GT Championship in association with Simonstone Motor Group – Round 1 Qualifying - The Castle Combe GT Championship has for decades served up a potent cocktail of fearsome machinery, and the 2017 Simonstone Motors Group sponsored championship looks set to carry on the tradition.
The runners and riders in class B could have been picked straight from a deck of a ‘Top Trumps’ card game. Usual Ginetta man David Krayem unveiled his new ‘big boy’s toy’, an awesome GT3 spec Chrysler Viper and all its 8,400 cubic centimetres of displacement. The turn of the next card in the deck reveals Nigel Mustill’s Lamborghini Gallardo, followed by a brace of Ferraris; a 550 Maranello driven by Peter Fisk and a 360 Challenge of David Hathaway.
Class A includes one of last season’s biggest crowd pleasers; Chris Southcott in his mental MG Midget albeit with a Vauxhall flavoured engine transplant for the new season. Another GT favourite returns in the form of Perry Waddams’ in his Chevy powered TVR Tuscan. A new brace of Ginettas joins the party in the hands of Bob Higgins and Chris Everill, with the former still warm from its Donington adventures in front of the ITV4 cameras yesterday.
David Krayem wasted no time in proving his Viper was not just a winner on paper with an eye watering lap of 1:06:848 to take pole, just under two tenths ahead of Mustill’s Lambo. Barry Squibb was pleased to see his Evo had not lost its form during its winter slumber with P3, lining up alongside Perry Waddams. Reigning champion Chris Vinall must have been pleased to drive his Seat Leon to secure P5 amongst so much fire breathing machinery, as was his row partner Tony Bennett in a Caterham R300.
GT Championship in association with Simonstone Motor Group – Round 1 Race
The highly modified nature of the GT Cars often equals unreliability, and this once again proved to be the case. The MG midget of Chris Southcott was missing from the grid, Perry Waddams pulled his TVR off the circuit during the green flag lap and Mike Harris’ Peugeot ground to a halt immediately on the rolling start. This triggered the safety car and by the time the pack came back around, the Viper had slipped to the back of the field after getting up close and personal with the Mitsubishi of Barry Squibb. The Evo appeared to have fared better from the brief dalliance, and lined up behind the safety car.
When the safety car turned off its amber lights and pulled into the pits, Squibb took control of the restart. It was only at this point that he realised his Evo hadn’t actually escaped unharmed from the incident with Krayem. A rapidly deflating tyre meant that the Evo was the next car to join the ‘DNF’ club at the bottom of the TSL time sheet. Steve Hall gratefully inherited the lead after the demise of the Evo only for his moment of glory to be equally as fleeting as Squibb’s, as his Audi TT RS began to misbehave.
Next to fall was Ilsa Cox, her SEAT Leon stricken in the middle of the track with flames coming from the rear offside wheel… scramble the safety car again.
The Honda Civic Type R, having barely come to rest in its pit lane parking spot, made its way back onto the track. The pack had shuffled again and this time it was the turn of Tony Bennett to lead the restart ahead of 2015 champion Olive Bull. This turned out to be another very fleeting spell at the front as the Lamborghini of Nigel Mustill wasted no time in powering past Bull and Bennett to take the lead… although he too would throw it away, spinning the Gallardo onto the grass. It really did look like every car on the track would have a stab at leading and that none of them could hold it for more than one lap!
All the attrition at the front allowed David Krayem to make his recovery and swiftly snaked the Viper (pun fully intended) its way through the entire field and on to victory, crossing the finish line 11 seconds ahead of reigning champion Chris Vinall.
Tim Woodman drove his Caterham to the final podium step ahead of the Bob Higgins in 4th and the Mitsubishi Evo of Bradley John in 5th. Oliver Bull took 6th ahead of Dave Scramanga who managed to keep the Ginetta of Everill in his rear view mirror.
Big engines, Big Bangs and Big Drama – it could only be the Castle Combe GT Championship!Posted on Wednesday 19 April 2017