Oli Basey-Fisher earned the third top five finish of his maiden car racing season at Oulton Park Island Circuit over the weekend, 9th/10th June, to maintain ninth place in the Ginetta Junior Championship standings after an action-packed fourth event of the campaign.
Renowned as one of the most challenging true driver circuits in the UK, the Cheshire venue always offers a stern test of skill but the 16-year-old from Great Finborough impressed on his debut outing there with strong performances in wet and dry conditions.
Seventh fastest in the rain-affected test on Friday, 8th June, the winner of the Silverstone Ginetta Junior Scholarship made a good start to the weekend and in qualifying on Saturday he was equally competitive in drying conditions to steer his Tollbar Racing with WIRED car to the eighth best time.
Round seven on Saturday afternoon started well for the Woodbridge School pupil, maintaining eighth position early on he moved into seventh at the beginning of lap three and following a brief Safety Car period – required after Ollie Chadwick crashed out at Old Hall – he pushed on.
Smartly avoiding the spinning car of Harry Woodhead at the hairpin on lap six to gain yet another place, Oli then moved up into fifth – second in the Rookie class – next time around. After another single lap Safety Car period on the ninth tour, racing resumed for two more laps and Oli ran in close company in the fight for the final podium position. At the finish he was just 0.7 seconds shy of third.
“Race one was good, fifth place was a decent result and we’ve learnt a lot again this weekend which is what this year is all about”, said Oli, “Oulton Park is a fantastic track and we had experience of it in the wet and dry this weekend so that can only be good for the future.
Unfortunately for the Suffolk teenager, round eight on Sunday wasn’t as fruitful when a broken alternator seriously restricted his straight-line speed. Suffering a major lack of power, everything the Century Logistics-backed ace gained in the braking zones he lost under acceleration.
“We had a serious lack of power in the second race”, explained Oli, “We put a new alternator in on Saturday as the old one had snapped but at the start of the second race the car was rattling on the grid and it started running really high temperatures.
“We found afterwards the bearings had gone, everything was rattling around in the alternator, and that meant we had no power. No matter what I could do I was losing it all down the straights so it was very frustrating.”
Despite his mixed fortunes this weekend, Oli is delighted with the way his debut car racing season has gone so far and he’s keen to acknowledge the support of his grandmother who was the person who instilled the racing bug in the teenager in the first place.
“Unfortunately my Gran isn’t very well at the moment so I want her to know how important she is to me and my racing”, added Oli, “She was the one who got me started in karting, my parents weren’t that interested at first so the fact we’re here in Ginetta Junior now is all down to her. Hopefully I can make her proud during the next round at Croft!”
There are just two weeks to wait until the fifth race meeting of Oli’s rookie season, rounds nine and 10, which will take place at Croft Circuit, near Darlington in North Yorkshire, on 23rd/24th June.