The undulating curves of the Oulton Park track weren’t the only ups and downs the Trackspeed teams had to negotiate as the Avon Tyres British GT Championship got underway at the Cheshire track.
With a pair of Porsche 911 in the capacity field for the start of the 2014 season the twisting fates for the two teams began on Saturday during the second of the practice sessions. Jody Firth, sharing the #12 machine with Warren Hughes in a new combination for the Trackspeed squad, span off at Britten’s, backing the car into the tyre wall.
Minutes later Lee Mowle span off in the #8 BMW after making a similar error, which resulted in a similar trajectory, only he hit the front of the Porsche, rather than the tyre wall.
The resulting damage put Mowle and his co-driver Joe Osborne out of the weekend’s action and forced Trackspeed to work through the night for prepare the team’s third car for Firth and Hughes in time for the pair of 60-minute races on Easter Monday.
However, their work would ultimately go unrewarded. As they worked from the rear of the grid in the races both Firth (starting the opening encounter) and Hughes (starting the afternoon race) would become unwitting casualties in incidents involving the McLaren MP4-12C of brothers David and Godfrey Jones. Trackspeed’s charge would retire with a broken radiator on both occasions.
Fortunes were brighter on the other side of the garage, with Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw sharing the Demon Tweeks sponsored #33 entry scoring points in both of the day’s races.
An incident in the opening laps of race one threatened to derail their chances but Minshaw fought back to 13th, the pairing progressing up to 11th through the mid-race pit window and then tenth once the safety car retreated to the pits.
Keen fought to take ninth place away from Alex Buncombe in his Nissan GT-R, but was unable to pick a path up a position allowing Steven Kane to join the battle the Ulsterman passing Keen in the closing laps leaving him to claim the final point on offer in tenth.
Starting the second race Keen maintained his position after the start, moving forward up to the pit window, pitting from sixth to install Minshaw in the car. In his home race he found himself running in fourth early in his stint, which suddenly became second behind Ecurie Ecosse’s Marco Attard after the lead pair crashed out of the race.
Following the safety car to clear the accident Minshaw clawed up to the rear of Attard’s BMW, shadowing him across the finish line just half as a second behind.
The pair of results leave the duo in sixth place in the early points’ standings.
The season continues on May Day Bank Holiday Monday at Rockingham, with a two hour race.