MINI

Super Mighty Mini’s Castle Combe A Plant LUX Report

The last bank holiday of the year always seems to provide a great day’s racing at Castle Combe, with long time sponsors A Plant Lux behind the event helping support this bank holiday meeting. Sadly this year the weather severely dampened the meeting as non-stop rain throughout the day significantly reduced the spectator numbers as well as the chance for great, close racing.

With some trepidation it was the Super Mighty Mini drivers who drove out first to start of the sodden race meeting off. The front row consisted of championship leader Elliot Stafford, with challenger Jamie White alongside him on the front row. At the start it was White who made the better getaway for this 20 minute dash, however it wasn’t long before Stafford took control and opened up a 2 second lead by the end of lap 1.

As Stafford got away the rest began squabbling over 2nd place, with the battle consisting of Scott Kendall, White, Daniel Budd and James Lyford. After constant fighting where these drivers managed to make passing manoeuvres on every part of the circuit it soon became clear this battle for 2nd would go right to the finish. In Mini racing the most important tactic for a leading driver is to try break the tow to the rest behind, something Stafford executed to perfection in this race as he opened a staggering 14 second gap by lap 8.

Behind them the battle for 2nd began to split up slightly as Budd and White made a break from Kendall and Lyford who were now battling for 4th. The tow is all important in Mini racing and from nowhere Steve Maxted used it to perfection late on as he scythed through to 3rd, before challenging Budd for 2nd on the penultimate lap. After 12 laps Stafford came home the victor by 16 seconds, almost unheard of in Mini racing, from Daniel Budd in 2nd and the charging Steve Maxted in 3rd. Jamie White came home 4th whilst James Lyford and Scott Kendall completed the top 6 in a thrilling opening race.

After opening the day’s racing, the Super Mighty Mini gang were back on track for their second race of the day much later on in the afternoon. With the conditions if anything worse than the first race and a reversed top 7 grid for race 2, action was almost guaranteed from these racers. With the front row belonging to 7th man in race 1 David Kirkpatrick, with Scott Kendall alongside him. As the lights went out Kendall and 4th man Jamie White made terrific getaway’s to lead early on, whilst Kirkpatrick suffered a shocker as he bogged down and was swamped by the pack.

Remarkably it didn’t take race 1 winner Elliot Stafford long at all to the challenging for the lead as he rose from 7th to 3rd by the end of an extraordinary opening lap. The drama didn’t end there as a recovering Kirkpatrick locked up going into Camp, with the end result being an appointment with the outside barrier, ending his race very early on. Stafford was on the move again as he picked off Kendall for 2nd exiting Quarry on lap 2, before unsurprisingly the Safety Car was deployed on lap 3 with Kirkpatrick’s car in a dangerous position at Camp corner.

The recovery crews quickly got to work removing the car as the clock ticked down from 20 minutes, with the Safety Car coming in a lap later on lap 4. Although he initially lost out with the Safety Car Jamie White stole a march on the others as he timed his re-start to perfection as he opened a gap to the rest. It didn’t last long however as Stafford went past White on the inside of Quarry for the lead on lap 5. This move proved to be too much of a desperate lunge for Stafford however as he thrown to the outside on the exit, and before he had got settled again a few corners later he had dropped to 4th behind White, Kendall and Daniel Budd.

Mirroring race 1 at this point White scarpered off into a lead of 3 seconds as Kendall, Budd, Stafford and Neil Slark slowed themselves up by constantly changing places in their fight for 2nd. Just as they began closing on White again for the lead Kendall and Stafford suffered almighty moments where they almost span out, dropping them from 3rd and 4th to 5th and 6th on lap 8. Their moments also broke up the battle for 3rd although that didn’t stop Stafford mounting a late charge for win as he was soon challenging Slark for 3rd by lap 9. Up at the front White and Budd were now evenly spaced at the front, although this didn’t last long as Stafford charged past Budd on the inside at Hammerdown for 2nd on lap 11.

With several seconds to make up on the final lap it appeared too much work for Stafford. although he proved everyone wrong as he was right on the tail of White entering the final half lap. After sizing him up Stafford went for a desperate lunge on the inside of Camp, finding a gap the size of a Mini as he battled White for the win. After the drag to the finish line it was initially called as a victory for Jamie White, although timing and scoring later confirmed Stafford had indeed won by 0.001 of a second over a disgruntled White in 2nd, who was not happy in the post-race interview.

Behind them Daniel Budd completed the podium from Neil Slark in 4th, with Scott Kendall and Steve Maxted completed the top 6 in another highly entertaining Super Mighty Mini race. This series always provides exciting racing and the slides these drivers were producing in Camp left the spectators smiling from ear to ear. With only a few round left in the championship it appears to be Elliot Stafford’s championship to lose, although anything can happen in Mini racing.

For more info on this great series please visit these websites – http://www.mightyminis.co.uk/loadframes.html
http://www.brscc.co.uk/Championships/SUPER-MIGHTY-MINIS-CHAMPIONSHIP

Mini Challenge MSVR Castle Combe 02/08/14

The first of the visiting MSVR championships to get onto the track was the Mini challenge series, for the first of their two races of the day. It promised to be an exciting race as a wet qualifying session determined the grid, yet by the time of their race the track was rapidly drying, leaving some last minute decisions on tyres and set up before the race.

Championship leader Chris Knox claimed pole from Luke Caudle, with ex-Legends racer Lawrence Davey and Neil Newstead completing row 2. At the start of this 20 minute race it was Knox and Caudle who made the best starts from the front row, as the rest diced for position behind them. It didn’t take long before Caudle was putting heavy pressure on Knox for the lead, although they were still managing to pull away from the field despite their battle.

Lap 4 saw Knox beginning to settle in and establish a gap to Caudle of several seconds, as behind these two Davey was now challenging the fast starting Henry Duprey for 3rd also. At this point of the race Knox was simply dominating as by lap 7 he held a 14 second gap to Duprey in 3rd and was in complete control of the race. A lap later and Davey finally breached a stubborn defence of 3rd from Duprey, as he dived inside him at Tower. Things didn’t get any easier for Duprey as the closest challenger to Knox in the championship, Neil Newstead, went inside him at Quarry on lap 10 for 4th.

From here Newstead was the man on the move as he quickly caught and was challenging Davey for 3rd, although his brave attempt at taking the place at Bobbies on lap 13 went badly wrong, as he completely misjudged it and fell back several seconds, ground he was unable to make up in the remaining time. After 16 laps it was Chris Knox who came through for a comfortable victory from a lonely Luke Caudle in 2nd. Lawrence Davey completed the podium with Neil Newstead, Hamish Brandon and Henry Duprey completing the top 6 in 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. In the lower Cooper class it was reigning class champion Shane Stoney who came through for the victory.

Later on in the afternoon the Mini challenge returned for it’s second and final race of the day. The top 8 finishing order in race 1 was reversed for the grid of race which meant it was Patrick Mortimer on pole from Keith Issatt alongside him, with Henry Duprey and Hamish Brandon on row 2. The men to watch out for were Luke Caudle and race 1 winner Chris Knox, who were both on row 4 for this race. The rolling start was pretty uneventful although it didn’t stay that way for long, as a multi car accident in the lower Cooper class brought out the Safety Car at the end of lap 1.

It was two cars who were out of the race that caused the Safety Car, although frustratingly the barriers had been damaged in the accident, necessitating a red flag and 10-20 minute delay to repair them. For the re-started race the duration was cut from 20 to 15 minutes as the timetable was now well behind schedule. This time there was no major accidents on lap 1, and things were soon changing at the front as Caudle passed Newstead for the lead at Folly on lap 2. Seconds later the battle amongst the leading quartet got ugly as contact at Quarry left Newstead in the barriers and out of the race early on.

The Safety Car made yet another appearance on lap 4, with a further 3 laps being completed before it came in at the end of lap 6. Immediately from the re-start the leading quartet made a break from the rest as they started battling for the lead of the race. Despite a valiant defence from Caudle eventually on lap 10 Knox and Duprey were able to force their way through at the Esses. From here the leading four circulated in a tandem on the final lap as Knox claimed his second victory of the day, moving him even further ahead in the championship battle. Duprey came home 2nd from Caudle in 3rd and Hamish Brandon in 4th, with Alan Taylor in 5th and Keith Issatt in 6th completing the significant placing’s. Much like Knox, Shane Stoney came through to take his 2nd Cooper class victory in the day as he cements his position at the top of his class standings.

After two good races from the Mini challenge, they now have two more meetings in their season although with only 4 races remaining it’s hard to look past Chris Knox and Shane Stoney as the class winners, based on their dominant showings here at Castle Combe.

Photo credits go to http://www.bam-promo.com/news/panda-racing/brandon-do-battle-and-fortify-points-position-castle-combe/ and
http://www.hornby.com/news/mini-challenge-tv-coverage-and-castle-combe-1st-august/

For more information on this championship please visit their official website here
http://www.minichallenge.co.uk/