A dramatic day at Oulton Park for the seventh and eighth Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Classic Boxster Cup races of the season saw double wins for Simon Clark and Richard Forber, while the class two spoils were shared by Toby Barlow and Matt Kyle-Henney.
One moment of note was long-time series supporter Pete Morris recording his hundredth podium finish in race one, a superb record over many seasons of front-running racing.
It was a wet track for qualifying and times improved as the session went on, the surface beginning to dry and the drivers finding more grip. James Caley headed the times at the end of the 20-minute session in is Trofeo Racing 997 C2S, just ahead of Cayman duo Cark and Jake McAleer. The session ended a couple of minutes early with a car off at Lodge corner.
“It was very slippery early on”, explained James Caley, “but the track was drying and we were all getting quicker. I think everyone was teeing up for a really quick lap at the end when the red flags came out and the session was stopped.”
Kyle-Henney headed class two, but it was close and he had class rivals Paul Simpson, Bill Caley and Jesse Chamberlain right behind in the times, with the rest of the category not much further back.
Boxster Cup points leader Will Heslop suffered a shock absorber failure just as he headed out to qualify, so would start both races from the back of the grid, which left Richard Forber free to claim his first class pole and a superb 16th overall in the tricky conditions. Mike Thompson and Alistair Nelson were next up.
James Caley converted his pole position to a first lap lead, with Clark, Morris and Jake McAleer right with him. Heading into lap three Clark dived past at the first corner, Caley suffering an intermittent problem and saw him lose power and pit his 997.
Once ahead Clark dominated and eased away in the Thomson Reuters Clark Racing Cayman S, Morris in turn staying clear of Jake McAleer all the way. Mark McAleer got past Richard Bayston for fourth, and they were in that order when the red flags came out to stop the race with five minutes to go to, a car off at Druids corner.
“I got past James at the first corner on the inside,” said Clark. “He was with me before he had issues and then I was able to open a gap to the rest.”
“That was my hundredth Porsche Club Championship podium!” said Morris. “I was under pressure all the way, the Caymans are so quick here. I was holding off Jake McAleer then his dad arrived on the scene, the backmarkers were making it tricky, but an enjoyable race.”
In class two Chamberlain was the early leader, despite his car obviously handling badly after an off in qualifying, and soon had Simpson and Barlow right with him and Kyle-Henney closing in. Barlow took the class lead on lap six and stayed ahead for his second win of the season in his SMC Automotive Boxster, Kyle-Henny passing Chamberlain when the latter’s car hesitated for a moment in the Knickerbrook chicane before gaining pace again.
“Pleased to win but hats off to Jesse, his car looked a real handful to drive,” said Barlow. “I’m really pleased overall, I have worked hard to learn this circuit with my coach and once I was ahead I knew I could do quick laps for the rest of the race.”
Forber headed the Boxster Cup runners for the entire race, a storming opening two laps from Heslop seeing him climb through the order to run second, but he couldn’t overcome Forber’s advantage. Alistair Nelson took third in class with Mike Thompson next up.
“I can’t believe it, delighted to win here and get pole first time out in the wet,” said Forber. “I even had a battle with a class two car for a few laps and was trying to stay with him, it was a great race.”
Clark was on pole for race two with Jake McAleer alongside, and they both got away well. Blasting though was Morris from the second row and for a moment they were three-abreast into the first corner, with Morris on the outside before they fell in line with Clark ahead of Jake McAleer and Morris third. Clark was a second and half clear after three laps only to be greeted by the safety car due to car needing to be retrieved from the side of the circuit.
Racing resumed at the start of lap seven, Clark immediately recording the fastest race lap to date as he looked to open a gap again, but Jake McAleer replied in kind two laps later and stayed within a second of the leader. Behind, Mark McAleer got past Morris at Old Hall after the restart and started to close the gap on son Jake's Hartech with RVR (UK) Racing Cayman..
Clark still had a slender advantage on lap 11 when once more the red flags came out to stop the race, cars off at two different places on the circuit. That left Jake McAleer second with father Mark, third, and Morris fourth ahead of James Caley.
“I got a good start, and then a good restart,” said Clark. “It’s been a great day, two wins and we came here leading the championship and leave with a bigger lead, so we are very happy.”
“The start was really close,” said Jake McAleer, “I thought Pete Morris was going to get past us both. After the safety car restart Simon was able to open a gap, but as the race went on we were going back towards him. A great race, and I’m enjoying just to be back in the thick of it and getting podiums.”
As ever this season the class two battle was entertaining, Kyle-Henney heading a multi-car train for much of the race. After the safety car period Chamberlain was looking for a way past the class leader, but had Andy Muggeridge close behind with Barlow fourth, battling handling issues, and Kevin Molyneux closing in.
Kyle-Henney's SW Engineering Boxster stayed clear to take the win, Chamberlain second from Muggeridge, the top four just a second and half apart after the ten laps.
“I was under pressure all the way and the tyres were going at the end,” said Kyle-Henney. “I had a gap before the safety car but after that they were all back with me.”
The Boxster Cup race went to a similar script to race one, Forber pushing hard in the early stages to open a gap to the charging Heslop by the time he got through to second. Forber took the win at his local circuit for his third victory in a row in his first season of racing, Heslop second with Nelson once more third.
“Another good start, I could see Will Heslop behind me and he was pushing so I had to keep pressing hard,” said Forber. “This season has been going really well for us, I’m still amazed to be actually here doing this.”
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli, Race One:
1 Simon Clark (Cayman S) 10 Laps
2 Pete Morris (997 C2S) +5.963s
3 Jake McAleer (Cayman S)
4 Mark McAleer (997 C2S)
5 Richard Bayston (996 C2)
6 Richard Ellis (996 C2)
7 Toby Barlow (Boxster S)
8 Matt Kyle-Henney (Boxster S)
9 Jesse Chamberlain (Boxster S)
10 Chris Dyer (Cayman S)
Class Winners: Clark, Barlow. Fastest Lap: Clark 1m50.666s (87.57mph.
1 Simon Clark 10 Laps
2 Jake McAleer +0.716
3 Mark McAleer
4 Pete Morris
5 James Caley
6 Richard Bayston
7 Richard Ellis
8 Matt Kyle-Henney
9 Jesse Chamberlain
10 Andy Muggeridge
Class Winners: Clark; Kyle-Henney. Fastest Lap: Jake McAleer 1m50.973s (87.33mph).
Porsche Classic Boxster Cup, Race One:
1 Richard Forber (Boxster S) 10 Laps
2 Will Heslop (Boxster S) +7.604s
3 Alistair Nelson (Boxster S)
4 Mike Thompson (Boxster S)
5 Steven Shore (Boxster S)
6 Pete Evans (Boxster S).
7 Scott Adams
8 Sarah Thomson
Fastest Lap: Forber 1m57.592s (82.16mph).
1 Forber 10 Laps
2 Heslop +3.602s
5 Scott Adams
6 Peter Evans
Fastest Lap: Forber 1m57.209s (82.68mph).
2021 Petro-Canada Lubricants and Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Classic Boxster Cup Calendar:
Donington Park, East Midlands – April 10th
Brands Hatch GP, Kent – May 1st
Snetterton 300, Norfolk – June 5th
Oulton Park, Cheshire – July 3rd
Silverstone GP, Northants. – August 14th
Brands Hatch Indy, Kent - September 5th
Snetterton 300, Norfolk – October 2nd