David McArthur and Rory Smith split the wins in the BRSCC Northern FF1600 Championship season opener at Oulton Park, after a violent collision between pre-event favourites Michael Eastwell and Joshua Smith.
After three laps of the first race, poleman Eastwell sought to pass early leader Smith at the crest of Clay Hill. But then Eastwell’s Spectrum tangled wheels with Smith’s Van Diemen and was pitched into a violent accident, with the Spectrum making contact with Smith’s helmet.
Both drivers were out on the spot and were shaken but otherwise unhurt, although neither participated in the following race. Eastwell’s damage was insurmountable before the second sprint and Oldfield Motorsport elected not to repair Smith’s damaged car, following disqualification from race one.
McArthur, third at the time of the incident, then took advantage to win race one in his Van Diemen by 12 seconds from the returning Nigel Dolan in his Van Diemen – his first race win since 2014.
McArthur had been sidelined after a crash at the Walter Hayes Trophy that will prevent his brother Tom from competing until June this year at the earliest.
Reigning National Clubman Post 89 champion John Ferguson finished third in his Spectrum.
McArthur’s B-M Racing team-mate Rory Smith won race two in his Medina. Poleman McArthur had gearbox problems from the formation lap which let Dolan and Smith pass as soon as the race got underway, and Smith then took the lead from Dolan in the second lap.
McArthur recovered while holding his car in gear, passing Dolan on lap three of 10 then closing on Smith, but his gearbox failed completely four tours later and handed Smith his first-ever win.
Dolan and Ferguson again completed the podium in second and third respectively.
Both races for pre-1990 cars were dominated by Jack Wolfenden in his UCLAN Racing Reynard. He won the first race by over 45s and then the second by 2.5s after a late safety car appearance wiped out his advantage. Wolfenden’s performance also got him the BMTR Driver of the Day award.
The podium line-ups were identical in both Pre 90 races, with Wayne Poole claiming the second places in his Van Diemen and Mario Sarchet’s Reynard twice finishing third.
Sarchet finished ahead of Poole in race one but was demoted to third when the stewards penalised him for hitting the back of Poole at Old Hall.
Post 89 Race 1 (11 laps)
1 David McArthur Van Diemen LA10 20m28.329s
2 Nigel Dolan Van Diemen JL012K +12.619s
3 John Ferguson Spectrum 012 +23.265s
4 Rory Smith Medina JL18 +24.127s
5 Tom Canning Van Diemen JL015K +24.237s
6 Matthew Chisholm Van Diemen RF00 +24.303s
7 Andrew Thomas Mygale GV15K +55.382s
8 Seamus Wild Swift SC93F +1m13.076s
Ret Michael Eastwell Spectrum 011C
Ret Alaric Gordon Swift SC97
Ex Joshua Smith Van Diemen JL13
Pole: Eastwell, 1m55.174s
Fastest Lap: McArthur, 1m49.747s
Post 89 Race 2 (10 laps)
1 R Smith 18m39.065s
2 Dolan +3.929s
3 Ferguson +27.314s
4 Canning +27.548s
5 Chisholm +28.825s
6 Thomas +29.137s
7 Wild +1m21.218s
8 Phillips +1 lap
FL: McArthur, 1m49.821s
Post 89 Championship Standings
1 R Smith 54 2 Dolan 54 3 Ferguson 48 4 Canning 42 5 Chisholm 38 6 McArthur 36 7 Thomas 33 8 Wild 27 9 Eastwell 2
Pre 90 Race 1 (11 laps)
1 Jack Wolfenden Reynard FF88 20m40.190s
2 Wayne Poole Van Diemen RF88 +46.287s
3 Mario Sarchet Reynard FF86 +46.322s
4 Ian Ellis Reynard FF89 +46.481s
5 Edwin Hannah Reynard FF84 +52.456s
6 Will Alterman Reynard FF89 +52.922s
7 Juiceie Bruceie Reynard FF84 +53.664s
8 Trevor Morgan Reynard FF88 +1m10.540s
9 Joshua Mason Crossle 32F +1m28.582s
10 Stephen Bracegirdle Reynard FF89 +1m38.521s
Ret Ray Smith Van Diemen RF88
Ret Scott Rawlinson Van Diemen RF85
Ret Richard Ketterman Reynard FF86
Ret Christopher Stones Van Diemen RF88
Pole: Wolfenden, 1m56.072s
Fastest Lap: Wolfenden, 1m50.891s
Pre 90 Race 2 (9 laps)
1 Wolfenden 21m16.998s
2 Poole +2.576s
3 Sarchet +2.708s
4 Stones +4.208s
5 Bruceie +8.004s
6 Morgan +9.771s
7 Bracegirdle +10.527s
8 Mason +11.323s
9 Ellis +14.345s
10 Ketterman +26.789s
FL: Wolfenden, 1m51.228s
Pre 90 Championship Standings
1 Wolfenden 70 2 Poole 54 3 Sarchet 48 4 Bruceie 35 5 Ellis 32 6 Morgan 30 7 Bracegirdle 23 8 Stones 22 9 Mason 22 10 Hannah 20