Mitsubishi Evo

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.
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/gt/

Simon Norris survives last lap collision to claim Sports @GT win

Unlike the Castle Combe Formula Ford Championship, the Sports @ GT title had already been decided in the favour of dominant driver Gary Prebble. Since the Castle Combe Racing Club decided to split the series for this year, creating a new Sports Racing Car Series for the Sports Prototypes this year Garry Prebble has dominated the year in his all powerful Mitsubishi Evo 9RS. After a wet morning qualifying session it was no surprise to see the horde of 4 wheel drive Mitsubishi Evo’s at the front of the grid.

Gary Prebble was unsurprisingly on pole from on-off entrant Simon Norris in his beastly looking Evo 9. Ex-rallycross racer Barry Squibb was 3rd in his Evo with the 2014 European Nissan GT Academy winner Gaetan Paletou lining up 4th in his Team RJN Nissan 370Z GT4 spec. Off line now it was the two front row men Prebble and Norris who rocketed off the line to take the early advantage. After the opening lap Prebble and Norris had opened a lead of 2-3 seconds over the battle for 3rd between Squibb and Paletou.

By lap 3 Prebble was beginning to ease away slightly from Norris in 2nd as he looked to round out his year in style with a win, as behind them a fast rising Perry Waddams in his brutish TV Tuscan with monstrous Chevrolet LS3 engine overtook Paletou for 3rd on lap 4 at Camp, with Paletou re-taking it on the pit straight. On the next lap at Quarry Barry Squibb pulled off into retirement from 5th, bringing to an end a troubled season in his unreliable Evo.

Lap 7 saw a huge development at the front as it looked as if Prebble made an uncharacteristic mistake on the pit straight as Norris raced through into the lead. The battle for 3rd was finally settled as Waddams finally made a move stick on Paletou a lap later, as Norris was settled in the lead as Prebble trailed 3.4 seconds behind. It now seemed Prebble’s car was struggling with a car problem by lap 10 as Waddams passed Prebble at Bobbies for 2nd. At Quarry a lap later Paletou also mugged Prebble for the final podium place.

Prebble slowed to a crawl again going up Avon Rise on lap 12 and finally pulled off from 4th into a rare retirement for the 2014 champion. An exciting battle for the lead was now developing in the final laps as Perry Waddams first took the lead on the outside at Quarry on lap 13, before Norris used his superior acceleration to re-take the lead going into the Esses. After the same happened on lap 14 the final lap was set to be a cracker as the Sports @ GT season came to an end.

After plenty of ducking and diving Waddams saw his last chance to grab the lead as he got a better exit from Westway as he looked to the inside on Dean Straight to give him the lead going into the final corner. After Norris moved to the edge of the track to cover Waddams the two made significant side-on contact, with Waddams TVR being momentarily launched into the air as the heavy landing broke his front suspension. Unable to steer Waddams desperately tried to slow the car as he went across the grass before going straight on at Camp and stopping the car on the exit of the corner just before the wall.

This left Simon Norris free to take a sizeable victory from rising star Gaetan Paletou in one of his first races in the GT4 spec Nissan 370Z. Team mate to Paletou Paul Brown completed the podium, as Keith Dunn finished 4th in his Caterham C400. The Ariel Atom of Lee Cunningham was 5th as Dylan Popovic completed the top 6 in his unique Marlin Avatar. Unsurprisingly both drivers had differing views on the incident with Norris feeling in the post race podium that Waddams was trying some risky moves and was not fully alongside Norris when the two made contact.

Despite the contentious end to the season this year has been a promising one for the new Castle Combe Sports @ GT championship, with Gary Prebble a very deserving champion with the series also showing signs of potential growth for the 2015 season. Simply put, I cannot wait. For more info on the series please visit the link below.
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/gt/

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/

Castle Combe Sports @ GT MSVR Report 02/08/14

In the penultimate race of the day thanks to the re-scheduled Castle Combe Saloons race was for the Castle Combe Sports and GT championship. Another local favourite with the fans, unfortunately the decision to split the sports racing prototypes and the GT cars into two separate series appears to have severely damaged the championship as both series had staggered through 2014 with low grids.

Usually the Sports and GT Championship has been the more competitive of the two yet their race only drew a season low grid of 5 cars for the start, although peak holiday season probably didn’t help with the entry. After a wet qualifying session it was no surprise to see the two 4wd Mitsubishi Evo’s of Gary Prebble and Barry Squibb sharing the front row, with Nick Holden’s Ariel Atom and Stuart Hignell’s VW Golf completing row 2. From the start ex-rallycross racer Barry Squibb made the best start as Prebble bogged down. The reduction from 15-12 laps didn’t help Prebble’s cause as he spent the first half of the race glued to the back of Squibb’s Mitsubishi as he looked for a way past.

After a valiant defence the slightly faster Evo of Prebble found a way past on the inside at Tower on lap 5, and soon built a lead of several seconds over the ensuing laps as Squibb attempted to stay with local favourite Prebble. By the penultimate lap Prebble had extended his lead to 6 seconds as he came home for yet another victory as he dominates this Sports and GT Championship in 2014. Barry Squibb put past reliability issues behind him to claim 2nd from Nick Holden in a distant 3rd. The Darrian of Phil Gale and the VW Golf of Stuart Hignell completed a lonely the top 5, although both were several laps down on the leaders in what was ultimately a good race despite the lack of a significant grid, which is the only thing this series is missing although in the first year of the series this can be excused slightly. With only one more meeting Prebble looks certain to wrap up the series in October.

For more info on this series please visit the link below
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/gt/