Club racing

Lando Norris: A Feature

Lando Norris is a spoilt teenager who is indulging his passion thanks to daddy’s money. At least that’s what some fans and people in the paddock may assume. They may label him selfish or ungrateful. After all, just look at his father’s success and his upbringing.

His father Adam Norris sits equal 501st on the 2016 Sunday Times Rich List, having a net worth of £207 million from the financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown and his investment company Horatio. This money has proved a massive help but also in some aspects a hindrance to his son’s career. Motorsport is a juxtaposition as increasingly major financial backing is needed for young drivers to progress to Formula One, yet when a young driver already has that backing they are labelled a pay driver. Whilst Norris has not yet been fully tarred with this brush, much like recently promoted F1 driver Lance Stroll, questions linger as to his ultimate potential.

At age 17 it has been a life of privilege so far for young Lando. Born and raised in the village of Glastonbury, his father’s success with the financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown has allowed him some of the finer things in life. He was educated at Millfield School, who for a mere £35 000 pounds a year will give your child the finest education money can buy from the ages of two right through to age 18.

He has only recently turned 17 on November 13th, and yet he has already been racing cars for three years. He made his debut in a 150mph Formula Three Dallara at the end of October, yet he could only start learning to drive a month later. To insure him to drive on the road would cost £9000, yet for his family this is not an issue.

So, for a lot of you reading you may assume the stereotype is true. He’s your typical rich kid who gets everything he wants. What does he know about real life? In fact, this could not be further from the truth. He is a wise head on young shoulders, and gives off the impression as a remarkably calm and down to earth young man. There is no element of aloofness or ego that come across when chatting to him, even though his exemplary junior racing CV would allow him to get away with having one.

“Yeah that’s the aim is to win championships in Formula One”. These are lofty goals for a 17-year-old, but Norris is no ordinary 17-year-old. He’s already been a karting world champion and is coming off a 2016 season where he won an astonishing three junior championships, ranging from New Zealand to Central Europe.


Lando cemented himself as one of the rising stars of karting from a young age, culminating in world title triumphs in both 2013 and 2014. Photo copyright CIK/KSP.

As the sun shines down on a mild Friday afternoon in November, the sounds of the passing lorries on a busy A road dominate the air. Looking across at the sign for Coxbridge Business Park the silver letters reflect in your eyes when meeting their gaze. Here in a nondescript business park in a town which prides itself as having won an in-bloom award, it almost seems like it can’t be the right place. Walking along the winding road is industrial units for every trade imaginable, but reaching the far corner of the park hides a cornerstone of British motorsport. As employee’s hose down the race trucks I’m met with the sight of an all-glass foyer and adjoining race bays tell me I’m at the right place without even looking at the signs. Here is Carlin Motorsport, one of the most important junior racing team on the planet.

Getting set up in the conference room it’s impossible to miss the success of this team. Lining every flat surface is trophies of all shapes of sizes, ranging from former F1 driver Jean Eric Vergne’s 2010 British F3 trophy to various GP3 and Macau Grand Prix trophies. And that is exactly why I’m here. His busy schedule ensures it’s here that I meet Norris, as he takes a break from simulator sessions, prepping himself for the F3 World Cup on the streets of Macau.

Norris was interested in motorbikes initially “before I was seven I was into motorbikes and I had a motorbike when I was six, my hero at the time was Valentino Rossi, so I watched quite a bit of the MotoGP.” His interest in motorsport however wasn’t sparked until a chance opportunity aged seven. “One day after school my dad took me to the local kart track which was Clay Pigeon, because it was the national championships in karting, I said that I wanted to have a go, and yeah I think then for my seventh birthday I got a Bambino go-kart and I guess it basically all started from there.”

He still holds the record for being the youngest karter to secure a pole position at a national karting meeting, but strangely enough for someone so talented he was not obsessed with the sport growing up. “I wasn’t hugely into motor racing when I was younger, I never really watched every Formula One race, I just watched a few, from when I started karting I started watching more and more and got more interested in Formula One.”

Things moved quickly for Norris and by the end of 2013 he could call himself a karting world champion at the tender age of thirteen. He won both the 2013 CIK-FIA European KF Junior championship along with the world title in Bahrain, but for Norris it was winning the senior world championship a year later which he holds up as a career highlight up to date. “I think the main one for me was probably the world championship in karting, I wasn’t the fastest at all really on that weekend, I was just pretty good but we basically never gave up, kept fighting throughout the weekend, and yeah I mean obviously to come away as a world champion.” At this point he pauses and allows a broad smile to creep onto his face as he reflects on his achievement before adding “is something pretty cool to have your name on”.

The 2014 season was a busy one for Norris, who was combining his final season of karting with his debut season in cars. He stepped up to the Ginetta Junior Series, specifically aimed at 14-17 year olds. Stepping up with champion team HHC Motorsport he acquitted himself very well, taking four wins and eight poles to end the year second in the points, although he would drop to third once dropped scores had been taken.


Celebrating his debut title in British F4 in 2015, so far winning has proved a habit for Lando. Photo copyright FIA Formula 4.

A switch to single seaters was always on the cards for 2015, as he switched across to the inaugural season of the new MSA Formula series, the UK equivalent of the FIA F4 entry level concept. Joining a high profile experienced team in Carlin proved an inspired move as he found himself in a title battle all year with Ricky Collard. Norris eventually sealed the title with a victory in the first race of the final weekend, ending the year with eight wins as he firmly put himself on the radar with such an impressive debut season in single seaters.

2016 started with a trip down under for the Toyota Racing Series, a long running national championship in New Zealand which in the last decade has attracted an increasing number of young drivers from around the world, all looking for extra track time in the winter of the European season. This is something Norris admits attracted him to the series’ “I think the reason I did it last year was, it’s pretty much one of the only things you can really do during the winter, especially racing wise.” The trip proved worthwhile for Norris as he proved himself the class of the field, taking six wins from 15 races, including the prestigious New Zealand Grand Prix which boasts former winners such as Stirling Moss, Graham Hill and Keke Rosberg.

Norris returned to Europe ready to take on a season in Formula Renault and BRDC F3, a lot for such a young driver. The Formula Renault campaign took priority, however the BRDC series would also prove useful. “the whole purpose of doing the BRDC races was more track time and it’s a very competitive series there’s obviously a lot of good drivers in it, and it’s a new car, so it helps me learn how to adapt from one car to the other. I think all together it was the track time and more experience in racing and everything which was the reason of doing the BRDC F3.” Four wins and eight podiums from eleven races proved his adaptability, having served its purpose.


Norris on route to one of his four poles in a partial BRDC British F3 campaign in 2016. Photo copyright BRDC F3.

Formula Renault would prove more of a challenge. A dual campaign in the centre -piece Eurocup and regional Northern European Cup was a major challenge for a driver in his first year of the category. “the plan was always to do the Renault, it’s obviously a very competitive series and obviously quite a bit of track time in both series so I think overall Renault was definitely the right decision to do, and you know obviously, we got to go to Monaco this year, which was definitely very cool, very different to anything I’ve ever done.” The smile and excitement that creep into his voice as he mentions Monaco shows the passion he has now for the history of the sport.

What followed next was a season unlike other in Formula Renault since it established itself as the single seater benchmark in the mid-2000’s. Five wins and twelve podiums in Eurocup was matched by six wins and eleven podiums in the NEC series, resulting in a double championship win that impressed a lot of people within the motorsport community. Whilst from the outside it didn’t seem as if he had any hiccups all year, for Lando it was a lot different.

He secured the Eurocup title at Spa with a round to spare, but he very nearly didn’t race at all thanks to a mystery injury. “On Sunday I had a bad neck injury and I was not expecting to even go out for the race, we were probably going to sit it out or sit qualifying out and maybe do the race, but probably just leave it until the last round. “

“We thought we would give it a go so I would do a few laps or just a lap to see what it was like in qualifying and we had to put all the pads in on my neck just so it kind of didn’t move at all which is very different to how I normally drive, it was very weird to get used to a different driving style. I really, really struggled on the first lap, I came on the radio and said I have to box I couldn’t, I couldn’t do it anymore, but as soon as a bit of adrenaline starting to kick in, you just forget about it,, it kind of goes to the back of your head, and yeah I think I ended up P4,P5 or P6 I can’t remember, but I was even more surprised by that because I was only like two tenths off pole.”


Norris about to enter the daunting Eau Rouge at Spa in a crucial Eurocup weekend. Lando was able to win the title, however he came close to sitting out with a neck injury. Photo copyright Diederik van der Laan/Dutch Photo Agency.

Things were not much easier come the race in the afternoon “I still really struggled but I think I kind of didn’t give up and I beat Max Defourny in both, not in qualifying but in the race, and ended up winning the championship on that weekend so I think that was definitely one of the hardest weekend’s I’ve had.”

With the Formula Renault titles secured Norris progressed up to Formula Three for the end of year F3 World Cup at Macau. With experience from the final FIA European F3 series round Norris impressed all weekend, running in the top ten for most sessions, before an opening lap accident during the qualifying race ruined any chances of a great result. Starting 27th, Norris still managed to salvage some pride with a brilliant drive to finish eleventh, a very impressive result considering Macau is notoriously difficult to pass on.

Sandwiching Macau was the hugely prestigious BRDC McLaren/Autosport award, where four of the U. K’s best young drivers are pitted against each other in a Mercedes DTM car, McLaren 650S GT3 and a F2 car. All of them provide a stern challenge for the young drivers and from here the expert judging panel look for anyone who stands out.

The great and good of the motorsport world gathered in London on December 4th to celebrate the season, with the most nervous people in the room being the four nominees for the McLaren/Autosport award. With a prize including a maiden Formula One test and paid simulator role with McLaren, it was with great anticipation that Norris was announced as the winner, joining the likes of David Coulthard and Jenson Button on the winners list.


Norris tackling the world’s most demanding street circuit in Macau, in only his second F3 race he rose from 27th to 11th against the best F3 drivers in the world. A promising sign for 2017 and his FIA European F3 campaign. Photo copyright James Gasperotti/ JGP Motorsport Images.

A perfect season for Lando is now ending, and thoughts are moving towards the 2017 season. In the run up to Christmas it was announced that he will be stepping up to the FIA European F3 championship next year with Carlin, a team he is comfortable with. “I have a great history with them over the past two years, and yeah I basically grew up in car racing effectively with them so they’re definitely a good bunch of guys I get along with.”

After such an impressive season for Lando it’s no surprise he is attracting interest from Formula One, with teams keen to add him to their junior driver programmes, but for now he remains focused on his own racing. “I’ve been in contact with a couple of teams but it’s not kind of been anything serious. I’m happy leaving it till next year, where we really kind of try to get on board or in contact with some serious teams, but yeah I think it’s possibly a bit early now to do anything.”


Lando Norris and his closest friends and family embrace after being announced as the winner of the 2016 BRDC McLaren/Autosport Award. Photo copyright LAT Photographic.

It’s clear that Norris is currently on course to realise a dream and reach Formula One as he ascends the single seater ladder. With his father’s financial backing he can focus on his driving, something that he is clearly very talented at. Whilst it’s easy to make the comparison with new Williams driver Lance Stroll because of their record of winning everywhere they have gone, in my opinion Norris has a higher ceiling than the Canadian. To win two Formula Renault titles in your rookie season is unprecedented whilst his outings in F3 so far have proved he can step up to an even higher category. McLaren will be watching intently when he earns his test prize next year, who knows where it may lead.

So just how good can Lando Norris be? Former grand prix driver and world sportscar champion Derek Warwick outlined his thoughts when handing Norris the award “this guy has got a great career in front of him, we’ve got a future Formula One driver, and even a future world champion.”

By Jordan Wilkins



Bruno Carneiro Interview

Bruno Carneiro is a young up and coming American racing driver. The 16 year old racer had a good career in karting, and is now making his move into cars. This season he is competing in the Formula Mazda series in America, and recently took a win and a second in the latest round at Laguna Seca.

I took the opportunity recently to send over some questions to Bruno about his career up to now, and his plans for the future. He was kind enough to respond and here are his answers. I would to say a huge thank you to Bruno for agreeing to take part and I wish him the best of luck for the rest of his 2016 season and beyond.  For more information on Bruno please visit his website

What inspired you to become a racing driver? When did you start karting?

I started Karting at the age of 4 and fell in love with the sport purely by watching racing videos and F1 races with my dad. The moment I saw the speed, all the components that go into a racing car to make it work and the beauty of it all, I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life even at such a young age.

10959775_361191464067028_3068840101373050654_nCarneiro during his karting career. Here he is competing in Florida in 2012. Photo copyright Bruno Carneiro/

What prompted the move through the American single seater ladder?

Here in the United States there are many great ladder systems that really do their best effort to get the driver to the top of Motorsports.

I Am a Formula car and Open wheel Fanatic by watching Indycar and Formula 1 racing. I really love the downforce and lightweight advantages you can only get in an open wheel race car. What really has my eye now is the Mazda Road to Indy because it is powered by a great brand and is by far the best ladder system that is very established in open wheel racing!

Would you ever consider a switch to the European racing scene or are you only focusing on the American scene?

If the opportunity arrives to where I would have a better chance or more “open doors” racing in Europe, I would definitely do it! Just now, with the way there are some different series, I see more and better opportunities her in the U.S. Especially with the

12039632_469930189859821_1694831429474059573_nBruno celebrating during his debut year in cars last year. Photo copyright

What is your ultimate ambition in racing?

Ever since I was a little boy my dream has been to race F1. But as I grew up, so did the reality and I could see Formula one is a goal very far from reaching! Now I won’t say I won’t keeping thinking about it and trying to pursue but it has become very hard to reach with the amount of money F1 has turned into. I find IndyCar is the Top form of Open Wheel racing here in the U.S. And that has become my goal now.

How is the Formula Mazda season going so far? What hopes do you have for the coming season?

So far very good! After a great weekend At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, we took a 2nd and 1st place finish which ties us up for the lead in the championship! The hope is to win the championship, which I think we can do and by that be invited to the Shootout where I can compete in to win $200K to put towards the first ladder step in the Mazda Road to Indy, in the USF2000 Class.

12279082_485468728305967_5486870263355963397_nBruno impressed when competing in he FIA Chinese F4 Championship last year. Photo copyright

As a young driver, how do you manage to secure the funding to go racing, and is this something that may become a problem if you progress to higher categories in the future?

I have many fabulous people and supporters that have helped me along the years as well as Partners (RODIZIO GRILL being a main one), that have made me get to where I am. Along with the fact that, for about 8 years now I have been going door to door selling $25 gift certificates to Rodizio Grill, where I put all the money I make into my racing account! It is tough but lots of benefits can come from fundraising 4-5 nights a week with about 400 houses a week, in any type of weather setting! I do get some breaks, and I enjoy them!

I am still looking for more partners for the 2016 Season and have sent out Proposals outlining what I can do for that Business or company.

Have you ever considered racing in any other categories such as sportscars for example?

I always say, if it has 4 wheels and goes forward I want to be driving it! I have tested a Porsche 997 Cup Car, Nissan Z, Spec Miata, exc. and have gotten quite fast and used to the cars! If the opportunity arrives to where driving a sports car is more realistic, I will gladly take it! My love has been in open wheel, but my passion is in driving race cars!

9212_521559138030259_6881914262631806546_nBruno celebrating victory at Laguna Seca earlier this year. Photo copyright David Vuong.

Did you have a hero growing up and who is the one driver you must admire now?

Ayrton Senna. No question. He was and will forever be my idol for what he did on and off the track. He is a legend and in my mind, nobody can compare to him in what he has done for himself, others and the sport of Motorsports! Right now I’d say I really admire Scott Dixon for the amount of attention and time he pays to the fans and people watching the race! It is hard to find that in someone, but he shines through with it! Also, Desiré Wilson who was one of the few female drivers in Formula 1 and a person I am lucky to call my friend.

And finally, if you could compete in one race with one car what would they be?

You know, at first I would have said to drive a Formula one car through Eau Rouge at Spa, but I think that if I could somehow get the 787B Mazda Prototype car and race it around Le Mans, that would be something out of this world! The history, the power, the Rotary, the MAZDA! It is such a beautiful car to see and mostly to hear!

Barry Squibb dominates Sports @ GT field

The final race of the day was for the third of the resident series here at Castle Combe, the Castle Combe Sports @ GT championship. The series is building momentum again this year after it’s removal of the sports prototype cars from the series last year. As the grid lined up for their race, the conditions were getting increasingly worse as the rain continued to fall, the circuit down drenched and very wet.

Barry Squibb was looking likely to take victory barring mechanical problems in his 4 wheel drive Mitsubishi Evo 9 RS, as he lined up on pole. He was alone on the front row as second place starter Ilsa Cox was not able to make the start after her engine overheating issues in the two earlier Classic Thunder races. Perry Waddams and his monstrous TVR Tuscan lined up third, with Dylan Popovic and his unique Avatar sports car completed row two.

At the start it was no surprise for the remaining crowd to see Squibb fully utilize his 4wd traction as he romped away from the field at the line. Perry Waddams bogged down in his TVR, leaving Dylan Popovic giving valiant chase to Squibb in his Marlin. At the end of lap one Squibb’s lead was already huge, as Perry Waddams recovered from his poor start to pass Popovic for 2nd on lap two, quickly building a gap to him. Gary Prebble’s brother Adam Prebble was rising quickly up from 5th on the grid in his Rover Tomcat, passing Popovic for 3rd on lap three.

Even in the early laps Squibb was building a huge advantage over the rest of the now strung out field, although Adam Prebble was now doing his best to close on Waddams for second. The hard charging Prebble paid the price for his exuberance however, as he suffered a high speed spin going up Avon Rise on lap 5, although he was luckily able to re-join still secure in his third place.

After this spin the field was still very much spread out as everyone simply tried their best to remain on track in the treacherous conditions. The remaining laps were played out to a field spread out and conditions that were getting increasingly worse. After ten very wet laps Barry Squibb was able to claim the victory, a whopping 44 seconds clear of Perry Waddams, trailing behind in 2nd in his TVR. Adam Prebble was a further 12 seconds as he completed the podium.

Dylan Popovic came home 4th in his Marlin, with John Avery doubling up after his Saloon race to claim 5th, with James Blake completing the top six in his MG ZR. Although this wasn’t the best advert for the always popular Castle Combe Sports @ GT championship, this is down to the bad conditions and had little to do with the drivers on the grid. The series will hopefully continue to grow this year to the point it was at before when the sports prototypes also made up the grid. For more information on this series please visit their website below.

Orgee Claims Masterful Formula Ford Victory

The resident Castle Combe Formula Ford Championship has always been a fan favorite, with the series running since 1969, making it the longest running single make championship in the country. For this televised round, grizzly conditions greeted the drivers as they headed out to the grid. The threat of rain appeared imminent in the grey clouds above, ensuring a very greasy circuit for the drivers.

After qualifying it was Michael Moyers who claimed pole for Kevin Mills Racing in his Spectrum chassis, with the returning ex-champion Ben Norton taking second on the grid. Nathan Ward and Felix Fisher would share row two. At the start it was Moyers who made the best getaway from pole, as he claimed the early lead. The rainfall began almost immediately, with a light rain covering the circuit in a light layer of moisture.

Michael Moyers was able to build an early lead of several seconds from the chasing pack, although he undid his hard work at the end of the opening lap as he spun whilst putting the power down exiting the Bobbies chicane. His quick pirouette left him in on the fringes of the top six, as he worked to get back to the front. Ben Norton inherited the lead, with Josh Fisher having a remarkable opening few laps to rise from 9th on the grid to challenge Norton for the lead. Wet weather specialist Luke Cooper and Roger Orgee were all fighting with Norton for the lead in the early laps.

Ben Norton was just about able to hold on to his lead, although he was the next to throw away his chances of victory as the conditions caught him out at Camp on lap 4, with his spin onto the wet grass eliminating him from contention as he was forced to retire, as the talented Josh Fisher therefore inherited the lead.

With Norton’s car in a precarious position at Camp, the Safety Car was scrambled on lap 6 to safely recover it. This took no time at all, therefore the Safety Car was only out for one lap before returning to the pits at the end of the lap. Fisher set about building a gap to the rest, who squabbled behind him. His cushion didn’t last long however, with Roger Orgee and Luke Cooper challenging him for the lead on lap 8. A lap later and Orgee managed to breach Fisher’s defenses, taking the lead with a great move on the outside of Quarry.

From here Orgee was able to just about hold on for the remaining one and a half laps, as he secured his first victory of the season as he looks to avenge his final race title defeat last season this year. Josh Fisher will have been delighted with his second from 9th on the grid, especially as this season’s he’s racing a Class C 1989 Reynard car against much newer machinery. Wet weather specialist Luke Cooper was another driver in an older spec car as he claimed the final podium place.

Reigning double champion Adam Higgins came home a solid 4th, from the recovering Michael Moyers in 5th and Josh’s brother Felix Fisher in 6th. This was another entertaining race for the Castle Combe spectators, once again proving a great advert for the circuit own resident championship’s. It’s a shame however that the conditions were not better for the drivers as they struggled in the very slippery conditions. For more information on this amazing series please visit their website below.

Hutchings Wins Close Fought Castle Combe Saloons encounter

The halfway point of this packed MotorsTV live race day meeting at Castle Combe saw the resident Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship line up on the grid. The series, supported by On-Pole high performance consultancy, has always enjoyed packed grids, although this race was a new high point for the local championship. A whopping 42 cars lined up on a grid which stretched round Camp corner.

Local favorite Gary Prebble claimed pole position by 1.4 seconds, from round one winner Tony Hutchings in second. Dave Scaramanga again impressed in his new VW Scirocco in third, from James Winter in fourth. As the lights turned green, it was veteran Mark Wyatt who made the best start from 5th on the grid, as Tony Hutchings claimed the early lead. Hutchings was immediately hounded by Gary Prebble and his Seat Cupra, eventually diving down the inside of Hutchings to claim the lead at Camp on lap 2, with barely enough room for both to make it round the corner.

For the rest of the race both would be glued together, although Hutchings was never quite close enough to make a serious attempt at passing Prebble for the lead. As the race entered it’s later stages the status quo appeared to have been established, however an abundance of traffic for leader Prebble through the race again going up Avon Rise on lap 9. With Prebble boxed in and forced to brake, Hutchings was able to just about squeeze past the back markers to steal an unlikely lead from Prebble late on. It was hair raising stuff and exciting viewing for both the spectators and TV audience at home.

Gary Prebble tried every trick he knew to re-claim the lead in the later laps, with his best move coming on the penultimate lap, as he tried an audacious around the outside move at Camp. The move very nearly came off for Prebble, however a previous oil spill at Camp meant he lost grip mid-corner, as he was forced wide and onto the grass, losing several seconds to Hutchings. This buffer would prove enough for him to breathe easy on the final lap as Tony Hutchings came home to his second win of the season from an exasperated Gary Prebble in second.

These two were comfortably ahead of the rest throughout the race, with Dave Scaramanga completed the podium in a lonely third place, with James Winter equally comfortable in 4th. Bill Brockbank and Mark Wyatt completed the top six, in yet another thrilling Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship round. The audience would have been thrilled yet again, in what was a great advert for this local championship to a worldwide audience. For more information on this great series, please visit their website below.

Stephen Primett dominates two Thermex Classic races

Just as the sunshine began to turn into precarious looking grey crowds, the Thermex Classic Saloons grid formed up, anticipating their opening 15 minutes race of the day. Stephen Primett claimed a dominant pole by roughly three seconds in his Ford Escort, whilst David Osborne was second on the grid in his Triumph Dolomite Sprint. Nic Strong and David Howard shared the second row of the grid.

As the lights went out it was David Osborne from second on the grid who rocketed into the lead, closely followed by the Jaguar XJ12 of David Howard from 4th on the grid, leaving Primett well behind as he fell back into the pack after his bad getaway. His bad start didn’t affect him for too long however, as Primett soon passed Howard and then out dragged leader Osborne in his Dolomite Sprint to blast the Escort into the lead up Avon Rise on lap 2. Howard wanted in on the action, relegating Osborne to 3rd at the next corner exiting Quarry.

Primett and Howard were now solidified as the top two, as Osborne was still reeling from going from the leader to third so quickly as he dropped back from the leading duo. Primett was clearly a man on a mission, building his lead to roughly five seconds by lap six. An entertaining fight was going on behind the lead trio, with Nic Strong defending for dear life as Alan Greenhalgh and Mostyn Ritter smelled blood and his 4th place.  After several potential moves failed to come off, Greenhalgh finally breached the valiant defenses of Strong to claim 4th place with a great around the outside move at Tower on lap 8.

Back at the front and Primett was still extending his lead over Howard in 2nd, whilst once again the battle for 4th was not over as Strong took advantage of back markers and Greenhalgh being held up to reclaim 4th position on the run into Quarry on lap 11.This battle refused to die with Greenhalgh taking the right side past a back marker to re-pass Strong at Hammerdown on lap 12, with the battle finally resolved on the final lap as Mostyn Ritter put himself between the two as he took 5th from Strong at Quarry.

This battle was irrelevant however for Stephen Primett romped home to a comfortable victory, with David Howard and David Osborne equally comfortable with 2nd and 3rd respectively. The next trio came home glued together with Alan Greenhalgh finally coming out on top in their race long fight to claim 4th position, with Mostyn Ritter and Nic Strong valiant in defeat with 5th and 6th respectively.

The Thermex Classic Saloon car grid re-formed for the penultimate race of this packed MotorsTV race day, and their second race of the day. This race was unfortunately reduced from 15 to 12 minutes, with intense rainfall only making this race a lot harder for the competitors. With the grid based on the race one results it was Stephen Primett on pole once again, with David Howard sharing the front row with him. David Osborne and Alan Greenhalgh comprised row two.

As the green lights went out it was the heavy Jaguar XJ12 of David Howard which went into the lead, as everyone scrabbled for grip on the treacherous surface. Primett once again made a bad start, but recovered sufficiently to lead by several seconds at the end of lap one. From lap one onwards it was clear that Howard was struggling massively, as John Wright shot up from 9th on the grid to pass him for 2nd on lap two, with Osborne following him through to demote Howard to 4th by the end of the lap.

It seemed Primett was dialed into this track, no matter whether conditions were dry or wet, his built his lead in a dominant fashion. Alan Greenhalgh was challenging David Osborne for 3rd on lap five, although Neil Bray was another driver charging up the field from 7th on the grid, passing both of them over the next few laps to solidify himself in 3rd. As Stephen Primett stroked it home in very difficult conditions for a second victory of the day, the battle for 2nd developed with Neil Bray falling just 0.3 seconds from stealing 2nd from John Wright, although both finished 29 seconds behind winner Primett. David Osborne came home 4th, with Alan Greenhalgh close behind in 5th, whilst Malcolm Jeffs completed the top six in his beautiful Alfasud.

The two races for the Thermex Classic Saloon Car series provided some great battle throughout the field, however Stephen Primett was simply in a class of his own at Castle Combe, winning both races dominantly as the rest fought amongst themselves behind him. For more information on this exciting series please visit their website below.

Rogerson claims two comfortable MG wins

The Lancaster Insurance MG Owners Club Championship are always popular a regular visitor to Castle Combe, with their latest double header round coming in this MotorsTV race day meeting. With the TV camera’s following both races everyone was keen to impress in front of an international audience.

As the grid lined up for their opening 15 minute race it was Andrew Rogerson who lined up on pole position, with Martin Willis sharing the front row with Rogerson. Simon Kendrick was the first of the MGF entries in third, whilst Adam Jackson and his MG ZR completed row two. As the lights went out it was Simon Kendrick who made the best start from third on the grid, although it wasn’t long before Martin Wills had stolen the lead, quickly building up an advantage of several seconds by the end of the opening lap.

The first lap started so brightly for Kendrick from 3rd on the grid, although it soon deteriorated as he first lost the lead to Wills, before losing 2nd place to pole man Rogerson at Camp to complete his opening lap decline. Things did not get any easier for Kendrick as he was soon being challenged for 3rd by Adam Jackson, whilst at the front Wills and Rogerson were extended their gap over the rest of the field.

Andrew Rogerson was clearly in a determined mood after his bad start, as he stormed inside Martin Wills for the lead at the Esses on lap 3, and quickly set about building a lead of several car lengths. In this middle portion of the race Rogerson set to work steadily building his lead to several seconds over Wills in a lonely 2nd position.

In the later stages of the race, attention switched from the lead to the building battle for 3rd, with Kendrick defending from Mark Baker and Jackson, who had recently lost his 4th to Baker earlier on in lap 9. A lap later and Jackson re-took 4th from Baker at Bobbies, whilst things soon got worse for Baker as he lost 5th to David Mellor going up Avon Rise.

Just as the race seemed set for Martin Wills, his 2nd place was briefly put under pressure as he suffered a disagreement with a back marker, forcing him to go off track and endure a grassy moment. Luckily for him his lead was significant enough that he was able to re-join with his 2nd position still comfortable. Comfortable is the perfect word to describe Andrew Rogerson’s victory. He cruised home to a comfortable opening victory, with Martin Wills equally comfortable in 2nd also. Simon Kendrick held on to his 3rd position at the flag, closely followed by Adam Jackson, David Mellor and Mark Baker in 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.

Unlike many series, the MG championship decides it’s second race grid based on the drivers second fastest times during the morning qualifying session, rather than simply producing the grid based on the results of the first race.This meant that for the second race it was once again Andrew Rogerson who claimed pole, with Adam Jackson this time sharing the front row with him. David Mellor lined up 3rd with Nick Golhar completing row two.

From the green light it was Adam Jackson who made the best start to take an early lead, although by the end of lap 1 Andrew Rogerson had once again taken the lead as he went inside Jackson for the lead. With the second race reduced from 15 to 12 minutes because of the tight scheduling issues of the day, it was clear Rogerson would need to quickly build an advantage to solidify his second win of the day.

At the back of the field there was excitement early on also, as Martin Wills was rocketing up the field after he started at the back because he strangely enough decided to change his car. He had decided to change from his ZR which took him to 2nd in race 1, to his MGF for this second race, however he was forced to start at the back because he hadn’t qualified in his MGF car.

During the opening lap Wills charged up from 22nd on the grid to 7th, before quickly passing Paul Wisbey for 6th at Camp on lap 2. In the early laps Rogerson set about building a lead of 1.5 seconds as Jackson was left trailing behind in second. The middle portion of the race saw an exciting battle for 3rd between Simon Kendrick,Mark Baker,David Mellor and Martin Wills, as they constantly changed position during the next several laps.

Wills carried on his charge up the field by passing David Mellor for 5th at Quarry on lap 6.He subsequently got lucky a lap later as he was able to pass Mark Baker for 4th after Baker ran wide at Camp, and things soon got worse for Baker as he spun off and into retirement at Tower later on in the lap. The drama wasn’t quite over at the front also as Simon Kendrick dramatically spun out of 3rd at Quarry, rejoining well down in 10th position.

From here it was all plain sailing for the leaders as Andrew Rogerson once again claimed a comfortable victory, with Adam Jackson was equally comfortable in his second position.Martin Wills inherited his final podium position after the Kendrick spin, something he held onto to the flag to complete his charge up the field from the back in his MGF. David Mellor came home 4th, Paul Wisbey was 5th whilst Stuart Plotnek completed the top six in this second MG encounter.

The series always provides entertainment to the Castle Combe crowd, and whilst this year their were two dominant victories for Andrew Rogerson, there were still some exciting battles behind Rogerson. The series always brings good support to Castle Combe, and for more information on the series please visit their website below.

Hickton,West Share Pre-93 Touring Car Victories at Combe

The opening race after the lunch break kicked off the TV portion of the race meeting, with MotorsTV beginning their afternoon’s live coverage. First up was the SVG Motorsport Pre-93 Touring Car Championship, which for their two races here at Castle Combe were joined by the Burton Power Blue Oval Saloon Series and the Toyo Tires Pre-05 Production Touring Car Series to complement the grid.

For the opening 15 minute race it was Kevin Willis who took pole position in his BMW M3, with the leading Blue Oval runner Olly Allen sharing the front row in his Ford Fiesta. David Hickton qualified 3rd whilst Andy West would share the second row with him in 4th. The drama began at the start when Olly Allen dramatically jumped the start to take an early lead, whilst behind him 6th man Demetris Neophytou stalled his Ford Fiesta, unfortunately was rear ended by a back marker.

With debris on the pit straight the initially the Safety Car was called out at the end of lap 1, although soon after the red flags were unfurled as the ambulances arrived. Both drivers were okay, and after the debris and cars were taken away, the grid was reformed for a shorter 10 minute race, rather than the original 15 minutes. For the second start the two front row men made decent getaways, with the initial lead fight being between Olly Allen in his Fiesta and David Hickton, up from the second row in his BMW M3.

Pole man Kevin Willis was already losing touch to the first two in a solitary 3rd position, although it didn’t look as if it would stay that way for long as the hard charging Ray West in a similar BMW M3 had already risen from 11th on the grid to 4th by the end of lap 2. After a stout defense of the lead from Olly Allen he eventually had to concede the lead to David Hickton as he dived inside Allen at Quarry on lap 3.

Later on in the lap it became clear as to why Allen may have conceded the lead as a significant amount of smoke began billowing out of the rear of his Fiesta, although for the time being he remained comfortable in 2nd. As early as lap 4 it became clear the top four were in a class of their own, with the rest of the field lagging well behind. Hickton made sure to build a significant advantage once he hit the front, with his lead only being extended with the demise of Allen and his smoking Fiesta on lap 5.

With Allen’s retirement Kevin Willis was promoted to second, however he lasted barely a lap in 2nd before he was passed in a tremendous round the outside move at Westway from Ray West, who then set about building a gap and cementing himself in the runner up spot.

With it only being a 10 minute race there was only time for eight laps, but that was more than enough for David Hickton to claim a comfortable victory, with Ray West completing his charge from 11th to claim 2nd, whilst Kevin Willis looked slightly off the pace in the final podium place.Andy West finished 4th in his Honda Civic, whilst John Edwards-Parton won the Blue Oval Saloons class with 5th overall, whilst Andrew Sheraton completed the top six.

Much later in the afternoon the series returned to the grid for their second race, although one again it was reduced from 15 minutes down to 12 this time thanks to a tight race day schedule. The finishing order from race one decided the grid for this second encounter, leaving David Hickton on pole from Ray West, with Kevin Willis and Andy West completing the second row.

At the front the status quo remained in the opening laps, although by this time attention had shifted to the incredible Olly Allen, who after retiring from the opening race, charged up from his 18th spot on the grid to 4th by the end of the opening lap. From here it would prove to be very difficult to make any further progress, although he looked in inspired form in the opening laps.

On lap 3 Allen marked up his next target as he began challenging Kevin Willis for 3rd, a move he finally made stick on the inside going into Quarry corner on lap 4. It was at this middle portion of the race that the leading duo of Hickton and West began to build a gap to the rest of the field, as they looked to begin their own private battle for the lead.

Olly Allen had solidified himself in third position, however unfortunately for him his James Bond inspired smoke screen returned on lap 6, and he was soon forced to retire with an expensive looking engine blowup, although not before spinning on his own oil at the Bobbies chicane beforehand. Engine blowup’s would prove to have a key outcome on this race, as a spectacular blowup for a back marker at the Tower/Bobbies complex wrong footed leader David Hickton in the prodigious smoke, leaving Ray West with a perfect opportunity to steal the race lead once both emerged from the smoke exiting Bobbies.

From here until the chequered flag several laps later both West and Hickton fought for the victory, although and moves from Hickton would prove unsuccessful as Ray West claimed a opportunistic victory to share the day’s spoils with David Hickton in 2nd. Kevin Willis was once again off the pace in the final podium spot, with Andrew Sheraton coming home 4th in his BMW E30, as John Edwards-Parton once again won the Blue Oval class in 5th overall, whilst Philip Comer completed the top six in his monstrous Jaguar XJS.

The two Pre-93 Touring Car Championship provided some entertaining racing, especially in the later second race, it’s a shame however that both races for the series were reduced as it would of been nice to see the races develop over the full 15 minutes, something time constraints didn’t allow. I’m sure many would like to see the series back another time at Castle Combe to full show the potential for good racing the series has. For more information on this series, please visit their web page below.

Gardner Claims Two Dominant Classic Formula Ford Victories

The second and final race before the lunch break at Castle Combe was for the Luna Logistics Classic Formula Ford Championship, a series that always provides good racing. As the spectators eagerly anticipated their latest fix of the ever popular Formula Ford category, it was Mike Gardner who claimed pole position in his Crossle 30F. Simon Davey shared the front row in the first of many Van Diemen RF80 cars, whilst Chris Stuart and Stuart Kestenbaum completed the second row.

As the lights went out both front row men made good starts, as Mike Gardner took the early lead. After qualifying a whopping 1.5 seconds faster than anyone else, it should not have been a surprise to see Gardner streak away from the rest in the early stages. Helping out Gardner to build an even further lead was the fact that Chris Stuart and Simon Davey were fighting amongst themselves for 2nd, constantly passing and re-passing each other as they slowed themselves up.

By the end of lap 4 Gardner’s lead was already up to six seconds, meanwhile row three starter Kevin Mansell was now challenging Stuart for 3rd position on lap 5. Long time series front runner Stuart Kestenbaum was now looking to join the fight as he passed Mansell for 4th on the inside at Tower corner later on in the lap, as Davey briefly distanced himself from the squabbling Stuart,Kestenbaum and Mansell.

Stuart Kestenbaum was on the move again on lap 9 as he overtook Chris Stuart for 3rd, whilst behind him a lap later Mansell and Stuart swapped places before switching back again on the exit of Quarry. As the race entered it’s final laps Mike Gardner had built an incredible lead of almost half a lap, meanwhile behind him it finally seemed like the squabbling was coming to an end as everyone was now evenly spaced out.

After 16 laps and 20 minutes it was Mike Gardner who claimed as dominant a Formula Ford victory as your ever likely to see, eventually winning by 27 seconds. Even a 10 second post race penalty failed to deter him from victory, with Simon Davey the best of the rest in 2nd position. Stuart Kestenbaum battled to claim the final podium position, with Chris Stuart behind him in 4th. Finally it was Kevin Mansell and Steve Pearce who completed the top six.

The Classic Formula Ford grid lined up much later in the afternoon to looming grey clouds overhead as they started their formation lap. With the very crowded scheduling of the day’s meeting earlier delay’s meant this race was unfortunately reduced from 20 to 15 minutes to help with the scheduling, although it still promised to be an exciting race.

Much like with many other series, the grid for this second race was determined by the finishing order of the first race. This meant that Mike Gardner was once again on pole position, with Simon Davey again sharing the front row with him. Stuart Kestenbaum and Chris Stuart completed row two. At the front there were no major surprises at the start, as Gardner and Davey broke away from the rest by the end of the opening lap.

It didn’t take long for the fighting to begin in the pack as Kestenbaum and Mansell carried on their race one battle as they fought over 3rd in the early laps. After being wheeled off the grid in the opening race from 5th on the grid, Ted Pearson was keen to make up for it in this second race as he immediately rose through the pack, going from 18th and last to 6th by the end of lap 2.

It didn’t take long for Mike Gardner to assert his dominance again, as he led by roughly five seconds by lap 4, as once again a big battle was developing for 2nd between Davey,Kestenbaum,Mansell,Stuart and Pearson. On lap 5 Stuart began a charge up the order by passing Mansell for 4th, and then passed Kestenbaum for 3rd at the Esses a lap later. Stuart then completed his remarkable charge a lap after that by passing Davey for 2nd position going up Avon Rise and into Quarry. Ted Pearson also got involved on lap 7, as he passed Mansell for 5th to further his charge from the back.

Just as Chris Stuart was looking good in 2nd position he undid all his previous hard work by running wide at Camp on lap 7, which left him as easy prey for Simon Davey and Stuart Kestenbaum as he dropped to 4th by the time the reached the braking zone for Quarry corner. After re-passing Kestenbaum he look comfortable in 3rd, although a final lap drama meant he once again dropped behind Kestenbaum.

After twelve laps it was Mike Gardner who claimed another comfortable victory, as he proved himself to be the class of the field in both the day’s races, and this time he had no post-race penalties to sully his dominance. Simon Davey once again finished a distant 2nd, and after Chris Stuart lost drive temporarily coming out of Camp on the final lap, Stuart Kestenbaum was able to out drag him and claim the final podium place on the short drag to the finish line. Kevin Mansell almost crashed into him on the run to the line, although had just enough to momentum to pip him to 4th as Chris Stuart was classified 5th. Ted Pearson was further back in 6th.

Although on the surface two dominant victories for Mike Gardner didn’t seen the most entertaining of races, that would be doing disservice to the epic battles for the other podium places in both races, which were more than enough to keep everyone entertained throughout. The Luna Logistics Classic Formula Ford Championship is a regular at Castle Combe for a reason, with everyone I’m sure hoping they will return again next year.

For more information on this series please feel free to visit their website below.

Fletcher and Gent Share Racing Thunder Victories

The opening race of the Bank Holiday Monday MotorsTV live race day meeting was for the Hammerite Racing Thunder Championship, with the VTEC Direct Pre-2003 championship and CBT Business Travel VW Challenge also joining them on this grid for the two races at Castle Combe.

The cars glistened in the spring sunshine as they rolled out onto the grid for their 15 minute race, the first of two races before the lunch break in an unusual move here at Castle Combe. After a slightly damp qualifying it was circuit favorite and long term Combe racer Ilsa Cox who lined up on pole for the rolling start, her ex-Seat Leon cup car ahead of Vaughan Fletcher in second with his Subaru Impreza. Darren Bly and his monstrous Nissan Skyline lined up alongside Bradley Gelman in his rare Ford Sierra Cosworth to complete row two.

There was little drama at the rolling start, although after a bad start it was Darren Bly who was the man on the move in the early laps. He first passed the beast that is Andy Robinson’s ex-Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon V8 Supercar for 4th on lap 2, before passing Bradley Gelman for third and then finally Vaughan Fletcher for second going up Avon Rise into Quarry on lap 3. Whilst Bly was charging through the field, Ilsa Cox was building a comfortable lead out front, stretching it close to five seconds by the end of lap 3.

Now with a clear track in front, Bly was able to fully utilize the reported 800bhp in his Skyline to rapidly close on Ilsa Cox for the lead. He began looking for a way through on lap 4, although at the Bobbies chicane his over cooked things and lost several seconds as he got all crossed up putting the immense amount of power onto the road, especially as his Skyline was converted to 2wd spec not the standard 4wd.

Behind the front two it was Dale Gent who was now moving up, as he took his Subaru Impreza from 6th on the grid past Vaughan Fletcher for 3rd on lap 5, although he subsequently ruined his hard work a lap later with a very bizarre spin going up Avon Rise, dropping back to his starting position in 6th. After several laps of harrying Cox for the lead, Bly once again got all crossed up putting the power down at Bobbies on lap 8, although this time he couldn’t hold it as he spun off and into the barriers on the outside of the track. The spin would prove too much as Bly was forced to retire on the spot from 2nd.

This seemingly left Ilsa Cox with a comfortable run to the flag, although her lap times were slowing as she looked to be nursing a problem. Behind her, after challenging Gelman for several laps Dale Gent finally found a way past on the inside at Folly to claim 4th place in his recovery drive. At the end of the penultimate lap it became clear Cox was slowing dramatically, as she was forced into retirement halfway up Avon Rise on the final lap. It was a cruel twist of fate for the local favorite, who looked comfortable out front until her car issues, which were later revealed to be chronic engine overheating issues.

With Ilsa Cox forced into retirement this left Vaughan Fletcher to cruise round the final lap to claim a comfortable if fortuitous victory from Andy Robinson in his Falcon V8 Supercar, with Dale Gent completing the podium after his recovery drive. Ian Froggatt was 4th in another Subaru Impreza, whilst Bradley Gelman came home 5th, before Steven Woods completed the top six in his VW Golf Mk4, also claiming the VW Challenge class honors also.

Conditions had changed somewhat for the second of the Classic Thunder races, with grey skies now engulfing the circuit as they headed out once again halfway through this congested MotorsTV meeting.The grid for the second race was determined by the finishing order of the opening race, meaning Vaughan Fletcher was on pole after his earlier win, whilst Andy Robinson shared the front row with him for the rolling start.

At the start it was Robinson who made the best getaway to lead, although at this early stages it was Dale Gent who was demanding all the spectators attention as he began challenging Fletcher for 2nd. At Camp at the end of lap 2 he pulled off a brilliant around the outside move, something that would have looked great on the TV camera’s. Gent immediately disposed of Fletcher and set off after Robinson, soon passing him and taking the lead on lap 4.

Robinson fell back from the clutches of Gent as he established a comfortable lead at the front. Gent was looking in inspired form in this race after his podium in the first race, as he left Robinson and Fletcher evenly spaced behind as he looked supremely comfortable for the entire race. Vaughan Fletcher had looked slightly slower in this second race, and on lap 8 he was forced into retirement, leaving Ian Froggatt in another Subaru Impreza to claim the final podium spot in 3rd.

From here on out it was status quo at the front as Dale Gent completed the final few laps to claim a comfortable victory in his Impreza, with Andy Robinson and Ian Froggatt an equally comfortable 2nd and 3rd respectively. Bradley Gelman finished 4th, with Steven Woods again winning the VW Challenge class as he came home 5th. Some final lap fun was provided by the 6th place finisher Andy Thompson, who spun on oil exiting the final corner, before deciding he had enough of an advantage that he could reverse across the line to complete the top six.

Both of the Hammerite Racing Thunder Championship provided good, quality racing as the eclectic field kept both the spectators and TV audience entertained throughout both 15 minute races. Whilst there was some misfortune for the likes of Ilsa Cox and Darren Bly, the series showed it’s quality and we all surely hope the BARC will bring the series back to Castle Combe next year.

For more information on this great series please feel free to visit their website below.