It would be fair to say that Oulton Park is high on the list of most racers’ favourite circuits. The surrounding woodland and lake provide an idyllic setting for the technically challenging Cheshire track, famed for its high speed corners and wheelie-prone crests. As has become expected of the 2012 summer, dreadful conditions seemed on the cards with hail showers forecast for Saturday yet the GP45 field had expanded again with 11 entries in the programme.
Saturday 30th June, round eight qualifier
The first half of the day remained drizzly and the qualifying race was declared wet. Last season Chris Harrison’s Aprilia 450 Super Twin proved very hard to beat and so for the first time out with NG Road Racing in 2012 the GP45 field welcomed #53 Joe Ravenscroft on board his Aprilia 450. However, the attention rested on Peter Carr following his astonishing display in near monsoon conditions last time out at Donington Park.
From row six, the green pistolracing.co.uk Kawasaki of Carr shot through into 4th in the opening lap, quickly pushing though into 3rd spot on-the-road. In an exciting dice Carr pulled ahead to an impressive overall lead but following a pass at an unseen waved yellow flag at the banked hairpin Shell oils, he was forced to accept the punishment of a 10 second penalty dealt out by race control. Despite the time penalty the Isle of Wight rain man still managed to blitz all the mini-twins and the GP45s to secure pole position for the final and a fastest lap!
The Super Twin Aprilia of Ravenscroft came through to take 5th on-the-road with the Bluebell Lakes’ Honda of James Stacey picking up 2nd of the Championship scoring Super Singles. Mark Carkeek put in a healthy return performance following an unpleasant arm injury at Donington Park just four weeks ago to take 3rd Super Single for Corby Kawasaki. Ark Racing’s rider Nicholas Beere and Bluebell Lakes’ Tony Bridgefoot both pushed forward through the field in the tricky conditions.
But, what of reining Super Single champ Matt Andrew? In a terrible run of luck the ADP Group/Machine Tool Sales Online ace suffered another DNF in the opening laps. Paul Annetts also failed to finish but both riders were aiming to be back on the grid for the final. The white CRF Honda of Alan Cragg from Appleby in Cumbria was seen parked up at the side of the track in the warm-up session resulting in a DNS.
Saturday 30th June, round eight final
Happily the sun had begun to strike through the clouds during the afternoon but included several torrential downpours and flash floods in the garages. With bright sun the track dried at an impressive but unpredictable speed, making tyre selection tricky for most classes. Pistol Pete Carr would have preferred more rain but took to the grid ready to do battle in a dry race with one eye out for damp patches.
Joe Ravenscroft put his Aprilia Super Twin into action determined not to be beaten by the Super Singles or the mini-twins. He dominated the race from the off putting in a fastest overall lap of 1:52.42. Peter Carr enjoyed some close exchanges and held on to 5th on-the-road, collecting another full house of Super Single points.
Bluebell Lakes’ youngest rider James Stacey took the flag just outside the top 10 overall and 2nd GP45 Super Single giving his Championship position a well deserved boost. Novice rider Nick Beere put in an excellent performance on behalf of Ark Racing for the final Super Single podium.
A thoroughly despondent Matt Andrew was faced with a further DNF and nil points for ADP Group/Machine Tool Sales Online, his Championship chances taking another cruel blow.