Castle Combe Retro Race Weekend - 12+13 July 2014 [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Castle Combe Circuit’s passion for older cars has no end and over the weekend of Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July, there are two days of indulgence for those who like to them being pushed to their limits.
The Wiltshire track’s ‘Retro Race Weekend’ is being run in conjunction with the Classic Sports Car Club, a very successful organisation specialising in running series and races purely for older cars and which happens to be based in Corsham.
This is Castle Combe’s first ‘double header’ of the year for four wheeled machinery and each day is packed with races for almost every conceivable type of classic race car. As you might expect, MGs and Jaguars will feature strongly, with championship races for both marques. Relatively standard, road going, MGBs and MGCs will contrast with the fully modified V8s, where the thunder from their immensely powerful engines will surely tingle the soul! The Jaguars will be similarly contrasting, with classes for both standard and modified cars. The XJ6 and XJS are popular and will make a spectacular sight over the sweeps and crests of the 1.85 mile circuit.
Sunday’s 40 minute ‘Swinging 60’s’ race sees everyone’s favourite sports and saloon cars in close competition. Making his circuit racing debut, after showing his speed on the ‘hills’ is Radstock’s Ross Whittock, son of former ‘World Rally Championship’ co driver, Dave Whittock. His Mini will be up against the likes of the Turner of Cirencester’s Charles Marriott and the Midget of Lechlade’s Richard Bryon.
There are also 40 minute enduros for the ‘Future Classics’ series and the more modern ‘Tin Tops’ series. The former has Toby Harris and Lisa Selby in their Ford Puma from Stonehouse, whilst the latter features local driver Geoff Hanson in his Porsche 944 from Leighterton. Perry Waddams, who featured in the circuit’s own championship last year has an outing in his TVR and will encounter everything from Alfas to Maseratis, with plenty of Porsches, TVRs and even Pontiacs thrown in! The Tin Tops are where the older ‘hatchbacks’ such as Clios, Civics, MG ZRs and Fiestas play.
Saturday’s ‘Modern Classics’ race is for cars built before the year 2000, so that gives plenty of scope for variety! There’s also a race for all kinds of ‘Lotus 7’ type machinery with Chippenham’s Chris Milner one of the most local entries.
As if that were not enough, the circuit’s own championships for ‘Saloon Cars’, Formula Ford 1600 single seaters and ‘Sports and GT’ cars, feature on both days. Currently the three leaders from classes A, B and D are vying for the overall points lead of the saloon car championship. Bristolian David Rose is just ahead of the others in his class D VW Lupo, with Calne’s Tony Hutchings fending off the class A challengers in his Audi TT. Bridgwater’s Tony Dolley has assumed the class B lead in his Peugeot 206 after the retirement of Bristol’s Mark Wyatt at the last round. Chard’s Carl Loader is making his Citroen Saxo VTS go faster at every meeting and took the class C lead from Stroud’s Rodney Apperley at the last meeting.
Likely to be joined in battle out front this time are Russell Akers, with new brakes and other improvements to his Astra and Shepton Mallet’s Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird in his Renault Megane. With 2 stand-alone races over the weekend, the complexion of the championship could well change, with plenty of other drivers ready to take their chance if attrition becomes an issue.
There was somewhat of a surprise winner at the last round of the circuit’s Formula Ford 1600 championship, when Coventry’s Nathan Ward performed a stunning move on Flax Bourton’s Ashley Crossey on the very last corner. The team mates had been joined in battle for much of the race, but with Crossey having a couple of straight wins to his credit already this year, few would have bet on Ward. In terms of the championship, Ward has a way to go, his two non-finishes sending him way down the running, which means the Spectrum driver has little to lose by pushing to the ‘max’. The third member of the ‘Kevin Mills Racing’ team from Gloucester, Langford’s Roger Orgee, is also a race winner this year and keen to make up for his disappointment last time when a mysterious coil lead detachment sent him home with far less points than he is used to.
The Higgins brothers have had rather contrasting seasons to date. Adam, the reigning champion, from Chippenham, has had to defer to Richard, from Burnham on Sea, who is on a real charge in his first year in a class A car and currently sits 3rd in the overall points. The pair have almost identical Van Diemen JL 12s, so their personal performances are even more highlighted in the family run team.
Plymouth’s David Cobbold may be one of a small number of entries in class C, for cars built before 1990, but his pace is sufficient to see him scoring enough points to put him 4th overall!
Back on Saturday for a ‘one off’ outing at his local circuit is Timsbury’s Oliver White in his Van Diemen and likely to give veterans such as Melksham’s Ed Moore, a good race.
Westbury on Trym’s Tim Woodman is looking strong in the up to 2 litre class of the circuit’s ‘Sports & GT’ championship in his Honda engined Caterham 7, with an amazing variety of other cars coming out to play. Perry Waddams also wheels out his awesome 6.2 litre TVR.
Similarly diverse is the circuit’s ‘Sports Racing’ 20 minute encounter on Saturday, with the big cars such as the 6.2 litre Riley of Salisbury’s Nigel Mustill and the Radical SR8 of Mike Roberts doing battle.
Saturday's action starts with qualifying at 08:30am. Racing gets under way from 13.00pm and will go on until around 18:10pm. Sunday gets under way with qualifying at 08.40am, with the first race at 12.45pm.
Admission prices are on Saturday, £10 for Adults, £7.50 for Seniors, Paddock Transfer free and on Sunday, £15 for Adults, £10.00 for Seniors, whilst accompanied children under 17 years are admitted free on both days. But best value is the 2 day pass for £20 and £15 respectively.