THRILLS AND SPILLS AT CASTLE COMBE WEEKENDER
The National Formula Ford antics on track were certiainly a talking point of the Castle Combe weekend – Photo: Rachel Bourne
No matter what happened across the two days of our recent race weekend at Castle Combe in Wiltshire, it certainly was eventful to say the least. There was action from when the first race started all the way until the final chequered flag flew on Sunday afternoon, as drivers battled hard for victory and crucial championship points.
The Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres certainly proved to be the most eventful out of all the championships competing that weekend. Race 1 only lasted 3 laps before Michael Eastwell and Keith Donegan collided Camp Corner, causing the first red flag. On the restart, polesitter Jordan Dempsey converted it to a race win ahead of title contender Luke Williams and Michael Moyers, racing as a guest alongside his regular Castle Combe FF1600 duties.
The second race was no calmer, as once again the race was stopped after 3 laps due to two individual incidents involving James Scott-Murphy and Nick Barnes. The recovery of both cars and subsequent barrier repairs caused over an hour of delays. Because of this, the result was declared with Williams as the winner with Dempsey 2nd and Moyers once again 3rd. Sadly, due to this delay as well as other incidents throughout Sunday’s action, the third race had to be postponed with a view to being run at the championship’s next meeting at Silverstone next month.
There were also talking points from the Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup, as rivals Steven Dailly and points leader James Gornall were locked in combat for the entire meeting. Dailly drew first blood as he went on to take victory with Gornall just 0.3 second behind and Owen Hunter taking his third 3rd place finish in as many races. However, it was the second race that would be on everyone’s lips as the battle for the lead between Dailly and Gornall intensified. A move that Dailly made on Gornall into Quarry corner was deemed unsatisfactory and despite the Scotsman crossing the line first, the stewards thought otherwise. He was handed a 1 second penalty for the contact which gave Gornall the win, with Matthew Parkes securing 3rd place.
Starting life in their newly rebranded form, the BRSCC F1000 Championship (formerly known as Formula Jedi) took to Castle Combe and immediately seemed in their element thanks to the circuit’s high speed nature. All 3 of their races were absolute barnstormers, as race 1 saw 5 cars all in contention for victory across the entire race distance. In the end, it was Paul Butcher who clinched a narrow victory from Michael Watton with Dan Clowes in 3rd. It was close again in Race 2, as Clowes would take the lead and win this time despite advances from Stuart Abbott, Lee Morgan and Watton throughout; Butcher and Abbott would join him on the podium. Race 3 saw a third different winner as Watton managed to take 1st place from the front row of the grid after passing Butcher midway through. Butcher would take 2nd and Clowes 3rd, leaving the points table as a very closely fought contest!
There was fantastic action as ever in the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship as James Coleman took a surprise pole position for Race 1. Sadly he wouldn’t stay there as he was quickly overhauled, with 2015 champion Ed Hayes picking up the lead early on from Richard Avery to win with Adam Southgate in 2nd and Avery 3rd. The same 3 drivers took to the podium in Race 2 with Hayes winning again, although Avery would this time steal 2nd place, while Race 3 would see Southgate clinch a win for himself as he and Hayes did a position swap on the podium this time. Runaway 924 Class leader Pip Hammond was once again unstoppable all weekend as he completed the grand slam of winning all 3 races from pole position with fastest lap in each. Matthew Harris was the sole Production Boxster representative and completed all 3 races.
The Teekay Couplings Production GTis came to Wiltshire sporting their biggest grid of Mk5 Series cars to date, and it was first timer James Colbourne who converted a front row start into his victory in the first race the car had ever competed in! Regulars Martyn Walsh and Simon Hill followed him home in 2nd and 3rd respectively, while in the Mk2 Championship Nick Porter put one over title rival and reigning champion Chris Webb for victory, with Brian Reed in 3rd place. Race 2 in the Mk5s would see the same 3 drivers on the podium again, only this time it was Walsh who took to the top step from Hill and Colbourne. Over in the Mk2s, Porter and Webb once again came home 1st and 2nd, with George Haynes picking up 3rd on this occasion.
Castle Combe was always a favourite circuit for the TVR Tuscan Challenge, and the current Dunlop TVR Challenge took to the high-speed sweeps with great enthusiasm. Perry Waddams drove his Class A+ Tuscan Challenge car to victory in Race 1 ahead of Jason Clegg’s Class A Tuscan Speed Six and Tim Davis’ Tuscan Challenge race car also in Class A. Waddams wouldn’t even complete a lap of Race 2 leaving Davis to win from Clegg and Class C dominator Mike Luck, but Waddams was back up to full strength again in Race 3 as he came home 2nd to Davis with Clegg 3rd.
Sunday brought a plethora of historic machinery on track courtesy of our good friends at HRDC. The 30 car Allstars/ Academy & A-Series Challenge race, featuring music legends Brian Johnson of AC/DC and Chris Rea, was won by Steve Jones’ Mini Cooper S ahead of John Moon’s Lenham GT and another Mini Cooper driven by Julian Crossley. It was a dominant drive for former BTCC champion and historic racing regular Andrew Jordan and father Mike in the 45 minute COYS Trophy race as they romped home in their Lotus Cortina Mk1 by almost a minute and a half! Michael Squire’s Ford Mustang and Andy Edwards’ Ford Falcon made up the rest of the podium. There was also the special Coombs Heritage Challenge for historic Jaguar saloons, with Peter Dorlin the winner from Richard Butterfield and Roger Cope.
Sports prototype action also accompanied the timetable with Sports 2000, with a combined Duratec and Pinto race on the Saturday. Tom Stoten took his Gunn TS11 to overall and Duratec victory ahead of David Houghton and Nick Bates in their MCRs, while the Pinto top spot was taken by Damien Griffin’s Lola T598. He headed home Paul Streat’s Lola T87/90 and Joshua Law’s Shrike P15. Sunday brought a 45 minute race for the Mini Enduro Series, with Stoten again picking up the win and Houghton taking 2nd for Duratec and overall. Nick Bacon, also in a Gunn TS11, would clinch 3rd on this occasion, while the Snowdon/ Steeper Tiga SC87 was top Pinto car from Joshua Law and Mike Fry.
As ever, the Castle Combe Racing Club were in attendance at their home circuit once again with 3 fantastic races for either of their 3 home-grown series. The Castle Combe FF1600 race was taken by Josh Fisher by just over 2 seconds ahead of Michael Moyers, matching his success in his guest appearances in the National championship, and Luke Cooper in 3rd. An eclectic Castle Combe GT Championship grid would see Bradley John come out on top in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, with Oliver Bull’s Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette and Steve Hall’s Audi TT RS joining him on the rostrum. Finally, a packed Castle Combe Sallon Car Championship entry boasting a staggering 35 cars would see a domination by Simon Thornton-Norris all race long. He took his Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart to victory lane, 15 seconds ahead of an almighty dice for 2nd place that was won by Geoffrey Ryall’s Peugeot 106 GTi in 2nd with Kevin Bird’s Nissan 200SX completing the podium.
You can find the full breakdown of the results from Castle Combe here – CASTLE COMBE RESULTS.