Club racing

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.
http://classictouringcars.com/champ_pre93.html

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.
http://www.classicformulaford.com/home/4581789561

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.
http://classictouringcars.com/champ_thunder.html

Hutchings fights off Prebble for Saloons victory

Another of the circuit’s championships is the highly popular Castle Combe Saloon Car championship, which this year celebrates it’s 20th birthday. The series has proved popular since it’s inception and this year is no different, with both the size and quality of the grid improving on last year.

One of the front runners from last year, Tony Hutchings, claimed pole position in his very fast Audi TT, with Dave Scaramanga surprising the paddock by claiming 2nd on the grid. Angus Gorringe was another who surprised with the pack with his Nissan 200SX in 3rd, whilst the circuit’s most successful driver Gary Prebble lined up 4th, as he made the switch from the Sports @ GT championship in his Mitsubishi Evo to the Saloons, after buying the Rob Ballard Seat Leon he borrowed last year to compete a one-off race in the championship.

At the start it was one of last year’s front runners Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird who made the best start from 5th on the grid in his Renault Megane. At the end of the first lap it was Tony Hutchings who led, whilst Angus Gorringe and Gary Prebble lurked behind him in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Prebble soon disposed of Gorringe at Quarry on lap 2, and immediately set after Hutchings for the lead.

Prebble began challenging Hutchings on lap 3, with the closeness of their fight being explained by Prebble in the post-race interviews, as he explained how they both touched at Tower on lap 4 such was the intensity of their fight for the lead. Their fighting left the door open for Dave Scaramanga to close up on them, whilst behind the top three the rest of the top six were evenly spaced out on track. Long time saloon front runner Mark Wyatt found himself in unfamiliar territory in his trusty Vauxhall Astra in the lower reaches of the top seven, although soon set about rectifying this as he challenged John Barnard for 6th on lap 10 of 15.

Hutchings received a stroke of luck on lap 11, as traffic helped him open a lead of 1.6 seconds over Prebble, a gap that he failed to close in the remaining few laps, leaving Hutchings free to take a hard fought lights to flag win from Prebble. He later explained that from the halfway stage of the race his brakes were severely delaying him, which explains why he wasn’t able to close on Hutchings in the final laps once a gap had been established. Before the brake issue however, Prebble showed his pace as he became the first man in the saloons to lap below the 1m15’s, comfortably beating the lap record by over half a second on the newly resurfaced track. Dave Scaramanga will have been pleased to make his debut on the podium in the saloons with his pristine VW Scirocco.

Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird was a very distant 4th although will have been pleased that his reliability problems from last year held off this time around. Bill Brockbank returned to the series after several years out to claim 5th in his Seat Ibiza Cupra, whilst Mark Wyatt inherited 6th position when John Barnard stopped within sight of the flag exiting Bobbies on the final lap.

This opening race was a precursor to what’s likely to be the reality all season, with Hutchings and Prebble battling it out for victories and the title, whilst the rest will have to up their game at this stage if they are to challenge both of these men consistently across the year. This title battle shall be enthralling to watch I’m sure. For more information on this championship please visit http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/saloons/

Hoad shocks Formula Ford paddock with easy victory

The Castle Combe Formula Ford championship fired back into life this opening bank holiday Monday, with the grid improving in quality over the off-season. The championship has been a fan favorite since it’s inception in 1969, and still runs strong in 2015.

With an influx of returning star drivers it was somewhat of a surprise to almost everyone when sporadic Castle Combe Formula Ford racer Jonathan Hoad took pole position in his ex-works Duckhams 1990 Van Diemen RF90. Hoad has spent all winter preparing the car, and spent lots of time testing the car also, which helps to explain his pole position. The resurfaced track was clearly to everyone’s liking as the pole was was only fractionally off the lap record, set in 2008.

Roger Orgee came come to winning the title last year, and started this year from 2nd on the grid, whilst the returning Felix Fisher and Nathan Ward completed row two.At the start it was the returning and seriously fast Josh Fisher that made the best start, rocketing up from 5th on the grid to challenge for the lead going into Quarry on the opening lap.

By lap 2 it appeared all the off-season work was paying off for Hoad as he quickly built up a lead of several seconds over the chasing pack behind, with a five car train behind him fighting over 3rd position in the early laps. Lap 5 saw the fight for 3rd splinter into two separate fights, with Fisher, Ward and Orgee fighting over 2nd, whilst ex-champion Ed Moore, reigning double champion Adam Higgins and Luke Cooper fought over 5th position.

A lap later and the breakthrough was made in the fight for 2nd, with Nathan Ward passing Fisher, who dropped to fourth a lap later after being passed by Orgee. At this halfway stage of the race Hoad was comfortable out front, with a lead of 2.9 seconds over the rest, who were squabbling for positions themselves. The two separate battle for 2nd and now 6th were still going on, with Higgins managing to bridge the gap and join the battle for 2nd.

Sadly for Higgins, just as he joined the battle for 2nd, Orgee distanced himself from the bunch as he solidified himself in 2nd place, which in turn splintered the battle for 2nd into smaller battles for the lower placings in the top six. Into the final lap and Jonathan Hoad cruised home to a dominant lights to flag win in the opening round of the 2015 Castle Combe Formula Ford Championship, 3.3 seconds clear of Roger Orgee in 2nd. Nathan Ward completed the podium whilst Josh Fisher was lucky to survive late race contact with a back marker on Dean Straight on the final lap, as he could have easily lost a wheel after touching another car. He survived however and came home 4th,although Fisher can at least take solace from the fact he broke the long standing Class C lap record by a huge margin, beating the time set by former front runner Matt Rivett, set remarkably in September 2001. Adam Higgins and Felix Fisher will be slightly disappointed with 5th and 6th places respectively.

This opening round was a dominant masterclass from Jonathan Hoad, although with both Josh and Felix Fisher promising to return for more of the championship this season, alongside Adam Higgins, Nathan Ward and Roger Orgee who will look to knock him off his perch this season, Hoad will have his work cut out to remain on top as the season progresses. It shall be very interesting to watch how the season unfolds. For more information on this exciting championship please visit http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/formula-ford-1600/

White,Davies share victories in contrasting Welsh Sports @ Saloon races

The Welsh Sports @ Saloon championship is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year, something which prompted the series to celebrate this by mixing up their calendar for this year. Usually all rounds of the series are held at the Pembrey circuit in South Wales, although for this year they decided to make their first ever trip to Castle Combe for the opening round of the 2015 championship. This was great news for the circuit in attracting new championships, with the huge grid providing the almost certain potential for exciting racing in their two 15 minute affairs.

For their first encounter it was ex-National hot rods front runner Keith White who was on pole in his BMW Z4 silhouette, with the monster power of Martin Davies Ford Sierra Cosworth alongside him. Row two was made up of earlier Mini Miglia front runner Sam Summerhayes, this time out in a hot Citroen Saxo, whilst Keith Butcher completed row two in his ex-Super Touring Audi A4.

At the start it was the grunt and four wheel drive of Davies Sierra Cosworth who propelled him into an early lead, although it would prove to be short lived as White got himself up to speed after a poor start, and stole the lead from Davies going into Quarry on the second lap. By the end of that lap White had already used the nimble nature of his car to build an early lead over Davies, with the now four now distanced from each other.

At this stage the interest in the race came from the unusual Fabio Luffarelli Mini saloon, which sported boxy extra bodywork and a 988cc motorcycle engine. He rose from the back of a huge grid to be 7th by the end of lap 8, a very impressive achievement considering the size of the grid. Luffarelli completed his charge by passing Matthew Howell in a similar Mini for 6th on lap 11, although could make no further progress from there.

After 12 laps it was Keith White who came home a comfortable victor,6 seconds clear of Martin Davies in a lonely second, with Keith Butcher completing the podium in his Audi. Sam Summerhayes,local saloon car driver Dave Scaramanga and Fabio Luffarelli completed the top six in this opening encounter.

The Welsh Sports @ Saloon championship grid reformed on the grid for their second race of the day, and the finale to the meeting the early evening sun shone and the few hardcore spectators remained. Once again the front row consisted of Keith White on pole and Martin Davies in second, with Keith Butcher third and Sam Summerhayes completing row two.

At the rolling start once again Davies used his 4wd in his Sierra Cosworth to romp away into an early lead from White, although down in the pack the trouble started at the end of lap as Glynne Jones spun in his BMW 320si spun at Camp, collecting David Smitheran in his Lotus Elise S1 and local favorite Julian Howall in his Mini, Howell returning for the first time in a long while since his days of being a Castle Combe Saloon car champion in the late 1990’s.

Keith White again snatched the lead from Davies on lap 2, although would have been surprised to see Davies re-pass him for the lead a lap later, as Butcher hovered behind waiting to pounce on a mistake from either of the first two. Sadly at this stage things took a turn for the worse, as a stranded car in a dodgy position at Tower forced the race to be red flagged on lap 4.

With time quickly running out before the circuit’s curfew of 6.30pm, the grid was hastily arranged for a restart. With minutes to spare the race got back underway with Davies once again taking an early lead, something which would prove crucial as time only allowed them two racing laps before the chequered flag came out to declare Martin Davies the victor, with earlier winner Keith White 2nd and Kieth Butcher in 3rd. Local driver Dave Scaramanga was 4th, whilst Fabio Luffarelli and Sam Summerhayes completed the top six.

The Welsh Sports @ Saloon championship provided great racing in both their encounters, with the wide variety and size of the grid showing how popular the series is. Whilst the second race was a let down for everyone, there was little the circuit could do, although why they didn’t determine the winner based on an aggregate of the two races rather simply than the two lap affair at the end is strange to me. Despite this we hope the Welsh Sports @ Saloon championship will make the short trip over to Castle Combe again next year. For more information on this eclectic championship please visit http://www.wrda.co.uk/

Tilling comes through for double win

After a difficult first year for the newly created Castle Combe Sports Racing Car Series, the series began this year with a continuation of the upward momentum the series showed late last year. The entry list looked promising, with plenty of returning drivers complemented with several new faces for this year.

One face returning was circuit favorite Simon Tilling, after shaking down his very quick Ligier CN prototype at Combe last year, he returns hopefully for the full Sports Racing Car season. For the first of their two 20 minute races it was Tilling who claimed pole, with the smaller Radical PR6 of Josh Smith sharing the front row with him. Nick Jones lined up 3rd in his Radical whilst long time local driver Norman Lackford completed row two.

At the rolling start Tilling used the superior power from his two litre Honda engine to blast into the lead, whilst behind him the drama immediately started as a small collision ensued going up Avon Rise between back markers Darcy Smith and Richard Gray, leaving Gray out of the race against the barrier and Smith severely delayed. The Safety Car was swiftly deployed at the end of lap 1, although the delay only lasted two laps before the action resumed at the end of lap 3.

From the green flag it became a race between Tilling and Smith, who raced away from the pack in their own private battle for the lead. After several laps Tilling began to stretch out a slight advantage from Smith, whilst behind him the battle for 3rd was heating up, with Chris Child finally passing Lackford on lap 10 after several attempts in the previous laps, quickly building a lead of several seconds.

Both Tilling and Smith now held a huge lead over Child in 3rd, although with the gap stagnant between the top two the order remained the same until the flag after 17 laps, Tilling coming home a comfortable victory from the plucky Josh Smith in second, only two seconds back at the flag. Chris Child was a distant third, 48 seconds behind Tilling, showing the exceptional speed of the top two. Norman Lackford came home a close 4th, whilst Nick Jones and Chris Vinall completed the top six in this opening Sports Racing Car Series encounter.

Towards the end of the day the Sports Racing Car grid returned to the track, although sadly because the meeting was running late to avoid breaking the track’s curfew this race had to be reduced from 20 to 15 minutes in length. Once again it was Simon Tilling on pole, with Josh Smith alongside him on the front row for the rolling start. The second row was the same as earlier also, with Nick Jones in 3rd and Norman Lackford 4th.

Despite it being a rolling start the old bad luck of Tilling’s at starts reared it’s ugly head again, as he bogged down in his Ligier and had to watch Smith race away into an early lead. Usually by the end of the first lap Tilling would pick off Smith for the lead, however this time around Smith held firm and even opened a lead of several seconds in the first few laps, as the first two separated themselves from the rest of the grid.

The man to watch further back was Darcy Smith, a experienced local driver who was renting a very powerful Radical SR8 for the weekend, and he quickly rose from the back of the grid to 4th position by the end of lap 2. Darcy Smith continued his charge up the field by passing another local favorite in Norman Lackford for the final podium place at Camp on lap 4.

A lap later and it was all change at the front also, as after making Tilling work for it he finally found a way past Smith for the race going into Quarry. The first three were now clear from the pack, as Smith kept the pressure on Tilling for the lead over the remaining laps, he simply didn’t have the power to take advantage of the vast gains he would make in the corners.

After 13 laps the chequered flag was brought out for race winner Simon Tilling, although in truth he was forced to work a lot harder for this double win that he probably expected after qualifying a second clear of the pack. Josh Smith impressed in both races on his way to a double runner up spot, whilst father Darcy Smith made it a family affair on the podium in 3rd. Norman Lackford,Nick Jones and Chris Vinall completed the top six in the second installment of this rapidly growing Castle Combe series. For more information please visit their website here. http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/sports-racing-series/