Hutchings survives red flag to claim victory

Whilst the Castle Combe Saloon Car title had already been decided in favour of the amazingly fast and consistent Class D driver David Rose in his VW Lupo, there was plenty still up for grabs at the final race of the season, with bragging rights over the off-season especially. After qualifying it was long term front runner Mark Wyatt who was on pole in his Class B Vauxhall Astra, with Tony Hutchings sharing the front row in his Audi TT. Rob Ballard was 3rd in his Seat Leon Cupra whilst the giant killing Carl Loader completed row 2 in his Class C Citroen Saxo VTS.

One of the fastest drivers of the year Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird ended his year on a bum note as he was forced to retire at the end of the formation lap. At the start it was Tony Hutchings and Carl Loader made the best starts to take the early lead, before the race was unexpectedly halted after a monumental accident for pole man Mark Wyatt. The experienced racer spun on the exit of the Esses and once he came to a stop in the middle of the circuit, he was nailed by Arthur Marks in his Suzuki Swift leaving both cars in a sorry state and debris covering the track. Once the race was red flagged the clean up began with both drivers receiving medical attention.

Mark Wyatt momentarily collapsed in the aftermath of the incident, and was soon transferred to the circuit medical center. Arthur Marks also received medical attention and was soon transferred to the nearby Bath hospital, before being discharged two days later. Back on track and the recovery took roughly 20-30 minutes to complete whilst the rest of the grid sat and waited on the pit straight. Once the race was getting underway again it was announced to save time that the race would be cut from 15 to 10 laps.

From the re-start Tony Hutchings once again jumped into an early lead and opened a lead of 1-2 seconds over the fast starting Julian Ellison in his Vauxhall Astra. Things would soon go sour for Ellison however as he went off at the Esses on lap 2, dropping from 2nd to 13th. After this the top three of Hutchings, Rob Ballard and David Challenger were now evenly spaced at the front.

Hutchings kept on extending his lead throughout the race as he cruised home to yet another victory this year, with Rob Ballard capping his return in style with 2nd whilst David Challenger was thrilled with his first ever Castle Combe podium in 3rd. John Barnard was 4th whilst Carl Loader came home 5th in his little Saxo as Tony Dolley recovered from a poor qualifying session to come home 6th. This year has once again been a classic one for the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship, with high quality racing from consistently packed grids. For more information on the series please visit the link below.


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