Race Report – 2016 ROC Bikesports Championship 2016 – 01, Oulton Park
14th April 2016
In the opening rounds of the 2016 ROC Bikesports Championship, the relentless wet weather might have made for some upsets, but the racing was as closely contested as ever. The rain certainly appeared to work for Phil Cooper whose Autograss experience seemed advantageous; the Radical PR6 driver exhibited skills that translated clearly to a slippery Oulton Park circuit.
Cooper started the first race on pole with three tenths in hand from Philip Knibb (Radical SR3). Behind them was Alan Hogg in a Spire GT3 (sporting an eye-catching paintjob that made for easy wet weather spotting), and experienced Bikesports hand Doug Carter (Radical PR6).
As the lights extinguished for the first time, Cooper made the most of his position and drew ahead with a good start, but the distance accrued was nothing compared to that of Joe Stables. Starting from sixth on the grid, late entry Stables managed to find his way up to second by the time the pack had exited Old Hall, and spent the rest of lap one in Cooper’s mirrors.
The cars of Hogg and Carter were having their own battle behind, and Darcy Smith (Radical SR4) made a brief pass to hold fourth place before being forced to retire a couple of laps later with bodywork damage.
Spire GT3 driver Richard Wise started from the back of the grid, yet had made it up to ninth place at the end of lap one, then subsequently overtook Hardie at Old Hall for eighth. This climb continued for three more tours, at which point Wise resided in fifth place and remained there until the flag.
Ahead, Hogg had closed right in on the leading pair and when Stables ran wide on the exit of Cascades on lap three, his eight second delay getting back up to speed cost him dearly – Hogg claimed second place before the end of the lap.
Despite his best efforts and posting the fastest lap of the race, Hogg couldn’t see a way past the leader without an undue mistake, so it was Cooper who crossed the line first to convert his pole position into a well-deserved victory. Hogg suffered a spin at Old Hall on the penultimate lap which put a definite end to his challenge for the lead, but manage to get going again quickly enough to hold on to second. Behind, it was young Joe Stables who occupied the final podium spot with Doug Carter less than a second behind, followed by Wise, Gary Paterson and Julian Griffiths.
In the second race of the day, the same Philip duo of Cooper and Knibb locked out the front row but this time it was Hogg and Stables looking on from behind, ahead of Smith and Carter. A slow start for both Knibb and Hardie meant that Cooper was soon flanked by the PR6 of Doug Carter in the pack’s first trip through Old Hall, closely followed by Alan Hogg.
The order remained as such by the end of the first lap, until Darcy Smith came through to sit in third place next time around. From there the SR4 of Smith continued to climb within the dicing top six battle, running second on lap three and taking the lead from Cooper at Lodge on lap four.
Chris Child (Radical PR6) was forced to retire with issues on lap four, and two laps later he was joined in the paddock by Hogg, unable to make it a podium double. The top five however still remained close in his absence – Cooper made a late move on Smith to regain the lead at Old Hall, which also presented an opportunity for Knibb to follow through.
Cooper had managed to pull a small lead but by the flag it had diminished once again, and he took victory from Knibb by 0.57secs. After overtaking Smith at Old Hall, Stables was again third with Smith, Carter and Wise rounding out the top six.
You can find full results and a photo gallery from Oulton Park on the 750 Motor Club website at the links below:
Track Days / Test Days / MotorsportDays.com