As motorsport resumed after the COVID-19 lockdown, Castle Combe was at the forefront of the restart with a race meeting on the opening day of the 2020 racing season – ‘Combe Challenge’ held on Saturday, 4 July.

The Castle Combe Racing Club-run event was one of the three UK race meetings held on the first weekend following the lifting of the ban on the sport and it was judged a resounding success despite some unseasonable weather.

An enormous effort by many people made the event possible under social distancing rules and all the planning paid off. Sadly, for only the second time in the circuit’s 70-year history, spectators could not be accommodated.

Luke Cooper and Felix Fisher bagged a win apiece from a strong Formula Ford grid, with Cooper on top on a mainly dry track but Fisher ahead for the much wetter second race. Fisher really wanted a win to honour the memory of his father Brian, another Castle Combe champion, who died last November.

The day’s only double winner was Chris Southcott in his rapid Hot Hatch Peugeot 205 GTI. First time around he fended off Dan Brown’s Honda Civic, but Southcott had a harder task in the second race as he charged through to win from seventh on the grid. 

Lucky Khera won the opening GT race in his latest Ferrari F488 as Oliver Bull gave bold chase in his Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette. Khera missed the second race in order to save wet tyres for a Silverstone GP track day the following day and so Bull splashed home for a resounding win.

Adam Prebble won the Saloon opener in his flying Vauxhall Astra turbo but the gearbox was failing over the closing laps and he missed the later race, which allowed reigning champion Simon Thornton-Norris a clear win in his Mitsubishi Colt.

Words and pictures: Paul Lawrence

Detailed race report coming soon

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