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Racing Report

Oulton Park, Nr. Tarporley, Cheshire - April 13th 2001
Circuit Length: 2.77 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 21
Comment : Started 23rd out of 30 starters - Finished 16th

Qualifying: 32 cars went out to qualify in dry conditions albeit cold and overcast. A fairly fast and frantic 20 minutes ensued with conditions very similar to those I had experienced on the test session the previous day. I managed to equal my best test time of 1 min 52 sec which considering there were 32 other cars on the track I was pleased with.

The Main Race: Thirty Minis lined up on the grid to start the race at about 3 in the afternoon - it was still dry and overcast and no hint of rain. Waiting for the lights to come up I remember seeing the 3 minute board followed fairly quickly by the green lights -but hey wait a minute they're supposed to go to red first! I found out later they flickered to red before going almost immediately to green - it caught me off guard and several others.

Meanwhile just as I realised the lights were green and started to go, Stuart Hayman came flying by me on a real blinder of a start. Several others too gunned it at that time. It was clear as we thundered down to the right hander Old Hall that some at the front had also been caught off guard - made for an interesting time as we all jockeyed for position around Old Hall, down The Avenue then a fast left around Cascades down to the Island hairpin.

It was at this hairpin on the first lap that many people had contact but somehow we all managed to get around and on up to the first chicane, Foulstons. Because of my late start I was in behind Paul Spark and Rupert Hinde with Andrew Ruthven right behind. All three had qualified behind me! It was definately not a good start.

We continued on up Hill Top from Foulstone and then down to Knickerbrook chicane following in close formation up Clay Hill to Druids a fast right hander straight on down to Lodge Corner . Once round Lodge it's onto the dip before Deer Leap and then back down the pit straight to Old Hall again.

Not sure what happened to Ruthven after that but Spark, Hinde and myself stayed together for another couples of laps until at Old Hall Hinde lost traction behind Spark and spun off to the right infront of me - I jinked left to avoid him then continued on down to the hairpin to catch up with Spark.

The following lap the black and yellow safety flag came out - I had hoped that this would give us a chance to catch up with the main pack …… no such luck the main pack were keeping up the pace! And I thought the safety flag meant no more than 50 mph. There were several cars that had come off, some too close to the circuit for comfort hence the reason for the safety flag.

After a couple of laps the green flag came out and we off - by this time Ruthven had caught us up. So Spark myself and Ruthven were all looking to get ahead. I think we lost Ruthven at the hairpin cos he seemed to disappear again.

Meanwhile Paul Spark and myself fought all the way to the end for 16th position. On the last lap I knew I had to push on and get in front before Lodge or lose. And so I pulled out alongside going up Clay Hill and just kept my foot in all the way up and around Druids. By the time I was around Druids I was in front and pulling away up to Lodge, down to Deer Leep and finally onto the checkered Flag.

Not my best race but an interesting one nonetheless……

My best lap time was 1 min 52 sec with an average speed of 73.4 mph.

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