OULTON PARK GOLD CUP
The huge historic racing festival played host to circuit-hardened Fords.
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.
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.