25 years of the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship will be celebrated at the Wiltshire race track when the 2020 racing season opens at Howard’s Day on Easter Monday (13 April).
Back in 1995, circuit boss Howard Strawford conceived a race championship for production-based saloon cars and a pilot series of races was run in 1995 before a full championship started in 1996. It was an instant success and one of the early stars was fast Sussex lady Ilsa Cox, who famously won the title in 1997 in her Peugeot 205 GTI.
Over the ensuing seasons, the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship has consistently delivered exciting racing from packed grids to the delight of Castle Combe fans. It is clearly the most successful race championship of its type in the UK.
Frequently, local drivers are to the fore of the action and the story of around 200 races will be celebrated on Easter Monday. Fittingly, the Easter race meeting is titled Howard’s Day to honour the memory of Howard Strawford and it is hoped to have former Saloon Car champions on hand to join in the celebrations, which will include a lunch time grid walk.
Over the years, many local drivers have enjoyed great success in the championship including Tim Hanlon from Holt took the 1999 crown in his Peugeot 205GTi. Tony Dolley (Bridgewater), Will Di Claudio (Bath), Tony MacWhirter (Bristol), Jason Cooper (Chippenham), Charles Atherton (Backwell) and Russell Poynter-Brown (Bristol) have all kept the championship title close to home. The most recent champion, with three crowns in the last four seasons is Mitsubishi racer Simon Thornton-Norris from Calne.
Although the type of cars doing the winning has evolved over a quarter of a century, what has not changed is the quality of the racing from packed grids of cars in the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship.
- For more details about Howard’s Day, head over to www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk