Back in “the old days” the Oulton Park Gold Cup was traditionally run as a non-Championship Formula 1 race (of which there were several in the UK and Europe). Of course these days the F1 calendar is much more populated than it was in the 1960s but back then there were fewer races but they were much longer. The F1 drivers of the day usually did all sorts of racing in addition to the premier category; it was not unusual for them to do three different races in one day in different categories of cars (possibly even on different circuits): maybe F1 + Sedans (which in Europe we call either “saloons” or “touring-cars”), perhaps Formula Two or GT/Sports-Cars. Can you imagine the current bunch of F1 drivers doing that? In the gaps between the championship Grand Prix races, events such as the Gold Cup filled in; as time went by and F1 became big business, the Gold Cup was awarded to different categories of cars.
A very interesting book which details the Gold Cup events, in all their guises from 1954-1974 has been self-published by local motoring historian and super-fan Mike Allen; I can highly recommend it, details can be found on the Facebook group with some fascinating stuff on it and continues the story up to the present day:
This year the races were for Historic Road-Sports Cars, Formula Ford, Historic GTs, Historic Formula 2, Classic Jaguars, Derek Bell Historic F5000 and Single Seaters, Super Touring Cars, Formula Junior and Classic Clubmans cars. Spread across three days, with Qualifying on Saturday and racing on Sunday afternoon and the public holiday on Monday, there was something for everyone; hopefully I’ve managed to give a flavour of the event in the small selection of photos.
Alongside the racing there was a Concours d’Esprit; this is not the usual trailer-queen, money no object type of thing- all the cars drove to the event and most have not been restored; it was definitely not a show and shine event! I was fortunate enough to get a ride in the circuit parade in a very original 4.5ltr Bentley (possibly the only one in the world with the original leather on the seats!) hope you like the photos from a rather different viewpoint.
There is an increasing every year Classic Car Show, I estimate maybe 600 cars this time, some rarities could be found tucked away also; to pay tribute to the use of Oulton Park as a training camp for the US Army during WW2, a display of vehicles and military kit. Rather surprisingly alongside this there appeared to be a detachment from the German Army and Luftwaffe; a replica ME109 was on show, along with some rather chubby “German soldiers”- too much bratwurst and sausage, maybe? Not sure what my Dad, who spent six years of his life trying to put these folks in their place would have thought about that!
There is more entertainment each year, on stage there were ladies singing the songs from the Glenn Miller years, 50s rock and Roll bands, a group of US Civil-War soldiers in uniforms, from both sides, marching around with drums and tin-whistles (not quite sure why they were there but a great spectacle to watch)! The County of Cheshire played quite a large part in our own Civil War (1642-1651), with neighbouring towns taking the side of either Royalists or Parliamentarians, quite a few battles were fought around the Oulton Park area- perhaps I’ll be able to report on their re-enactments next year?!
All in all, a great couple of days out in the warm sunshine (for a change)!
Full details of entry and results from the week-end can be found on the Historic Sports Car Club’s website: https://hscc.org.uk/hscc-gold-cup-shines-at-oulton-park/
Pete Taylor is a contributor to Sports Car Illustrated. If you have any questions, please contact Pee via: www.petetaylor.org.uk
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