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Oulton Park Serves Up a Spicy Mix

Bolstered by our early season success, the Swallows Racing truck headed north on Thursday afternoon, ready for practice on Friday, ahead of the Saturday May 28th CTCRC/BARC Round 5 & 6 double header.

With no fewer than seven cars under our wing for the weekend, base camp was established in the middle of the Oulton Park paddock. It wasn’t long before our chef Colin was serving up ten portions of chicken curry for the team accompanied by poppadom’s and nan bread washed down with a bottle of Cobra beer.

After a relaxing evening and a good night’s sleep we were keen to get out for the morning practice sessions. For Jack & Andrew this would be there first encounter with the undulations of Oulton, one the UK’s most exciting and challenging motorsport circuits. Tom’s only previous outing here was in 2019 when he suffered a DNF with diff failure, so he had not spent a great deal of time on track here. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long before he was able to post times close to his 2019 qualifying lap. Jack too found the circuit to his liking and his practice times were quickly dropping. Andrew in only his second outing in the XJ40 was sensibly feeling his way round. Practice was completed with no major drama or mechanical issues.

On the menu for Friday evening, spicy lamb kebabs and a team debrief from the practice sessions and discussion about how to approach qualifying. With scrutineering at 7.30 am and qualifying at 9.10 am it was an early night.

Day dawned with clear blue skies. All seven cars successfully passed through scrutineering, and it wasn’t long before we headed out for qualifying. Tom quickly lit up the timing boards eclipsing his 2019 qualifying lap by a second and out qualifying his nearest opponent (James Ramm) by two seconds in the XJR6. Jack in the Class A XJ40 posted the second quickest class time and an excellent eleventh overall out of a field of twenty-three Jags. Close behind Jack was Tom Barclay giving Tom Butterfield’s XJS an outing. Matthew Davis in the sister XJR6 had his best qualifying of the season in fifteenth marginally quicker than friend Damian Gray. Steve from PVE with a fresh Martini livery on the XKR successfully completed his second qualifying closely followed by Andrew in the forty. Also making a big impression in qualifying was our friend Michael Holt with a set of (Swallows Racing supplied) AVO dampers on his X300 for the first time. “it’s total transformed the handling” commented Holty on gaining a massive four seconds and qualifying first in class and third overall.

James Ramm got the better of Tom at lights out, but by the end of the lap the XJR6 was on the back of the XJS and looking for a way past which came in the run down to Cascades. Over the next few laps Tom established a four second lead and looked to be heading for a comfortable win, however power steering issues in the final laps allowed James to close up before chequered flag came out to confirm Tom’s fifth win and maintain his one hundred percent record this season.

Jack produced another mature performance in only his third meeting of the season with some exciting mis-field tussles. Improving one place on his qualifying position he brought the XJ40 home for a top-ten finish and second in class. Tom Barclay sadly had a radius arm fail so had a DNF. Matthew also retired after a spin caused a lamda sensor to fail. Steve Dowell faired better gradually getting to grips with the XKR and learning the tricky Oulton circuit coming home fourteenth overall closely followed by Damian. Andrew completed the picture continuing to find large improvement in the XJ40.

Without the spares to affect a repair to Tom’s power-steering it was decided to disconnect it all together and use muscle power to get the XJR6 through Oulton’s tight corners. Getting bogged down off the line Tom found himself in fourth, however an early red flag gave him another chance from pole for the restart. The result was similar and again the XJR6 was slow away, stuck behind the Holt and Philpott without power-steering passing proved difficult. When eventually Tom cleared Holt’s X300, Ramm was well clear, and Tom could only battle Philpott for second. Accepting it was better to collect points for third rather than risking a DNF, Tom brought the car home safely.

Jack’s rise through the ranks continued with another superb drive. Defeating all the more powerful Class B cars and running a close second in Class A, Jack came home seventh overall. Damain and Matthew had a nip and tuck battle for much of the race, Damian’s experience perhaps helping him to come out on top. Steve Dowell had been making good progress in the XKR until lap three when some stray tyre cord deposited on the track wrapped itself around gearbox oil seal sadly forcing a DNF. Andrew followed Matthew home in eighteenth place again the rookie gaining much experience and improvement over the weekend.

We would again like to thank our partners, sponsors, family, and friends who contributed to such a successful weekend at Oulton Park, not least; Vision Techniques, AVO, PVE, Tarox, Jaguar Enthusiasts Club (JEC TrackSport), Meguiar’s, Naked Signs and Pipercross. We look forward to the next rounds at Thruxton on July 9th & 10th.


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