It’s safe to say we were pretty excited heading up the M6 to Oulton Park early on Saturday morning.
The 180-mile journey from Berkshire was breezing by and myself and cameraman Leon were eager to arrive at the tree-lined Cheshire track and get signed in at the media centre, so we can get a brew and check our surroundings.
Fortunately, I wasn’t driving which left me plenty of time for final live-stream preparations ahead of rounds three and four of the Disklok Civic Cup.
Whenever I present live-stream coverage trackside, many people think we just rock up, point a camera at a track hit play and drink coffee all day.
Admittedly, the last bit may be true but a hell of a lot of pre-work goes into what we do.
Contacting as many of the teams and drivers as possible prior to the event is vital so I am not rocking up cold, understanding the rules and regulations of series, gaining interesting track points, looking through previous championships, studying the current championship and watching hours of Civic Cup action all so I turn up with knowledge that is informative and makes me something of an expert.
And so, we arrived at Oulton Park for the first time in my life.
I have been lucky enough to have covered events at Donnington Park, Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Thruxton, and Silverstone.
However, now I could tick this stunning, tight track off my list and what a beautiful venue Oulton Park really is.
If you haven’t been, you must make the trip to this hidden gem tucked away behind the trees and estate manor like walls as you approach the main entrance and turn in over Warwick Bridge.
Finally, we are here and on the walk to the media centre, I spy car number 140 of Damian Harris who I spoke to on Facebook prior to the event.
I introduce myself and feel a rise in my confidence as it turns out Damian is a welcoming and friendly bloke and I immediately know that this is gonna be one hell of a good day.
So, having checked in the Civic Cup boss man Simon Toolan and media bibs on we are ready to get going with some live filming.
With qualifying so close we enter the assembly area and get involved in the action.
I spy Bruce Winfield in his car and rather rudely shove a microphone in front of his face but being the top bloke he is, he was happy to talk to me ahead of qualifying.
Next up was Alastair Camp in car number 45 who is happy to talk to me through the window of his car and a host of other unexpecting victims.
Anyway, the claxon goes and its time for the guys to head out on track for qualifying and as they do each driver gives me a thumbs up on their way out!
Right now, I have a whopping great smile on my face because what a bunch of great people involved in this series and the best thing was that it only got better as the day went on.
After Qualifying Show
On pole for race one was car number 77 of Daniel Reason with a time of 1:55.991 with Daniel Hobson close behind in second and Ben Sharpe in third.
Everything was set up for a thrilling first race then but not before I had ventured back into the Civic Cup paddock area.
I caught up with pole sitter Daniel Reason then stopped to talk to Lewis Rose, had a chat with Chris Mullen as well as having an interesting tour around Paul McHugh’s rather nice motorhome (can only happen on a live-stream!) and a quick hello to David Buky.
Along the way, I bump Alistair Camp again and ran into Alan from TDI Media (almost literally) on his scooter and made a final stop with Craig Carter before it was time for the Civic’s to take to the track for their first race of the day.
Positioned on the pitwall, I ran commentary on the race as the cars got cleanly away.
Daniel Reason led from the start to claim victory from Daniel Hobson and Ben Sharpe, in fact, the top three in qualifying finished the race in that order with Jason Ballantyne in fourth and Alistair Camp rounding out the top five.
The podium interviews bring with them a lot of fun and we even get a little interview with Ben Sharpe’s little boy who was clearly very proud of his dad.
Another walk among the paddock followed although most of the drivers had run away although I did manage to speak to Ross Darlington and Will Beech before heading back to the assembly area ahead of race two.
With the grid’s reversed, I finally got to catch up with Snetterton race winner and 2017 Civic Cup champion Lee Deegan, here he tells us about his reward for winning the championship two years ago and plans for race two.
I was eager to chat to Max Lewis who was on pole for the second Civic Cup race of the day after ending race one on tenth and he explains how he hopes he can hang on whilst another chat with the man who starts second – Lewis Rose – reveals we would be in for a thrilling second race.
And so, it was time.
Following a red flag in the Mazda MX-5 Supercup, the scheduled start to the Civic’s was delayed a little but finally the strong grid lined up.
The lights went out and all seemed fine until Mike Ballantyne spun on the almost on the line bringing out the red flag within a minute of the start.
Fortunately, Mike was okay and after about a five-minute delay, the cars got away safely.
As the cars powered round at the end of lap one, there was one notable absence from the front of the grid – Max Lewis.
The pole sitter had clearly run into trouble somewhere and came through in around 21st.
However, after eight laps of intense action, it was Lee Deegan who came through to old off Alistair Camp and Bruce Winfield in third.
Whilst doing the podium interviews, it turns out a few of the drivers had been on a stag do together which just goes to show the camaraderie between everyone involved in the series.
And so we wrapped up.
A sensational day of filming, racing, talking and just generally having a great time came to a close and it was time for the trip back down the M6, M42 and M40.
During the drive home I was left to reflect on what was an incredible day spent with a truly great bunch of people who just want to go racing and have a great time doing it.
When I got home my wife said to me: “Did you have a good day” and I replied –
“To be honest, life doesn’t get much better than that”
(Apologies to anyone I missed and a huge thank you to everyone for a superb weekend)
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