Lifting the cup

Stirling Moss’s race return gave this year’s Oulton Park Gold Cup retro extra pulling power

The presence of Sir Stirling Moss capped the biggest and best Oulton Park Gold Cup retro meeting to date, with thousands of visitors enjoying the beautiful parkland track over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

After Moss had reprised his 1961 Gold Cup victory by demonstrating the 4WD Ferguson P99, he hopped into his OSCA for the second half of the hour-long race bearing his own name, after the car’s preparer Ian Nuthall had handled the opening stint.

But Moss was not the only star attraction at an event that grows in stature each year. In Sunday’s HGPCA Pre-66 race Andy Middlehurst turned the clock back 47 years to take victory in the ex-Jim Clark Lotus 25. The last time the car had been at the Cheshire track Clark won the 1963 Gold Cup to complete back-to-back victories in the race following a hat-trick for Moss. “For me, it’s the ultimate car to drive and a big responsibility,” said Middlehurst of the Lotus made famous by his boyhood hero. Bob Dance, mechanic to Clark in period, was there with the 25.

Moss, driving at Oulton Park for the first time in over 15 years, contested the Motor Racing Legends event named in his honour. Up front Jamie McIntyre was peerless in his thundering and wonderfully oversteering Chevy-powered Lister Knobbly. He outran younger brother Ewen, who pushed hard to keep his Lotus 15 in contention.

The Minshaw name featured prominently at Oulton Park just as it has since the early ’60s as Alan, now 75, and his sons Jon, Jason and Guy all raced on home ground. Alan ran his beloved Maserati Birdcage in the Stirling Moss race and, sharing with Jason, bagged fourth place.

Number one son Jon scored an emphatic double in his Jaguar E-type, dominating Sunday’s GT and Sports Car Cup race and then winning again in Monday’s GT element of the Guards Trophy race. On Sunday Martin Stretton shared the workload, while on Monday Minshaw went solo but was delayed late on by an oily track and was nearly jumped when Sean Walker snuck up in his Lotus Elan 26R.

In the other half of the Guards Trophy race for sports-racing machinery Guy and Jason Minshaw shared one of the family’s Chevron B8s, but were just unable to prevent the charging Andy Newall repeating his 2009 victory in the JCB Le Mans-contending B8.

Away from the racing the event celebrated 30 years of the Audi Quattro. Several took to the rally stage as part of a demonstration, including an ex-Hannu Mikkola car and the mighty short-wheelbase car of Walter Röhrl.