The last bank holiday of the year always seems to provide a great day’s racing at Castle Combe, with long time sponsors A Plant Lux behind the event helping support this bank holiday meeting. Sadly this year the weather severely dampened the meeting as non-stop rain throughout the day significantly reduced the spectator numbers as well as the chance for great, close racing.
With some trepidation it was the Super Mighty Mini drivers who drove out first to start of the sodden race meeting off. The front row consisted of championship leader Elliot Stafford, with challenger Jamie White alongside him on the front row. At the start it was White who made the better getaway for this 20 minute dash, however it wasn’t long before Stafford took control and opened up a 2 second lead by the end of lap 1.
As Stafford got away the rest began squabbling over 2nd place, with the battle consisting of Scott Kendall, White, Daniel Budd and James Lyford. After constant fighting where these drivers managed to make passing manoeuvres on every part of the circuit it soon became clear this battle for 2nd would go right to the finish. In Mini racing the most important tactic for a leading driver is to try break the tow to the rest behind, something Stafford executed to perfection in this race as he opened a staggering 14 second gap by lap 8.
Behind them the battle for 2nd began to split up slightly as Budd and White made a break from Kendall and Lyford who were now battling for 4th. The tow is all important in Mini racing and from nowhere Steve Maxted used it to perfection late on as he scythed through to 3rd, before challenging Budd for 2nd on the penultimate lap. After 12 laps Stafford came home the victor by 16 seconds, almost unheard of in Mini racing, from Daniel Budd in 2nd and the charging Steve Maxted in 3rd. Jamie White came home 4th whilst James Lyford and Scott Kendall completed the top 6 in a thrilling opening race.
After opening the day’s racing, the Super Mighty Mini gang were back on track for their second race of the day much later on in the afternoon. With the conditions if anything worse than the first race and a reversed top 7 grid for race 2, action was almost guaranteed from these racers. With the front row belonging to 7th man in race 1 David Kirkpatrick, with Scott Kendall alongside him. As the lights went out Kendall and 4th man Jamie White made terrific getaway’s to lead early on, whilst Kirkpatrick suffered a shocker as he bogged down and was swamped by the pack.
Remarkably it didn’t take race 1 winner Elliot Stafford long at all to the challenging for the lead as he rose from 7th to 3rd by the end of an extraordinary opening lap. The drama didn’t end there as a recovering Kirkpatrick locked up going into Camp, with the end result being an appointment with the outside barrier, ending his race very early on. Stafford was on the move again as he picked off Kendall for 2nd exiting Quarry on lap 2, before unsurprisingly the Safety Car was deployed on lap 3 with Kirkpatrick’s car in a dangerous position at Camp corner.
The recovery crews quickly got to work removing the car as the clock ticked down from 20 minutes, with the Safety Car coming in a lap later on lap 4. Although he initially lost out with the Safety Car Jamie White stole a march on the others as he timed his re-start to perfection as he opened a gap to the rest. It didn’t last long however as Stafford went past White on the inside of Quarry for the lead on lap 5. This move proved to be too much of a desperate lunge for Stafford however as he thrown to the outside on the exit, and before he had got settled again a few corners later he had dropped to 4th behind White, Kendall and Daniel Budd.
Mirroring race 1 at this point White scarpered off into a lead of 3 seconds as Kendall, Budd, Stafford and Neil Slark slowed themselves up by constantly changing places in their fight for 2nd. Just as they began closing on White again for the lead Kendall and Stafford suffered almighty moments where they almost span out, dropping them from 3rd and 4th to 5th and 6th on lap 8. Their moments also broke up the battle for 3rd although that didn’t stop Stafford mounting a late charge for win as he was soon challenging Slark for 3rd by lap 9. Up at the front White and Budd were now evenly spaced at the front, although this didn’t last long as Stafford charged past Budd on the inside at Hammerdown for 2nd on lap 11.
With several seconds to make up on the final lap it appeared too much work for Stafford. although he proved everyone wrong as he was right on the tail of White entering the final half lap. After sizing him up Stafford went for a desperate lunge on the inside of Camp, finding a gap the size of a Mini as he battled White for the win. After the drag to the finish line it was initially called as a victory for Jamie White, although timing and scoring later confirmed Stafford had indeed won by 0.001 of a second over a disgruntled White in 2nd, who was not happy in the post-race interview.
Behind them Daniel Budd completed the podium from Neil Slark in 4th, with Scott Kendall and Steve Maxted completed the top 6 in another highly entertaining Super Mighty Mini race. This series always provides exciting racing and the slides these drivers were producing in Camp left the spectators smiling from ear to ear. With only a few round left in the championship it appears to be Elliot Stafford’s championship to lose, although anything can happen in Mini racing.
For more info on this great series please visit these websites – http://www.mightyminis.co.uk/loadframes.html