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Grand Finals Race report - Hot Hatch Challenege

Tompkinson Combe Hot Hatch 14.9.19 5

Castle Combe Hot Hatch Challenge - The final race in the 2019 Castle Combe Hot Hatch Challenge featured a fascinating duel between two of the best Castle Combe gladiators of this season. Craig Tomkinson (Vauxhall Nova) made a solid start from pole-position and lead Combe Saloons regular Gary Prebble (Honda Civic) as the twenty-two car order completed a clean first lap. Tomkinson had been forced out of qualifying after bizarrely losing a wheel during the session, but he had done enough by less than a tenth of a second to take pole.

Sam Stride (Honda Civic) held onto a secure third, with Nathan Nicholls fourth (Citroen Saxo) after starting eighth, a tremendous opening lap. Nicholls would have to fight to maintain his position and was soon under pressure from Tony Cooper (Peugeot 106 GTI) and Shaun Goverd (Peugeot 106 GTi).

Exiting Camp and beginning the third lap of the race the order for fifth, sixth and seventh was Cooper, Nicholls and Goverd. Channing honour was upheld by Izaac Channing (Peugeot 106 GTi) who tussled entertainingly with Will Self (Peugeot 205), after Rob Channing (Peugeot 106 GTi) retired before the field had managed to reach Quarry on the opening lap.

Goverd was soon making progress and having usurped Cooper, held the inside line into Camp and claimed fourth from William Oakley (Peugeot 205). However, into the closing laps Goverd would make a costly mistake at the exit of the Esses and hit the barriers, leading to significant barrier damage and a subsequent early end to proceedings. 

The red-flag little impacted upon the top order, with Tomkinson seeming to have the measure of Prebble throughout the race and taking the final victory of the Hot Hatch season. This gave him the accolade of being the winningest driver of the 2019 Hot Hatch series season, with Stride and Tomkinson having been equal on two-victories apiece before Finals Day.

Erling Jensen (Mini Cooper S) did not demonstrate the same top ten pace he had in previous meetings, but a secure eleventh reflected the continued progress of the Mini machinery as a sub-category within Hot Hatch. Cooper was Class B winner in fifth, Nicholls one-place behind winning Class C. Anthony Weeks finished fourteenth in his diminutive VW Lupo to win Class D.

Posted by Jo Lewkowicz on Tuesday 17 September 2019

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