MSVR

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/

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Castle Combe Formula Ford MSVR report 02/08/14

For the local spectators, one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the day was for the resident Castle Combe Formula Ford championship. This series always has tremendous competitor report and often produces scintillating races in arguable one of Britain’s most competitive Formula Ford championships. After a remarkable one-off return for previous champion Ben Norton at the double header meeting last time out, championship contenders Ashley Crossey, Roger Orgee and 2013 champion Adam Higgins were all looking to reassert their championship challenge in this race.

In qualifying it was Crossey who claimed yet another pole from team mate Nathan Ward whilst Orgee and Higgins had to be content with the second row after a wet qualifying session. A dry race however meant plenty of opportunities to challenge for the win, and Crossey grasped the first one with a great start off the line to grab an initial lead. The man on the move at the start was previous champion Ed Moore, who finally looked to have his Van Diemen JL013K sorted as he rocketed from 8th to lead at the end of lap 1 after diving inside Crossey at Camp to complete a first lap reminiscent of Ayrton Senna at Donington in 1993.

Next up to challenge Crossey was Adam Higgins, and he finally made a move stick on the inside at Tower on lap 3 to demote Crossey to 3rd. Unusually for a Castle Combe Formula Ford race, Moore was able to build a gap to rest of several seconds by lap 5 as he appeared to be cruising. He gap to the rest was short-lived however as the Safety Car was deployed on lap 6 to recover the Swift of guest driver Freddie Hunt, son of 1976 World Champion James Hunt, who had spun on oil and the Esses and was unable to continue.

By the end of lap 7 the Safety Car came in leaving Moore to defend his lead. Initially a two car break developed at the front consisting of Moore and Higgins, although the crucial moment of the race occurred on lap 9 as Moore also spun on the oil at the Esses, demoting himself to the rear of the top 10 as Higgins now led from the chasing pack behind. From here this 15 lap race turned into a 5 lap sprint as Higgins, Crossey, Ward and Orgee were fighting it out for the victory.

Lap 11 saw Ward make his way past team mate Crossey for 2nd and two laps later Ward went one better as he went inside Higgins into Quarry to take the lead. Ward’s lead was cut short however by a mistake at Bobbies on the same laps, which dropped him to 4th now. By the final lap the leading quartet had become a trio as Orgee drifted off the back of them as Higgins, Crossey and Ward battled for final lap glory.

A grandstand finish was all set up however the drama was provided slightly earlier than expected as Ward tried an ambitious move on team mate Crossey for 2nd on the inside at Tower, with the smallest of gaps for Ward closing up as he made significant contact with Crossey exiting the corner to spear both cars off into the outside tyre wall, thankfully without injury despite initial concerns. The removal of the Kevin Mills racing twins left Higgins free to take the victory, from a delighted Orgee in 2nd whilst Adam’s brother Richard Higgins continued his impressive rate of improvement to complete the podium.

Old circuit favourite Paul Barnes came through delighted with a 4th, his best result in years whilst Michael Bradley and Mark De Rozarieux completed the top 6 in another thrilling Formula Ford race at Castle Combe. Adam Higgins was delighted with his win and a 3rd for his brother will have made father and multiple ex-champion Bob Higgins very happy with their day’s racing. Crucially for both Higgins and Orgee their top 2 placing’s coupled with a non-score for championship leader Crossey means the title race is developing nicely heading into the final two meetings of the year.

For more info on this exciting local championship please visit the link below
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/formula-ford-1600/

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/

Castle Combe Saloons MSVR Castle Combe Meeting 02/08/14

After a frantic double header meeting last time out the resident Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship opened the now annual MSVR meeting in last weekend. A wet qualifying session was not enough to displace the usual order however, as series frontrunner Tony Hutchings claimed pole in his faithful Audi TT. Young upstart Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird was second in his Renault Megane, with an unlikely third for Kieren Simmons with Russell Akers fourth.

Although the sun was now shining by the time they took to the track at 11.30 the track was still damp, although this didn’t deter the front row men as they made the best starts to open an early lead from the rest of the pack.

Both Hutchings and Bird were able to hold their gap at around 2-3 seconds until the Safety Car was deployed on lap 3, because of an accident at the Esses. After several laps under the Safety Car the red flags were unfortunately flying, as it appeared the barriers needed to be repaired after the accident.

After a 10-20 minute delay the grid reformed for the re-start, with a similar result to the first start as the two front row men resumed their battle from the first start. Unfortunately their battle didn’t last long as the red flags were flying again on the second lap of the re-start. This time it seemed it was for good as the cars trickled back into the pit lane, although plans were soon hatched to fit the race onto the end of the programme from the day.

After an unusually fraught days racing the Saloons were finally able to take up their place on the grid with the prospect of a 10 minute dash for victory. From the start Hutchings made the best start whilst Hyde-Andrews-Bird fell back slightly, although they were both breaking away from the rest by lap 2. Behind them was an entertaining scrap for 4th with John Barnard passing Hyde-Andrews-Bird’s father Kevin on the inside at Quarry on lap 4, with Russell Akers right behind them too.

Lap 5 saw Hyde-Andrews-Bird challenging Hutchings for the lead, although both of them would be soon fighting off the attentions of an inspired Julian Ellison, who set a string of Fastest laps to close on the leading duo, before swiftly dispatching Hyde-Andrews-Bird at the Esses on lap 6.

Just as he was set to pass Hutchings for the lead the chequered flag flew as the circuit reached it’s curfew point, with a relieved Hutchings claiming the win from a surely frustrated Ellison who was so close to a first win in a long time. Hyde-Andrews-Bird completed the podium in 3rd, with John Barnard, Russell Akers and Kevin Bird completing the top 6.

Despite the long wait and two red flags the re-start was worth the wait as the lead battle was riveting throughout with a deserving winner in Hutchings although he was challenged by Hyde-Andrews-Bird and Ellison for the victory.