The karat kid 

The VSCC’s races at the Oulton Park Gold Cup gave our writer Rebecca Smith and her guest the chance to shine in Mord

Morgan Super Aero

Iain Stewart in the little Morgan Super Aero is challenged by Christopher Mann in his Alfa Romeo RL Targa at Oulton Park

Michael Paul Holden

The Oulton Park Gold Cup is a special event, and a great chance for the VSCC to share the stage at a truly prestigious meeting, so there was a huge sense of excitement as we loaded up Mord to head to Cheshire for the VSCC Team Race.

This new race was an idea to connect club members and have some fun. In essence there were two races, to allow teams of two drivers to compete. There was the added twist of the fast-and-slow wildcard combinations too where the two fastest drivers from practice would be paired with the two slowest, creating two strategic outliers for the races.

Having recently shared the Austin with him at Donington (see last month), this time it was the turn of my boyfriend Louis to race Mord, our Ford-powered Morris, alongside me.

I was up first in practice and after a Friday evening spent watching YouTube videos of the circuit, I was excited to get on track. I had a great first session and then handed over to Louis, but found myself more nervous than I’d ever anticipated when I watched him head out. But when he came back after 20 minutes with a huge smile, I knew he’d ‘got it’.

After a debrief we worked out where we could carry more speed; down the blind bend of Denton’s into Cascades, Island Bend if we’re feeling brave and through both the chicanes (Britten’s and Hislop’s). My favourite corner, however, was the double-apex right at Druids.

Mord Wet Racing

Rebecca Smith’s partner Louis takes a soaking in Mord – vision was difficult through the spray

Michael Paul Holden

Now this is where Louis may have got me back from the Light Car Race in the Austin. He put in a faster lap by a second. Anyhow, there was still time to redeem myself.

My race was first up on the Sunday and I was starting on the ninth row. I had a brilliant start, storming up the middle past five cars into Old Hall. Richard Iliffe, in his Riley TT Sprite replica, and I were back and forth down into Cascades until he left me for dust coming out of the corner.

Unfortunately Sue Darbyshire, in her Morgan Super Aero three-wheeler, lost a wheel going round Shell hairpin (even worse when you only have three to start with!). As I saw the wheel fly into the air I backed off, and was instantly swamped by everyone who I’d been with on the start line. I was glad to see Sue pulled up safely. I caught up afterwards to find out the stub axle had sheared, but she was OK.

I enjoyed a great race with Edward Bradley in his Aston Martin Ulster. Despite my best efforts I was unable to get past with the Aston’s almighty braking ability, but we had great fun and 18th was a respectable mid-grid result.

Then I handed over to Louis. I’d managed a faster lap of 1min 30sec – an improvement of 2sec from practice. Unfortunately for Louis, the heavens opened meaning he was in for a wet race; fortunately for me it meant there was no way he was going quicker. Starting on row six, he had a great start but was blinded by spray. He’d dropped right back by Denton’s but gradually worked his way back to 17th, and almost caught up with Edward in the Aston.

Arguably the biggest heroics of the weekend go to Patrick Blakeney-Edwards, who in practice broke the back axle of his Frazer Nash. He and his team worked through the night to make the repairs and get the car ready to start at the back of the grid. He swallowed half the grid before the first corner and by the second lap he was already chasing down Josh Beebee’s Frazer Nash TT rep. It was an epic battle.

It was great to share the meeting with such a diversity of cars and to bring the VSCC to an alternative audience. As always a massive thanks to all the organisers and marshals. Next up, we’re off to the Prescott Hill Climb where my sister is taking the wheel for the first time.

Next month: it’s a family affair at Prescott.