The British Automobile Racing Club delivered a scintillating race day at Oulton Park this past Saturday (March 23) as four championships kick-started their 2019 campaigns in blockbuster style.
Following a busy off-season which has seen meticulous car preparation from teams and drivers, the picturesque Cheshire venue provided the perfect backdrop to lift the curtain on the new season.
Home to the next generation of motorsport talent, the Junior Saloon Car Championship provided two pulsating races with a bumper grid of 14 to 17-year-old racers, with the spoils shared between reigning champion Lewis Saunders and 2018 Scholarship winner Scott McIntyre.
Bidding to become the first back-to-back JSCC champion, Saunders ignited his title defence in emphatic fashion as he scored a lights-to-flag victory in the opening round after leapfrogging pole sitter McIntyre. Thomas Ward would also get the better of McIntyre over the course of the race and it would be that order that the top three finished in.
Roles were reversed in race two as McIntyre got the better of Saunders and raced on to take the chequered by little under a second. Ward once again underlined his credentials and consistency by notching another podium finish, albeit this time third place.
The Club’s North West Centre’s flagship series, the CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Car Championship, raced just once during the day but it proved to be an eventful six-lap encounter which culminated in Jon Woolfitt piloting his MK Indy to the chequered flag.
David Harvey and Danny Bird proved to be the closest challengers to Woolfitt in the end however the pair had to settle for second and third respectively.
Garrie Whittaker proved to be in irresistible force in the Kumho BMW Championship too as he romped his way to a brace of victories. Once again behind the wheel of his BMW E36 M3, Whittaker made an emphatic statement in race one, beating Lucky Khera by more than 45 seconds.
Whittaker followed up his first victory with a second one shortly after, this time heading Jason West by a somewhat smaller margin – 26 seconds this time.
Capping off the day’s action at Oulton Park were a raft of races from the Classic Touring Car Championship, each of them mixing classes together.
AJ Owen emerged as the benchmark in the amalgamated Pre 93, Pre 03 and Pre 05 encounters as he scored a pair of wins at the wheel of his Honda Civic Type R. Leading Ross Craig and Graham Myers in race one, Owen made a further statement as one to watch by heading Ian Bower and Craig in the second race.
Mark Osborne and his Triumph Dolomite Sprint were in fine form in the combined Pre 66 and Pre 83 eight-lap races, claiming outright honours in both.
Elsewhere Andrew Wilson and Richard Wood ensured that they left Oulton Park with a win apiece after each triumphing in the day’s two Blue Oval Saloon and Thunder Saloon races.
For the full classification of results from Saturday, click here.