Milltek Sport Civic Cup – Rounds 5 & 6
Oulton Park Island – 10th June 2023
Two more names were added to the Milltek Sport Civic Cup’s list of 2023 winners as 2021 champion Alistair Camp and rising star Will Redford were victorious at Oulton Park.
Each hard-fought Cheshire contest featured plenty of thrills and spills among TCR UK’s official feeder series, but with largely very respectful driving standards during a busy day under baking sunshine.
Max Edmundson was the fastest qualifier for the second event running as the Area Motorsport youngster headed Morgan Bailey by 0.24s, recording an average speed of nearly 84mph around the challenging 2.23-mile circuit.
But Edmundson was carrying a three-place grid penalty from the previous event, so would line up fourth on the grid for the first race. Bailey therefore inherited pole position and he was joined on the front row by Pro Alloys Racing’s Alistair Camp.
Camp had traced his lack of low-end power at previous rounds to a cracked fuel pump and, with that replaced, was now right back on the pace. He felt that being cautious for some slippery surface flags at the end of the lap may even have cost him pole position.
Edmundson’s team-mate Louie Capozzoli was fourth fastest, ahead of Will Redford – the Pro Alloys man back in his own car, rebuilt after its Croft smash. Redford too was carrying a grid penalty – in his case 10 places – so a finish in the top 10 to benefit from race two’s grid reversal was his main target.
Points leaders Jack Harding (Ben Sharpe Racing) and Dan Thackeray (Motion Motorsport) could only manage 10th and ninth respectively, sandwiching Harvey Caton. Harding was struggling for balance on new tyres again, while Thackeray felt he was overdriving after losing significant track time to differential failures in Friday testing.
Round 5 – Race Report
Bailey made his characteristic quick start to convert pole into the race lead, with Camp slotting into second. Behind them, as the pack converged into the first corner at Old Hall, there was contact, with Thackeray getting fired off into the barriers.
That brought out the safety car for a couple of laps, with Dan Macdonald (Ben Sharpe Racing) also slowing to retire due to a failed master switch. Harding had avoided the first-corner tangle to run third ahead of Edmundson and Danny Hobson. But, in doing so, he had gone over the grass, which blocked his air intake.
Another driver involved in the first corner incident through no fault of his own was Harvey Caton, who arrived on the scene as it was all kicking off, in a very unlucky case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Croft podium finisher was also a first lap retirement along with Thackeray.
When the race resumed, Bailey and Camp edged away as Harding struggled for straightline speed as his engine began to overheat – although he didn’t know the cause at the time.
Sadly, only a couple more laps were possible after a race-ending incident at the tight Island hairpin. Suspected brake pad knock-off caused Harding to lose his car under braking. It spun across the grass, narrowly missing Camp’s car, but heavily collecting Bailey’s on the driver’s side.
Both cars ended in the barriers with heavy damage but thankfully the drivers were able to walk away, albeit shaken and knocked around. The cars’ safety features had done their jobs, Bailey’s rollcage in particular protecting him from injury.
With red flags out, the race was declared after four completed laps but with the unfortunate Bailey and Harding removed from the results for being non-runners at the time of the stoppage.
So Camp inherited victory from Edmundson, Hobson and Ryan Bensley, up from 10th on the grid. Alex Kite, Redford, who set the fastest lap, and Travis Chapman made it five Pro Alloys cars in the top seven. Kinetic Motorsport’s David Buky was eighth, ahead of Tommy Knight (Area) and Nick Charlier (Click Waste Racing).
Round 6 – Race Report
Inevitably, Harding and Bailey were non-starters for the afternoon’s second race, a significant blow to their championship challenges. Amazingly though, the Motion Motorsport mechanics had worked wonders to get Thackeray’s car onto the back of the grid as the Londoner sought to mitigate his points loss.
With the top 10 finishers from the earlier race reversed on the grid for race two, Charlier was on pole position. He made a good start to lead the opening tours with Knight also running well in second.
But local driver Redford was the man on the move, rocketing up to third on the first lap before closing in to Knight. Redford executed a brave manoeuvre around the outside of Old Hall at the start of lap three of an eventual nine to take second and then set his sights on Charlier.
Redford was keen to make his move before some of the other regular frontrunners were able to join the battle. Charlier withstood his initial challenges before Redford made the outside line work again, this time rounding his prey through Cascades onto the Lakeside straight mid-race.
Charlier then lost out to Buky too, while Knight had his mirrors full of Bensley and Camp. The earlier race winner tried a daring move around the outside at Lodge, almost making it stick before he was shown the grass on the exit and fell back behind both once again. But, after his team-mate Bensley did demote Knight, Camp managed to successfully execute the move in impressive fashion a lap later.
The Pro Alloys pair then homed in on Charlier. Bensley launched an attack at the hairpin but contact allowed Camp to jump both into third. Next target for Camp was Buky and he did close up to the Kinetic Motorsport team principal. But, with the circuit curfew rapidly approaching, the chequered flag was shown 15 seconds early to avoid another lap, preventing Camp from mounting a challenge.
Redford, meanwhile, was four seconds up the road and delighted to secure his maiden victory, having demonstrated the necessary pace on a number of past occasions.
Buky and Camp were more than happy with their podiums. Camp’s points haul was the biggest anyone has achieved in a single weekend so far this season, and puts him in a much stronger position to regain the championship.
Bensley beat Charlier to fourth but the latter and fifth-placed Knight could be very satisfied with their efforts. Capozzoli, Kite and Chapman followed them home, while Thackeray drove a superb race to reach 10th position in a hastily repaired car from the back of the grid.
In the Goodyear Diamond Trophy, for drivers aged over 40, Simon Welch was delighted to come out on top in both races. Paul Winfield Trophy honours, for rookies and those without a podium in the previous two seasons, went to Edmundson and Buky.
Round 5 winner, Alistair Camp
“Obviously it’s unfortunate to see what happened [to Morgan Bailey and Jack Harding]. I’ve just seen a load of smoke behind me as I was turning in so I squared the steering wheel up or it would have been me collected as well.
“We definitely showed pace. I could see I was a lot quicker, but I said to Morgan before the start, ‘Let’s just get gone and clear the pack.’
“We were doing that, I could see I was gaining and I just thought: ‘I’m going to have to send it up the inside in a minute, Morgan!’”
Round 6 winner, Will Redford
“To finally do it at my home track in front of all my family and my friends… my first win’s been a long time coming really. I should have had it last year. There’s a few times I think I should have had it.
“I’ve got to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s donated to my GoFundMe and helping out with sponsorship to get me back on track after my crash at Croft. I wouldn’t be able to do it without any of those people.
“I think I had enough pace that if I stayed behind [Tommy Knight and Nick Charlier], I would have been caught and then it would have been a big pack-race, so I knew I needed to get by.
“Obviously I’d want the inside but they’re going to hold the inside because people in the lead are not going to give it up easily. So I sent it round the outside of Turn 1 and then for good measure did it at Turn 3 as well!”
Next time – Knockhill
The Milltek Sport Civic Cup is back in action in 6 weeks time, on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of July, where rounds 7, 8 & 9 will take place at Knockhill circuit in Fife, Scotland.
Tickets for this event can be purchased at the following link: https://www.knockhill.com/events/fixture-BRSCC-TCR-UK-Touring-Cars-id434#