With the Castle Combe circuit celebrating 50 years since the inception of Formula Ford 1600, it was not surprising the seemingly ever-lasting single seaters were at the heart of its ‘BRSCC Race Weekend’ on July 15 and 16.
As well as a round of the circuit’s own Formula Ford championship, the visiting Britcover National Formula Ford championship was scheduled to entertain with three races over the two days, though in the event, this was cut short by a third after a number of incidents, one of which involved the scrambling of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
The first FF1600 race of the weekend was the circuit’s own and saw a typically close dice between Bridgwater’s Josh Fisher and Wellingborough’s Michael Moyers who eventually finished in that order, Moyers having led the first half of the race, Fisher taking over from lap 8 onwards.
Suffering from Chicken Pox was Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper who drove brilliantly in the circumstances to take 3rdplace in the family Swift, hopeful of his chances in the national championship, where he is a contender for the title.
Michael Eastwell, team mate to Moyers in the ‘Kevin Mills’ squad, was 4th, ahead of Coventry’s Nathan Ward, who had initially led from second on the grid.
As well as Cooper, the ‘National Formula Ford’ races featured some of the other aces from the circuit’s local championship.
In the first race, Cooper initially held 3rd behind Moyers, until a race stoppage on lap 5. At the restart, Cooper slipped to 4th, with Moyers taking 3rd in the four lap sprint to the flag. Cooper made his point though with fastest lap.
Race two on the Sunday saw a similar curtailment of the action when a number of accidents caused the race to be declared after 3 laps, with Moyers classified third and Cooper 4th. Jordan Dempsey and Luke Williams shared the outright wins. The final Formula Ford race of the day was abandoned due to lack of time, as racing was delayed for over half an hour while the ‘Air Ambulance’ was deployed.
It was the drivers in the HRDC Allstars race who had to sit in their cars in sweltering heat during this period, with circuit PR man John Moon from Bath on the front row of the grid in his Lenham GT.
Once the race finally started, Moon got away well, heading pole man Steve Jones from Wells in the Mini and the rest of the pack for the next lap and a half. Moon kept the nimble Mini in sight for the next 20 minutes but after his alternator warning light came on he backed off, initially dropping to 3rd but recovering to take second. AC/DC front man Brian Johnson in a Mini similar to that of Jones claimed 10th overall, whilst Chris Rea was 17th in his Morris Minor, liveried to resemble a police car.
In the HRDC's Coy's Trophy race which featured pit stops and driver changes, it was British Touring car driver Andrew Jordan who dominated, taking a clear win in the Lotus Cortina shared with his father Mike.
Bristol driver Michael Squire headed the Cortina at times, but eventually finished 2nd in his Mustang, with fellow Bristolians David Hathaway and Dan Cox in 8th having qualified 3rd.
The circuit’s sole GT championship race run in broadly dry but deceptively slippery conditions on Saturday brought a second win this year for Bradley John from Cowbridge in his Mitsubishi Evo after the similar car of pole man Barry Squibb retired with a gearbox problem.
Portishead’s Oliver Bull took his Ford engined Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette from second on the grid to the same place at the flag, with another silhouette, the Audi TT of Gillingham’s Steve Hall, almost half a minute behind.
Calne’s Tony Hutchings, the erstwhile championship leader, suffered an engine fire on lap two, eliminating him from both this and the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship race, a little later.
In the absence of Hutchings, Calne’s Simon Norris took an outright win in his class B Mitsubishi Colt, the little 1500cc class B car some 15” ahead of the class C 106 GTi of Sturminster Newton’s Geoff Ryall.
Amongst many other retirements was Southampton’s Gary Prebble, his equal points lead with Norris instantly destroyed along with the gearbox of his SEAT Leon Cupra.
Another notable retirement from someone at the head of the championship points was Corsham’s Will Di Claudio, his 106 GTi only lasting 3 laps, after he suffered gearbox issues.
Ditcheat’s Kevin Bird had his best race result with 3rd overall in his powerful but previously troublesome Nissan 200SX, with Dave Scaramanga from Bath in 4th place and second in class A, having held second for a while.
Chippenham’s James Winter took 5th in his Renault Megane, with Weston Super Mare’s Kieran Simmons bringing his Fiesta to second in class B and 6th overall. Shepton Mallet’s Mike Ritchie had his best result with 2nd in class C and 7th overall in his Honda Integra Type R, Bristol’s James Blake 3rd in class C.
Dursley’s Alex Kite recovered from a last minute engine rebuild of his Saxo to take 2nd in class D, somewhat distant from his championship rival, Mike Good.
Chippenham’s Jonathan Loader retired with drive shaft failure whilst leading the ‘Historic Pinto’ section of the SRCC Sports 2000 championship race. There was some consolation for his ‘Loaded Gunn’ team which took an outright win with the Gunn TS11 driven by Tom Stoten.
Bristol’s James Colbourne was a winner of the Production Golf Gt1 Mk5 series race on Saturday, Sunday’s race placing him 3rd.Posted by John Moon on Monday 17 July 2017
Combe Challenge Race Day
at Castle Combe Circuit
27 May 2019