The 2015 Castle Combe car racing season roared back into life yesterday in a perfect Spring day of bright sunshine and small winds which greeted this now traditional bank holiday Howard’s Day Easter Monday meeting. The first race of the day was for the Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite challenge, a long running MG and Austin Healey series for their iconic Midget car.
After qualifying it was long standing championship front runner Paul Sibley who unsurprisingly sat on pole, although his margin of just over three seconds to the next car was a very surprising and impressive effort from Sibley. James Dunkley shared the front row with him, with Edward Reeve and Andy Southcott completing the second row. At the start of this 20 minute affair it was no surprise to see the class A highly modified Midgets race into the lead, with Dunkley capitalizing on a poor start from Sibley to lead going into Quarry.
Unfortunately for the rest, it didn’t take Sibley long to re-assert himself as he made up for his poor start to go from 3rd to the lead by the end of lap 1. Sibley quickly built a gap to Dunkley, who did the same to third man Stephen Pegram, up from 5th on the grid.
In the early laps the focus switched to the battle for 4th, containing Southcott, Reeve and Sam Healey, with Reeve passing the class B front runner Southcott for 4th on lap 4, with Reeve and Healey immediately closing the gap on third man Pegram whilst Southcott dropped back from them in 6th. On lap 7 Reeve and Healey appeared well clear of Pegram to the tune of five to six seconds, suggesting a possible error by Pegram or possible contact. A lap later and Reeve was clearing away from Healey to the tune of several seconds as he consolidated his 3rd place.
Unfortunately this appeared to the end of the major battles with the top seven all spread out by the final laps, leaving Sibley to take a very comfortable victory by 31 seconds from James Dunkley, who in turn was 27 ahead of the final podium finisher Ed Reeve. Sam Healey came home alone in 4th, with Andy Southcott and Carl Chadwick close to being lapped by Sibley in 5th and 6th.
Afterwards in the post race interviews it became apparent all the front runners had been caught out by the newly resurfaced track, with many commenting on their need to stiffen their suspension before the race as their previously softer set up’s to cope with the bumps proved ineffective now the track is a lot smoother. The series provided a good opening race to the Howard’s Day meeting, and we hope the series can return to Combe next year.
For more information on this series please visit their website http://www.mgmidgetchallenge.co.uk/