Words - JOHN NEWTON
Photographs - DEREK DONSWORTH; JOHN MUSHET; GARY HESKETH & MARK WALTERS
A tremendous weekend’s racing saw the honours shared between Alan Founds/Tom Peters and John Holden/Dan Sayle. To Founds, 45 points and the Sam Hamilton Trophy, to Holden, 45 points and a new lap record. But congratulations to ALL the teams for two superb races with close dicing throughout the field.
QUALIFYING: The leading two pairs after the Oulton Park opener, Holden and Founds, took up where they left off and were nearly a full second ahead of Sean Reeves/ Mark Wilkes, Alan/Tom 0.054 sec faster. Pete Founds/Andrew Taylor continued their good form with fourth fastest while special praise to 5th and 6th fastest, Michael Grabmuller/Sophia Kirchhofer and Lee Crawford/Darryl Gibson. Both passengers took a tumble in the morning session.
RACE ONE: After the opening lap, Holden led from Founds with Reeves third ahead of Pete Founds, and Ian/Carl Bell fifth ahead of Dave Atkinson/Mike Aylott. Grabmuller, Steve and Mattie Ramsden, Wayne Lockey and Mark Sayers, Conrad Harrison/Lee Patterson completing the top ten. Within a couple more laps, Holden and Founds had opened a gap on Reeves, but Founds looked determined to not let John get away as at Oulton. Bell and Pete Founds were having a VERY close battle for fourth, while Atkinson in sixth led a freight train of outfits! With 29 outfits on track and laps around one minute, 15 seconds, there was no time for the spectators to take a breather. Lap six saw the Founds brothers both making breathtaking moves at Abbey. Alan taking the lead from John, while Pete edged ahead of the Bells.
Harrison retired, while Lockey and Ramsden got past Atkinson. All the afternoon races had been cut a lap, and the nine laps soon passed, Alan taking his first win of the season, 1.54 secs clear of Holden. Reeves was a comfortable third and F2 Cup winner, with Pete Founds just a quarter of a second ahead of Bell. Lockey, Ramsden and Atkinson held 6th to 8th with John and Jake Lowther edging ninth from Grabmuller. Crawford, Gary Bryan/Jamie Winn, the Quayes, Dean Lindley/Rob Bell and Gordon Shand/Phil Hyde filled the remaining points-scoring places. Wow! The Sunday 14-lap race was eagerly anticipated!
RACE TWO: After an engine blow-up in the club sidecar race, there was quite a lengthy delay and we had our race moved forward. It was to be the last race of the day as subsequently the remaining club races were cancelled as the track was still a little slippy in places. Holden again took the first lap lead, Alan leading brother Pete in second. Reeves, Bell and Grabmuller completed the top six. Five laps in Alan took the lead, while Bell and Grabmuller diced for fourth as Reeves slipped back to retire on lap seven. Lowther, Atkinson and Crawford were nose-to-tail in 6th to 8th with Ramsden and Lindley completing the top ten. Harrison, Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney, Shand, Dwight Beare/Dean Kilkenny and Dave Wallis/Steve Wareham were in the remaining points positions although they changed order on every lap.
On lap ten, Holden retook the lead and was 0.83 sec clear a lap later – he would need a 1.6 seconds gap to take the aggregate victory for the Sam Hamilton Trophy but Founds had no intention of settling for second place. Lap 12 the gap was exactly half a second, then 0.33 and when Holden did take the chequered flag, Founds was just 0.076 secs behind! So, 45 championship points each, aggregate victory to Founds by 1.465 seconds and a new lap record to Holden, 0.056 seconds quicker than Founds’ best Saturday time. Phew! In short, two outstanding displays by two pairings at the very best of their form. Pete Founds with Andy Taylor made it a family affair on the podium and they also took the F2 Cup honours. Grabmuller took fourth from Bell while Lowther led Atkinson, Lindley and Crawford in the 6th to 9th placings tussle. Harrison pipped Ramsden for 10th with Blackstock, Shand, Beare and Wallis claiming the remaining points. Well done, Dwight, the first Aussie to win points in the championship’s history! Likewise to Austrian Michael and Swiss Sophia! Dave Lillie/Ben Chandler, retired as did Lockey, Bryan, Rob Fisher/Rick Long, the Morgans and Nick Dukes/William Moralee. Last but not least, many thanks to George and Ian Hamilton for presenting Sam’s trophy and the generous cash awards.
Championship points after four races are: Holden 82.5, Founds minor 75, Founds major 45.5 Ramsden 36.5, Reeves 31.5, Bell 26.5, Atkinson 24.5, Harrison 24, Lockey 20.5, Lowther 20. F2 Cup: P.Founds 71, Ramsden 66.5, Reeves 51.5, Blackstock 42, Quaye 34, Beare 33.5, Crawford 33.