Peter Erceg and Marcus Clutton, in the PB Racing / JMH Audi GT3, continued their unbeaten run of race wins at Oulton Park. It wasn’t just a walk in the park for them though – to secure not just the win, but maximum championship points, they constantly had to monitor their progress against others within the handicap system.

Newbarn’s Jaguar F Type V8

After a wet qualifying session, the track had dried when the pack took the rolling start, and pole-sitter Erceg didn’t exactly blast away when the red lights went out, causing fast-starters Richard Avery’ Porsche, and Ian Astley in the SVG BMW GT4 to bunch up behind the Audi as they entered the first corner, while front-row starter Cameron Pratt Thompson hung on round the outside in the SVG Ginetta G55. Erceg then began to open out a lead – around four seconds every lap – while Avery settled in second, just ahead of Pratt-Thompson, with Astley shaking-off the close attention of Bal Sidhu’s Xentek Porsche Cayman. Callum Thompson made up a few positions in the Newbarn Jaguar F-Type, and faced a challenge from lone-driver Matthew Wilson in the JW Bird Cupra, while Jonny MacGregor’s MacG Racing Ginetta G55 slipped down the order behind Marc Elman’s similar machine. MacGregor was the first to pit, before the official window opened; anticipating rain a few laps into the race, he had started on wets, but with the weather now unlikely to worsen, he abandoned the struggle and came in for Goodyear slicks. First to pit once the window did open, 20 minutes into the race, was second-placed Pratt-Thompson; there had been a grassy moment earlier in the race, and the G55 was beginning to overheat due to a clogged radiator grille. The youngster stayed in the car for a double stint, and would hand over to James Taylor later in the race. Callum Thompson brought the Jaguar in from a racy opening stint, handing over to brother Adam, but perhaps unknowingly just a few laps early, as a short Safety Car period around the 50-minute mark gave a better opportunity to most of the rest of the field. Owen Hizzey took over the #8 SVG Ginetta G55 from Marc Elman, but was in trouble before exiting the pit lane, eventually bringing the car round back to the garage to retire with engine problems. Leader Erceg had stopped, but was in again just a few laps later, to hand over the leading Audi to Marcus Clutton, who took it through to the flag, easing-off as he race drew to a close, four laps ahead on the road, while keeping an eye on the points handicap situation; as always, up to the halfway point, working the system seems an impossible task, but as the final hour pans out, the achievability – or not – becomes apparent, and they did it, with a lap in hand, and Peter Erceg claiming the Sunoco Driver of the Day award.

Bal Sidhu’s Xentek Porsche Cayman GT4RS

Josh Steed took over the Xentek Porsche Cayman started by Bal Sidhu, and another exemplary race by the team gave them second overall, and the Class D win, with Nick Hull taking over from Richard Avery in the Road and Competition Porsche 992 to clinch the final overall podium spot, and the Class B win. James Taylor took over the SVG Ginetta G55 from teenage sensation Cameron Pratt-Thompson, and passed his own team’s BMW GT4 late in the race to bag fourth overall and the Class G victory. This had been an eye-opening showing from the pair, putting a Class G machine where it’s never been before n the BEC mix, with Pratt-Thompson’s performance in qualifying and his race stint earning the precociously-talented 16-year old the Outstanding Achievement of the Weekend award. It was SVG again in fifth place, Neil Wallace taking over from Ian Astley in the BMW GT4, claiming runner-up in Class D, and Astley’s assertive opening stint showing his has lost none of the brio and verve of his 30-year career, earning him the Rowe Driver of the Day trophy. The Thompson brothers, Adam and Callum, gave the Newbarn Jaguar F-Type perhaps it’s finest two hours, a racy and trouble-free run , sixth overall, first in Class F, and importantly, bagging second place in the multi-class handicap race for championship points. Second in Class G was redemption for the MacG Racing Ginetta G55 after the early, unplanned pit stop, team boss Jonny MacGregor sandwiching an impressive middle stint from French-Texan Arthur Simondet. Enjoying a battle with the Jaguar in the early stages was singleton driver Matthew Wilson in the JW Bird Cupra, and he claimed the Class E win, a somewhat lonely eighth overall.

Words: Steve Wood; photos: Paul Cherry and Steve Jackman.

ROWE Driver of the Day: Ian Astley

Sunoco Driver of the Day: Peter Erceg

Britcar Achievement Award: Cameron Pratt-Thompson