A Prebble on top, but it’s Adam’s Astra
Per ardua ad Astra (through adversity to the stars, to students of Latin), goes the saying, which could sum up Adam Prebble’s season to date. Following gearbox dramas on Easter Monday, finishing second to older brother Gary’s SEAT on Mayday’s Bank Holiday Monday was a result. This time it was Adam who triumphed in his tyre-squealing Vauxhall Astra turbo. With his sibling chasing racing prizes elsewhere, Prebble minor - who had joined him to compete in the Citroen C1 24 Hours at Silverstone - shot from fourth on the grid to beat past master Simon Thornton-Norris (Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart), and Alex Kite (Grant Motorsport Audi TT), with Robert Ellick (VW Golf) in the turbofest mix.
Perennial giant-slayer ST-N outpaced the similar 1500cc machine of Pro-Alloys boss Colin Greenland in Class B, but MG ZR man James Keepin extended his unbeaten record in C, thus remains atop the points table going into a six-week break. His closest rival after four rounds is D standout Michael Good, a point behind in his Gurkha’s Diner 1400cc Vauxhall Astra.
Thornton-Norris claimed pole position with a strong 1m11.028s (93.73mph) qualifying lap in the Colt, but three other drivers circulated the familiar 1.85-mile circuit within 0.962s on a good morning. Kite’s 1:11.238, Ellick’s 1:11.769 and Prebble’s 1:11.990 - on his first flying lap - suggested a close race in prospect. Kevin Bird (Nissan 200SX) was fifth, in the mid-13s, with Tony Hutchings (Audi TT Mk1), and Graham Puckett (BMW Mini Cooper RS6) next up. The top 10 was rounded out by Rob Ballard in his rakish but troubled VW Scirocco, Harrison Chamberlain (Renault Megane) and Greenland.
James Blake (1800cc MG ZR) bagged Class C pole, his personal best 1:17.037 a solid 0.450s better than Keepin’s, but it came at the cost of a hole in his engine block which spelled curtains for the day. Ben Hindle (Vauxhall Corsa SRi) was a close-up third. Peter Elliston (VW Golf GTi), Good on 1:18.905 and his closest rival Antony Weeks (Citroen Saxo, also beat the psychological 1m20s barrier. Four seconds separated Nick Mizen (1400cc Ford Fiesta), Mark Sutton, Lee Waterman and Chris Hignell’s (1600cc MG ZRs), split by Roger Good’s 1600cc Fiesta, Jake Alden (Saxo), Paul Conbeer (VW Golf diesel), Steve Bracegirdle (Cooper S), Ray Ferguson (ZR) and Stuart Hignell (Saxo) who completed the field.
At the lights it was as if Prebble had lit the blue touch paper on fireworks night, for nobody saw him for dust until the after the chequered flew 15 laps later. “I made a cracking start,” he said afterwards. “The car was so quick round the back. It was hard work [after the previous day’s marathon] but I’m really happy. I’ve got to go and get some sleep now.”
Pursuer Thornton-Norris did well to be only 4.251s behind at the finish. “I was on old tyres and struggling with rear end grip. ‘Kitey’ passed me on the apex of the second chicane, but I managed to get him back in traffic,” he related. Kite could not muffle the little Colt’s fire power. “I was a bit unlucky getting held up momentarily and Simon took advantage,” he said.
Ellick was a lonely fourth, clear of Bird and Greenland, with Hutchings the last untapped runner. Keepin - “a bit knackered” having teamed with the Prebbles at Silverstone - won Class C by a distance from Hindle. “After the C1 the power and grip shocked me,” said James. Ballard finished between them. Michael Good won D even more convincingly, split from Mizen by Elliston’s black TSR Performance Golf. Sutton was the final contender to complete 14 laps. Puckett’s smoky Mini retired after six laps, to be joined on the sidelines by Chamberlain, Roger Good and Weeks.
Posted on Monday 14 June 2021
at Castle Combe
18 April 2022