Joy and agony for local single-seater ace at Wiltshire’s Castle Combe Circuit
Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper secured the CCRC Formula Ford title at Combe Countdown on Bank Holiday Monday (August 27), despite heartbreak when his engine expired.
The Wiltshire ace was quickest in qualifying, notching up his fifth pole position of the season in his Future Inns/Swift Cooper SC16 with a 1 minute 10.019 second lap – 0.032secs up on Michael Eastwell.
Cooper then made a good start in the Melksham Motor Spares-backed series, but dropped back to sixth by the end of the opening lap. He battled back, however, and was challenging Josh Fisher for the lead, until he had to pull up on the start-finish straight with one lap to go.
Fisher eventually won, 3.821secs up on Roger Orgee, while Adam Higgins was third.
“It is good we managed to win the Championship and I am ecstatic about that,” Cooper said after his DNF. “It is just a shame to win it like this.”
“It was looking like a really good race and it was a really good race until the engine went bang. I had managed to work my way up well and get myself into a really good position starting the last lap, but unfortunately it just wasn’t to be.”
“The team and everyone involved with Swift Cooper have done a brilliant job though this year to get the car so fast,” he added. “We have been on the pace all the time and it has been fantastic. We had taken six wins out of six coming into this meeting and we were in a position to potentially make it seven going into that last lap. Like I said, it’s just a shame to end like this. Now we will have to see if we can get an engine for the remainder of the year, but it is all very expensive and not something I can really afford.”
Meanwhile, Eastwell came through to win the second CCRC Formula Ford race of the day, 1.577secs ahead of Fisher. Orgee claimed P3.
In the Castle Combe GT Simonstone Championship, Tetbury’s David Krayem and Cowbridge’s Andy Southcott shared the spoils, the former winning the opening race to mark his 66th birthday in style, while the latter – having lost out in the first race, despite starting on pole – made amends with victory in race two.
Alex Kite won a last-lap thriller in the Castle Combe Saloon Car National Windscreen Championship, with Calne man Simon Thornton-Norris runner-up and race long leader Gary Prebble slipping to third, just ahead of Bath resident Dave Scaramanga – less than 1.079secs covering the top-four. With Prebble missing the other Saloon race due to technical issues, Thornton-Norris led from start-to-finish, with Scaramanga second, 4.588secs back and Kite third, 2.561secs further adrift.
As for the Hot Hatch Challenge, Bath’s Will di Claudio was unstoppable, bagging pole position, two races wins and two class fastest laps. He was also a massive 49.524secs up on his closest rival at the end of the twelfth and final race of the meeting, lapping everyone in the field except runner-up Matthew Bawtree.
Of the rest, Steve Collier also did the double, but in the MGCC Lackford Engineering MGMidget / Sprite Challenge, while Simon Kendrick and Martin Wills secured a win-apiece in the Lancaster Insurance / MG Owners Cub Championship.
The racing now resumes at Castle Combe next weekend (September 1-2) with the Motorcycle Grand National. Tickets are availbale on the gate. Further details at: http://bikesatcombe.com/race-meeting