Going For Gold!
If you are after a blog on Super Saturday, sadly you’re over three years too late and I am of course on about the loud, proud and beautiful, Gold Cup at Oulton Park, that takes place across the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Blue skies and the sun shining! Perfect weather for racing!
The Gold Cup is a rare occasion in the North West, in which you get to see the best race cars of yesteryear thump around the track at full race speed. I know there is the Vintage Sports Car Club, but the millions that those cars are worth mean the racing sometimes airs on the side of caution. The Gold Cup however, is a huge difference.
For someone who is only 23 years-old and remembers Formula One from 1998, with the Hakkinen, Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton years, there are certain elements of racing I missed. All the eras of the Touring Cars before TOCA decided to take more of a hold of the cars is something I missed. I never got to see the variation between a Mini and a Lotus Cortina to a Ford Mustang! The same goes with the later Touring Cars, I never got to see the Rover V8s and Ford Sierra’s on the road let alone race.
Loud and Proud: The Derek Bell Trophy didn’t disappoint in noise or racing quality. [Photo: Philip Rainford]
To see these cars race is a privilege, as it is something that I will only see once or twice a year. To see the old F5000 and Formula Two cars though, that is something worth getting out of bed for, if I was never going to see them again! A noise that could move mountains and tyres wide enough to re-tread my car with just one, it makes me dream about what it was like watching an entire grid of them in their time.
The noise of the whole event is something you’ll struggle to find anywhere else, with hybrid engines in Formula One reducing the noise and Formula-e being an almost silent race series, to hear the grumblings of 5-litre V8s, is something that gets the hairs on end.
First raced in 1954 and won by Sir Stirling Moss, the event was no longer competed for after 2004, but you get the sense that winning is still pride of place there. The history of the event is something that you will feel part of when you are there as well. Every time a race is finished it is another chapter complete in the Gold Cup’s amazing story.
A breathtaking variety cascades down the track. [Photo: Philip Rainford]
When I say winning is still pride of place, the drivers will put it all on the line to be the victor; every inch of the track is fought for, with some very contrasting cars. None more than the classic Touring Cars; Mini’s out turning Mustangs, all trying to chase the Lotus Cortina’s which in turn are trying to reel in the Ford Falcon, the variety and different style of cars made the racing breathtaking.
From a marshalling point of view the event is good as you get plenty of opportunities to get your hands on cars. With them being slightly older some are likely to breakdown through one form or another. There will be plenty of oil dressing to do as well, and I mean plenty of times too! The cars do have a tendency to spring a leak here or there, so it’s best you get into your best sweeping motion.
A bit too much! A quick ten minute power nap whilst another corner dressed oil. [Photo: Philip Rainford]
There is only one small price to pay for marshalling the three days of the Gold Cup, and that’s the packed timetable. Yes the Formula One, World Endurance and other events will be three days, but the number of sessions packed into a short time at Oulton Park does make it tiring. I mean whilst there was some oil dressing being taken care of at Lakeside I had chance for a quick nap at Knickerbrook, which was of course snapped by a well placed photographer. Not the first year he’s caught me sleeping during a small break at the Gold Cup!
We do say that we will never do it again, but after a few hours away you’ll realise how much you miss it and will want to do all three days again. Roll on next year!
If you have been interested by marshalling or want to get closer to the action, follow the link here, to find out more and get yourself booked onto the nearest taster day!