominated the Championship Group A races making it four wins from four following his disappointment of missing out on a place in the European MX-5 Cup last month. His lime green Blendini Motorsport MX-5 was too much for Michael Fisk on both occasions. In Group B, the races for the slower qualifiers and finishers, Matt Pickford won race one from pole while in the second, Joshua Jackson jumped from third on the grid and eased to victory ahead of Kevin Brent and Paul Austin.
Tom Roche was also victorious in race one of the Mazda MX-5 Supercup, proving he is just as fast in the more contemporary Mk3, while championship leader James Blake-baldwin had to settle for second after his brace on the continent. Blake-baldwin made amends in a breathtaking race two in which the top nine were separated by only two seconds. Though Roche had led for the majority of the race, four race wins on the weekend was just too tough for the Welshman as Blake-baldwin made a bold move through Old Hall and held the line through Cascades.
The Boxster of Richard Styrin was once again a dominant force in the Toyo Tyres Porsche Championship. Though race one was cut short after the 924 of Nizar El-chamaa lost its rear right wheel through Knickerbrook bringing out the red flag, Styrin could still build a five second lead ahead of Richard Avery and James Coleman. He then earned his seventh win of the season in race two, as Coleman and Garry Lawrence completed the top three, while El-chamaa, now with four wheels back on his car carved his way through to win in the 924 class.
Graham Seager returned to the Alfa Romeo Championship grid with victory in race one.
The 2015 champion, who had missed the season so far as his GTV underwent refurbishments, beat the modified Alfas of Andy Robinson and another returnee Andy Page. He couldn’t make it a clean sweep though as he retired with smoking brakes in race two, gifting Robinson his first win of the season.
Roche had to fight with Blake-baldwin in MX-5S
Pickford topped MX-5 race Blijleven claimed the Pre 1990 victory
Crosbie lifted the Post 1989 laurels