Charlie Martin claimed victory in this year's headline Oulton Park Historic Gold Cup, following a superb drive in the Historic Grand Prix Car Association's Sunday race on the International circuit.
Starting from the second row of the grid Martin guided his Cooper T53 into an early lead before leading across the line every lap of the race once it got going after a red glad for an incident at Old Hall first time around. Martin's drive evoked memories of Jack Brabham's successful 1960 F1 campaign, when he won five World Championship Grands Prix in a T53.
Sam Wilson kept Martin honest throughout the race in his Lotus, which ran close behind the leading Cooper, often less than a second in arrears, throughout the contest. Resplendent in British Racing Green, the Lotus 18 was unable to create a suitable opening wo wrest victory from Martin, with Wilson driving home to a strong second place on the rostrum.
The podium was completed by former British Touring Car Championship racer Andy Middlehurst, who produced his best Jim Clark impression behind the wheel of a Lotus 25. Middlehurst wasn't quite able to keep pace with the leading duo, but he remained within sight just a handful of seconds back to take the final place on the podium.
Nick Fennell in a second Lotus 25 and Justin Maeers in another Cooper T53 finished just over half a minute back to complete the top-five.
Oulton Park Historic Gold Cup Result
1. Charlie Martin, Cooper T53, 10 laps
2. Sam Wilson, Lotus 18, +0.929s
3. Andy Middlehurst, Lotus 25, +5.510s
4. Nick Fennell, Lotus 25, +32.606s
5. Justin Maeers, Cooper T53, +33.627s
6. Philipp Buhofer, BRM P261-2, +49.270s
7. Barry Cannell, Brabham BT11A, +1m00.738s
8. Mark Daniell, Cooper T45, +1m07.369s
9. Alex Morton, Lotus 21, +1m12.836s
10. Rod Jolley, Cooper T43/51, +1m16.050s
The Historic Gold Cup race was just one part of a nostalgic three-day festival of motoring at the Cheshire circuit which celebrated almost seven decades of action at the parkland venue. Other highlights of the on-track line-up included a bumper programme of Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC) championships and series, including the showpiece Historic Formula 2 Niki Lauda Trophy.
Whilst the HSCC maintained overall stewardship of the meeting, fans at the track were also treated to a programme which featured guest categories from Masters Historic Racing, the Historic Racing Drivers Club, Vintage Sports-Car Club and Classic Sports Car Club.
Click here to view and download the weekend's full race results.
Away from the track itself, the Gold Cup retained its status as one of the North West's key automotive social fixtures despite the change of date for the first time. Hundreds of car owners descended upon the venue to take part in the displays, including a handpicked selection which took part in the Cheshire Concours D'esprit. Others left the circuit with newly acquired machinery after succesfully bidding in the Hampsons Auction.