Race Report - Summer Spectacular 11/12 June 2022 » Castle Combe Racing Club
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Race Report - Summer Spectacular 11/12 June 2022

SUMMER SPEC HHGRIDWALK2

A weekend of Non-Stop action!!

 

 

CCRC FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP

Felix Fisher and Luke Cooper shared the outright victories on what could prove to be a decisive weekend in the 2022 Castle Combe Formula Ford championship, while Nathan Ward and David Cobbold continued their domination of their respective classes.

With Josh Fisher absent from this round – mindful of the fact that drivers can drop their lowest two points scores in the final reckoning – brother Felix had the perfect opportunity to stamp his mark on this year’s title race. That very much went to plan in the first race, with a dominant victory coming by more than eight seconds in his TM Racing Ray GR05.

Luke Cooper made a poor start from row two in his Swift Cooper Swift SC16, and a messy first lap meant that he dropped as low as seventh position. Ben Mitchell – switching a modern Wayne Poole Racing Van Diemen JL16 from the historic Merlyn he had raced in the season to date – thus gave chase to Fisher initially, with Kieran Attwood and Tom Hawkins pursuing in Ray GR07 and Ray GR10 respectively.

Cooper charged back through the pack, climbing to second – demoting Mitchell – on lap eight of ten. But the historic ace didn’t give up and he tried to get back ahead of Cooper at Tower on the final lap. There was a slight brush between the two, with Mitchell spinning into the barriers but Cooper continuing to take second place ahead of Attwood and Hawkins.

In the second race, Cooper was again slow away which allowed Fisher to steal a march at the front, but a right rear puncture caused him to retire at half-distance. What was an epic battle for second became an even more sensational one for the lead, with Mitchell – his car refettled – heading it until Cooper once again passed him on lap eight, going on to take his first victory in two years. Mitchell was second with Souley Motorsport’s Attwood successfully fending off TM Racing’s Hawkins for the final podium spot.

Ward smashed his Swift SC92 personal best in qualifying and took that form forward to Class B victory and fifth overall in the opening race, with Class C winner Cobbold, in his Souley Motorsport Van Diemen RF89, keeping him honest. Later, Cobbold got the better start of the two stars in older cars but Ward got ahead of him mid-race only to lose the position again three laps from the end. Cobbold thus took fifth overall and Ward sixth, with both taking double class victories.

The other drivers to appear in the top ten during the day were Paul Mason, James Colborn, Vincent Jay and Paul Barnes.

With a second place and victory during the Summer Spectacular, Cooper moved into the overall championship lead, but will likely need to score more victories before the season is out to vanquish the Fisher brothers, once dropped scores are factored in.

CCRC GT CHAMPIONSHIP

Kevin Bird did the double in the Castle Combe GT Championship at the Summer Spectacular, with the first victory being hard fought, but it was against a sadly depleted field.

More than a dozen cars had been expected, but championship leader Doug Watson was unable to appear with his Ferrari 458 and three others were ruled out after issues during the previous day’s CCRC/AMOC GT Challenge race and qualifying session.

Eight eventually took to the grid for the opener but Alan Hamilton pulled his Westfield off onto the grass at the beginning of the green flag lap, and Jason Garrett’s BMW M3 GTR also expired on the rolling lap, causing a delay to the start.

When the first race finally began, Bird’s Porsche 991 Cup car stole a march on the similar car of Martin Thomas but the gap soon reduced and for much of the 15 laps there was only around half a second between the two rapid white machines, in spite of neither driver having a huge amount of experience in their cars. Thomas briefly got ahead but Bird soon retaliated and was back in front on the penultimate lap and went on to take the win.

Jamie Sturges did a great job in his VW Golf TCR to finish within just six seconds of the lead pair, and when Thomas was absent from the later race he went one better to finish second, just 2.8s behind Bird, having had the sniff of an upset. He earned the CCRC Driver of the Day award for his efforts.

Reuben Taylor’s Peugeot 206 clone came fourth with Mick Dwane’s venerable Ferrari 360 Challenge car the only other finished, Dylan Popovic’s Ginetta G50 having been under fuelled for the extra laps following the delay.

He managed third later on with Taylor fourth again and Hamilton classified fifth after joining the race from the pit lane three laps in, and setting some impressive laps thereafter. Dwane retired the Ferrari, having had a near miss with the marshals’ post at Old Paddock.

The championship continues with another double header on 6 August.

 CCRC SALOON CAR CHAMPIONSHIP

Adam Prebble dominated the Saloon Car proceedings on track, but the steady accumulation of Class C victories by James Keepin means that he is favourite to retain his title with just three rounds left to go.

The Summer Spectacular event marked the second and final double-header event of the season, although sadly that did not translate into a bumper entry, with several programmed entries not appearing.

Prebble was in fine form in qualifying, setting a time in the 1m10s, just outside his May lap record time, in his Vauxhall Astra – more than two seconds faster than the near-twin Audi TTs of Dave Spiller and Tony Hutchings. That imperious form was translated into the race – and, importantly, reliability went with it as he was untroubled throughout the two races and 13 laps.

The two TTs had a cat-and-mouse first race, with Hutchings ahead for almost all of the distance and Spiller sneaking back through into the second position in which he qualified for less than a lap. There was less than a second between them come the end. Spiller gained his revenge later in the afternoon, coming home more than eight seconds clear of Hutchings, but a long way behind the winner.

Robert Ballard’s Megane was in fourth place in the first race but ailed as time went on, being classified in sixth position but failing to appear for the second race. As a consequence, fourth and fifth were taken by the same drivers in both races: Tom Cook in his MINI Cooper, and Jack Boulton in his VW Golf, Cook getting ahead two-thirds of the way through the second race and gradually pulling away.

Beyond that came the drivers from the smaller capacity classes, with Keepin twice coming out on top. Jon Lannon’s Citroen Saxo had been fast out of the blocks in race one but expired in the early stages, but a new threat to Keepin came from the similar MG ZR of James Blake, which had qualified on the back row of the grid. Having shrugged off Lee Waterman’s version, Blake got to within a couple of tenths of a second and was relentless in applying pressure in the later stages. In the subsequent race, Keepin had more in reserve over Blake, who latterly had to fend off the inspired charge of the 1400cc Saxo of sole Class D runner Antony Weeks, who broke his own lap record on his way to a fine eight position overall.

CCRC HOT HATCH SERIES

With three time Castle Combe Racing Club Hot Hatch 2022 winner Craig Tomkinson missing from the entry list, there was always going to be at least one new winner to emerge from the Summer Spectacular, and while Honda Civic-mounted drivers may have been among the favourites, Shaun Goverd emerged to do the double in his magnificent Citroen AX, and earn the driver of the day accolade in the process.

Only the second race victory was taken on the road, however – the first was settled in the Clerk’s office after Joe Dorrington was disqualified from victory in the opener. With two cars stranded on the opening lap, a safety car was required but Dorrington – who made a poor getaway from the front row – erroneously passed four cars shortly after the caution period was called. He continued charging on in his Civic, and reached second position on lap ten.

Shortly afterwards, Combe legend Gary Prebble – who had led throughout – peeled into the pits in his overheating Civic, handing Dorrington the on-track lead. Nick Gwinnett’s Renault Clio was another retirement, meaning that Goverd was perfectly placed to pick up the spoils after the official adjudication.

Lewis Clark’s Ford Fiesta ST was the top Class A driver to survive in second position overall, ahead of Matthew Hurman’s Honda Civic and Robert Watson’s Renault Clio RS200. Shaun Deacon was a class C-winning fifth overall in his Peugeot 106, having recovered from an early off. Paul Bird won the MINI Cooper division, while Class F went the way of late addition Cory Woolfrey in his Renault Clio 172.

Goverd’s race two victory was fully merited, as he came home just under two seconds clear of Dorrington, the gap having been more than three times that at one point. Any hopes Prebble may have had of scoring victory were short-lived – although he thought the problems under the bonnet may have been solved, it immediately transpired that they hadn’t. He did join in for five laps, including the fastest one of the race.

Goverd and Dorrington won their respective classes, as did Jordan Hurman in third overall in the shared Civic. Clark could manage only fourth this time, ahead of Ben Watson in his Clio RS200 – his brother, Robert, having been ruled out in a first corner incident at Folly that caused a stoppage. Jonathan Fish rounded out the top six in his Renault Clio 172, while Darren Duffield bounced back from race one disappointment to seal the Class E victory.

Posted by Catherine Dall’Occo and Ian Sowman; CPe Foto on Monday 27 June 2022

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