COMBE CATERHAM ROUND-UP


CATEGORIES:

Graham Johnson was back on form at Castle Combe. Photo: Caterham Motorsport

A welcome return to Wiltshire by the Roadsports family of Caterhams saw close and sometimes dramatic racing, with the barrier at Tower corner being amongst the winners on bank holiday Monday.

Avon Tyres Caterham Supersports

Another brace of wins for James MacLachlan gives him a healthy championship lead, but his rivals are edging ever closer…

Stewards ignored an apparent jump start by both MacLachlan and pole sitter Nathan Lindop, though it made little difference by the time the pack reached Quarry. MacLachlan overcame the Lindop, whilst he, Paul Begley and Iain Forsyth fought to see who wouldn’t be on the podium. Lindop and Begley would occasionally get a glimpse of the lead, but MacLachlan wasn’t going to give it up, staying ahead to take the flag. Lindop’s unparalleled pace helped propel him to the front of the second-place battle with Begley third, leaving Forsyth to finish a lonely fourth just up the road from the Arnold, Cook and Fronzoni scrap raging behind.

MacLachlan fluffed his pole start in race two, with the majority of the grid streaming past before he recovered. With MacLachlan (very) temporarily out of the way, Begley took the lead, but in a repeat of a qualifying error, ran into the barrier and retirement at Tower. Lindop now led, but MacLachlan had already scythed through the field and usurped the leader before mid-race, pulling Robert Smith along with him. The trio pulled clear of the remainder of the race where an almighty battle was raging for ninth position between eight cars. A last corner effort buy Lindop was thwarted by MacLachan who’s tight line in resulted in a very wide line out, taking the flag somewhere near the finish line on the grass, just ahead of Lindop than Smith.

In the championship, MacLachlan extends his healthy lead whilst Begley’s non-finish drops him to fourth behind Forsyth and Arnold.

Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport -A

Changing conditions see the championship leaders succumb to the magnetism of the Tower barrier and a stunning drive from Jamie Orton, blowing the table wide open …

In a repeat of Silverstone, JJ O’Malley and Ian Payne lined up on the front row for race one and set about racing alongside each other, exchanging the lead. But when rain came shortly before mid-distance, chaos ensued. As the grip disappeared, Superlight R300 regular Peter Young stirred into action. Already on a charge up the grid, the wet conditions suited him perfectly and he joined the lead group, passing Payne in time to see JJ O’Malley be the first of the leaders to find the Tower barrier (joining a car already there). Payne couldn’t stay with Young, or on the track, and joined O’Malley at Tower a lap later. Young now had a healthy lead, but behind him Orton had passed twenty-five cars and was staggeringly now in second place. Caught out by a timetable running ahead of schedule, Orton had arrived at the grid almost too late to take the start and had been demoted to the rear. Unfazed, he’d been picking off drivers quietly, but when the rain came he really stormed through the field. As the track dried, Young’s advantage diminished and Orton reeled him in, passing him to take his first race win. Behind Orton and Young a three way battle for the final podium pace went the way of Graham Johnson ahead of Jonathan Ramsay and Antony Sidney-Wollett, well ahead of the remaining pack.

The grid for race two had been substantially thinned by the loss of not only O’Malley and Payne, but also Richard Cater and Rob Vissers, all victims of individual offs at Tower. With his Silverstone disappointment behind him, Graham Johnson was back on form and quickly took the lead from Orton who was having a ding-dong with Richard Boughton. Boughton span at Quarry leaving the close-by Orton to take evasive action putting the pair out of running for the lead. Johnson drove a commanding lead with Jonathan Ramsay and Peter Young riding shotgun all the way to the flag. Young content with both third and setting a perhaps unassailable lap record early in the race as the lead five ran nose to tail.

Jamie Orton now assumes the championship lead, two points ahead of Graham Johnson with Antony Widney-Woollett in third. O’Malley and Payne drop to seventh and ninth respectively.

Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport-B

Roadsport-B continues to provide the closest racing as Lee Wiggins’ rivals try to stop his march towards the title …

Steve Day qualified in his customary pole position, only to once again hand over the lead to Wiggins within the first lap. He wasn’t to be deterred though and hounded Wiggins to the line, briefly snatching the lead back in the dying laps before Wiggins won through. In the meantime, Reece Somerfield, Jeremy Webb and Ben Whibley fought amongst themselves for the other podium place and the chance to snatch a bigger trophy if Wiggins or Day let slip for a moment. But despite some near moments, it wasn’t to be, Webb finishing in third though Whibley had been the fastest man on the track.

The Wiggins, Day and Webb party looked set to continue in race two until new boy Reece Somerfield leapfrogged from fourth into first on lap five at Quarry, which set the group into action. A demoted Webb did the same trick a few laps later only for the large crowd at Tower to experience deja-vu as he became the third Caterham race leader of the day to exit the race here. Somerfield assumed the lead with Wiggins attached to the back of his car until the last lap when he made an overtake move stick, edging across the line for his second win of the day. Behind the pair, Whibley was rewarded with third for being fastest again, with Martin Addison fourth and a dramatic backwards-across-the-grass taking of the chequered flag by Day for fifth.

Day and Whibley move up to second and third in the championship ahead of Webb and Addison, whilst Wiggins starts to stretch his lead.

For the full results for the Castle Combe meeting Click Here

The next outing for the Roadsports & Supersports is the Caterham EuroFest at Zolder, Belgium on 5/6th June.