Reigning Champions Luke Cooper, Adrian Slade and Ilsa Cox return for Castle Combe’s Howard’s Day season opener

Castle Combe Racing Circuit are all set for start of 2019 campaign on Easter Monday!

2018 Champions Luke Cooper, Adrian Slade and Ilsa Cox will all line up on the grid for Castle Combe’s Howard’s Day season opener next month (April 22), with celebrations also planned to mark half a century of Formula Ford racing at the Wiltshire circuit.

Cooper blitzed the competition last year in the Melksham Motor Spares-backed Castle Combe Racing Club (CCRC) Formula Ford Championship, taking six victories in total in his Swift Cooper SC16 and securing the crown with a round to go.

The Yatton Keynell youngster looks set to have his work cut out on Easter Monday, however, with fellow former Castle Combe Formula Ford Champions Josh Fisher and Roger Orgee both in action and part of the 15 plus cars already committed to taking part, including no less than Channel 4 Formula One commentator, Ben Edwards, as well as the likes of Tom Hawkins and Steve Bracegridle.

The CCRC Formula Ford field will take in two races in total with the aggregate winner scooping the 50 year commemorative ‘Guards Trophy’: Guards being the very first sponsor of the Castle Combe Formula Ford championship back in 1969.

“I am really looking forward to Howard’s Day: it is always great to race at Castle Combe which can still boast the best crowd in British Club Racing and it's even better to start the year with a double header,” Cooper said.

“I'll take each race as it comes and do my best to come out on top. The ultimate target is to come away with a double victory, but I would be more than happy to come away with one victory and the Championship lead,” he added.

All the previous Castle Combe Formula Ford Champions have been invited to the anniversary event on April 22 and there will also be a special static display of Formula Fords in the paddock.

Meanwhile, in the Castle Combe Pro Alloys Saloon Championship a massive 40 plus entries have been received for round one, among them Slade, and his title rivals from 2018, fellow West Country racers Simon Thornton-Norris and Matthew Parr.

Slade will compete in a Peugeot 106 GTi this year, having traded in the Citroen Saxo that took him to P1 back in September.

“I have been building a new Peugeot 106 for the 2019 season,” Slade confirmed. “It is a massive amount of work so hopefully it will be ready in time.

“Obviously being the reigning Champion does have added pressure, but I don't really have any expectations and with a new car there is always some teething problems to resolve but hopefully not too many.”

Ilsa Cox will be back too as she bids to win the Castle Combe Racing Club GT Championship – now backed by Reis Motorsport Insurance - for the third year in succession.

Arch rival Tony Bennett will be on the grid as well, the Salisbury man having missed out in 2018 on win-countback, having finished with exactly the same amount of points as Cox. Other notable names in GTs include David Krayem, who won the Grand Finals season finale, Oliver Bull, Tony Bennett, Jordan Billinton and Andy Southcott, who switches from Class B to Class A.

“I’m very much looking forward to the first meeting of the year and how exciting that it will be 27 years I have been competing at Castle Combe,” Ilsa said. “My aim is to become the first competitor in the GT championship to win back-to-back overall championships three times in a row. I also want to continue having fun. Bring it on!”

As for the Castle Combe Samco Sports Hoses Hot Hatch Challenge, no less than 24 entries have been lodged, with a number of local racers, such as Cirencester’s Callum Burgess-Smith, Marlborough’s Ray Ferguson, Chippenham’s Shaun Goverd, Burnham On Sea’s Tony Cooper and Bath’s Guy Parr – the latter to compete in the new-for-2019 Mini R53 class – among them.

In total there will be 13 races on Easter Monday, the CCRC (Castle Combe Racing Club) Championships joined by runners from the BARC Classic Formula Ford 1600 Championship and the BARC Kumho BMW Championship. In addition there will be three 5Club Mazda races, one at the start of the afternoon, one in the middle and one to bring the curtain down on proceedings.

Tickets for the Howard’s Day season opener are available on the gate from just £10.

Further details available here, including the provisional timetable: