Saloons

Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship August 2014 Report

After the exotica from the Ferrari series it was time for cars more in line with the spectators as the resident Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship rolled out for it’s 15 lap dash. On pole was the form man Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird with Class B pace setter Mark Wyatt alongside him. Row 2 consisted of Tony Hutchings in his Audi TT from giant killer Carl Loader in his lowly Citroen Saxo VTS.

From the start it was Bird and Hutchings who made the best getaway’s whilst Wyatt squandered his good qualifying position with a slow getaway. The front three of Bird,Hutchings and Wyatt were already breaking from the rest by the end of lap 1 as Loader held up the rest behind in 4th. Russell Akers found a way past Loader going up Avon Rise on lap 2, although he already had several seconds to make up to the rest in front. Hutchings was beginning to struggle however with the balance of his car and a huge moment at Old Paddock allowed Wyatt to breeze past into 2nd on lap 4.

Whilst Wyatt left Hutchings behind him his luck was about to improve even more as Bird pulled into the pits at the end of lap 6 to retire, handing a comfortable lead to Wyatt. Akers behind in 3rd was falling well behind the rest as an almost processional race came about at the front with Wyatt leading by several seconds and Hutchings have a 10 second plus gap to Akers back in 3rd. Hutchings was clearly suffering in the race as he couldn’t live with Wyatt’s pace with the most significant battle now taking place between John Barnard and Kieren Simmons for 5th.

Lap 11 saw Simmons finally pass Barnard for 5th, and set about building a gap to secure himself in 5th. On the penultimate lap Akers pulled into the pits to retire with obvious barrier damage to the front of his Astra, therefore promoting the giant killing Loader into 3rd with his Saxo. Barnard was also suffering on lap 14 as he ran wide at Camp, giving himself front end damage once he touched the barrier.

All of this proved not to be a distraction to Wyatt who strolled home for an easy victory with Hutchings taking 2nd and Carl Loader completing the podium in 3rd. Kieren Simmons was 4th from the returning Bill Brockbank in 5th and a lapped Ayrton Anderson who completed the top 6.

For more information on this exciting local championship please visit – http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/saloons/

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.