Van Diemen

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/

Gardner Claims Two Dominant Classic Formula Ford Victories

The second and final race before the lunch break at Castle Combe was for the Luna Logistics Classic Formula Ford Championship, a series that always provides good racing. As the spectators eagerly anticipated their latest fix of the ever popular Formula Ford category, it was Mike Gardner who claimed pole position in his Crossle 30F. Simon Davey shared the front row in the first of many Van Diemen RF80 cars, whilst Chris Stuart and Stuart Kestenbaum completed the second row.

As the lights went out both front row men made good starts, as Mike Gardner took the early lead. After qualifying a whopping 1.5 seconds faster than anyone else, it should not have been a surprise to see Gardner streak away from the rest in the early stages. Helping out Gardner to build an even further lead was the fact that Chris Stuart and Simon Davey were fighting amongst themselves for 2nd, constantly passing and re-passing each other as they slowed themselves up.

By the end of lap 4 Gardner’s lead was already up to six seconds, meanwhile row three starter Kevin Mansell was now challenging Stuart for 3rd position on lap 5. Long time series front runner Stuart Kestenbaum was now looking to join the fight as he passed Mansell for 4th on the inside at Tower corner later on in the lap, as Davey briefly distanced himself from the squabbling Stuart,Kestenbaum and Mansell.

Stuart Kestenbaum was on the move again on lap 9 as he overtook Chris Stuart for 3rd, whilst behind him a lap later Mansell and Stuart swapped places before switching back again on the exit of Quarry. As the race entered it’s final laps Mike Gardner had built an incredible lead of almost half a lap, meanwhile behind him it finally seemed like the squabbling was coming to an end as everyone was now evenly spaced out.

After 16 laps and 20 minutes it was Mike Gardner who claimed as dominant a Formula Ford victory as your ever likely to see, eventually winning by 27 seconds. Even a 10 second post race penalty failed to deter him from victory, with Simon Davey the best of the rest in 2nd position. Stuart Kestenbaum battled to claim the final podium position, with Chris Stuart behind him in 4th. Finally it was Kevin Mansell and Steve Pearce who completed the top six.

The Classic Formula Ford grid lined up much later in the afternoon to looming grey clouds overhead as they started their formation lap. With the very crowded scheduling of the day’s meeting earlier delay’s meant this race was unfortunately reduced from 20 to 15 minutes to help with the scheduling, although it still promised to be an exciting race.

Much like with many other series, the grid for this second race was determined by the finishing order of the first race. This meant that Mike Gardner was once again on pole position, with Simon Davey again sharing the front row with him. Stuart Kestenbaum and Chris Stuart completed row two. At the front there were no major surprises at the start, as Gardner and Davey broke away from the rest by the end of the opening lap.

It didn’t take long for the fighting to begin in the pack as Kestenbaum and Mansell carried on their race one battle as they fought over 3rd in the early laps. After being wheeled off the grid in the opening race from 5th on the grid, Ted Pearson was keen to make up for it in this second race as he immediately rose through the pack, going from 18th and last to 6th by the end of lap 2.

It didn’t take long for Mike Gardner to assert his dominance again, as he led by roughly five seconds by lap 4, as once again a big battle was developing for 2nd between Davey,Kestenbaum,Mansell,Stuart and Pearson. On lap 5 Stuart began a charge up the order by passing Mansell for 4th, and then passed Kestenbaum for 3rd at the Esses a lap later. Stuart then completed his remarkable charge a lap after that by passing Davey for 2nd position going up Avon Rise and into Quarry. Ted Pearson also got involved on lap 7, as he passed Mansell for 5th to further his charge from the back.

Just as Chris Stuart was looking good in 2nd position he undid all his previous hard work by running wide at Camp on lap 7, which left him as easy prey for Simon Davey and Stuart Kestenbaum as he dropped to 4th by the time the reached the braking zone for Quarry corner. After re-passing Kestenbaum he look comfortable in 3rd, although a final lap drama meant he once again dropped behind Kestenbaum.

After twelve laps it was Mike Gardner who claimed another comfortable victory, as he proved himself to be the class of the field in both the day’s races, and this time he had no post-race penalties to sully his dominance. Simon Davey once again finished a distant 2nd, and after Chris Stuart lost drive temporarily coming out of Camp on the final lap, Stuart Kestenbaum was able to out drag him and claim the final podium place on the short drag to the finish line. Kevin Mansell almost crashed into him on the run to the line, although had just enough to momentum to pip him to 4th as Chris Stuart was classified 5th. Ted Pearson was further back in 6th.

Although on the surface two dominant victories for Mike Gardner didn’t seen the most entertaining of races, that would be doing disservice to the epic battles for the other podium places in both races, which were more than enough to keep everyone entertained throughout. The Luna Logistics Classic Formula Ford Championship is a regular at Castle Combe for a reason, with everyone I’m sure hoping they will return again next year.

For more information on this series please feel free to visit their website below.
http://www.classicformulaford.com/home/4581789561

Hoad shocks Formula Ford paddock with easy victory

The Castle Combe Formula Ford championship fired back into life this opening bank holiday Monday, with the grid improving in quality over the off-season. The championship has been a fan favorite since it’s inception in 1969, and still runs strong in 2015.

With an influx of returning star drivers it was somewhat of a surprise to almost everyone when sporadic Castle Combe Formula Ford racer Jonathan Hoad took pole position in his ex-works Duckhams 1990 Van Diemen RF90. Hoad has spent all winter preparing the car, and spent lots of time testing the car also, which helps to explain his pole position. The resurfaced track was clearly to everyone’s liking as the pole was was only fractionally off the lap record, set in 2008.

Roger Orgee came come to winning the title last year, and started this year from 2nd on the grid, whilst the returning Felix Fisher and Nathan Ward completed row two.At the start it was the returning and seriously fast Josh Fisher that made the best start, rocketing up from 5th on the grid to challenge for the lead going into Quarry on the opening lap.

By lap 2 it appeared all the off-season work was paying off for Hoad as he quickly built up a lead of several seconds over the chasing pack behind, with a five car train behind him fighting over 3rd position in the early laps. Lap 5 saw the fight for 3rd splinter into two separate fights, with Fisher, Ward and Orgee fighting over 2nd, whilst ex-champion Ed Moore, reigning double champion Adam Higgins and Luke Cooper fought over 5th position.

A lap later and the breakthrough was made in the fight for 2nd, with Nathan Ward passing Fisher, who dropped to fourth a lap later after being passed by Orgee. At this halfway stage of the race Hoad was comfortable out front, with a lead of 2.9 seconds over the rest, who were squabbling for positions themselves. The two separate battle for 2nd and now 6th were still going on, with Higgins managing to bridge the gap and join the battle for 2nd.

Sadly for Higgins, just as he joined the battle for 2nd, Orgee distanced himself from the bunch as he solidified himself in 2nd place, which in turn splintered the battle for 2nd into smaller battles for the lower placings in the top six. Into the final lap and Jonathan Hoad cruised home to a dominant lights to flag win in the opening round of the 2015 Castle Combe Formula Ford Championship, 3.3 seconds clear of Roger Orgee in 2nd. Nathan Ward completed the podium whilst Josh Fisher was lucky to survive late race contact with a back marker on Dean Straight on the final lap, as he could have easily lost a wheel after touching another car. He survived however and came home 4th,although Fisher can at least take solace from the fact he broke the long standing Class C lap record by a huge margin, beating the time set by former front runner Matt Rivett, set remarkably in September 2001. Adam Higgins and Felix Fisher will be slightly disappointed with 5th and 6th places respectively.

This opening round was a dominant masterclass from Jonathan Hoad, although with both Josh and Felix Fisher promising to return for more of the championship this season, alongside Adam Higgins, Nathan Ward and Roger Orgee who will look to knock him off his perch this season, Hoad will have his work cut out to remain on top as the season progresses. It shall be very interesting to watch how the season unfolds. For more information on this exciting championship please visit http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/formula-ford-1600/

Roger Orgee dominates end of season Formula Ford Carnival

Next up on track for the penultimate race of the Championship Finals Raceday was the Castle Combe Formula Ford Carnival, a regular end of season one-off race for victory which has been going since 1996. This year’s entry was abit smaller than previous years although most of the championship regulars wheeled out their cars for one final race in the season. Nathan Ward was once again on pole in his Spectrum with the talented returnee Luke Cooper alongside him in his older Swift SC92 model. Michael Moyers was 3rd with Roger Orgee completing row 2.

At the start it was the two Higgins brothers who made the best getaway’s as Richard rose quickly from 6th on the grid whilst recently crowned Combe Formula Ford champ Adam shot from 8th, after he only completed 1 qualifying lap for this to save his car for the earlier final round of the Formula Ford championship. Nathan Ward managed to retain the lead however, until lap 2 when a determined Roger Orgee passed him on the inside going into Tower.

From here it seemed both Orgee and Ward had the edge on the others for pace as they opened a small gap back to Combe debutant Michael Moyers in 3rd by lap 3. Later on in this shortened 12 lap affair Orgee showed he was aiming to avenge his earlier title loss as he opened a lead of just over a second, whilst behind him Ward was now fighting Moyers, Adam Higgins and Luke Cooper for 2nd place. Unfortunately this battle was split apart on the next lap as contact between Moyers and Higgins at the Esses delayed the rest, and left Moyers with sidepod damage that was enough to force him into retirement at the end of the lap.

Now Nathan Ward was free of those behind him he once again set about challenging Orgee for the lead in the last few laps, although it seemed he was unlikely to find a way through. Behind them, a great battle for 3rd was now developing between Adam Higgins, Luke Cooper, Jonathan Hoad, Ed Moore and Richard Higgins. The final few laps were set to be frantic and unfortunately things once again ended in tears, as Richard Higgins was dumped off the track after a last lap collision.

Back at the front and Roger Orgee salvaged a Carnival win from his earlier title loss whilst Nathan Ward came home a close 2nd. Completing the podium was 2013 and 2014 Castle Combe Formula Ford champion Adam Higgins. Luke Cooper was 4th in his return to the circuit, with Jonathan Hoad bringing home his iconic Duckhams Van Diemen RF90 racer 5th whilst ex-champion and serial winner Ed Moore completed the top 6.

Whilst this year’s Carnival failed to live up to the glory days of the race in the mid-2000’s this year’s race was yet again a classic with a great battle between Orgee and Ward for the lead and even further down every podium place was hotly contested. The Carnival brought the curtain down on an amazing 2014 Castle Combe Formula Ford season, my only hope is that the action and level of entries can be sustained into 2015, with maybe even a few more faces to challenge at the front although that may simply be wishful thinking.

For any further information on the series please visit their website below.
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/formula-ford-1600/

Chris Stuart survives carnage to take Pre-82 Classic FFord race

Carrying on the Formula Ford theme of the day’s Castle Combe Championship finals race day, the Pre-1982 Classic Formula Ford Championship grid took to the track for their 20 minute race. The sizeable grid was headed by Andrew Smith on pole with long time series front runner Stuart Kestenbaum alongside him on the front row. Simon Davey lined up 3rd with Ted Pearson completing row 2.

From the start it was Stuart Kestenbaum who made the best getaway to steal the early lead with the rest following on behind. It took until lap 3 before pole man Andrew Smith was able to claim the lead from Kestenbaum at Quarry. Things soon got worse for Kestenbaum on the exit of the corner as he was demoted to 3rd by an opportunistic Simon Davey. The major talking point of the race occurred a lap later at Quarry as the top 3 were all eliminated in one incident, with the rest scrambling to find a way through the carnage in front of them. It appeared leader Andrew Smith spun with Simon Davey and Stuart Kestenbaum also collecting him and leaving all three strewn on the grass run off on the outside of Quarry.

In the aftermath of the leaders collision it was Ted Pearson who now led, however he had lost his nosecone in the melee and it was clear from his heavily blocked radiator that he’d been grass cutting in avoidance of further contact at Quarry. Despite the large amount of grass in the radiator Pearson was able to continue for another lap in the lead, before a gear linkage failure forced him to slow at Hammerdown and coast round into retirement. Chris Stuart was the new leader after making rapid progress from 6th on the grid whilst also benefiting from others mistakes. Stuart opened a small lead over Kevin Howell and Kevin Mansell in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Kevin Mansell sensed a chance at the victory and dived inside Kevin Howell for 2nd at Tower on lap 7. It seemed Howell might of had a potential problem as he then lost 3rd on the next lap Philip Michael Wrigley. Any hopes Mansell had of claiming victory were ruined with a spin at Bobbies on lap 9, as he dropped from 2nd to 7th. Going into the final laps a scintillating battle for the lead was developing between Stuart, Michael Wrigley and Roger Newman. Newman was the man on the move as he stole 2nd from Michael Wrigley at Quarry on the penultimate lap, although he was unable to wrest the lead from Stuart. So after a dramatic Pre-82 Classic Formula Ford race it was Chris Stuart who outlasted the rest to claim the victory, with Roger Newman and Philip Michael Wrigley completing the podium.

Kevin Howell recovered from his late race spin to claim 4th with Leandro Guedes taking the iconic Jesus Saves Van Diemen RF79 to 5th whilst the Wrigley family could be happy with Matthew claiming 6th to join Philip Michael in 3rd. All in all, it was a very interesting race with plenty of action, in other words a proper Formula Ford race. For more information on the series please visit the link below.
http://www.classicformulaford.com/

Adam Higgins claims second Combe Formula Ford title in final race of season

The Castle Combe Formula Ford Championship has been hotly contested all season, with the three consistently stand out drivers of 2014 all in contention for the title going into last weekend’s final race. After the dropped scores had been applied it was reigning champion Adam Higgins who went into the race with a 1 point lead over Roger Orgee, with young star Ash Crossey an outside contender 14 points behind.

Lining up on pole was the perennially unlucky Nathan Ward, who has been in a position to win a lot of races this year but for a multitude of reasons has been prevented from doing so. Roger Orgee was the first of the title contenders in 2nd, with Ash Crossey lining up 3rd from title rival Adam Higgins in 4th. From the start it was pole man Nathan Ward and Adam Higgins who made the best starts off the line, with the top 3 of Ward, Higgins and Orgee making an early break on lap 1 from the pursuing train of Crossey, Michael Moyers and Richard Higgins.

By the next lap Ward had opened his advantage to roughly 2-3 seconds whilst it appeared Adam Higgins was now holding up those behind him including Roger Orgee directly behind him. From here Higgins and Orgee eased away slightly from those behind him, being led by Crossey, over the next few laps to solidify themselves in their own private battle for the title.

By lap 6 Ward has built his lead to a massive 4.4 seconds over Higgins behind, who was still only just holding off Orgee behind him. A few laps later and the pressure finally told on Orgee in 3rd as he suffered a small off and was passed by Ash Crossey, which also let Higgins off the hook now in 2nd. After this an almighty battle developed for 3rd between Crossey, Orgee, Moyers and R Higgins by lap 11. A lap later and Orgee’s title hopes were finally dealt a hammer blow as he went off for the second time, this time dropping to 7th as Crossey was now well ahead of the rest in 3rd.

Back at the front and now Adam Higgins was well clear in 2nd and Orgee was struggling he seemed to set loose in the final 5 laps as he set a string of fastest laps to reel in Ward in the lead. Going into the final lap of the season Higgins was right with Ward for the lead, and his finally completed his fairy tale afternoon as he slid inside Ward at the Esses to take the lead at the death as he motored home to his third victory of the year and his second consecutive title, which leaves him only one short of distinguished father Bob Higgins accolade of three consecutive titles between 1981 and 1983.

Higgins was clearly overjoyed with his second title as he jumped up and down in the car throughout the slowing down lap, with Ward gracious in defeat with 2nd whilst rising star Ash Crossey completed the podium. Combe debutante Michael Moyers was an impressive 4th with the hugely impressive dominator of Class C David Cobbold came home 5th with Adam Higgins brother Richard completing the top 6. Orgee came home a very frustrated 7th but was magnanimous in defeat.

Adam Higgins proved in this race alone why he deserves to be the 2014 champion, and as it seems the Higgins family will be back in 2015, you would have to be a brave man to bet against Adam Higgins claiming a third consecutive title, although he will face stiff competition from the likes of Roger Orgee and Nathan Ward especially.

For anyone interested in supporting or even competing in the series next year please visit the link to the series
http://www.ccracingclub.co.uk/championships/formula-ford-1600/

HSCC Formula Ford 2000 Championship Castle Combe 04/10/14 report

After the exciting opening race for the Monoposto series, next up on track was the HSCC Formula Ford 2000 series, who lined up for the first of their double header races to round out their season. The title was still up for grabs amongst three drivers and it was the 2nd man in the points, Ben Tusting, who claimed pole from title leader Ben Simms. The title outsider Andrew Park line up 3rd with frequent race winner and local favourite Nelson Rowe completing row 2 in 4th.

At the start of their opening 15 minute stanza it was 3rd man Andrew Park who shot into an early lead and at the end of lap 1 it was Park and Nelson Rowe who were making a small break at the front from the Ben Simms and Tom Smith, up from 5th, behind them. A lap later and Park began opening a gap to Rowe in 2nd also as Park looked very strong in the opening minutes. Things were going slightly pear shaped for title leader Ben Simms as he lost 3rd on lap 2 to Tom Smith, with the outside bet for the title Andrew Park streaking away up front.

By lap 3 the top four of Park, Rowe, Smith and Simms were now well clear of the rest of the field, which was bad news for the pole man and 2nd in the point Ben Tusting, who seemed to be struggling with the much drier conditions now compared with the extremely wet track they faced for the earlier qualifying session. A lap later and Simms re-took 3rd from Smith, with the top 4 now evenly spacing themselves out at the front.

From here it seemed Andrew Park was destined for a lights to flag comfortable victory, however he suffered a difficult moment on lap 10 as bad traffic for him halved his gap to Rowe to 2.4 seconds, however after this minor blip it was plain sailing for the final two laps for leader Andrew Park, who claimed a dominant victory to boost his title chances going into the final race of the season. Nelson Rowe came home 2nd whilst title leader Benn Simms claimed the final podium place. Tom Smith was 4th whilst pole man Ben Tusting and Andrew Storer completed the top 6 respectively, in a great opening race for the HSCC Formula Ford 2000 Championship as the title was set to be decided in the final race of their season later on in the afternoon.

Much later on in the afternoon the HSCC Formula Ford 2000 series ventured out on track again for their final race of the season, with an earlier accident in the resident Castle Combe Saloons series relegating this race from 15 to 12 minutes because of the previous long stoppage. With dropped scores the title was realistically between title leader Benn Simms and race 1 victor Andrew Park. The grid was based on second fastest qualifying times and therefore it was again Ben Tusting who claimed pole, with title contender Andrew Park alongside him on the front row. Nelson Rowe and title leader Benn Simms completed row 2. From the start again Andrew Park made a great getaway to lead as Benn Simms was right in his wheel tracks off the line.

The opening lap was tight as the field were very close with one another from the start, and the first to make a mistake was local man Nelson Rowe, who ran wide at Bobbies on the opening lap and dropped from 3rd to 7th in a matter of meters. His recovery was swift however as he made up a number of places in the ensuing laps to rise to 4th by lap 4. Both pole man Tusting and Rowe were now closing back up to the leaders. Rowe was on the move again on lap 6 as he passed Tusting for 3rd at Folly, and was soon challenging Park for the lead later on in the lap. The battle for the leader was now between title contenders Benn Simms and Andrew Park with local man Nelson Rowe the interloper in 3rd.

The two title rivals Simms and Park were constantly changing positions, with Rowe now getting in on the act as he passed Park for 2nd at Quarry on lap 8, as he then passed Simms for the lead at the Esses a lap later. This move was then followed by a brilliantly opportunistic move by Park as he passed Simms for 2nd around the outside at Old Paddock, which is a move rarely tried by drivers let alone a move that is completed. From here the status quo remained as ex Historic Formula Ford champion Nelson Rowe claimed victory at his local circuit, with the two title contender Andrew Park and Benn Simms completing the podium.

Pole man Ben Tusting was 4th whilst Tom Smith and Graham Fennymore completed the top 6 respectively. After frantic calculation both from the championship coordinator and the two circuit commentators it was announced that after dropped scores Benn Simms was the champion by 4 points from Andrew Park. Both were in good spirits after the race when being interviewed, which shows the camaraderie amongst the drivers in this thriving HSCC Formula Ford 2000 Championship. This series provided two great races at the Championship Finals race day here at Castle Combe, and I hope the Formula Ford 2000 community is welcomed back to Castle Combe next year. For more information on the series please visit the link below.

http://www.hscc.org.uk/championships