OUL­TON PARK GOLD CUP

The huge his­toric rac­ing fes­ti­val played host to cir­cuit-hardened Fords.

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS - Words and Pho­tos Paul Lawrence

All the clas­sic Ford from this huge his­toric race fes­ti­val.

A vic­tory for for­mer BTCC racer, Richard Belcher in his Lo­tus Cortina and a near miss for Ric Wood’s sen­sa­tional Capri RS3100 were the Blue Oval high­lights of the an­nual Oul­ton Park Gold Cup race meet­ing over the Au­gust Bank Hol­i­day week­end, the big­gest his­toric rac­ing fes­ti­val in the north of Eng­land.

Rac­ing Fords in ac­tion ranged from a cou­ple of Anglia 105Es to Wood’s stun­ning replica of the Cologne Capri RS3100. En­gine is­sues kept Ed Glais­ter’s 100E ver­sion of the Anglia away, while the demon­stra­tion rally stage on the venue’s ul­tra low-grip rally loop was busy with a host of cars in­clud­ing Les Par­rott’s three-door Cos­worth and a gag­gle of Mk2 Es­corts.

A dou­ble-header for the pre ’66 cars in the HSCC His­toric Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship was a bit­ter-sweet af­fair for Belcher, who raced Es­cort Mk3 RS1600is in the BTCC back in the 1980s. He won the open­ing race de­spite a fe­ro­cious chal­lenge from the Mini Cooper S of Barry Sime and was look­ing good for an­other win in the later race when the Cortina was in­ad­ver­tently clob­bered by the Mus­tang of Mark Watts at the Knicker­brook Chi­cane. Both cars were out on the spot, the Cortina with sadly man­gled sus­pen­sion, and Sime grate­fully ac­cepted the gift of vic­tory.

Wood is an ac­knowl­edged ex­pert on rac­ing Capris and the Cos­worth GAA en­gine that was used on the rac­ing ver­sions in com­pe­ti­tion with the BMW CSL Bat­mo­biles. He’s also some­thing of an ace at his lo­cal track of Oul­ton Park and he pitched his Capri against the much newer BMW M3s in the His­toric Tour­ing Car Chal­lenge, home to the cars of the 1970s and 1980s.

The 50-minute race, with manda­tory pit-stops and an op­tional driver change, fea­tured a cou­ple of safety car pe­ri­ods and Wood made his pit-stop frac­tion­ally too early. He took the lead over the M3s on the open­ing lap and dived for the pits af­ter seven laps dur­ing the first safety car. He was quickly back at the front of the race and traded the lead with the BMW M3 shared by Paul Hog­a­rth and Olympic cy­clist Chris Board­man. How­ever, Wood was judged to have pit­ted be­fore the pit-stop win­dow of­fi­cially opened and was handed a drive-through penalty, which dropped the Capri to a class­win­ning third in the fi­nal re­sults.

One of the star drives of the race was from Tom Burgess, in one of two 1600cc Fi­esta Mk1s. The cars of Burgess and Mark Roberts run as repli­cas of the Richard Long­man-built Dat­a­post-spon­sored cars from the 1980 BTCC. Burgess was mighty at Oul­ton Park and hum­bled 3-litre Capris and Rover SD1s on his way to a gi­ant-killing fifth over­all.

Fords packed out the lower reaches of the top 10, headed by the Group 1 spec­i­fi­ca­tion Capri of Gra­ham ‘Skid’ Scar­bor­ough and Peter Rat­cliff. Lo­cal ace, and son of rac­ing vet­eran Alan, Ja­son Min­shaw guested in Mike Bell’s Jager­meis­ter-liv­er­ied Es­cort Mk2 to take eighth from for­mer BTCC racer Pa­trick Watts (3-litre Capri) and the sim­i­lar car of John Spiers.

100

Ric Wood was third in class in the His­toric Tour­ing Car Chal­lenge with his awe­some GAA-en­gined Capri. Dat­a­post replica 1600 Fi­esta was one of two rac­ing in the Gold Cup. Richard Belcher won the first of the dou­ble-header races in the Lo­tus Cortina.

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