Club motorsport

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/

Roger Orgee dominates end of season Formula Ford Carnival

Next up on track for the penultimate race of the Championship Finals Raceday was the Castle Combe Formula Ford Carnival, a regular end of season one-off race for victory which has been going since 1996. This year’s entry was abit smaller than previous years although most of the championship regulars wheeled out their cars for one final race in the season. Nathan Ward was once again on pole in his Spectrum with the talented returnee Luke Cooper alongside him in his older Swift SC92 model. Michael Moyers was 3rd with Roger Orgee completing row 2.

At the start it was the two Higgins brothers who made the best getaway’s as Richard rose quickly from 6th on the grid whilst recently crowned Combe Formula Ford champ Adam shot from 8th, after he only completed 1 qualifying lap for this to save his car for the earlier final round of the Formula Ford championship. Nathan Ward managed to retain the lead however, until lap 2 when a determined Roger Orgee passed him on the inside going into Tower.

From here it seemed both Orgee and Ward had the edge on the others for pace as they opened a small gap back to Combe debutant Michael Moyers in 3rd by lap 3. Later on in this shortened 12 lap affair Orgee showed he was aiming to avenge his earlier title loss as he opened a lead of just over a second, whilst behind him Ward was now fighting Moyers, Adam Higgins and Luke Cooper for 2nd place. Unfortunately this battle was split apart on the next lap as contact between Moyers and Higgins at the Esses delayed the rest, and left Moyers with sidepod damage that was enough to force him into retirement at the end of the lap.

Now Nathan Ward was free of those behind him he once again set about challenging Orgee for the lead in the last few laps, although it seemed he was unlikely to find a way through. Behind them, a great battle for 3rd was now developing between Adam Higgins, Luke Cooper, Jonathan Hoad, Ed Moore and Richard Higgins. The final few laps were set to be frantic and unfortunately things once again ended in tears, as Richard Higgins was dumped off the track after a last lap collision.

Back at the front and Roger Orgee salvaged a Carnival win from his earlier title loss whilst Nathan Ward came home a close 2nd. Completing the podium was 2013 and 2014 Castle Combe Formula Ford champion Adam Higgins. Luke Cooper was 4th in his return to the circuit, with Jonathan Hoad bringing home his iconic Duckhams Van Diemen RF90 racer 5th whilst ex-champion and serial winner Ed Moore completed the top 6.

Whilst this year’s Carnival failed to live up to the glory days of the race in the mid-2000’s this year’s race was yet again a classic with a great battle between Orgee and Ward for the lead and even further down every podium place was hotly contested. The Carnival brought the curtain down on an amazing 2014 Castle Combe Formula Ford season, my only hope is that the action and level of entries can be sustained into 2015, with maybe even a few more faces to challenge at the front although that may simply be wishful thinking.

For any further information on the series please visit their website below.
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/formula-ford-1600/

Chris Stuart survives carnage to take Pre-82 Classic FFord race

Carrying on the Formula Ford theme of the day’s Castle Combe Championship finals race day, the Pre-1982 Classic Formula Ford Championship grid took to the track for their 20 minute race. The sizeable grid was headed by Andrew Smith on pole with long time series front runner Stuart Kestenbaum alongside him on the front row. Simon Davey lined up 3rd with Ted Pearson completing row 2.

From the start it was Stuart Kestenbaum who made the best getaway to steal the early lead with the rest following on behind. It took until lap 3 before pole man Andrew Smith was able to claim the lead from Kestenbaum at Quarry. Things soon got worse for Kestenbaum on the exit of the corner as he was demoted to 3rd by an opportunistic Simon Davey. The major talking point of the race occurred a lap later at Quarry as the top 3 were all eliminated in one incident, with the rest scrambling to find a way through the carnage in front of them. It appeared leader Andrew Smith spun with Simon Davey and Stuart Kestenbaum also collecting him and leaving all three strewn on the grass run off on the outside of Quarry.

In the aftermath of the leaders collision it was Ted Pearson who now led, however he had lost his nosecone in the melee and it was clear from his heavily blocked radiator that he’d been grass cutting in avoidance of further contact at Quarry. Despite the large amount of grass in the radiator Pearson was able to continue for another lap in the lead, before a gear linkage failure forced him to slow at Hammerdown and coast round into retirement. Chris Stuart was the new leader after making rapid progress from 6th on the grid whilst also benefiting from others mistakes. Stuart opened a small lead over Kevin Howell and Kevin Mansell in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Kevin Mansell sensed a chance at the victory and dived inside Kevin Howell for 2nd at Tower on lap 7. It seemed Howell might of had a potential problem as he then lost 3rd on the next lap Philip Michael Wrigley. Any hopes Mansell had of claiming victory were ruined with a spin at Bobbies on lap 9, as he dropped from 2nd to 7th. Going into the final laps a scintillating battle for the lead was developing between Stuart, Michael Wrigley and Roger Newman. Newman was the man on the move as he stole 2nd from Michael Wrigley at Quarry on the penultimate lap, although he was unable to wrest the lead from Stuart. So after a dramatic Pre-82 Classic Formula Ford race it was Chris Stuart who outlasted the rest to claim the victory, with Roger Newman and Philip Michael Wrigley completing the podium.

Kevin Howell recovered from his late race spin to claim 4th with Leandro Guedes taking the iconic Jesus Saves Van Diemen RF79 to 5th whilst the Wrigley family could be happy with Matthew claiming 6th to join Philip Michael in 3rd. All in all, it was a very interesting race with plenty of action, in other words a proper Formula Ford race. For more information on the series please visit the link below.
http://www.classicformulaford.com/

Castle Combe Sports @ GT Championship August Report

The penultimate race of the day was for the final of the resident championships as the Castle Combe Sports and GT Championship took to the grid for their penultimate race of the season also. After a hugely impressive year the title appeared destined for Mitsubishi Evo driver Gary Prebble, who duly claimed pole in the wet conditions from fellow Evo pilot Barry Squibb. The wet conditions would give a massive advantage to the 4wd Evo’s compared to the rest, and so it proved from the start as they both marched away from the rest as the scrambled around for grip. From the start it was ex-Rallycross racer Squibb who took the advantage and build of cushion of around a second by the end of lap 1.

For the rest behind they stood no chance with Nick Holden leading the futile charge in his Ariel Atom in 3rd. The only leading battle in the early stages of this 15 lap race was Dylan Popovic and his Marlin racer closing on and then passing Craig Moore in the unusual Rage buggy on lap 6. The pivotal moment of the race came on lap 9 as Squibb was forced into retirement with a turbo failure that led ominously to flames out the exhaust pipe. From here it was easy for Prebble despite well worn wet tyres, which he later explained is why he couldn’t match Squibb.

On lap 11 it appeared Holden suffered an off as he lost a lot of time, but still retaining his 2nd place such was his advantage. The man on the move in the later stages was Martin Perry in his unlikely Fiat Coupe, who first used a better exit from Camp to pass Craig Moore in the Rage for 4th on lap 13, then passed Dylan Popovic on the next lap for 3rd.

From here he couldn’t make any more progress as Gary Prebble meanwhile cruised home for his 41st overall victory at Castle Combe, with Nick Holden a lapped 2nd such was the advantage Prebble enjoyed. Martin Perry was elated with 3rd despite finishing 2 laps down, with Dylan Popovic trailing home 4th from Craig Moore in 5th and finally Mark Higginson in another Rage buggy who finished 6th. This victory meant Gary Prebble wrapped up the 2014 Castle Combe Sports @ GT Championship with a round to spare, in what has been a truly dominant year for him in this series.

For more information on this series please visit – http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/gt/