Prebbles bounce back to land 1-2
Brothers Gary and Adam Prebble had a miserable Howard’s Day season opener on Easter Monday, Adam’s Vauxhall Astra turbo sidelined by a broken gearbox in qualifying and Gary’s SEAT Leon Cupra 20v turbo limping home a lapped eighth in the second race with a broken driveshaft. The Southampton duo have learned to take such setbacks in their stride over the years and four weeks later bounced back stronger to finish 1-2 amid the May Day Madness.
Gary has spent countless hours refettling his Foreman Homes SEAT, acquiring and rebuilding another gearbox, changing the Ricardo diff for a Gripper unit and altering the powerful Spanish bull’s front suspension geometry. In place of the dog-engagement ‘box in the Vauxhall younger sibling Adam had to make do with a standard version, not that it seemed to hold him back. Watched by former racer dad Brian - who recently turned 80 - they locked-out the front row of the grid in qualifying, Gary’s 1m10.794s (94.07mph) inside Simon Thornton-Norris’ Easter pole time, with Adam 0.652s shy.
Alex Kite (Grant Motorsport Audi TT) ran them closest in the preliminaries on 1:11.606. With fellow Easter Monday winner Thornton-Norris and Colin Greenland absent [Time Attacking in their Mitsubishi Colts] it would be left to him to take the fight to the Prebbles. Chris Southcott split the TTs of Kite and Tony Hutchings, but his Peugeot 205 suffered another engine drama in the Hot Hatch race, thus was gone. Harrison Chamberlain (Renault Megane) outran Kevin Bird (Nissan 200SX) to sixth place by 0.028s. James Keeping (MG ZR 160) and Michael Good (Gurkha’s Diner 1400cc Vauxhall Corsa) led Classes C and D in the 18-car pack.
The forecast rain’s arrival saw Gary Prebble decide against trying Nankang tyres for the first time, but as in the opening double-header his SEAT bogged-down on the line and was swallowed in the stampede. Only sixth into Quarry, he snarled back to seize the lead from his brother audaciously round the outside at Camp - not a move you’ll see come off often - on lap x. Thereafter, the white, orange and green Cupra grunted clear to win by almost nine seconds. Adam Prebble set fastest lap of 1:12.651s (91.67mph) while trying to make a break. Thereafter the top four were evenly matched.
The two white Audis squabbled for third initially but looked very short of grip in testing conditions. Hutchings had a spin but retained fourth. Bird’s Nissan, the last finisher on the lead lap, was fifth home ahead of Graham Puckett (BMW Mini Cooper R56). Keepin won Class C from birthday boy Ben Hindle (Vauxhall Corsa SRi) by 11 seconds, the latter shadowed by Peter Elliston going well as usual in his potent VW Golf GTi. Chamberlain and Good, the runaway D leader, also covered 14 laps.
After three of the eight rounds, Keepin and Good top the points table on 33 points apiece, with Kite third from the hotly-contested Class A and Hindle fourth. The battle continues when competitors reconvene for the Combe Challenge event on the next Bank Holiday Monday, May 31.
Posted by Jo Lewkowicz on Tuesday 11 May 2021
Classic and Retro Race Weekend
at Castle Combe Circuit
3 July 2021 to 4 July 2021