Somerset man sees off his brother Josh and 2018 CCRC Formula Ford Champion Luke Cooper for aggregate FF1600 victory at Wiltshire’s Castle Combe Circuit
Felix Fisher won the ‘Guard’s Trophy’ at the Howard’s Day season opener on Easter Monday (April 23), as Castle Combe Circuit celebrated half a century of Formula Ford racing.
The Somerset man was quickest in qualifying with a 1 minute 10.309 second lap, leaving him 0.366 seconds up on defending Castle Combe Racing Club (CCRC) Formula Ford Champion Luke Cooper, while sibling Josh and Roger Orgee filled row two, the top-four covered by less than nine tenths of a second.
It was a similarly close-run affair in the two nail-biting races, and while Felix led the first from lights-to-flag, he was chased all the way by Josh, who slipped from P2 to P4 on the final tour after a late error, with Orgee snatching second and Cooper finishing up third.
The second Melksham Motor Spares-backed Formula Ford race was just as close and just as thrilling, although this time it was Josh that emerged victorious, 0.568secs up on Cooper, with Felix 0.120secs further back, losing P1 on the second lap and then losing another place with one lap to go. Still P1 and P3 was enough to give Felix the overall win and the 50 year commemorative ‘Guards Trophy’: Guards of course being the very first sponsor of the Castle Combe Formula Ford championship back in 1969.
“I am really, really pleased,” Felix said. “I thought we had the pace to compete at the front this weekend and we have definitely got it. To get my first win here for about nine years is special. Roll on the rest of the year.
“It was very close and that is what Formula Ford is all about. None of us touched wheels throughout all of that mayhem and that is a credit to all of the drivers. When you are racing against your brother you get that bit of extra inspiration and I’ll be back here now in a couple of weeks.”
“I was disappointed to end up fourth in the first race, but I made a mistake and so I was keen to make amends in the second race,” added Josh, who is also from Somerset.
“I got a good start and got in the lead and it was fairly comfortable in the end – or as comfortable as you can be when you are racing your brother. It has been a while since we have gone toe-to-toe and I had forgotten what it was like. We were both hard and fair. Hopefully that will carry on. We have had one win a-piece today, I’m pleased.”
In total 19 of the 34 Castle Combe Formula Ford Champions turned out to help the Wiltshire track mark its 50 year Formula Ford anniversary, with Bryan Sharp – Combe’s very first Formula Ford Champion among them.
Meanwhile, in the CCRC Pro Alloys Saloon Championship, it was another battle of the brothers, with pole sitter Adam Prebble and brother Gary locked in a race-long duel, that also initially included Calne’s Simon Thornton-Norris. Adam eventually came out top, despite dropping to third on lap 4, battling his way back to win by 7.450secs. Robert Ellick took the final podium spot with Thornton-Norris ending up in P7 and second in class B – two spots behind class winner Mark Wyatt and one spot up on Matt Parr, the class C victor.
The Reis Motorsport Insurance CCRC GT Championship saw Kevin Jones do the double in his Noble M12 RSR – he was also named ‘Driver of the Day’, while Tetbury’s David Krayem was ‘best of the rest’ in both races and Oliver Bull twice took home bronze.
As for the Samco Sport CCRC Hot Hatch Challenge, Salisbury’s Craig Tomkinson took pole and led virtually throughout, only losing P1 at the start to Chris Southcott, before re-taking the position and bringing his Vauxhall Nova home 5.287secs ahead. Joe Dorrington was third.
Of the rest, in the Kumho BMW Championship, Garrie Whittaker was in a league of his own – with pole and two wins – while Ben Tinkler also did the double, but in Classic Formula Ford, and the 5Club Racing MX5 Cup race wins went to Ben Short – twice – and Paul Bateman, the latter nabbing the final victory of the day.
‘Star’ drivers Ben Edwards (Channel 4 F1 commentator), Tiff Needell (of Top Gear and Fifth Gear fame) and Tim Harvey (BTCC and Porsche Carrera Cup GB legend) had mixed fortunes, the latter shining most, thanks to a third spot in Classic Formula Ford. Needell also ran in podium contention in that same race, only to be forced out after contact with another competitor. He was forced to miss the second race as a result. Edwards was 13th in the opening CCRC Formula Ford race, but failed to finish in the second.
The Castle Combe Racing Club Championships now resume in two weeks for May Day Madness (Monday, May 6).
Tickets are on sale now. Further details at: https://castlecombecircuit.co.uk/race-days/may-day-madness-race-day/6/5/2019/