The middle weekend of July at Castle Combe circuit is traditionally a popular one and on Saturday and Sunday 15 and 16, the reins are passed to the British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC) and their diverse range of championships.
The ‘BRSCC Race Weekend’ has something for everyone, its two days packed with competition featuring Porsches, historic and modern sports and saloon cars, sports racing cars, the circuit’s own hugely popular championships and to cap it all, three rounds for the UK’s most enduring national single seater championship.
The ‘Britcover National Formula Ford 1600’ championship with Avon Tyres, is very much under the spotlight this year as the legendary single seaters celebrate their 50th year. Castle Combe was the host for the second ever FF1600 race and since then the Wiltshire circuit has been inextricably linked with the formula.
Whilst its loyal band of local spectators will be eager to catch the action from the ‘home’ FF1600 championship which has run since 1969, the trio of races from the national championship will add a very interesting contrast.
The man many will be cheering on in both the local and national races is circuit neighbour Luke Cooper from Yatton Keynell. Cooper has been contesting both championships this year in the family’s Swift Cooper and whilst he is recognised as one of the quickest in both fields, his 2017 results have been dogged by bad luck.
Consequently, Cooper, a ‘Pro’ driver, lies 4th overall in the points, his last 2 race results at Kirkistown affected by ‘non fault’ accidents, with only the consolation of fastest laps to show his speed. Whilst it is mid-summer, Cooper’s best chance will come with torrential rain when his skill in such conditions will shine through. Even so, expect a strong performance from the 24 year old on his home track.
Contrasting the national rounds is the circuit’s home championship, where Cooper is also likely to be a front runner, despite his appalling luck this year. Michael Moyers from Wellingborough and Bridgwater’s Josh Fisher are both as close as it’s possible to be, both on track and in the points. With the absence of Langford’s Roger Orgee this weekend, life will be a little easier in theory, but only these two have won races this year and it’s likely the battle will be between them again this time.
Coventry’s Nathan Ward will be looking to break his duck whilst his Kevin Mills Racing team mate, Michael Eastwell, continues to edge closer to the front. Rookie Archie Hine from Marlborough, like Moyers and Ward, is another of the drivers contending both the local and national races.
It’s all very close at the top of the ‘Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship’ points too. Southampton’s Gary Prebble in the SEAT Leon Turbo and Calne’s Simon Norris in the 1500cc turbocharged Mitsubishi Colt are tied on 33 apiece, having won their respective classes and taken fastest laps at every round. Corsham’s Will Di Claudio also has 3 wins, but has missed out on the valuable fastest lap points on two occasions to Sturminster Newton’s Geoff Ryall, also in a class C Peugeot 106.
All three still look in immensely strong positions in their classes, so it’s likely some kind of unexpected event will be needed to allow one of them to break free and establish a clear lead over their rival class leaders.
Nevertheless, there are many drivers in a position to capitalise on even the slightest error from the front runners. In class A, those such as Bath’s Dave Scaramanga in the superb Scirocco, Calne’s Tony Hutchings in the audacious Audi and Bill Brockbank from Stonehouse in his scintillating SEAT will need little prompting.
Mark Wyatt from Bristol will be extracting the last drop of performance from his Astra in class B whilst in class C, Bristol’s Hadyn King is always tantalisingly close to the leading 106s.
The up to 1500cc class D has its own fascinating battle going on between Brixham’s Mike Good in the Corsa and Dursley’s Alex Kite in the Saxo.
The circuit’s GT championship has an unlikely leader in the shape of Tony Hutchings who has taken a pair of wins in class D, his Audi TT surprisingly competitive when slick shod, the only change to its normal ‘saloon car championship’ specification.
Reigning champion, Chris Vinall from Axminster is a fast rival in his SEAT Leon Supercopa with Southampton’s Adam Prebble always in the mix if his Rover Turbo stays reliable.
Torquay’s Barry Squibb would love a reliable run in his Mitsubishi Evo, whilst entertaining with his giant killing MG Midget will be Chris Southcott from Curdridge, Hants.
Former quadruple FF1600 champion, Bob Higgins, is racking up the points in class A with his Ginetta G55, whilst the Lamborghini Gallardo of Salisbury’s Nigel Mustill is sure to wow the crowds.
There is plenty on offer on Sunday for lovers of classic and historic cars too. The prestigious ‘Historic Racing Drivers Club’ brings three races, including the new ‘Coombs Heritage Challenge’ for pre 1966 Jaguar saloons of the type which originally ran in international events.
The 25 minute ‘Coys Trophy’ race evokes the era of saloon car racing of the late 1950s to 1966. Designed to attract the more unusual cars of that era, the Austin A40 is often the car to beat.
The Austin marque also features in the combined HRDC ‘Allstars’, ‘A-Series Challenge’ and ‘A35 Academy’ race, the latter providing incredible fun for both drivers and spectators. Circuit PR man John Moon from Bath will be hoping to avenge his retirement due to his Lenham GT’s engine failure whilst leading the A series contingent at this meeting last year.
There is an eclectic variety of other races on both Saturday and Sunday. The Toyo Tires Porsche championship races see both full race and relatively standard Boxsters, pitted against 924s.
Staying with German marques, the ever popular Golf Gti has a pair of races on Saturday for both the Mk2 and Mk5, whilst BMW fans have the BMW Compact Cup on Sunday.
Featuring both days are races for ‘Sports 2000’ cars, as do Formula Jedi for one litre single seaters and the mighty Dunlop TVR challenge.
Saturday starts with qualifying at 08:30, with the first race at 12:50. Sunday's action starts at 08.30 with qualifying, racing getting under way from 10:45.
A 2-day ticket for adults is just £20, with seniors at £10, purchased in advance and with free paddock transfer. Accompanied under 17s are admitted free on both days. Click Here to book your tickets!
Phone: 01249 782417 Castle Combe, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 7EY
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