Dodd Takes Opening Oulton Super Touring Honours

by Dan Mason

A thrilling opening HSCC Super Touring Car Championship encounter at Oulton Park was taken by the Honda Accord of James Dodd, coming out on top in a duel with former BTCC champion John Cleland.

Driving an ex-James Thompson Honda Accord, Dodd followed pole-sitter Cleland around the opening three laps of the 30-minute race, the double BTCC champion racing his 1998 Vauxhall Vectra.

Cleland led the way as the packed BTCC crowds enjoyed the nostalgia of the race, held under sunshine and drying conditions following a rainy afternoon in Cheshire.

The Vauxhall driver’s lead was surrendered on lap four however, as Dodd found great drive coming out of Knickerbrook to grab the lead up the inside of Cleland heading into Druids.

Dodd was unchallenged for the remainder of the race, cruising home to a victory of just over two seconds from main rival, Cleland, who was lucky to make the race after a trip to Coventry to fetch spare parts for his Vectra after suffering qualifying damage earlier in the morning.

Simon Garrad charged through the pack from eighth after a sluggish first lap in the 1999 Renault Laguna, dispatching Graham Dodd’s Nissan Primera at Cascades late in the race and climbing up to third having passed Neil Smith‘s Alfa Romeo 156.

The Nissan of Dodd came under pressure from fellow Primera driver Derek Palmer, who found his move into the first corner made somewhat easier by Dodd taking a spin across the grass.

Palmer claimed fourth ahead of the recovering Dodd, while the drive of the race came from Stewart Whyte, recovering from the back of the field up to sixth place for a points finish in his Honda Accord.

Patrick Watts endured an exciting race as ever in his Peugeot 406, running wide at Knickerbrook and later having to avoid Keith Butcher‘s locked-up Primera at Britten’s on his way to seventh, ahead of Smith’s Alfa, Max Goff‘s BMW and Dave Jarman‘s ex-Matt Neal Nissan Primera.

The Ford Mondeo driven by Alvin Powell  – carrying the famous yellow and blue BTCC livery of 1999 and 2000 – ended the race with a hanging rear bumper, having taken a wide trip over the grass at Old Hall.

Fans can enjoy another race from the Super Tourers tomorrow, taking place at 16:15.

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