Castle Combe has been a feature of the South West for well over 65 years now, a span of time that's seen the pretty, technically demanding circuit find favour with some of the most respected race drivers of all time, but for not much longer. The stalwart circuit has just announced an ambitious plan to relocate its entire operation to the town of Twatt on the Orkney Isles, almost 700 miles North of its current location, a move taken in response to the uncertainty generated in the wake of Brexit and the triggering of Article 50.
The decision to move the circuit was taken amidst the continued fallout from Brexit and Scotland's freshly mooted referendum, with Twatt selected thanks to its excellent topography and location. The latter is a significant point, as Scotland presently only has the one world class race track, Knockhill, located far further South and already running at full capacity.
Managing Director Graham Marshallsay has been swift to highlight some of the advantages of relocating the track; “the pressures associated with Brexit and the economic ripples it continues to send through the industry have forced us to revaluate our position, and we've come to the conclusion that moving to Twatt makes a great deal of sense. Castle Combe's new location will enable us to continue to provide superb racing and a world class roster of motorsport events, whilst also catering for a population which has historically been isolated from much of the motorsport community.”
In order to make the move go as smoothly as can be expected the whole process has been broken down into 3 distinct phases, the first of which will see the start/finish straight (including the iconic Avon footbridge) relocated in time for the 2017 season. This will naturally be followed by phase 2, the plan to painstakingly unearth and transport Castle Combe's complex of corners, including the infamous Quarry, ready for re-installation in a manner that perfectly mimics their current layout.
Last but by no means least, phase 3 will be devoted to the spectator banks and other essential infrastructure, with the entire process slated to take place over the course of three years.
As you can well imagine, moving across most of the length of the UK has already presented more than its fair share of logistical challenges. Everyone at Castle Combe is staunchly committed to the project however, and a fleet of lorries has been hired to help transport the tons of tarmac, earth and tyres to their new home, assisted by Chippenham based, Phillips Removals.
“The move is causing an issue and certainly isn't going to be the work of five minutes, but we have at least made a start on phase one,” explains Les Rawlings, Site Manager and the individual tasked with ensuring the operation runs smoothly. “Physically digging up the start/finish straight has been demanding right enough, but it's actually the traveling that's proved most draining – I can be on the road for up to 12 hours every day transporting tarmac!”
Castle Combe's move is slated to have been completed by summer 2020, with the start/finish straight already in the early stages of being dug up and prepared for transportation. The circuit's staff would appreciate the understanding of its existing fans and followers, and would also like to wish a warm welcome to their new neighbors in the town of Twatt.
Phone: 01249 782417 Castle Combe, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 7EY
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