Hot weather took its toll on brakes, tyres and temperaments at the Castle Combe circuit’s August Bank Holiday Monday meeting on August 28.
Double header rounds for all the circuit’s championships meant the event was crucial to the end of season points standings. Those in the mix for a possible title knew reliability would be every bit as important as outright pace, a mechanical issue or accident damage likely to have twice the effect of a normal race day.
Ironically, the circuit’s most closely fought championship, the Formula Ford 1600, saw the main protagonists clash in an almost identical incident to that which occurred at the previous round.
Wellingborough’s Michael Moyers had taken the race one win after an incredibly close dice where the six leading cars were almost inseparable.
His arch rival for the title, Bridgwater’s Josh Fisher, took third behind reigning champion Roger Orgee from Langford.
With Moyers again starting from pole in race two, Fisher needed a good opening lap from 3rd on the grid, a great start putting him ahead for the first 12 laps. As the pair braked for Quarry for the 13th time, Moyers set himself up to dive down the inside for the lead, neither men willing to give in. As the corner loomed, something had to give and contact was made. However, unlike the previous occasion where Fisher was able to continue, this time, both ended their race in the barriers.
Orgee upheld ‘Kevin Mills Racing Team’ honours to go on to win with Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper a fine 2nd in his Swift SC16.
Young Michael Eastwell from Awbridge was impressive in the ‘KMR’ Spectrum, taking 4th in race one and 3rd in race two, in this his debut season.
Coventry’s Nathan Ward took a 6th and 4th, none of the above drivers more than a few metres from each other throughout both races.
Orgee’s results from the day have moved him into second in the championship ahead of Moyers, all three in contention for the title with the final round on October 14.
Calne’s Simon Norris was a driver looking to consolidate his ‘Saloon Car Championship’ lead with his class B Mitsubishi Colt. Norris took outright pole for both races, despite missing most of qualifying.
Alongside him was Southampton’s Gary Prebble, his A class SEAT also a championship contender, but the ferociously hot weather likely to play havoc with the heavier Leon’s tyres.
The lighter Colt of Norris has been able to maintain its pace throughout a race this year, its tyres and brakes as good at the end as the beginning, a factor Prebble had become well aware of. Consequently, Prebble drove two tactical races, maintaining just enough of a gap to keep Norris at bay, whilst at the same time preserving his tyres to the end.
Nevertheless, Norris was able to take two excellent second places overall and omnipotent class wins, maintaining his ‘perfect score’ of wins and fastest laps this year. With one round remaining, only class D driver Mike Good from Brixham can deny Norris a second title and then only if Norris fails to score just one point. When asked if he would drive cautiously at the last race just to be sure, Norris replied, “No, I will go flat out for the win!” Dursley’s Alex Kite was the man denying Good maximum class D points, taking his Saxo to two wins after close battles.
Corsham’s Will Di Claudio took another pair of class C victories, the hot weather also affecting the brakes of his 106 Gti. This meant his arch rival for the class title, Sturminster Newton’s Geoff Ryall, was able to take a vital point for fastest lap in race two, leaving Di Claudio one point behind.
Calne’s Tony Hutchings was a man desperate to achieve some reliability with his A class Audi TT after a number of issues this year. Sadly, race one saw him retire with a turbo boost pipe detaching itself, though race two saw a great come-back drive to 3rd overall.
Other A class drivers showing well were Bristol’s Oliver Cook taking 5th in race one, with Keynsham’s John Barnard 6th in his Astra VXR turbo.
The circuit’s GT championship races saw some impressive super-cars such as a Lamborghini Gallardo and a BMW M6 V10 taking part, but it was the more prosaic machinery which made all the running.
Portishead’s Oliver Bull took his Ford engined Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette to a fine win in race one, the gradual improvements made to the car this year paying off.
Tony Bennett from Salisbury took second in race one in his Caterham, going on to win race two outright after being pressed hard by Bradley John’s Mitsubishi Evo in both.
Father and son Andy and Chris Southcott from Curridge showed great speed in their pair of MG Midget clones but reliability issues hampered their progress.
Hove’s Ilsa Cox took a pair of dominant class wins in her SEAT Leon Cupra, propelling her to an equal championship lead with John.
Some new faces appeared at the head of the circuit’s two ‘Hot Hatch’ series races. After Bristol’s Mark Wyatt experienced gearbox problems with his previously all-conquering Astra, Westbury’s Josh Harvey took his 2 litre Honda Civic to a clear win in race one from the new 205 Gti of Chris Southcott. Mike Harris from Southampton was 3rd from 7th on the grid in race one but gave up his car for his friend, Adam Prebble, for race two who took it to 7th from the back of the grid after his Rover Turbo expired in the GT race.
After an impressive rebuild of his Astra’s gearbox, Wyatt dominated race two, winning by 7 seconds from Gary Prebble, with Southcott 3rd.
Mighty and Super Mighty Mini races saw the usual close pack of dicing throughout the field. Scott Kendall and Adrian Tuckley shared the wins and fastest laps in the ‘Supers’, whilst Mark Burnett and Damien Harrington took the ‘Mighty’ victories.
Spectators also enjoyed a pair of races for the Midget and Sprite challenge with local drivers showing well in their classes. Bristol’s Tom Walker took two class D wins in his Frogeye Sprite, whilst Melksham’s Kim Dear notched up a fourth and a second place in class E in his 1380cc Midget. In the same class, Chippenham’s Peter Collinson took a couple of thirds in his Frogeye. Overall, Stephen Waltkins and Steve Collier dominated both races in their highly modified class A cars.
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