A famous win for Rob Butler marked the Irishman’s first on English soil and a deserved return to proceedings after his four year absence from racing prior to this year. For the Milltek Civic Cup, it marks the fourth different winner this season and will be adequate payback after the Suspension Secrets-sponsored drivers triple-DNF at the Brands Hatch weekend.
Starting on pole for the reverse grid race was Ben Mills. Another driver who has been unlucky with results this year, the electric white and fluorescent yellow FN2-spec Civic would bog down at the start, dropping to third by the second corner before more mechanical issues dropped him to the back at the end of the opening lap. Pitting after just one circuit, he would be the only Cup Class retirement of the race.
Instead though, it was Morgan Bailey who stormed from third on the grid. Keeping his foot planted, he quickly slid into the lead, keeping the inside line from Robert Butler into Old Hall Corner. Bailey was determined to build a gap, fully aware that the championship protagonists would be arriving with pace.
Bailey and Butler had initially broken away but soon become embroiled in the battle between each other, trading paint as Bailey put up the defensive drive of his life to give him the best chance at a maiden series win.
For both though, the threat of Alistair Camp would force a resolution as the points leader demoted Bailey shortly after he’d lost the lead to Butler at Fosters. Having greater traction out of Deers Leap, Butler had sacrificed a move into Old Hall to run around the outside by Dentons.
From there Butler, driving for Kinetic Motorsport needed to control the pace, hanging on ahead of Camp for reverse grid victory. Camp’s slalom through the order would see him extend his championship gap, but with Matt Luff following him through to finish fourth, just behind Bailey, the points gap will only extend to 19 points.
For Matt Luff, he’ll be kicking himself for not making a better start, spending multiple laps swapping positions with Phil Wright, who by the flag only came home in seventh, a far cry from his race one podium battle. Splitting them by the flag would be birthday boy Ryan Bensley and FastR’s Jamie Tonks. The Area Motorsport driver had been in the battle for the lead, but a brake issue into Hislops saw him straight-line the chicane and lose positions.
Rounding out the top ten would be David Buky, Martin Dalzell and Dan Thackeray, the latter of which did well to recover lost ground after his race one retirement.
In the Production Class it was Jon Peerless who took victory upon his return to the series. A veteran of Civic Cup racing, Jon spent last round co-running the MJ Motorsport with Mervyn Beckett. As it would turn out, there’d be nothing to separate them on track as Peerless withheld a staunch defensive line ahead of Alfie Threlfall and his friend Beckett.
Typically, the Class points leader starting on pole would usually be a set result in motorsport, but with Alfie Threlfall experiencing issues all weekend, Peerless was quick to take advantage of the situation, picking off cars one by one.
Despite starting on the back row, Peerless made it past Alfie Threlfall just four laps in. Fortunately for the 21-year-old that was the only position he lost, hanging on ahead of Beckett to minimise the damage done to his championship in the opening round. Heading into Anglesey, Beckett has a two point lead in the Production Class.
Rhys Lewis’ technical issues saw him pull off at Knickerbrook, getting beached on the gravel. With only a few seconds on the clock remaining, the race was quickly ended, helping Peerless take a comfortable victory and preventing Camp from being able to catch and challenge Butler for the overall victory.
Chatting post-race, Robert Butler said;
“Massive credit to all the guys at the team, from Paul at Racing-Circuits, to Neil the engine builder and of course the team at Kinetic Motorsport, who have done a fantastic job to get the car here to Oulton. They repaired it 5pm Thursday evening, we had no testing that day and only got onto the track Friday where the car was feeling good. We noticed we had a major issue with the shock tops after race one and didn’t have time to repair it, but it looks like it doesn’t matter now!
“We were quite strong on the fast sections of the circuit and had the run on Morgan Bailey into Old Hall and Cascades, but fair play to him, he drove an excellent race. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a proper race, having been out of racing for four years. Any time I wanted to drive in Ireland the budget ran out, so this is my first win on UK soil and it definitely won’t be my last.”
Keep up to speed with the Milltek Civic Cup social media pages, where we will be driver interviews and further information from our thrilling weekend at Oulton Park. Our next weekend is at Anglesey on Sunday 8th August 2021.
Full Results can be found on TSL Timing