WHO WILL BE KING OF THE CASTLE?
Paul Aram will be aiming to extend his Caterham Roadsport lead. Photo: www.snappyracers.com
After the previous gap of nine years our South Western returns to Castle Combe this weekend for the second time in just eight weeks, but this time for a packed two-day meeting featuring fifteen different championships and twenty-three races!
The various Caterham championships make their first visit to Combe for quite a while and it’s the Roadsports who are first out of the blocks. Scotsman Paul Aram leads the way with a healthy lead from Graham Williams and Anthony Barnes but the points table does not tell the full story of Roadsports this year, so also watch for #97 Steve McCulley’s Mission Motorsport supported car and the brothers Wigg, Ben (#30) and Olly (#8); all of whom are sure to feature in the fight for the podium this weekend.
Both groups (White & Green) of the GQ Caterham Academy are also on parade at Combe for what is just their second circuit race so they will have to learn quickly! Portugal’s Rui Ferreira won the first ever Green Group race at Rockingham last month and thus arrives at Combe with a 10-point lead ahead of Rob Yates and Kieran McAleer. Things are tighter in the White Group, where P2 at Rockingham was just enough to give Andy Perry a one-point lead over race winner Daniel Bremner
Phil Jenkins has a very comfortable lead in the Avon Tyres Caterham Supersport Championship, so all eyes are on the black and gold car of triple Caterham champion Steve Nuttall, whose title bid really must get back on course at Combe, if he is to start reducing the 28-point advantage that Jenkins has accrued.
The Toyo Tires backed Honda VTEC Challenge continues their first season as a BRSCC series and grids are on the up. With a great mixture of Hondas, which range from the CRX of the 80’s and 90’s to the more modern Integra DC5, there is something for every fan of this iconic Japanese brand. At Snetterton last month, Marc Kemp’s Type R Honda Civic dominated both outings, winning comfortably in each. Marc will be the favourite at Combe but will be tested by his father Martyn, Mark Bennett and Robert Burkinshaw.
The consistency of Timothy Dickens has reaped rich rewards so far this season in the Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship. Dickens won the first two rounds of the season at Snett in April and since then has relied on regular podium visits to carve out a narrow lead from Henry Heaton. However, Dan Gore and Jack Brown are the most recent winners, claiming victory in two very tight Zandvoort races last month so both will be confident of maintain that form this weekend.
Our Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championship has attracted a high class entry which includes Combe regular Luke Cooper, who lies fourth overall in Class B. At the top of the standings sits the reigning Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year, Jonny McMullan, who is fresh from a double victory in the previous rounds at Brands Hatch. Underlining the international nature of the Championship, McMullan’s closest challenger is Canadian Patrick Dussault. The Montreal native has taken his Cliff Dempsey run Ray GR13/14 to 3 victories in the UK this year. Keep an eye out for Ben Edwards, BBC’s Formula 1 commentator, who is going back to his roots in Formula Ford. In the Pre90 Class, Reynard 88FF driver Matthew Cowley is the man to beat.
The second half of the Fiesta Junior season starts at Castle Combe in what is the Championship’s first ever visit to the popular Wiltshire circuit. Romford racer Aaron Thompson sits on top of the pile following back to back wins on the Snetterton 200 circuit three weeks ago. Aaron now has a 16 point advantage over Michael Higgs, who made sure that he stayed within touching distance of the leader by securing second in each Snetterton outing. Higgs can’t afford to let Thompson extend the gap this weekend.
The Jam-Sport Fiesta Championship arrives at Castle Combe to also start the second half of the season and the points table show the overall leader is Alastair Kellett, who is just 3 points clear of Scott Robertson. These two head their respective classes (D and C). Classes A & B are led by Jamie Styles and Stuart Robbins.
Australian Liam Sullivan heads up the BRSCC Mighty Minis points table after six races but Brayden Fletcher is keeping him honest with a podium finish in every race so far. Third spot has changed hands after every round so far this year which goes to show how competitive the championship is. The incumbent is Peter Bonas but who knows after this weekend!
The Super Mighty Minis will also bring their exciting brand of racing to Combe. A name that has stood out in Mini racing over the years at Combe is ‘Inch’ Three generations of the family have raced and won here and this weekend we have engine builder Paul Inch on the grid. Reigning champion Jamie White is on course to retain his title (again) but he can expect a severe examination of his credentials from the likes of Scott Kendall and Ian Slark, amongst others.
Of course no Castle Combe meeting would be complete without the circuit’s ‘home’ championships; Formula Fords, Saloon Cars plus Sports & GTs. As ever, all three are very well supported and are popular with local fans.
The weather looks set fair for both days with the forecast predicting warm, dry and sunny weather, particularly on Sunday. You can see a detailed forecast at COMBE WEATHER
Meanwhile, the Finals, timetable and entry lists for what is a very busy meeting can be found at Castle Combe Race Weekend.