23rd-25th August 2014 - Oulton Park
Simms on Top at Oulton Park
A tremendous victory for Benn Simms, a 26-car field and great racing all the way down the order made for a highly successful Oulton Park Gold Cup for the Historic Formula 3 Championship (Sunday 24 August).
On a drying track, Simms was the class of qualifying and got the Elfin 600 working really well to take pole with a margin of nearly three seconds over Francois Derossi (Chevron B17), Simon Armer (March 703) and Ian Bankhurst (Alexis HF802). With Peter Thompson (Brabham BT21) and Paul Waine (De Sanctis F3 69) rounding out the top six, there were six marques in the top six grid places.
Derossi got the jump on Simms off the grid as the glorious pack rushed towards Old Hall, but by the end of the first lap it was Simms clear at the front and already starting to open a gap.
As the leading Elfin eased away, attention moved to a wonderful four-car battle for second as Derossi headed Armer, Bankhurst and Thompson. Derossi led the train until lap eight when Thompson moved into second, but a lap later Thompson tumbled down the order as the pack shuffled again and Bankhurst worked up to second. It was typical 1-litre F3 action and thrilled a large and appreciative audience.
Simms duly took the flag by a significant margin at the end of ten laps, with Bankhurst holding on to second ahead of Derossi, Armer and Keith Messer (Vesey), who had raced well from tenth on the grid. Thompson was sixth, just failing to get back on terms with the second place group.
Simms: “The car is running really well and that was easier than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t make the greatest start, but once ahead I was about to have some clear laps and stretch my legs.”
“That was a brilliant race, we were all diving up the inside and trying to go round the outside,” said Bankhurst. “Everyone was so evenly matched.” Derossi had enjoyed the battle just as much as he completed the podium party. “I got a good start but Benn was just too quick. That was a good race, close but fair.”
Waine just fended off Jim Blockley (Brabham BT21B) and Mike Scott (Brabham BT28) for seventh, while Geoffrey O’Nion (Tecno) pipped Jim Timms (Brabham BT21B) and Jon Waggitt (Brabham BT18) for the final top 10 position. With eight marques in the top 10 and 22 finishers from 25 starters, it was a great race for Historic F3.
Non 'Charlie Wooding' photos by Robb Faloon.