Home round brings with it best results for Speedworks


SPEEDWORKS Motorsport’s home round at Oulton Park marked the team’s standout weekend of the season so far in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Dave Newsham’s Avensis was highest-placed Toyota in the field for all but one of the half dozen sessions, a sequence that included the Cheshire outfit’s record qualifying position – fourth – and a campaign best race finish.

The resulting points haul, both for the Inverness-based driver and also collectively, is the biggest of term to date too.

“There’s plenty to be positive about,” said team principal Christian Dick.

“Our objective was to show that we’d made progress following the two test days since the previous round, and without doubt we’ve proved that. All the steps we’ve taken have been entirely in the direction we wanted to go.”

Newsham was the quickest independent driver in Saturday’s qualifying session, leaving it late to clock his decisive circuit – a 1:26.706 – in the closing stages.

The 45-year-old held on to fourth position for half of the first 15-laps sprint the following day, finishing eighth at the flag after front tyre wear left his machine vulnerable to overtaking.

He was quick to pounce though when rivals ahead on track collided on the penultimate lap of race two, climbing from eighth to sixth – his highest placing in 2013.

Contact along the Avenue with champion Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing Civic) on the fifth lap of Sunday’s concluding sprint demoted him to the bottom of the order, only for a fine fight-back to yield two points after he reached the finish in 14th place.

Newsham said: “We’ve moved on so much with the car, which for the most part was great all weekend.

“After adjustments in qualifying and then after race one, I was able to find a bit more pace that helped to push us on.

“There’s still more improvement to come, but we leave Oulton Park in a much better position than we finished the previous round.”

Teammate Ollie Jackson battled adversity – and bad luck – to complete the weekend with a first points-score since the campaign’s curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch in April.

A sensor fault suffered on the warm-up lap for race one forced him to join from the pit lane, two laps down, before classifying 24th.

The Attleborough ace, from his starting position at the back of the field, climbed eight places in the second sprint to cross the line 16th.

He was left to play catch-up in his Toyota again after an early spin in the day’s final showdown, only to recover once more to take back nine spots en route to 15th at the flag – a maiden hat-trick of finishes since switching to Speedworks.

The catalyst for such a storming run was the circuit after his off, which was the fourth fastest of the race by an independent driver.

Jackson said: “The car felt the best it has done – and quick – at the start of the final race, so at least I signed off on a positive note.

“It was a really mixed bag for me this weekend, but I’ve something to build on at the end of it.”

Speedworks’ position – sixth – in the Independent Teams Trophy remains unchanged, as does their eighth place in the HiQ Teams Championship.

The series resumes at Croft, north Yorkshire, in a fortnight.

Words: Andy Simpson. Picture: Matt Sayle Photography.