Sports Racing Car Series

Tilling comes through for double win

After a difficult first year for the newly created Castle Combe Sports Racing Car Series, the series began this year with a continuation of the upward momentum the series showed late last year. The entry list looked promising, with plenty of returning drivers complemented with several new faces for this year.

One face returning was circuit favorite Simon Tilling, after shaking down his very quick Ligier CN prototype at Combe last year, he returns hopefully for the full Sports Racing Car season. For the first of their two 20 minute races it was Tilling who claimed pole, with the smaller Radical PR6 of Josh Smith sharing the front row with him. Nick Jones lined up 3rd in his Radical whilst long time local driver Norman Lackford completed row two.

At the rolling start Tilling used the superior power from his two litre Honda engine to blast into the lead, whilst behind him the drama immediately started as a small collision ensued going up Avon Rise between back markers Darcy Smith and Richard Gray, leaving Gray out of the race against the barrier and Smith severely delayed. The Safety Car was swiftly deployed at the end of lap 1, although the delay only lasted two laps before the action resumed at the end of lap 3.

From the green flag it became a race between Tilling and Smith, who raced away from the pack in their own private battle for the lead. After several laps Tilling began to stretch out a slight advantage from Smith, whilst behind him the battle for 3rd was heating up, with Chris Child finally passing Lackford on lap 10 after several attempts in the previous laps, quickly building a lead of several seconds.

Both Tilling and Smith now held a huge lead over Child in 3rd, although with the gap stagnant between the top two the order remained the same until the flag after 17 laps, Tilling coming home a comfortable victory from the plucky Josh Smith in second, only two seconds back at the flag. Chris Child was a distant third, 48 seconds behind Tilling, showing the exceptional speed of the top two. Norman Lackford came home a close 4th, whilst Nick Jones and Chris Vinall completed the top six in this opening Sports Racing Car Series encounter.

Towards the end of the day the Sports Racing Car grid returned to the track, although sadly because the meeting was running late to avoid breaking the track’s curfew this race had to be reduced from 20 to 15 minutes in length. Once again it was Simon Tilling on pole, with Josh Smith alongside him on the front row for the rolling start. The second row was the same as earlier also, with Nick Jones in 3rd and Norman Lackford 4th.

Despite it being a rolling start the old bad luck of Tilling’s at starts reared it’s ugly head again, as he bogged down in his Ligier and had to watch Smith race away into an early lead. Usually by the end of the first lap Tilling would pick off Smith for the lead, however this time around Smith held firm and even opened a lead of several seconds in the first few laps, as the first two separated themselves from the rest of the grid.

The man to watch further back was Darcy Smith, a experienced local driver who was renting a very powerful Radical SR8 for the weekend, and he quickly rose from the back of the grid to 4th position by the end of lap 2. Darcy Smith continued his charge up the field by passing another local favorite in Norman Lackford for the final podium place at Camp on lap 4.

A lap later and it was all change at the front also, as after making Tilling work for it he finally found a way past Smith for the race going into Quarry. The first three were now clear from the pack, as Smith kept the pressure on Tilling for the lead over the remaining laps, he simply didn’t have the power to take advantage of the vast gains he would make in the corners.

After 13 laps the chequered flag was brought out for race winner Simon Tilling, although in truth he was forced to work a lot harder for this double win that he probably expected after qualifying a second clear of the pack. Josh Smith impressed in both races on his way to a double runner up spot, whilst father Darcy Smith made it a family affair on the podium in 3rd. Norman Lackford,Nick Jones and Chris Vinall completed the top six in the second installment of this rapidly growing Castle Combe series. For more information please visit their website here. http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/sports-racing-series/

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Simon Tilling survives late scare to scrape Sports Racing Car win

After the action of the previous Pre-1982 Classic Formula Ford race, a contrast was provided next as the new for 2014 Castle Combe Sports Racing Car series took to the grid. Solely for the Sports prototypes which previously dominated the Sports @ GT series before complaints about the speed differentials and the amount of entries meant a split was announced for this year. Whilst the series has suffered growing pains in it’s first year with small grid the final race of the year provided plenty of optimism for next year as the series had it’s biggest and most competitive grid of the year.

After the morning’s wet qualifying session it was Tim Gray who took pole in his very impressive Spire GT-3 entry. Gray is a distinguished RGB and Bikesports racer and his Spire handled like it was on rails in the wet qualifying session and looked by far the fastest car on track to claim pole. Another newcomer to the series lined up 2nd, although the don’t lack experience with the circuit as the entry was from renowned Castle Combe Formula Ford racers Nick Jones and Kevin Mills racing. Mike Jenvey was yet another newer entry from an outside series in his self built Jenvey/Gunn TS6 and lined up 3rd with old circuit dominator Simon Tilling lining up 4th in his impressive Ligier JS49T.

With the dry and sunny conditions the complete opposite to qualifying a great race was predicted as those out of place after qualifying battled to improve their positions in the 20 minute race. The grid remained in largely the same order after the initial rolling start, although by the end of the lap the order changed at the front. Simon Tilling used the larger Honda engine in his Ligier and extensive circuit knowledge to blast into the lead and open a 2 second lead by the end of the lap.

Early on Tilling and Tim Gray were the pace setters with the rest falling away behind, although Mike Jenvey soon attempted to rectify this as he passed local man Darcy Smith in his Radical SR4 for 3rd on the inside at Camp on lap 2. The top 5 appeared to be strung out for this portion of the race, although the symmetry was broken on lap 6 as unfortunately Mike Jenvey pulled into the pits and was forced to retire his impressive Jenvey/Gunn hybrid. A lap later and Tim Gray began to get the wrath of the officials as he was shown the mechanical warning flag for the biblical noise coming from his Spire racer.

With the circuit now forced to heavily police it’s noise after being serviced with a noise nuisance order Gray was black flagged and forced to retire at the end of lap 8. With Gray and Jenvey out Tilling now had a huge lead over the new battle for 2nd between Darcy Smith and Nick Jones, although over the next few laps Smith was able to eke out a small gap to Jones. Behind their battle 4th place man Stephen Bracegirdle was slowing with a mechanical problem and was passed from 4th and 5th over several laps by firstly Chris Child and then a recovering Chris Vinall who spun to the back of the field on lap 1.

Simon Tilling was now beyond comfortable in his impressive Ligier VdeV racer, although he was at the center of the race’s late drama as he began slowing size-ably with only a few minutes left on the clock. His lead stood at 38 seconds but with Smith and Jones now catching him at the rate of 12-15 seconds per lap it seemed they might well be able to catch him. Going into the final half lap it looked like they might do it at the final corner, although Tilling just held them off enough to claim the victory by a whisker from Darcy Smith in 2nd with Nick Jones right behind him in 3rd.

Chris Child was 4th in his Nemisis with long time Combe racer Norman Lackford 5th before Stephen Bracegirdle limped home to complete the top 6. What had threatened to be a dominant victory provided late drama in arguably the best race of the season for this new Castle Combe Sports Racing Car Series. Hopefully many of the impressive newcomers from this race will return for more in 2015, and held give the series some much needed momentum after a difficult debut 2014 season. For more information on this promising new series please visit their website below.
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/sports-racing-series/