There’s nothing like the unexpected to enliven proceedings, which is exactly what spectators at the Castle Combe circuit’s May Day Bank Holiday Monday meeting witnessed in the ‘Hot Hatch’ race.
As the field of cars assembled on the grid, patiently waiting for the red lights to warn them of an impending start, 2nd row man Craig Tomkinson got an ‘itchy left foot’ and launched his 2 litre Nova away from the line, taking an instant lead! The rest of the field waited compliantly for the red lights to go out before giving chase and Tomlinson received a 10 second penalty for his over-eager anticipation. Nevertheless, he was so far ahead of 4th placed man Michael Harris by the finish, his podium place was secure.
Tomkinson’s cheeky lead was enough to enable him to hold off Gary Prebble in the 205 Gti for 5 laps, with Mark Wyatt in the Astra finding a way through a lap later.
Thereafter, a tremendous battle ensued between Prebble and Wyatt, with the latter eventually squeezing through, three laps from home.
A year ago, Tony Hutchings left the circuit with a wrecked car and his ‘Saloon Car Championship’ aspirations in tatters. But on Bank Holiday Monday, the former champion was back on track, his newly rebuilt Audi TT taking him to a podium finish on its debut just hours after it had been finished.
After qualifying 5th fastest Hutchings fought through the 15 laps to eventually take a fine 3rd place, having already taken the car to a class win in the circuit’s GT championship race, being used as a ‘shake down’ test.
Ahead of him, one of the other three drivers involved in last year’s accident, Gary Prebble, took another dominant win in his SEAT Leon Cupra. Simon Thornton-Norris drove his Colt Ralliart brilliantly to second place, the fastest man on track, taking the class B win in the process.
Will Di Claudio brought his 106 Gti home 4th overall, well clear of his class C rivals, whilst young Alex Kite in the Citroen Saxo took class D honours.
The 2nd round of the Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 championship saw pole man Michael Moyers establish a gap which his rivals knew would be hard to break, Moyers eking out an impressive 5” margin over eventual second place man Roger Orgee in the Ray.
Josh Fisher held off Orgee for much of the race, but eventually had to concede to take 3rd with his Van Diemen.
The GT championship race saw the retirement of Barry Squibb’s ‘Evo’ whilst in a commanding lead, allowing Steve Hall to take his first win for some time in his Audi TT clone, ahead of the similar ‘silhouette’ style Tigra of Oliver Bull. Tony Bennett was 3rd in his Caterham, whilst former quadruple Combe FF1600 champion, Bob Higgins, took his Ginetta G55 to another 4th place.
May brings another meeting at Castle Combe on Bank Holiday Monday, May 29. As well as round three of the Castle Combe championships and the ‘Hot Hatch Challenge’, there are double header races for MR2s and Mazda MX5s. But many will want to see the circuit’s only ‘endurance’ race of the year – the 45 minute ‘Dave Allan Trophy’ which has featured Touring Car stars and other interesting entries in previous years.
For further information, visit the Castle Combe Racing Club online at www.ccracingclub.co.uk, www.facebook.com/CastleCombeCircuit, or @castlecombeuk
Phone: 01249 782417 Castle Combe, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 7EY
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