Torrential rain was the factor which determined many of the results at the Castle Combe circuit’s ‘Whitsun’ race meeting on Bank Holiday Monday, many drivers demonstrating impressive skills in the awful conditions.
Will Di Claudio was one of those, acknowledged as such with his ‘Driver of the Day’ award after a brilliant outright win in the Castle Combe ‘Saloon Car Championship’ race.
Di Claudio overcame the issue of a broken clutch in qualifying to put his C class Peugeot 106 into an instant lead from the start, going on to an outstanding outright victory.
Gary Prebble, using 6 year old tyres on his SEAT Leon, tried his best to overcome the little Peugeot, but his superior power was of no advantage, second overall and a class win nevertheless a good result.
Simon Thornton-Norris in the 1500cc turbocharged Mitsubishi Colt was happy with a class B win but disappointed with third and not being able to mix it with the first two.
Also out-driving the bigger cars was Geoff Ryall, his Peugeot 106 moving up to take 4th after starting 8th. Tony Hutchings had one of the drives of the race, bringing his Audi TT to 5th from the back of the grid, having missed qualifying with a broken wheel stud.
James Keepin was another wet weather hero, his simple MG ZR coming home a fantastic 6th, well clear of many more sophisticated cars.
Four wheel drive was the thing to have in the circuit’s wet GT championship race, the Mitsubishi Evo of Bradley John, shooting into the lead from the second row of the grid and going on to win by 7 seconds.
But it was Tony Hutchings who was one of the heroes of the race. Using the Audi TT he normally races in the circuit’s ‘Saloon Car’ championship, Hutchings qualified 6th overall on class D pole, quickly moving up the field to take second which he held to the flag.
Similarly impressive was Adam Prebble, hustling his Rover Turbo from the back of the grid after a qualifying issue, to take third overall just behind Hutchings.
Former quadruple FF1600 champion Bob Higgins took the championship lead after bringing his family’s Ginetta G55 to 5th overall.
After on the road winner Mike Webb was disqualified after he was found he was running illegal tyres the Castle Combe Racing Club Hot Hatch series win went to Gary Prebble, this time in his Peugeot 205 Gti.
He was some 8” clear of Mark Wyatt in his Astra, with Craig Tomkinson next in line in the 2 litre Nova. Josh Harvey took a great class C win in his Honda Civic, 6th overall.
Josh Fisher, the 2008 Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 champion, took his second win of the year after a thrilling race with Michael Moyers. There was little to choose between the two throughout the 11 laps, the wet conditions making it very difficult for everyone following in Fisher’s footsteps.
Rob Hall took the choice to run a safe distance back from Fisher and Moyers, bringing his Ray GR16 home 3rd, some 30” clear of Mat Cox in 4th.
Roger Orgee who had been running third, right behind Moyers, got a little too close out of Tower, bending his left front steering arm and having to pit to have it straightened, re-joining to take 9th by the flag.
Luke Cooper, who had qualified 2nd fastest, ended his race after aquaplaning into Tower, his Swift retiring instantly.
Former local Autograss driver Josh Brooks did well to overcome a technical issue in qualifying to take a strong 6th in the MR2 championship race, only his 3rd circuit race.
The annual ‘Dave Allan Trophy’ race, a 45 minute endurance held in memory of the late Swindon based Honda test driver was challenging for all concerned after the race had to be red flagged due to an accident at Quarry. Due to other testing events and the weather, the results were eventually declared null and void.
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