Story and photos by Simon Wright
The Oulton Park International Gold Cup meeting was first started in 1954. It was originally a non-championship Formula 1 race when the Grand Prix season was much shorter, with Stirling Moss winning the first two Gold Cup meetings driving for Maserati. In the mid-1970s these non-championship Formula 1 races declined and were replaced by Formula 5000 cars.
The F5000 cars usually ran the Chevrolet V8 5-litre engine, though any engine up to 5-litres was permitted. They produced fast close racing and the category became popular all around the World, with the Tasman series in Australia and New Zealand and championships in America and Great Britain. In Britain, the series was replaced in 1976 with the Aurora Formula 1 series which allowed current Formula 1 cars to compete against the existing Formula 5000 cars which proved uncompetitive against the more modern Grand Prix designs.
Now Formula 5000 is proving very popular again with the Historic racing scene and boasts cars from most of the major manufactures from the heyday of the sport in the early 1970s. Lola, Chevron and McLaren are all represented, and to add to the field, the current series in Britain also includes historic Formula 2 cars. These are usually less powerful, running 2 litre engines, but are fast and in the right hands can give the more powerful Formula 5000 cars a run for their money.
The Derek Bell Trophy at Oulton Park had an excellent representation of powerful Formula 5000 cars, with fourteen cars present ranging from a 1970 McLaren M10B through to a 1975 Lola T400. The Formula 2 contingent consisted of ten cars, some with 2 litre engines, others the original 1600cc engines, again ranging from a 1978 Ralt RT1 back to a 1971 Lola T240.
When the green flag dropped, Simon Hadfield in the rare 1973 ex-John Watson Hexagon Trojan T101 Formula 5000 cars led from Pole position through to the chequered flag in the Sunday race. Track conditions were good, though the sky was overcast for the race. Hounded by the Richard Evans Formula 2 Chevron B40 at the start, Hadfield managed to pull away by the end with Evans winning the Formula 2 class. Tony Trimmer in his Lola T332 finished a distant 3rd. Near the end of the race some oil spilt at the chicane before Knickerbrook caused a problem for Neil Glover in his Lola T330/332 who spun off but still managed to regain with 4th place by the end.
The second race of the weekend was on the Bank Holiday Monday and run in wet conditions. This allowed the nimble Formula 2 Chevron B40 of Richard Evans to lead from start to finish. Simon Hadfield in the Trojan held on to second place for most of the race before finally finishing third behind the Formula 2 Lola T240 of James Claridge.
Derek Bell Trophy at Oulton Park Results and Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)
Race 1 Sunday 30th August 2009
1st Simon Hadfield – Trojan 101 13 laps 21 minutes 14.342 seconds
2nd Richard Evans – Chevron B40 13 laps 21 minutes 31.333 seconds
3rd Tony Trimmer – Lola T332 13 laps 22 minutes 09.773 seconds
4th Neil Glover – Lola T330/332 13 laps 22 minutes 20.426 seconds
5th Mark Dwyer – Lola T400 13 laps 22 minutes 27.236 seconds
6th Darwin Smith – March 722 13 laps 22 minutes 30.818 seconds
Race 2 Monday 31st August 2009
1st Richard Evans – Chevron B40 9 laps 19 minutes 53.336 seconds
2nd Simon Hadfield – Trojan T101 20 minutes 26.630 seconds
3rd Daryl Taylor – Chevron B28 20 minutes 35.312 seconds
4th Tony Trimmer – Lola T332 20 minutes 38.186 seconds
5th Darwin Smith – March 722 20 minutes 41.770 seconds.
6th Neil Glover – Lola T330/332 21 minutes 18.719 seconds
[Source: Story and Photo Credit: Simon Wright]