Paul Sheard Autos


Posted by Paul Sheard Autos - Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 15:17

Paul Sheard Racing – MX-5 SuperCup Round 6 at Oulton Park

Home circuit success for Paul Sheard Racing at Cheshire’s Oulton Park - two wins for guest driver Paul O’Neill marked the first victory for the team since Brands Hatch and gave the fans and sponsors a thrilling day’s racing. With a full stable of nine cars and a newly-liveried transporter the team certainly looked the part for their home race.


After a mixed day of testing on Friday, which saw inclement weather and two gearbox failures, hopes were high that Saturday would bring better luck to the team’s seven drivers. Paul O’Neill, a former British Touring Car race winner, made his intentions clear in practice by setting the fastest lap time, half a second clear of the rest of the field. Unfortunately, practice wasn’t so kind to Geoff Gouriet; an engine failure put his car out of action and left him driving the unfamiliar machine of Julian Taylor for the rest of the day. When the mid-morning qualifying session ended, O’Neill had managed to improve on his time from practice but found himself 4th as several others had also made up time. Next of the Paul Sheard cars was Clint Bardwell, returning after a long absence from the MX-5 SuperCup. He qualified 8th, just ahead of new arrival James Aspinall who set an impressive 10th fastest time in his first qualifying session. Unfortunately mechanical troubles struck James as well - another engine failure and another car change. He would have to start from the back of the grid, driving Darren Standing’s car. 11th and 12th were Adam Brindle and Justin Newnam, who both had times disallowed for exceeding track limits and both had better pace than their qualifying positions showed. They were followed by Geoff Gouriet in 15th, still adjusting to Julian’s car, and Jim Hart in 17th who had improved on his practice time by 5 seconds.

Race 1

Threatening skies loomed over the track as the cars lined up for race one, but the rain held off long enough to allow 20 minutes of the most exciting racing of the year. A leading group of four cars, including Paul O’Neill, swapped positions every lap and put on a show for the crowd and the TV cameras. Some spectacular driving from all four saw Tom Roche hold off advances from Mike Comber, Abbie Eaton and Paul O’Neill for the whole 10 laps, but a calculated move coming out of the final corner allowed O’Neill to pull alongside Roche and steal the victory by just three-hundredths of a second. Justin Newnam made good progress from his 12th place start to finish 7th after a race-long battle with Garry Townsend, and they were followed by James Aspinall who drove hard to take 9th place from last on the grid. In 12th was Adam Brindle, whose race had been affected by two spins - one after contact with Clint Bardwell and one on his own at Old Hall corner. Geoff Gouriet took 13th after a lonely race, while Jim Hart managed 15th following two spins, also at Old Hall corner. Clint Bardwell had been running well in 7th until his car’s battery dislodged itself and he retired with 4 laps to go.

Race 2

The rain that had loomed over the first race finally fell before race two, leaving the track slippery and the conditions changing all the time. Showers on different parts of the track on every lap made life difficult for the drivers, but once again they put on the best race of the day as the light faded in the late summer evening. Paul O’Neill made the most of his pole position to lead for the first lap, but it wasn’t long before Roche and Eaton began to hassle him. Roche took the lead on lap two and held onto it while a train of cars formed behind him, but a collision between Eaton and Mike Comber allowed Roche and O’Neill some space at the front. In a repeat of the first encounter, Roche led towards the line but O’Neill made another well-timed lunge and grabbed his second win of the day - this time by the slightly larger margin of 0.150 seconds. Justin Newnam took another seventh place despite contact with Garry Townsend, while Clint Bardwell recovered from 18th to finish just behind Newnam in ninth. James Aspinall had also been part of the battle for ninth but lost out on the final lap and had to settle for eleventh, just ahead of Adam Brindle. Geoff Gouriet and Jim Hart had incident-free races to finish in 14th and 16th respectively.

It was another great weekend for Paul Sheard Racing and their local sponsors AD Profile, Glass & Stainless and RJ Signs & Graphics. The penultimate round of the championship takes place at Rockingham on September 20th & 21st, and coverage of the two Oulton Park races is expected to be available on YouTube in mid-September.

Race Results

Race 1 (10 laps)

1. Paul O'Neill 20m28.213s (78.90 mph)

2. Tom Roche + 0.031s

3. Abbie Eaton + 0.218s


7. Justin Newnam + 28.135s

9. James Aspinall + 38.140s

12. Adam Brindle + 51.447s

15. Jim Hart + 1:35.388s

DNF. Clint Bardwell + 4 laps (battery)


Race 2 (8 laps)

1. Paul O'Neill 17m10.593s (75.22 mph)

2. Tom Roche + 0.150s

3. Matt Davies + 0.912s


7. Justin Newnam + 23.839s

9. Clint Bardwell + 27.023s

11. James Aspinall + 46.087s

12. Adam Brindle + 48.245s

14. Geoff Gouriet + 1:03.312s

16. Jim Hart + 1:49.090s


Championship Standings (minus 3 lowest scores)

1. Tom Roche 1069pts

2. Abbie Eaton 1066

3. Matt Davies 1039


10. David Chapman 776

11. Adam Brindle 714

14. Paul Sheard 644

15. Clint Bardwell 612

16. Geoff Gouriet 544

17. Justin Newnam 528

18. Julian Taylor 528

20. Darren Standing 502

23. Jim Hart 470

26. Anthony Nield 278

29. James Aspinall 168.


By David Chapman