A CACOPHONY OF CLUB RACING AT CASTLE COMBE
The Toyo Tires Porsches will be a real treat to watch on Castle Combe's high speed sections – Photo: Jon Elsey
Always a firm favourite with local fans and drivers, Castle Combe in Wiltshire plays host to the BRSCC this weekend for two days of sensational club motorsport action. Castle Combe is a circuit that, despite looking deceptively easy looking at the circuit map, is one of the UK’s fastest and most treacherous race tracks – certainly not one to take liberties with!
After putting on 3 dramatic races only a week ago on the Donington GP circuit, the Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres quickly heads across to Castle Combe with the title fight really beginning to hot up. Luke Williams leads the Pro Class by 15 points from Neil MacLennan, while Jamie Thorburn and Luke Cooper are embroiled in a fight for 3rd place. Another ultra-competitive grid is set to line up which will feature a small selection of drivers from the Castle Combe FF1600 Championship (also here this weekend), who will want to test their might against the National regulars. These 3 races will be very exciting!
Speaking of single seaters and exciting, this weekend marks the first that the championship formerly known as Formula Jedi begins its new life as the F1000 Championship. The rebrand was made in a bid to reinvigorate the Championship and attract new and returning drivers. The cars haven’t changed, however – they’re still the 1000cc motorbike engine, “slicks ‘n wings” pocket rockets that they’ve always been. Lee Morgan was the man in form last time out at Snetterton and he’ll be out to stop the likes of Paul Butcher, Michael Watton, Dan Clowes and defending champion Rob Sayell from halting his charge.
If sports cars is more your thing, there’s plenty to have that covered too. The Toyo Tires Porsche Championship rumbles on as Combe becomes the next backdrop for an intriguing battle between the 3 classes on display here. Ed Hayes holds an 18 point lead in the Race Boxster class from Adam Southgate and the two traded wins last time out at Snetterton, however don’t count out Richard Avery or Nick Hull to potentially cause an upset or two either. Pip Hammond has so far been an unstoppable force in the 924 Class with his PDC Racing teammate Gavin Johnson currently his closest rival, while Matthew Harris will be out to mix it up in his Production Boxster.
There’s also action from the Dunlop TVR Challenge, a championship that keeps the legacy of the legendary TVR Tuscan Challenge alive. A couple of example of the Tuscan Challenge race car will be out on display as well as Griffiths, Tazmins, Chimaeras and more in the mix. Castle Combe is always seen as a circuit synonymous with TVR racing as it was a popular circuit for drivers back in the heydays of the 1990s. This weekend will hark back to the good old days with some exciting action from some of Blackpool’s finest automotive exports.
What about those of you who love tin-tops? Well, that’s also catered for this weekend. The magnificent Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup has provided some incredible racing all throughout the season so far and here this weekend that’s only sent to intensify and get better. Reigning champion James Gornall will be out to extend his advantage at the head of the table, while Snetterton rival Steven Dailly will know that good results this weekend are absolutely crucial to keep any title hopes alive. That said, if Gornall does happen to slip up, then James Nutbrown and Owen Hunter will be right there to take advantage and possibly even the points lead. This really is bumper to bumper tin-top action at its best!
There’s also hatchback action provided by the Teekay Couplings Production GTis as both the Mk2 Championship and the Mk5 Series come out in force to tackle Castle Combe’s high speed nature. Chris Webb will be determined to make sure he leaves this weekend with his chances of retaining his Mk2 title even stronger than before. However, Nick Porter, Dan Gibbs and George Haynes will all be out to stop him. In the Mk5 Series, its biggest ever entry of 12 cars hits the track with a few new faces to welcome this time. Regular drivers Simon Hill, Martyn Walsh, James Howlison and Adam Hance are your best bets for victory in this portion of the entry as the Series continues to get stronger with more new cars hitting the track every meeting.
So, that covers the BRSCC content, but there’s also a lot of fantastic championships and series also on the bill in support. We have to start with Castle Combe’s own trio of incredibly popular local series, with the FF1600 Championship seeing plenty of regular faces along with some drivers crossing over from the Britcover National ranks. There’s also a stunning array of machines on display in both the Saloon Car Championship and the new for 2017 GT Championship with bumper entries in each. If you’ve never watched any of them before and aren’t local to the circuit, we implore you to do so – they’re fantastic and extremely competitive!
There’s also a trio of races in store from our very good friends at HRDC, who always bring joy and fun when their historic racers roll into town. There’s the regular Allstars/ Academy & A-Series Challenge race, along with a special COYS Trophy contest that’s very much akin to their Touring Greats/TC63 setup, while a special Coombs Heritage Challenge gives the big Jaguar Mk1, Mk2 and Mk7 super saloons a real chance to enjoy close quarters competition once again – just like it was in the ‘50s! Fans of both the Goodwood Revival and the Members’ Meeting will definitely want to check these out.
Finally, who wants some sports prototype action to top it all off? Well you’ve got it! The Sports 2000 Championship are with us for both days with a regular combined race for both their Duratec and Pinto Championships on Saturday, before an exciting Mini Enduro takes place on Sunday to really add to the action and variety. These cars are incredibly quick and massive fun to watch and the high speed nature of Castle Combe will only make the spectacle even better.
Have you ever seen a more eclectic, varied and packed collection of championships and series on one club racing timetable?! Those who are going this weekend are in for an absolute treat and we expect the spectator banks at Camp Corner and Quarry to be heaving with race fans. Hopefully the weather will also play its part and will only add to what is set to be a sensational two days of racing in Wiltshire!