Uk Club motorsport

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/

Orgee Claims Masterful Formula Ford Victory

The resident Castle Combe Formula Ford Championship has always been a fan favorite, with the series running since 1969, making it the longest running single make championship in the country. For this televised round, grizzly conditions greeted the drivers as they headed out to the grid. The threat of rain appeared imminent in the grey clouds above, ensuring a very greasy circuit for the drivers.

After qualifying it was Michael Moyers who claimed pole for Kevin Mills Racing in his Spectrum chassis, with the returning ex-champion Ben Norton taking second on the grid. Nathan Ward and Felix Fisher would share row two. At the start it was Moyers who made the best getaway from pole, as he claimed the early lead. The rainfall began almost immediately, with a light rain covering the circuit in a light layer of moisture.

Michael Moyers was able to build an early lead of several seconds from the chasing pack, although he undid his hard work at the end of the opening lap as he spun whilst putting the power down exiting the Bobbies chicane. His quick pirouette left him in on the fringes of the top six, as he worked to get back to the front. Ben Norton inherited the lead, with Josh Fisher having a remarkable opening few laps to rise from 9th on the grid to challenge Norton for the lead. Wet weather specialist Luke Cooper and Roger Orgee were all fighting with Norton for the lead in the early laps.

Ben Norton was just about able to hold on to his lead, although he was the next to throw away his chances of victory as the conditions caught him out at Camp on lap 4, with his spin onto the wet grass eliminating him from contention as he was forced to retire, as the talented Josh Fisher therefore inherited the lead.

With Norton’s car in a precarious position at Camp, the Safety Car was scrambled on lap 6 to safely recover it. This took no time at all, therefore the Safety Car was only out for one lap before returning to the pits at the end of the lap. Fisher set about building a gap to the rest, who squabbled behind him. His cushion didn’t last long however, with Roger Orgee and Luke Cooper challenging him for the lead on lap 8. A lap later and Orgee managed to breach Fisher’s defenses, taking the lead with a great move on the outside of Quarry.

From here Orgee was able to just about hold on for the remaining one and a half laps, as he secured his first victory of the season as he looks to avenge his final race title defeat last season this year. Josh Fisher will have been delighted with his second from 9th on the grid, especially as this season’s he’s racing a Class C 1989 Reynard car against much newer machinery. Wet weather specialist Luke Cooper was another driver in an older spec car as he claimed the final podium place.

Reigning double champion Adam Higgins came home a solid 4th, from the recovering Michael Moyers in 5th and Josh’s brother Felix Fisher in 6th. This was another entertaining race for the Castle Combe spectators, once again proving a great advert for the circuit own resident championship’s. It’s a shame however that the conditions were not better for the drivers as they struggled in the very slippery conditions. For more information on this amazing series please visit their website below.
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/formula-ford-1600/

Hutchings Wins Close Fought Castle Combe Saloons encounter

The halfway point of this packed MotorsTV live race day meeting at Castle Combe saw the resident Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship line up on the grid. The series, supported by On-Pole high performance consultancy, has always enjoyed packed grids, although this race was a new high point for the local championship. A whopping 42 cars lined up on a grid which stretched round Camp corner.

Local favorite Gary Prebble claimed pole position by 1.4 seconds, from round one winner Tony Hutchings in second. Dave Scaramanga again impressed in his new VW Scirocco in third, from James Winter in fourth. As the lights turned green, it was veteran Mark Wyatt who made the best start from 5th on the grid, as Tony Hutchings claimed the early lead. Hutchings was immediately hounded by Gary Prebble and his Seat Cupra, eventually diving down the inside of Hutchings to claim the lead at Camp on lap 2, with barely enough room for both to make it round the corner.

For the rest of the race both would be glued together, although Hutchings was never quite close enough to make a serious attempt at passing Prebble for the lead. As the race entered it’s later stages the status quo appeared to have been established, however an abundance of traffic for leader Prebble through the race again going up Avon Rise on lap 9. With Prebble boxed in and forced to brake, Hutchings was able to just about squeeze past the back markers to steal an unlikely lead from Prebble late on. It was hair raising stuff and exciting viewing for both the spectators and TV audience at home.

Gary Prebble tried every trick he knew to re-claim the lead in the later laps, with his best move coming on the penultimate lap, as he tried an audacious around the outside move at Camp. The move very nearly came off for Prebble, however a previous oil spill at Camp meant he lost grip mid-corner, as he was forced wide and onto the grass, losing several seconds to Hutchings. This buffer would prove enough for him to breathe easy on the final lap as Tony Hutchings came home to his second win of the season from an exasperated Gary Prebble in second.

These two were comfortably ahead of the rest throughout the race, with Dave Scaramanga completed the podium in a lonely third place, with James Winter equally comfortable in 4th. Bill Brockbank and Mark Wyatt completed the top six, in yet another thrilling Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship round. The audience would have been thrilled yet again, in what was a great advert for this local championship to a worldwide audience. For more information on this great series, please visit their website below.
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/saloons/

Hickton,West Share Pre-93 Touring Car Victories at Combe

The opening race after the lunch break kicked off the TV portion of the race meeting, with MotorsTV beginning their afternoon’s live coverage. First up was the SVG Motorsport Pre-93 Touring Car Championship, which for their two races here at Castle Combe were joined by the Burton Power Blue Oval Saloon Series and the Toyo Tires Pre-05 Production Touring Car Series to complement the grid.

For the opening 15 minute race it was Kevin Willis who took pole position in his BMW M3, with the leading Blue Oval runner Olly Allen sharing the front row in his Ford Fiesta. David Hickton qualified 3rd whilst Andy West would share the second row with him in 4th. The drama began at the start when Olly Allen dramatically jumped the start to take an early lead, whilst behind him 6th man Demetris Neophytou stalled his Ford Fiesta, unfortunately was rear ended by a back marker.

With debris on the pit straight the initially the Safety Car was called out at the end of lap 1, although soon after the red flags were unfurled as the ambulances arrived. Both drivers were okay, and after the debris and cars were taken away, the grid was reformed for a shorter 10 minute race, rather than the original 15 minutes. For the second start the two front row men made decent getaways, with the initial lead fight being between Olly Allen in his Fiesta and David Hickton, up from the second row in his BMW M3.

Pole man Kevin Willis was already losing touch to the first two in a solitary 3rd position, although it didn’t look as if it would stay that way for long as the hard charging Ray West in a similar BMW M3 had already risen from 11th on the grid to 4th by the end of lap 2. After a stout defense of the lead from Olly Allen he eventually had to concede the lead to David Hickton as he dived inside Allen at Quarry on lap 3.

Later on in the lap it became clear as to why Allen may have conceded the lead as a significant amount of smoke began billowing out of the rear of his Fiesta, although for the time being he remained comfortable in 2nd. As early as lap 4 it became clear the top four were in a class of their own, with the rest of the field lagging well behind. Hickton made sure to build a significant advantage once he hit the front, with his lead only being extended with the demise of Allen and his smoking Fiesta on lap 5.

With Allen’s retirement Kevin Willis was promoted to second, however he lasted barely a lap in 2nd before he was passed in a tremendous round the outside move at Westway from Ray West, who then set about building a gap and cementing himself in the runner up spot.

With it only being a 10 minute race there was only time for eight laps, but that was more than enough for David Hickton to claim a comfortable victory, with Ray West completing his charge from 11th to claim 2nd, whilst Kevin Willis looked slightly off the pace in the final podium place.Andy West finished 4th in his Honda Civic, whilst John Edwards-Parton won the Blue Oval Saloons class with 5th overall, whilst Andrew Sheraton completed the top six.

Much later in the afternoon the series returned to the grid for their second race, although one again it was reduced from 15 minutes down to 12 this time thanks to a tight race day schedule. The finishing order from race one decided the grid for this second encounter, leaving David Hickton on pole from Ray West, with Kevin Willis and Andy West completing the second row.

At the front the status quo remained in the opening laps, although by this time attention had shifted to the incredible Olly Allen, who after retiring from the opening race, charged up from his 18th spot on the grid to 4th by the end of the opening lap. From here it would prove to be very difficult to make any further progress, although he looked in inspired form in the opening laps.

On lap 3 Allen marked up his next target as he began challenging Kevin Willis for 3rd, a move he finally made stick on the inside going into Quarry corner on lap 4. It was at this middle portion of the race that the leading duo of Hickton and West began to build a gap to the rest of the field, as they looked to begin their own private battle for the lead.

Olly Allen had solidified himself in third position, however unfortunately for him his James Bond inspired smoke screen returned on lap 6, and he was soon forced to retire with an expensive looking engine blowup, although not before spinning on his own oil at the Bobbies chicane beforehand. Engine blowup’s would prove to have a key outcome on this race, as a spectacular blowup for a back marker at the Tower/Bobbies complex wrong footed leader David Hickton in the prodigious smoke, leaving Ray West with a perfect opportunity to steal the race lead once both emerged from the smoke exiting Bobbies.

From here until the chequered flag several laps later both West and Hickton fought for the victory, although and moves from Hickton would prove unsuccessful as Ray West claimed a opportunistic victory to share the day’s spoils with David Hickton in 2nd. Kevin Willis was once again off the pace in the final podium spot, with Andrew Sheraton coming home 4th in his BMW E30, as John Edwards-Parton once again won the Blue Oval class in 5th overall, whilst Philip Comer completed the top six in his monstrous Jaguar XJS.

The two Pre-93 Touring Car Championship provided some entertaining racing, especially in the later second race, it’s a shame however that both races for the series were reduced as it would of been nice to see the races develop over the full 15 minutes, something time constraints didn’t allow. I’m sure many would like to see the series back another time at Castle Combe to full show the potential for good racing the series has. For more information on this series, please visit their web page below.
http://classictouringcars.com/champ_pre93.html

Deeth,Astin claim close fought wins at Combe

After the heroics of the Dunlop Mini Seven challenge earlier, now it was the turn of the faster Dunlop Mini Miglia challenge to entertain the expectant crowd in their two races of the afternoon. The 300cc increase in engine power did not affect the close racing provided in both races, with the sizeable crowd enjoying all four of the Mini races at this Bank Holiday Monday Howard’s Day meeting.

Reigning champion Rupert Deeth secured pole position for the first of their two 10 lap races, with Mark Cowan alongside him in the famous ex-Peter Baldwin Mini. Kane Astin lined up 3rd with Dan Wheeler completing row two. At the start it was Deeth and Astin who made the best starts, whilst Cowan bogged down and dropped from the front row to mid pack by the time the charging pack reached Quarry.

From the off the lead battle developed with Deeth,Astin,Cowan and Aaron Smith initially fighting it out for the lead, although in the early laps the top eight were all fighting at the front, with constant jostling and changing positions amongst the pack as the looked to unseat Rupert Deeth for the lead. Going into the final laps it was Cowan who was on the move, first passing Aaron Smith for 3rd going up Avon Rise on lap 6, before passing Astin for 2nd at Bobbies later on in the lap.

Things soon got worse for Astin as he dropped another place on lap 8, losing 3rd to Sam Summerhayes, before regaining the final podium place with an audacious around the outside move at Camp on the penultimate lap. Despite facing immense pressure throughout the race, Rupert Deeth was just about able to hold everyone off to claim a narrow victory by only 0.055 thousands of a second over Mark Cowan. Kane Astin completed the podium after a hard fought race, with Sam Summerhayes coming home in 4th, Dan Wheeler and Colin Peacock completed the top six.

After the enthralling first race a similarly exciting second race was hoped for by many of the remaining spectators who stuck around until almost the end of the day to watch the second of their two Mini Miglia races. This time around the grid was slightly different with Mark Cowan on pole this time, sharing the front row with Kane Astin. Dan Wheeler lined up 3rd whilst race one winner Rupert Deeth had some work to do from 4th.

Once again at the start it was Rupert Deeth and Kane Astin who made the best getaways, whilst Mark Cowan once again fluffed his start and dropped well down the pack. Cowan was therefore looking to make up for his poor start as soon as possible, something which further hindered him as he spun off at Quarry on the opening lap, leaving him going from pole to back of the field in a quarter of a lap.

Back at the front and it was Wheeler and Astin who were challenging Deeth for the lead in the early laps, as a six car train developed behind them hoping they could unseat Deeth for top spot this time around. Their cause was helped immensely helped on lap 4 when it was announced that Deeth was being handed a 10 second penalty for a jumped start. It wasn’t something that had looked obvious at the start, although the officials clearly felt he had gained an advantage by jumping the start.

With Deeth’s chances of winning now looking impossible, Dan Wheeler now became the theoretical leader, despite Deeth slipstreaming past him for the actual lead on lap 7, as it now looked like the order would remain this way until the flag. Going into the final lap it was all change however, as Kane Astin stole the lead from Deeth going into Quarry, taking a lead he would keep until the chequered flag, with Dan Wheeler coming home a close second, whilst Sam Summerhayes completed the podium in 3rd. Mark Cowan provided a masterful recovery drive from his first lap errors to claim 4th, with David Drew and Phil Dale completing the top six.

Both races were a masterclass in how close, exciting racing from the always spectacular Mini Seven and Miglia grids, once again entertaining the spectators during the afternoon, with everyone I’m sure hoping the Mini series can return to Combe next year. For more information on this exciting series please visit their website here. http://www.mini7.co.uk/

Bull outlasts rest to claim opening Sports @ GT win

Next up on track was the first of the local circuit championships, the Castle Combe Sports @ GT championship, beginning it’s second season since being split in two with the Castle Combe Sports Racing Car Series. The series is still well supported however and a wide variety of machinery took to the grid for their 15 lap opening stanza of their season.

Ian Hall sat on pole position with his impressive and very throaty Darrian Wildcat and his 6 litre Rover V8 engine, the highly sophisticated Mitsubishi Evo 9 alongside him. Perry Waddams in his impressive TVR Tuscan Challenge car sat in 3rd whilst Oliver Bull completed row two in his sleek Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette national hot rods spec car.

Off the line unsurprisingly it was the 4 wheel drive of Barry Squibb’s Evo which rocketed into an early lead off the line, although his lead would prove to be short lived as he was forced to slowly return to the pits by the end of lap 1, the myriad of reliability issues which slowed this car last year rearing their ugly head once again. This put Ian Hall into the lead, closely followed by Perry Waddams, both well clear of the pack in the early laps.

In the early laps the main battle was for 4th position between Michael Timberlake in his BMW M3, old circuit favorite Ilsa Cox in her Seat Leon Cupra car and Bull in his Vauxhall Tigra. Timberlake provided a good defense, although it was breached by Cox on lap 4 as she took 4th at Bobbies.

At the front the lead pairing had been slowly closing together in the opening laps, with Waddams finally passing Hall for the lead at Quarry on lap 5, whilst later on in the lap Bull quickly dispatched with Cox and Timberlake,cementing himself in 4th. A lap later and Ian Hall’s progressively sicker sounding Darrian pulled into the pits with a possible misfire, leaving Waddams comfortably clear of the rest of the pack.

Waddams now led comfortably from Dylan Popovic in the unusual Avatar racer, who at this stage of the race was more concerned with the progressively closing Oliver Bull behind him. After edging up to the back of Popovic, Bull made a move stick for 2nd at the Esses on lap 12, now setting his sights on the troubled Waddams out front.

The drama was kept up until the final lap, with Waddams slowing at Tower, leaving Oliver Bull free to claim the lead on the penultimate lap, clear now to claim a shock victory in the opening round of the resident Sports @ GT championship. Waddams slowed dramatically half way round the final lap, which Dylan Popovic felt contributed possibly to his last lap spin at the Esses, ripping off the venturi tunnels at the back of his Avatar.

After the late laps it was surprise that Bull was eventually able to comfortably win by 22 seconds from the recovering Popovic, with a delighted Ilsa Cox able to complete the podium. Michael Timberlake came home 4th, with Kevin Mears and Paul Arber completing the top six, a lap down on victor Bull.

For more information on this series please visit their website here. http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/gt/

Jon Milicevic dominates Historic Formula Junior affair

After the Championship Finals meeting the previous day, Castle Combe finished it’s season off with a nostalgic feel as the circuit transported itself back to the early years of the track in the 1950’s and 1960’s with the third annual Autumn classic meeting. After the previous two Classics were runaway successes the circuit made sure the third running this year the event was the biggest and best yet.

With copious demonstrations from various local car clubs at different portions of the circuit and bright sunshine above the opening HSCC Millers Oils Historic Formula Junior grid took shape on the circuit before the start. On pole was previous Historic Formula Ford champion Westie Mitchell in his De Tomaso with Jon Milicevic alongside him in his older Cooper T59. Row 2 was shared by Carlin GP3 mechanic Jack Woodhouse and Steve Jones in 4th.

Once the lights went out in this 20 minute race it was Jon Milicevic who made the best start from the outside of the front row to snatch the early lead from Jack Woodhouse in 2nd. From here the opening lap was relatively sedate as the first six were evenly spaced at the front. Things were soon changing however as Woodhouse immediately began closing the gap to leader Milicevic on lap 2. From here it seemed Milicevic was able to respond as he re-built his lead over the next few laps as Westie Mitchell in 3rd began closing on Woodhouse.

Sadly for the spectators the gaps stayed largely the same over the next portion of the race, with the only changes being the increasing of the gaps between the top 3 in traffic late on. This also was helped as Mitchell seemed to have an intermittent problem which slowed him momentarily on the pit straight on lap 15. A lap later and Jon Milicevic cruised to victory from Jack Woodhouse in 2nd and Westie Mitchell who completed the podium. 4th went to Richard Smeeton as Steve Jones was 5th and Laine Martin completed the top 6.

Whilst the race was not the most exciting way to begin the Castle Combe Autumn classic meeting it did give the large crowd a chance to watch a high speed demonstration of these classic Formula Junior racers and the considerable talent of winner Jon Milicevic, it’s just a shame he didn’t have to work harder for his victory.
For more information on this series please visit the websites below.
http://www.formulajunior.com/
http://www.hscc.org.uk/championships