The August Bank Holiday race meeting has for decades been one of the most hotly anticipated in the Castle Combe Racing Club Calendar, but never more so than 2018 event. As a result of the ‘home championships’ playing no part in the BRSCC Caterham meeting, the opportunity arose for the local heroes to have a race meeting almost entirely to themselves. With double headers for all three championships and the Hot Hatch Challenge, there was only a small amount of race time left to spare, taken up by the MG Owners Club. There would be only one race remaining by the time the sun set on the August Bank Holiday, meaning the stakes have never been higher. A strong brace of finishes for any campaigner could see their race to championship glory shift into overdrive, with double points in a single day’s racing. On the flip side, an early mechanical failure could see all hope lost even before the green flag lap of the first race of the day. With so much to win and so much more to lose, the stage was well and truly set for the most adrenalin fuelled event of the season.
HOT HATCH SERIES
Will Di Claudio took a break from the saloon championship this season in order to stretch his wings at some of the other UK circuits. The Hot Hatch Challenge however provided the perfect outlet to keep his hand in and get his Castle Combe fix. Will’s supremely developed Peugeot 106 always punches well above its weight in the saloons and even more so in the Hot Hatch Series. Earlier in the day, Gary Prebble and CHAB made saloon championship history by setting lap times in the 1m12s bracket. The conditions on the day were seemingly perfect for fast laps and not wanting to be upstaged, WDC took pole in qualifying with an incredible 1:12.950.
The 2015 saloon car champion Mark Wyatt drove his trusty Astra to P2 ahead of Sam Stride and the returning Chris Southcott, all competing in class A.
Matthew Bawtree had to settle for being the second fastest of the class B runners in P6, just pipping the Peugeot of 106 of Tony Cooper who was the fastest class C car.
Class D saw just two entries, courtesy of the hugely popular Citroen C1 Endurance series, driven by Phillip Callow and Charles Atherton.
The first race of the day saw a red flag on the opening lap due to a coming together between the Peugeot and MG of Chris Rawlings and Adam Hall.
Once the race was eventually restarted, Will Di Claudio streaked off into the sunset to take a lights to flag victory, over 13 seconds clear of Mark Wyatt who to the class A win. Sam Stride held his starting position to take the final podium step comfortably from Matthew Bawtree. Shaun Goverd made substantial progress from his starting position to bring his Peugeot home in sixth for the class C honours. The attrition rate was high with no less than nine cars not seeing the chequered flag, making for a much depleted entry list for the second race.
The second race of the day was de ja vu for Di Claudio, picking up exactly where he left off, completely unchallenged for another easy victory. Matthew Bawtree took second for his best Hot Hatch result to date, making it a class B 1-2. The Honda Civic Type R of Daryl Radford took 3rd overall and the class A win from Shaun Goverd with another determined drive and a second piece of class C winner’ silverware. Ray Ferguson’s epic day of almost non stop racing was rewarded with another third in class B trophy in his 6th and final race of the day!Posted by Jo Lewkowicz on Wednesday 12 September 2018