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Castle Combe Race Circuit

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HOWARD’S DAY 2024: 500CC F3 TURNS CLOCKS BACK AT CASTLE COMBE

On a weekend over which the clocks went forward an hour to British Summer Time, 500cc Formula 3 turned them back more than seven decades as Castle Combe circuit celebrated its 500th car race meeting on Easter Monday, April 1 – Howard’s Day.

The motorcycle-engined machines raced at Combe’s opening meeting in July 1950 – when Clive Lones won in his Tiger Kitten-JAP – and graced 15 events until the venue’s first chapter closed on October 1, 1955. Works Cooper team-mates Ivor Bueb and Jim Russell bowed out winners in a double-header supporting the Avon Trophy F1 race.

The sweet aroma of methanol fuel pervaded the air as 18 intrepid competitors set out to qualify in cars built between 1948 and 1957. The oldest, the first Cooper Mk2 debuted victoriously by John Cooper at the 1948 Luton Hoo Speed Trials (another Easter Monday!), was competing in the British Isles for the first time in 75 years having been taken to New Zealand by its second owners from Northern Ireland. Restorer James Wilson raced the JAP-powered warhorse, finished days earlier.

Cooper Nortons filled the top three grid slots, Combe Autumn Classic race winners Tom Waterfield (ex-Jim Russell Mk9) and Alex Wilson (James’ brother in a Mk10), locked out the front row, chased by Welsh-domiciled Scot Finlay Mackintosh in his Mk11.

Simon Dedman (ex-Ninian Sanderson Erskine Staride-Norton Mk3) and Harry Painter (ex-Harry “Champion of the Americas” Whitney Cooper-JAP Mk7) were next up, with team patriarch Chris Wilson completing the top six in his Martin-Norton. Also in the pack were Petty, Kieft, Jason, Arnott and Comet chassis, plus the Cooper-based Flash Special concocted by Albert Zains and John ‘Boots’ Hume of Azum Karts fame.

Following a grid walkabout, thoroughly enjoyed by spectators, in which commentator and 500 fan Marcus Pye interviewed several drivers, the heavens opened, not that torrential rain deterred Waterfield, who streaked away from the rest in the car owned by Bristolian Tim Ross. The bold Frazer Nash twitcher dropped Wilson and Painter, who experienced a helmetful of water when he splashed through one unexpectedly deep puddle. The Cooper-Nortons of Mike Fowler (Mk5) and Nigel Challis (Mk8) chased them home with Dedman the final unlapped runner.

The dry sequel was a corker which showcased the charismatic little cars at their best. Wilson made a perfect getaway from the rolling start, charging ahead through Folly corner, and fended off the determined Waterfield to the chequer. Tom’s 1m27.045s (76.51mph) fastest lap reset aerobatics pilot Steve Jones’ record, set back in 2014.

After Painter pitted to report a broken tachometer – his engine grenaded when it happened previously, through a major component failure, so he felt it prudent to check – father Mike sent him back out to hound the pack down. The fight for third now raged between Dedman and Chris Wilson and was narrowly resolved in that order at the flag. Mackintosh was fifth, but Jimmy May – proudly piloting late grandfather Ray Petty’s eponymous Norton-motivated car, back in its original blue – usurped Challis and Richard Kelly (Cooper-Norton Mk5) for sixth.

A lap down, squabblers Andy Raynor (saddling the unique Jason-JAP created by Godfrey Messervy, later chairman of Lucas CAV Industries, over July, August, September, October and November of 1952 – hence the acronym), 500 debutant Mark Heynen (Cooper-Norton Mk8), Roy Wright breaking a four-year layoff in the Cooper-based Flash Special long campaigned by Frank Bruce-White and James Wilson were caught by Painter on the line. Another lap and Harry would have been seventh!

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CCRC FORMULA FORD:

JOSH FISHER DOUBLE ACES TRIPLE CROWN HOPEFULS 

Having sat out last season, when younger brother Felix defended his 2022 Castle Combe title from a second successive Luke Cooper onslaught, three-time champion Josh Fisher’s double victory on Easter Monday [Howard’s Day] established an early Gulf Race Fuels FF1600 championship lead as his rivals gunned for personal triple crowns.

A late opportunity to bring Wayne Poole Racing’s equipe to seven cars over three disciplines in his own Van Diemen RF99/JL14 was eagerly snapped-up by Josh, who looked far from race rusty. “It’s only a one-off at the moment, but we’ll see,” grinned the Bridgwater hairdresser, who won his first Combe title in 2008 and repeated in 2017 and 2019.

Despite heavy overnight rain which left the circuit soggy and its margins like quagmires after an exceedingly wet couple of months, Fisher seized pole position with his penultimate lap of 1m16.859s (86.65mph) having traded best times with 2020 and 2023 FF Festival winner Rory Smith (Medina JL18) throughout the session.

Smith, Cooper (factory Swift SC20) and Felix Fisher (TM racing Ray GR05) were in the mid-17s, blanketed by 0.169s, in Josh’s wake as different chassis marques filled the top four grid places for the first race. Rob Hall – 2011’s champion in a new Swift SC24 from the Cooper family’s stable – ranked fifth, ahead of perennial Class B champion Nathan Ward in his Swift SC92.

Tom Hawkins (Springbridge Direct Ray GR11) headed off Ward’s divisional rival Sam Street (SC92) on row four, ahead of C pacesetter Tom McArthur and James Colborn in Richard Hudson-Evans/WPR Van Diemen RF89 and RF07 respectively. Reigning C champion David Cobbold (RF89) was snapping at their heels, less than seven tenths shy of ‘Tommy Mac,’ with drag racer Bob Hawkins (GR10) close behind.

Vincent Jay, now in a Van Diemen RF90 ‘stealth bomber’ and Class D historic rep Sam Mitchell (RHE/WPR Merlyn Mk20) were next. Richard Earl (RF88), Stephen Bracegirdle – upgraded to an RF01 – Alicia Hamlen (Ray GR09) and venue newcomer Ben Hadfield (RF79) from Hampshire completed the pack of 18 drivers.

The event marked the 30th anniversary of Hamlen’s race debut at Combe, a landmark eagle-eyed championship co-ordinator Emma Brown thoughtfully marked with a large card picturing the April 4, 1994, programme cover, which she invited all competitors to sign.

RACE 1

There was an expectant air at Quarry as race-hungry fans packed the spectator banks for the opening event of the season, now on a dry track in the first of two pre-lunchbreak slots. Expecting to see either the vivid orange nose of Fisher J’s blue Van Diemen or Smith’s red Medina burst into view over Avon Rise there was a surprise as Fisher F’s white Ray appeared ahead.

Felix had made a sensational getaway from P4 and rounded the front row men at Folly. “As first laps go, fourth to first was pretty special, but the last person I wanted to see in my mirrors was Josh,” he said afterwards.

Smith made a pig’s ear of the Esses – “a mistake, that’s all it was,” he said – and was swamped before he regained his momentum, delaying Cooper as he did so. At the end of the opening lap it was Felix and Josh out front, with Hall’s black Swift third, Hawkins and Cooper chasing and B duellists Street and Ward running ahead of Smith.

With daylight between them and their pursuers, Josh dived past his sibling on lap seven of the 10, but such was the intensity of their duel that Smith – with a strong top end – and Cooper had slipstreamed up to them as it intensified. Smith bagged fastest lap of 1:10.827 (94.03mph), worth a bonus point, as he towed up to Felix’s gearbox, but Josh held sway to the chequer, where less than half a second covered the top trip after a superbly clean fight.

Cooper was only six tenths adrift in fourth, with Hawkins and B men Hall and Street ahead of C victor McArthur, who had Cobbold, Jay, Colborn and Hawkins Sr – all lapping in the mid-13s – in tow at the flag. Mitchell was harassing McArthur and Cobbold into Camp on the last lap when David changed tack having essayed inside Tom. Fully committed, Sam’s front wheel tagged David’s rear which fired the Merlyn over the kerb onto the outside grass. “I was a passenger then,” said Mitchell, who clouted the protector cells and rotated, but was classified as D winner as he cut TSL’s timing beam with steam issuing from the buckled radiator as the incident concluded. Bracegirdle, Hamlen, Earl and Hadfield made it a 100 per cent finishing record.

RACE 2

Everybody was back out on R2’s grid, decided by their second best Q times, reflecting a fine effort from Wayne Poole’s equipe who repaired the robust 52-year-old Merlyn – which needed only a steering arm and rad, nosecone and bandaged cockpit – to get 2013 HSCC Historic Formula Ford champion Mitchell into the fray. As a measure of the earlier impact, when the damaged car was hoisted onto a flat bed recovery vehicle, it remained in situ while the truck’s HIAB was deployed to pull the barrier back out before marshals and the circuit crew reassembled the cushioning.

This time it was a Fisher front row lockout, Josh with Felix to his left, with Smith and Hall over their shoulders. Cooper and Ward, Hawkins Jr and Street, then McArthur and Colborn, filled the top 10. The brothers traded the lead for the first three laps before, with Josh ahead, Smith split them after Felix rattled up the outside kerb exiting Camp and was a sitting duck into Folly. Not that it deterred Fisher from tucking back into Rory’s tow straight away.

Cooper, again displaced back to sixth in the opening exchanges – in which Tom Hawkins fell at Bobbies – wasted little time in ousting Ward and Hall, indeed made it four for the lead by lap 6, his quest not hindered when Smith was slower out of Camp. Again it was anybody’s race, with Ward, Hall, Street and Cobbold behind as McArthur slowed with a suspension link working loose and slipped from the pace.

Up front, Josh was invincible again, taking the chequer 0.463s ahead of Smith, Felix and Cooper running nose to tail when the flag flew after eight laps with the timetable under pressure. “I tried to work with Felix, but he didn’t want to play ball, so I had to get on with it,” said the victor. Smith was content with second in august company. “Those two boys drove cunningly as always, but the racing was so clean. Cooper’s fastest lap of 1:10.820 was the day’s best, 0.007s inside Rory’s earlier marker.

Ward notched his class B double, fifth overall this time, with rival Street seventh, Hall’s current Swift the meat in the sandwich. Class C winner Cobbold, Colborn and Jay (again third of the B brigade) were eighth, ninth and 10th. Hawkins Sr, shadowed by Mitchell, the ailing McArthur, Bracegirdle, Earl, Hamlen and Hadfield also made it home.

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CCRC SALOONS:

CHAMBERLAIN PLAYS TWO PERFECT ROUNDS OF GOLF

Harrison Chamberlain’s turbocharged VW Golf GTI showed promise as an invitee in last year’s Castle Combe saloon races, but with suspension specification now regularised to make it eligible for championship points the combination got 2024 off to a flying start, winning both rounds at Easter Monday’s Howard’s Day season-opener.

With welcome new-found support from South Cerney Engineering, the Swindon-based specialist automotive machine shop, the ‘tin top’ championship which dates back to 1996 attracted a field of 14 – following a few switches to Hot Hatch – for its openers, with some interesting newcomers to the fold.

Alas top qualifier Dave Spiller was rendered a non-starter. Having found more performance since October’s finals, his Grant Motorsport Audi TT turbo sustained heavy damage when it smote the barrier at Quarry and came to rest on its side. Happily, Dave emerged unscathed, but an hour was lost reinstating the circuit furniture.

Spiller’s 1m11.287s (93.42mph) best lap, set on a damp track, had augured well – within striking distance of Adam Prebble’s two year old 1:10.638 Vauxhall Astra turbo record – before he arrived over Avon Rise, hit the anchors and then the wall on his seventh lap. Chamberlain was but 0.141s shy on 1:11.458 in the Polar Insulation Golf, with Prebble on 1:12.131 in the camouflaged Vauxhall. Running wider 295 section Yokohama AO52 tyres on the front this year to live with the VAG hardware, but with no opportunity to test them pre-event, Adam found the 265-shod rear end darting around more than he had expected.

Behind them there was a six second gap back to Bill Brockbank in his latest Badger5 SEAT – a very smart unwritten Leon Cupra – running a standard engine for the time being. MG ZRs occupied alternate grid places from there, with Class C standout Lee Waterman (Willand Service Centre) fifth, 2021 champion James Keepin seventh, newcomer Wayne Rushworth (Pest24.co.uk/Wayne Poole Racing) ninth, James Blake (i-tech Racing/M4 Tyres/Dark Hound Autocare) 11th and Daniel Williams 13th in a rented uprated class B version, while his eagerly-awaited Audi A1 turbocar – present, but not race ready – nears completion. Oliver Sprague’s ZR completed a five-strong group.

Between the quickest MGs were class B and E leaders Corey Webber (Renault Clio), Shane Taylor (3.2 BMW E46) and reigning champion Mike Good, the sole D representative in his Vauxhall Corsa, now entered by Interceptor Racing and in an unfamiliar livery. Liam Hopkins’ BMW 318ti joined the B set while welcome C addition Jez Williams’ rorty Grant Motorsport-prepared Rhino Goo [specialist cleaning product]  supported Peugeot 106 qualified out of session in the lunch break.

RACE 1  

Prebble blasted through the gap left by the missing Spiller to lead at the start of what quickly became a two horse race, with Chamberlain in close contention and Brockbank a solitary third. Waterman and Keepin led the rest, Blake unable to reunite last season’s old firm triumvirate after the winter break, being outpaced by Rushworth at this stage.

All eyes were on Jez Williams though, for the 17-year-old Welshman on his car race debut carved through from the back to reach fifth, taking Taylor’s BMW with him. When Webber spun at Camp on lap 7, coming to rest immobile and perpendicular to the track, the safety car was summoned. During its four lap presence there was confusion and Prebble missed the board while preparing to lap Good. “I gave the place back immediately, but the penalty is disqualification and four points unfortunately,” he said. Although Adam reached the chequered flag after a final three green lap dash, pursuer Chamberlain was gifted a first victory, despite “a few boost issues” and a flapping bonnet at the end, with Brockbank second and Taylor third.

Keepin kept his head to grab fourth and class C as MG rival Waterman bounced over the greensward and fell behind the patient Blake who finished 4.714s adrift, with the recovering Waterman and Rushworth in his mirrors. Good and Jez Williams, whose moment on the penultimate lap dropped him from fifth to ninth, also went the 15-lap distance. Hopkins and Sprague were the other classified finishers.

RACE 2

The later race, gridded by competitors’ second best Q times, saw Prebble start from the back, but the Astra failed to complete a lap and was parked at Bobbies, fourth gear broken. That left Harrison unopposed, with Brockbank 8.548s behind over a shortened 10 lap distance, and Jez Williams a superb class-winning third. “I didn’t realise Adam was out,” said Chamberlain who was “on for a 1:09” when the safety car was deployed on lap 3 with oil on the track from Keepin’s MG.

Former karter Williams, who left a great impression in inflicting rare defeat on the MG men first time out, was delighted to be hailed CCRC Driver of the Day – an honour bestowed by the commentators – a medal which was not only well merited but will also boost his confidence going forward. A young driver to keep an eye on over the season…

Fourth and fifth overall, Waterman and Rushworth joined Williams on the C podium, chased by Beckett, Blake and Good in an unusually quiet race. Daniel Williams, Sprague and Hopkins completed the finishers. The next double-header is on Mayday Bank Holiday Monday, May 6.

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CCRC GT:

A WIN APIECE FOR LAMBO & FERRARI IN GT TUSSLES

Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo-mounted Keith Butcher and Ferrari 488 Chalenge pilot Doug Watson scored a win apiece as sonorous Italian supercars dominated the Gulf Racing Fuels GT Championship openers on Easter Monday, April 1. Butcher’s first victory in the 5.2-litre V10-engined monster, after some close runs last season, came after a tough initial confrontation in which Watson was squeezed into the Esses. Watson struck back swiftly, taking the sequel in his four-litre V8 turbocar.

The GT regulars, minus the Porsche posse at least for the moment, were joined by Intermarque Silhouettes this time, which brought nine beautifully presented two-litre tubeframe cars – clothed in Vauxhall Tigra, VW Corrado, Mitsubishi Colt, BMW Z4 and Ginetta G40 bodies – across to create a 22-car grid. The event, incidentally, started GT co-ordinator and 2004-2005 champion Louis Davidson’s 25th year of involvement in the contest, inaugurated in 1982 when Brian Cutting [father of Combe champs Gary and Adam] won the title.

Butcher qualified on pole, his stout 1m07.775s (98.26mph) best all but matched towards the end of the session by Dylan Popovic, encouraged by a 1:07.995 in his purple seven-litre Chevrolet-powered Ginetta G40. Watson was on eight flat, with Chris Everill (6.2 Ginetta-Chevrolet G55 GT4) for company on the second row with a 1:09.633 shot. Defending champion Jamie Sturges, remaining with turbocharged two-litre 380bhp TCR cars, but rearmed with a Cupra Competicion sourced in Sweden, was also inside the 70 seconds mark and would start fifth on his first run in the new Ramair Filters machine.

David Krayem (7.0 Ginetta-Chevrolet G50 GT3) and Harrison Chamberlain (2.0 VW Golf GTI turbo) qualified but did not race, moving Darren McCormack (2.0 Caterham 420) up the order. John McMillan (2.0 Renault Megane), Jordan Billinton (5.2 Lamborghini Gallardo Reiter GT3), Keith Johnston (3.5 Ginetta-Ford V6 G50), Leo Meakin (1.8 Ginetta-Ford G40) and Jazmin Norman (Audi TT) completed the GT contenders.

Russell Humphrey used his vast Combe experience – he was circuit Saloon champion in 1998, driving a Vauxhall Astra GTE – to top the Silhouettes in the Interceptor Racing Tigra. His 1:12.249 (92.18mph) was good enough for ninth overall, net seventh following withdrawals, and 0.772s quicker than Colin Smith in his Ginetta clone. Paul Wright and Philip Blackford (Tigras), Baz Johnson (ex Eurocar Pontiac Coupe), Phil Spinks (Tigra), Philip Young (Mitsubishi), Mick Robertson’s magpie-coloured Corrado and Keith White (BMW) were in the chase.

RACE 1

In wet but drying conditions, Butcher held his nerve at the rolling start to lead Popovic, exploiting his big V8’s monstrous torque, and Watson to Quarry. Watson, Humphrey, McCormack, McMillan, a cautious Sturges, Smth, Billinton and slick-shod Everill – 10th following a spin – led the stampede behind the top pair, with Knight (on slicks), Johnston, Spinks and Johnson (slicks) next of the Silhouettes behind them.

Watson annexed second on lap two and chased down Butcher, with Popovic holding a watching brief, clear of Sturges who took four laps to reach fourth in the front-wheel-drive Cupra. Everill was climbing the order with increasing grip – the circuit was virtually dry out the back – and reached fifth a lap later. The first casualty was McMillan who retired after four laps having gone straight through the Esses.

The complexion of the race changed on lap 9 when Butcher – who had set fastest lap in 1:13.139 (91.05mph) as conditions improved – and Watson disputed the approach to the Esses abreast. The Ferrari scraped the tyres, leaving a crease in its left door, as the Lambo screamed on. Doug continued for three laps then peeled off, but returned later in the afternoon. The top three was now Butcher, Popovic and Everill, an order which endured, Chris finishing a couple of seconds behind Dylan.

Class winner Sturges was fourth, sole class D starter McCormack fifth and Silhouette victor Humphrey a lapped sixth, a long way clear of rivals Knight, Smith, Spinks and Robertson. Next of the GTs were Johnston, Norman and Billinton, while Meakin also made it to the end.

RACE 2

Twenty cars formed the grid for the dry sequel, in which the rejuvenated Watson was in no mood to hang about. He shot the yellow and purple Ferrari into the lead and was not headed, despite Butcher howling after him and applying plenty of pressure either side of a safety car, sent out with Billinton’s white Lamborgini stranded in the pit lane.

At the green the top pair traded fastest laps and the deficit shrank to 1.168s at the chequer. “I really enjoyed it,” said Watson, who ceded best lap to Butcher’s 1:07.581 (98.54mph), by 0.191s. Sturges, fourth behind Popovic, also circulated inside 68 seconds, his tremendous 1:07.761 (98.28mph) on lap 13 serving notice of the Cupra’s potential once he is totally acclimatised to it.

Everill finished fifth, pipping Popovic’s best in the earlier but larger engined Ginetta-Chevy, ahead of class rival Chamberlain who cut an excellent 1:09.681 in his feisty Golf, meeting his earlier Saloon prophecy, albeit with enhanced aero for GT action. McCormack, Humphrey, White – eking better performance from the red BMW Z4 lookalike – and Knight, who cut the best Silhouette lap in 1:12.067 (92.41mph), rounded out the top 10.

Johnston, Norman and Meakin of the GT starters also finished, but SS runner Robertson was excluded for ignoring meatball and black flags with his Corrado’s rear undertray deranged.

GT championship battles resume with another double-header at the Mayday Madness race meeting on Monday, May 6.

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DAN’S THE MAN AS HONDA PROVES HOTTEST HATCH

Two mighty performances from Dan Brown – breaking a Combe sabbatical of a few years – in his clover-tailed Honda Civic left rivals floundering as the Samcosport Hot Hatch contest evolved from series to championship status on Easter Monday’s Howard’s Day season-opener. Not only did the Shaftesbury sizzler win both races – by a combined margin of almost 45 seconds – but his best lap of 1m11.798s (92.76mph) in the event finale was almost half a second inside the redoutable Gary Prebble’s record of 1:12.168, albeit with TSL’s clocks reset for 2024’s revised class structure.

From a total registration of almost 50, albeit with several cars not ready or tested satisfactorily, 31 competitors signed on for qualifying, for which a dry track greeted them. Brown’s 1:13.180 pole time was 1.236s quicker than last October’s winner Sam Stride managed in his reliveried Civic, with Jason Stack forging his class A Renault Clio between five F cars to grab third. Stack, Tony Cooper (Civic EG) and Craig Tomkinson (2.0 Vauxhall Nova) were next up, heading off class B pacemakers Geoff Ryall and Shaun Deacon (the latter upgraded from C) in their Peugeot 106s, all in the fifteens.

Ross Parker’s eighth place in the Wiltshire College & University Centre Civic EF was a superb team achievement, for the students who run the car from its workshop at Combe rebuilt its engine – which failed during a midweek test – and replaced a stripped gear to get him out. Joe Hathaway (Clio) and class C leader Jake Alden (Citroen Saxo) completed the top 10, ahead of Matthew Johnston’s unmissable acid green Peugeot 205 GTi and Julian Fisher’s Ford Fiesta ST150.

Best of the class E BMW Mini Cooper R53s, by a country mile, was Oliver Kingston, 14th overall, with the Clios of Tim Fooks-Bale and George Kimber between him and Gary Franks in the first of the 119 Racing entries. Danish veteran Erling Jensen was third of the Mini men, ahead of debutant Crofton Woodhatch, 22, in the family Grant Motorsport car. Lurking at the tail of the grid having missed qualifying was previous frontrunner Joe Dorrington (Honda Civic) whose progress was bound to be a talking point.

RACE 1

The first race of the Hot Hatch season, started on a wet track, was red-flagged within seconds, with Mark Williams’ Prompt Transport Clio, from 13th on the grid, shunted heavily at Quarry. Cooper’s Honda, a winner last August,  was missing from the restart too, having rocketed from P4 into the lead before Folly, where poleman Brown kicked up some ochre earth as he clipped the apex. Brown would not be headed again all afternoon, while Cooper contemplated violent brake judder which would also bring an early halt to the second stanza.

Brown shot away at the second time of asking, opening a 2.2 second lead over Stride on the opening lap. Tomkinson passed Stride on lap 2, but despite his best efforts – including fastest lap on the first flyer – could not catch the leader. Craig was still charging when he hit an exhaust pipe jettisoned at Camp. The impact broke a wheel on the Nova and its tyre deflated, forcing him to pull off adjacent to the pit exit, leaving Stack pretty secure in second.

Ryall and Deacon had jostled past Stride before Sam retired. “A snatching left rear brake was flicking the tail out alarmingly on right handers. It was locking up in qualifying and fortunately a friend [following] caught it on camera. We couldn’t do much about it at the track, but after a couple of big moments into Camp in the race I thought it might end up in the wall, so called it a day. We’ll strip and rebuild the system before our next outing in May.”

The pacy Pug pugilists crossed the line third and fourth, Shaun ahead of Geoff in their class battle. Dorrington, from the back, stormed his Imperial Homes Honda up to fifth, clear of Hathaway, Fisher, Kimber, Alden and Mini Cooper S winner Kingston, the last unlapped competitor. Parker and Fooks-Bale were classified 11th and 12th, with Mini men Franks, Jensen and Woodhatch covered by a pocket handkerchief in their wake.

RACE 2

Second best Q times decided the curtain-closer’s grid, which started on a dry track without Stride. As Dorrington faced another uphill battle, Brown and Tomkinson – with his regular rear wheels on the front, altering the Novas gearing, and a borrowed pair on the rear – streaked away, but nothing would match Dan’s pace. “I probably have 250bhp, the engine’s a bit tired, but that Honda’s a rocketship,” offered Craig, who slowed towards the end and parked on the infield just after the line, a rear rim having loosened due to retaining stud machining differences.

Parker further rewarded the Wiltshire College crew’s sterling efforts by finishing third, a second ahead of double A and B winners Stack and Deacon, with Dorrington sixth. Hathaway, Johnston, and C victor Alden all covered the winner’s 13-lap distance.

Jensen – Castle Combe Special GT champion in 1993 and father of FF1600 race winner Steven – was first Mini over the line, ahead of Franks and Kingston, with the Renaults of Fooks-Bale and Graham Cox separating the threesome. Alas Jensen was penalised six seconds for contact, which promoted Franks. Meanwhile, Fisher, ninth on the road, was excluded from the race for causing a collision.

Next stop for the Hot Hatch racers in the Mayday Madness event on Monday, May 6, where another action-packed double-header will doubtless unfold.

 

Images: Jack Flash Photography / Kieran Bicknell Photography

 

 

 

 

 

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