This year’s Mini Festival of Oulton Park was a strange one. I don’t want to link it to the weather (even though it is – a little), but it never did settle down. We’ve had rain, wind and sunshine in any combination. A lot of umbrellas did not survive the day.
It was very good to see how many people braved the weather, though, as even at the end of the day it was still quite busy.
During the very first race of the day a four car crash happened which took quite some time to clear up. One of the new Minis (or Binis as they are also known) went off track just after Knickerbrook, went partly onto the grass and lost it. It had been raining before, but the track had dried enough. However, the grass was still quite wet, which is very likely what caused the loss of control of the car. The car bounced against the tyre wall, right back onto the track where it was collected by a few oncoming cars. The result was a mess which also required the assistance of two ambulances.
Unfortunately I did not hear anything while there or could find anything online about how the two drivers who were taken away in said ambulances are doing now. I’ll go with ‘no news is good news’ and hope for the best.
The additional result of this was that all the races afterwards were affected. Most were shortened.
I have to say I was very impressed with the teamwork of everyone involved.
The marshals immediately made their way to the area and started directing the oncoming race cars to ensure the recovery trucks and medical car could get through. The course maintenance team arrived on the scene and just started fixing the barrier, no prompt required. And afterwards, as you can see above, everyone worked together to get the cars on the trucks and out of the way.
It is very common to hear the commentators thank the marshals during race day, but this really drove the point home.
The day remained strange throughout with many races ending with a red flag or interrupted by a safety car period.
It’s easy to mark the day as a loss, no fun or even a waste of time. But that wouldn’t be true.
The racing I have seen was, as always, brilliant. Whether the cars were classic or new Minis, the racing was usually close. Each driver out there seemed motivated to make the most of it. Of course that at times results in going off track or worse, but that’s part of the entertainment (as long as no one gets hurt).
In addition the club parking has expanded. The club area is quite large, but there was also a parking area for Minis whose owners are not a member of a club. At the end of the day all of the Minis were allowed to go onto the track for the parade. That was a large number of cars!
Overall I have to say the day was quite well organised. The way things were amended and picked up after the first crash of the day was quite impressive. Apart from the weather being the main cause of further issues, we had races to watch all day long.
The off track activities seem to be expanding as well. It’s not my cup of tea, but if it is yours, it could be a good additional reason to go next year.