28th - 30th July 2023 - Oulton
One Of The Headline Acts At The Prestigious Gold Cup.
An entry of 24 cars came out to qualify on the Friday afternoon for the pair of Sir Jackie Stewart Trophy Races taking place over the weekend of the Oulton Park Historic Gold Cup Meeting.
Amongst the entry was Peter De La Roche in the ex-Dick Barker/Ken Sedgley Alexis, Austin Widmer racing the Paul Waine owned De Sanctis and Dan Eagling in the freshly restored Pico Troberg/Reine Wisell Brabham BT18. The car that had featured in Troberg’s personal museum was having its first run following restoration by Dan.
To be at the front of the HF3 grid you needed to drive a yellow car ideally a Brabham on this weekend. Samuel Harrison in the SpeedSport prepared Ian Walker Racing Brabham BT21B headed the timing sheets. Jason Timms in the first of the Timms family entries came next, less than a second behind the talented youngster, in his red Brabham BT21. Third fastest, supporting team yellow, was the Alexis Mk17 of Peter De La Roche, whilst completing the top 4 was Dan Eagling in the yellow Troberg Brabham BT18.
5th was Jeremy Timms in his Chevron B15, whilst 6th and 7th places were taken by Francois De Rossi in his Chevron B17 who headed Christoph Widmer in the Brabham BT18 the pair continuing their season long friendly rivalry.
Peter Hamilton was 8th in the timing sheets ahead of Andy Jarvis in his March 703 with Steve Nichols in the ex-Peter Hanson Chevron B17 completing the top 10. Barry Sewell in 18th place driving his ex-Derek Bell Lotus 41 headed the battle of the Octogenarians whilst Jim Timms was next in 19th place. Andrew Thorpe in his Lotus 31 was the sole entry in the sidedraught class in 22nd.
Sadly, Steve Seaman’s weekend ended in qualifying when his camshaft disintegrated on the first lap of qualifying.
As the red lights turned to green Samuel Harrison led the field away into Old Hall to what would be a very comfortable victory. The driver looking so relaxed as he progressively extended the gap. In his wake the fight for the other podium places was very intense. Peter De La Roche found himself sandwiched between Jeremy and Jason Timms. Dan Eagling, quickly slipping into the clutches of Francois De Rossi and Andy Jarvis.
Austin Widmer regrettably was the first retirement when the gearbox bearing broke. On lap 3 Jeremy Timms asserted himself into second position with Jason and Peter De La Roche tussling for the final slot. Andy Jarvis and Francois De Rossi continued their dice for 5th place with Christophe Widmer shadowing the pair. Peter Hamilton was having a lonely race in 9th place, Josh Sharp 10th with Andrew Tart in 11th.
On lap 6 Dan Eagling retired the Brabham when he felt the engine losing power. This would be the end of his weekend. Two laps later Mark Linstone retired his Brabham onto the grass at Deer Leap with a broken cam again ending his participation in the races.
On lap 8 Jason Timms tried to outbrake Jeremy going into Old Hall the attempt resulting in a spin luckily without damage dropping him back to 6th place behind Andy Jarvis and Francois De Rossi. On the following lap Gill Duffy described a lack of talent for his finding the grass and ending his race against the barrier with a damaged corner on the car.
On lap 9 it was Mark Pangborn’s turn to be caught out at Cascades. The car spinning off without damage but unfortunately the car refused to restart.
Jason’s charge, following his spin, back to 4th place enlivened the end of the race together with a late charge by Peter De La Roche to take second place from Jeremy Timms. In the closing stages, Andy Jarvis found himself being caught by Francois De Rossi who in turn had Christophe Widmer in his mirrors. Josh Sharp also having a late run at Peter Hamilton. Richard Wise in his Tecno completing the top 10.
Sunday morning at the Gold Cup is a time for car club parades and spectators to have the opportunity to have a relaxed look at the cars and talk to some of the drivers and owners. With the Historic Formula 3 cars being among one of the star grids for the weekend. The cars duly pristine and polished were wheeled out into the sunshine from their garages for the Pit Road Walkabout.
The cars were well received, and the drivers were really pleased with the knowledgeable enthusiastic reception they had. Certainly, the social media pages were full of pictures of the line up from the event.
The cars formed up for race 2 in the order set by their fastest laps in race one. This placed Peter De La Roche in a sandwich between Jeremy and Jason Timms. Further back Christophe Widmer had got in front of his rival Francois De Rossi. Would he be able to balance the race score for this event?
At the end of the formation lap Josh Sharp came into the pit to start behind the pack. He had lost 1st gear, starting the race in second gear from the pit lane.
On track Samuel Harrison again delivered a masterclass in racing these cars with another lights to flag faultless drive. His winning margin of 18 seconds back to second man was an increase of 10 seconds from his Race 1 victory.
Jeremy Timms was quick to secure his spot on the podium powering into second place quickly. He pulled away from Jason who was caught up in a dice with Peter De La Roche. Next up was Christophe Widmer who had Francois De Rossi, Andy Jarvis and Peter Hamilton in a tight train on his exhaust.
On lap 3 Francois moved into 5th place bringing with him Andy Jarvis pushing Christophe back to 7th. The two drivers who had started from the rear of the grid, Austin Widmer and Josh Sharp, were making progress through the field. Austin in particular reporting he was having fun moving up the order being 12th on lap 3 with Josh behind in 14th place.
Lap 3 Jim Timms pulled into the pits the car was running well but he reported afterwards that his heart was not in it. In the paddock he suggested that now would be a good time to step back from racing.
On lap 4 reports of a car on fire scrambled the circuit fire team to promptly deal with the problem. This was sadly the end of the race for Josh Sharp. Part of the underbody had come lose on the Chevron. Josh pulling the car off to a safe place. When he turned the engine off, the no float carburettor continued to pump fuel into a hot exhaust. Prompt action by Josh and the fire team prevented any major damage. But as he was later to confess it was a sad end to a special anniversary of when his dad first brought him to the Oulton Park Gold Cup 61 years ago.
On lap 8 Peter De La Roche was the last of the pit visitors retiring from the race. Ensuring that Jason Timms held the final step on the podium behind his cousin Jeremy.
The tussle for 4th spot heated up between Francois De Rossi and Andy Jarvis as Peter retired into the pits. Francois trying a little too hard to stay ahead would be the next victim of Cascades. Francois quickly recovered but it did give fresh hope to Christophe Widmer who had held a distant vigil.
Francois suitably annoyed with himself came close to catching Andy, finishing in 5th place less than half a second behind the March. A super scrap between the Tecnos of Peter Hamilton and Richard Wise ended in favour of Peter who had been led by Richard for three laps from laps 7 to 9. Austin Widmer completed the Top 10 finishers. The final retirement of the race was Mark Pangborn who pulled off at Deer Leap on lap 9. Andrew Thorpe had two lonely races in his immaculate Lotus 31, hopefully there will be a few more sidedraught cars to join him before 2024.
Whilst not racing with HF3 at this meeting, Bill Cowing who races the Ginetta G8 with its hybrid Martin engine, announced his retirement from racing following his run with the Historic Formula Junior. Bill’s presence on both grids will be missed he is moving onto his next venture. Celebrating 50 years of marriage I am sure it will be a grand celebration.
The Championship continues its Northern adventure in September at Croft, for the Nostalgia weekend. The Grids throughout the year have been growing, we are sure the momentum will continue going into the 60th Anniversary year.
Report by Alan Jones