SENSATIONAL SUMMER SPECTACLE SET FOR CASTLE COMBE


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The Alfa Romeo Championship helps provide an Italian flavour to the meeting – Photo: Paul Stone

Castle Combe is one of those circuits that when you look the circuit map, you may not think much of it. However, you’d be foolish to underestimate it. It still commands a reputation as one of the UK’s most challenging and gruelling race tracks to tackle. This weekend, the circuit plays host to a race meeting packed with content and given how popular meetings held there can be, an impressive crowd is set to turn out in force to witness it all unfold.

As mentioned there’s a large variety of championships on the bill, however let’s start with those in attendance from our roster. Maintaining grids that are hitting an average of around 30 cars a race, the Quaife Fiesta Championship is once again blossoming nicely. It couldn’t be any closer at the top of the points in Class C, the largest and fastest of the 4 classes competing, as Specialized Motorsport teammates Simon Horrobin and Samuel Priest are locked in a dead heat after dropped scores. They’ll have the likes to James “JJ” Ross, Nick Sanderson, Aaron Thompson and Alfonso Skrizcka for company at the front too. Alastair Kellett holds the overall points lead as well as in Class D, where he’s fending off Jessica King, John Cooper and Jamie White, Peter Dendy-Sadler will contest Class A with Tim Bennett and John Bateman, while Kieran White and Luke Bannister will duel all weekend in Class B.

Hoping to reach the senior Fiesta championship and beyond someday, the Fiesta Junior Championship continues to provide an exciting proving ground for 14-17 year old drivers. Harry Gooding enters the weekend leading the way after 3 wins so far, with challengers hot on his heels such as Elliot Wilson, Bradley Burns, Ronan Quinn, Callum Hawkins-Row and more. With 5 winners already in the first half of the year, the prospect of seeing that number increase is rather high considering the level of competition this championship has provided in 2016. Long may it continue!

This year’s Toyo Tires Porsche Championship has produced some excellent racing so far, although history appears to be repeating itself again as Richard Styrin will want to add to his current run of success in the Boxster class. Richard Avery and Garry Lawrence are likely to have something to say about that, while in the 924 class it’s a return for Turn Eight Racing’s Pip Hammond who dominated all 3 of his opening races at Snetterton. He’ll be hunting for more silverware at the expense of frontrunners Linda Warren, Karl Rossin and Nizar El-Chamaa.

Young gun Tom Hill has a commanding lead already in the Alfa Romeo Championship as he bids for glory both overall and in the Twin Spark Cup. Simon Cresswell and Andy Hancock appear to be his nearest challengers for the time being, although you can never count out stalwart Dave Messenger either. There’s also duels in both the Power Trophy and Modified classes. It’s Keith Waite versus John Griffiths in the former, while Andy Robinson is set to go toe-to-toe against Bryan Shrubb in the latter.

Finally from our roster, also boasting the largest of the grids out of those attending from us, the BMW Race Days Compact Cup continues to bring bucket loads of enthusiasm, talented drivers and much door-to-door racing that you’ve become accustomed to in touring car-style racing. Former British GT champion James Gornall tops the table coming here, but he has some very hungry pursuers in the shape of Joe Wiggin and reigning Scottish BMW champion Steven Dailly. There’ll be so much action in the pair of races for this lot, you won’t know where to look!

In addition to the championships we’re providing, the other half of the timetable is populated by many of our friends from other standalone clubs and championships. First off, sports prototype fans will love the rapid Sports 2000s with separate races for both Duratec and Pinto engine cars. Chassis from the likes of MCR, Carbir, Lola and Van Diemen are on display with a real chance to stretch their legs thanks to Castle Combe’s high speed nature. Lots of downforce, lots of grip, lots of action – lovely!

We always enjoy it when HRDC are in attendance and this time should be no exception. Adding a distinct historic flavour to the proceedings, there’s two races that will cater for anyone who likes their racing from the good ol’ days. In the Touring Greats race, also featuring a selection of invited cars from the TC63 class, those competing will emulate those who raced in the heyday of saloon car racing in the 1950s and 1960s. Marques such as Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Alfa Romeo and Fiat are all present, whilst a plethora of Austins make up almost half the entry. There’s star names to look out for too, including Dragons’ Den’s Theo Paphitis, musician Chris Rea, Tony Jardine, Michael Caine of GT and BTCC fame and Mike and Andrew Jordan.

In a contingent that equally as large, the second of HRDC’s pair of races sees an amalgamation of the Allstars, Academy and A-Series Challenge. Again, there’s a whole host of Austin A30 and A35 Academy machines, while the A-Series features a mix of Minis and MGs and amongst the Allstars you’ll see Daimlers, Austin Healeys, a TVR and even an AC Cobra! Quite the selection, wouldn’t you agree?

Crossing the border into England this weekend, the Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship are also in attendance for their away day with even more variety than you could imagine. With 8 classes, it’s one of those “allcomers” races where there’s a place for any driver competing in just about anything they wish to run. From Honda Civics and Peugeot 106s, through to Lotus, Mitsubishi Evos and a trio of Ginetta G50s. One clear favourite in some contenders’ eyes is reigning double champion Keith Waite in his Intermarque/National Hot Rod-style BMW Z4 silhouette, but it’s another one of those championships where practically anything could happen and anyone could win!

Last but certainly not least, Castle Combe’s very own Racing Club has three homegrown championships that cover all the bases. First off, the incredibly popular and competitive Formula Fords will certainly see crowd favourite Roger Orgee out to continue his title defence in fine style from Ben Norton, Michael Moyers and more, while across in the GT Championship it’s another trio of Ginetta G50s that are set to rock Wiltshire in the hands of Ben Scrivens, Bob Higgins and David Krayem. Barry Squibb’s Mitsubishi Evo 9 could also spoil the party, along with Phil Gale’s Darrian T9 and Oliver Bull’s Vauxhall Tigra silhouette.

Finally, there’s going be a titanic scrap lined up in the Saloon Car Championship between evergreen rivals Dave Scaramanga and the returning Gary Prebble. Whenever these two compete together at Castle Combe, you’re guaranteed a close race and this one should hopefully be no exception. There’s another fully loaded entry in this one with cars representing makes such as VW, Seat, BMW, Ford, Peugeot, Mazda, Honda, Rover, Suzuki, Citroen and many more. This is touring car racing – Castle Combe style!

Thankfully, the weather looks as though it’s going to be kind to us across both days with a high temperature set to reach 22 degrees, whilst staying humid and dry but overcast. You can find a fully detailed forecast courtesy of the Met Office here – CASTLE COMBE WEATHER.

Also, the final instructions, supplementary regulations, timetable and entry list for this mammoth race weekend can be found here – CASTLE COMBE RACE WEEKEND.

Scott Woodwiss