Howard’s Day 2015 Easter Monday, Castle Combe Circuit Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 Championship After a sensational qualifying that saw Jonathan Hoad snatch an unlikely pole position in the Class B Van Diemen RF90, the new season got under way in dramatic fashion. With Roger Orgee, Felix Fisher and Nathan Ward all threatening to pounce off the line, it was expected that Orgee and Fisher would lead the charge to Quarry Corner, but the sight of Hoad not only keeping the lead but extending a gap out of Folly was a surprise to everybody. th Reigning champion Adam Higgins started a lowly 9 but set off after the pack very quickly, whilst Felix Fisher went in the other direction after an initially perfect getaway only to be boxed in by the front row and costing precious momentum and several places through the first lap. As Hoad led through Camp for the first time, Josh Fisher running in second place was just as big a surprise considering his Class C Reynard 89 had no business being that far up the field on paper, especially in bone dry conditions. However, the new track surface provided some great battles and unusual positions at the top end of the field. Hoad’s lead continued to increase as Josh Fisher started to take severe attack from Nathan Ward, Michael Moyers and Orgee, whilst Edward Moore was doing his level best to keep Adam Higgins at bay with the reigning champion’s father Bob behind him and his brother Richard struggling on the first th lap and dropping back to 11 just behind Felix Fisher. Moyers was providing a serious threat to the leading trio until lap 4 when his race came to a premature end, and on the following lap Adam Higgins saw a golden opportunity to move up and finally moved up to fifth position. Incredibly Jonathan Hoad and Josh Fisher were keeping the pace strong out in front with consistent 1 minute 10s throughout the early stages proving to make them more than a match for their Class A rivals, but Ward was finally able to make the move on Josh Fisher as an opportunity presented itself on lap 6 and he finally got through to second position. It wasn’t long before Orgee followed suit grabbing his chance a lap later. Further back Richard Higgins was making steady progress once again as he made the move on his th dad Bob to move up into 9 , but neither he nor Felix Fisher ahead of him were able to make gains into another Class B runner further up the field than expected in the shape of Luke Cooper in his Swift SC92. Roger Orgee set off after Nathan Ward to try and grab second place overall, and finally found the space on lap 11, but the backmarkers ended any chances of Langford’s finest closing in on Hoad for the lead as the Van Diemen RF90 seemed to cope with the traffic better than his Class A rival. Adam Higgins was working hard to move further forward but for some reason was unable to overhaul the 26 year old Reynard of Josh Fisher who held on to fourth position in quite spectacular fashion. With two laps remaining Felix Fisher was able to snatch sixth place away from Edward Moore, but for the win nothing changed up front leaving the paddock, spectators and commentators scratching their heads in st amazement as Jonathan Hoad brought the 25 year old Van Diemen home ahead of the 21 century machinery of Orgee and Ward to record a first win of the 2015 season both in class and overall. Josh th Fisher claimed Class C honours in 4 overall ahead of Adam Higgins and Felix Fisher, with Moore, Cooper and Richard and Bob Higgins rounding out the top ten after a thrilling encounter. Castle Combe Sports & GTs Championship th On the eve of the 50 anniversary of his first race in motorsport, Ian Hall was set to guide his Darrian Wildcat T98 GTR to victory after grabbing pole position by nearly 2 seconds to Barry Squibb in the Mitsubishi Evo 9. As the race got under way the latter struggled right from the start, and having barely got going on the green flag lap his race ended abruptly half way round lap 1 with Adam Prebble in the Rover Tomcat breaking down after only a single lap whilst running in a strong third position and David Smitheram’s Lotus failing a few corners further on having inherited fourth place. This left Hall being chased by the gorgeous TVR Tuscan Challenge of Perry Waddams with first-timer Dylan Popovic in the Avatar in third and Michael Timberlake’s BMW being chased down by the SEAT Leon of Ilsa Cox with the slow starting Oliver Bull in pursuit. th It wouldn’t be long before Bull’s Vauxhall Tigra was threatening to move up from 6 place and as Cox got past Timberlake’s BMW on lap 4 this was the break in rhythm Bull was able to pounce on as he surged past them both on the following tour. At the same moment Ian Hall’s race was starting to fall apart. The Darrian spluttered to a crawl during lap 5 allowing Waddams to get by with the car finally calling it a day at the end of lap 6. So Waddams now led from Popovic and Bull, with Cox slowly edging a gap on Timberlake. But the race wasn’t over yet, and was about to get even more unbelievable. The TVR of Waddams gradually started to lose pace and was being caught rapidly by the Avatar of Popovic, but behind him Oliver Bull was putting in some incredible laps to try and join the fight for victory. By lap 11, Bull was ready to make a move on Popovic and was finally able to use the superior horsepower of the Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette to slingshot past and up to second place. Up ahead the TVR was beginning to slow, and in shades of the Monaco Grand Prix 1982 yet another race leader dropped out of the running with just two laps to go, first Bull then Popovic storming past and then the th TVR creeping to a halt on the last lap. So having come from 8 place at the end of the first lap to charge forward to the front it was an amazing victory for Oliver Bull in fantastic style with Popovic in second place despite losing 20 seconds on the last lap himself and the popular touring car racer Ilsa Cox elevated into third place ahead of Timberlake’s BMW, Kevin Mears in the SEAT Leon and Paul Arber in the Sylva Phoenix, both of whom had been driving a fairly quiet race but were able to pick up a strong finish once everyone else had retired. Simon Moore in the Fisher Fury and Marcus Bicknell in the brutal Ford Mustang Mach 1 were the only other finishers in what had been a truly unbelievable start to the season. Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship Castle Combe’s popular saloon car championship kickstarted in style with a titanic fight for victory that started with a thrilling run to Quarry between Tony Hutchings, Dave Scaramanga and Gary Prebble who ran side by side out of Folly and door-to-door on the run over Avon Rise which ended with Hutchings’ Audi TT edging out Scaramanga’s Scirocco and Prebble’s SEAT Leon enough to hold on to his slender lead. On lap 2, Prebble was able to slip past into second place and there began a thrilling battle for lap after lap as Hutchings and Prebble duelled doggedly for the lead, with Scaramanga sitting calmly in third place waiting patiently for an error in front. Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird had manoeuvred his Megane into fourth position with some choice moves on the second lap, with Bill Brockbank and Julian Ellison making chase behind. In the other classes, Mark Wyatt led Class B whilst duelling with John Barnard’s Class A Astra VXR and Kieren Simmons was punching well above his Ford Fiesta’s weight with some mighty laps in the early stages tucked in behind the sideways Angus Gorringe who had been entertaining the crowd in the early laps with some tankslappers at Camp Corner. At the end of the first lap, Tony Dolley had pirouetted spectacularly at Camp and dropped to last place to begin an incredible climb back up through the field. James Keepin was holding the Class C lead in his MG ZR 160 ahead of Rodney Apperley and Mike Riitchie squabbling over second place, whilst Russell Poynter-Brown was keeping his Vauxhall Corsa in the mix of Classes B and C in or around the top 20. For lap after lap, Prebble hassled Hutchings throughout with the Leon seemingly having the edge through the corners with the Audi TT claiming back the lost time in straight-line speed. Further back, the Class C battle was dramatically tampered with as Rodney Apperley’s Peugeot retired from an almost certain podium finish. But from the back of the grid, James Winter was proving to be the star of th the show having climbed as high as 12 position by only lap 5 with a run to the top 6 looking a mere th formality. The man running in 6 place however was about to see his hard work disappear as Ellison’s th Astra VXR gave up the ghost at the end of lap 7, promoting Barnard and Wyatt to a duel for 6 position. Incredibly Winter’s impressive run through the field then came to an abrupt halt as his earlier qualifying issues that had put him at the back of the 36 car field in the first place decided to strike again, ending what was set to be an amazing performance. The traffic took care of the battle for the lead in the closing laps as Hutchings weaved his Audi perfectly through the slower cars to consolidate his lead and take a famous victory ahead of Prebble and Scaramanga with “CHAB” in the Renault in a brilliant fourth place ahead of Brockbank’s Ibiza and the top two in Class B: the ever impressive Mark Wyatt and brilliantly fast Kieran Simmons. James th Keepin took Class C victory in 8 overall ahead of the battling pair of Angus Gorringe and Class C runner-up Guy Parr who had both managed to squeeze into the top ten after the last lap retirement of th John Barnard’s Civic. Tony Dolley fought back from his spin at Camp to 11 overall and third in Class th B with Martin Chivers in 12 rounding out the Class C podium. Further back, Russell Poynter-Brown held on to the Class D victory in his Corsa ahead of the Citroen Saxo of Trevor Long and Michael Good’s VW Lupo who crossed the line just outside the top 20. Castle Combe Sports Racing Series Race 1 Excool OSS stars Simon Tilling and Josh Smith converted their front row starts into a lead battle that lasted the entirety of the 20 minute encounter, ahead of Norman Lackford and Chris Child. Nick Jones had been given a terrible hand of cards at the start and pulled the “joker” on lap one dropping to the very back of the field, whilst having already started last thanks to mechanical gremlins in qualifying Darcy Smith suffered more misfortune on the very first lap and eventually returned to the circuit having spent two laps in the pits remaining at the back but setting third fastest lap of the race in thr process. Josh Smith was proving to be a real handful for Tilling with the shorter wheelbase Radical being particularly strong at Camp, Quarry and Tower but the high speed advantage of the Ligier meant that Simon Tilling could just maintain enough of a gap to hold the lead in the early stages. Behind them, Jones started to edge his way further forward, dealing first with Neil Harris in the Nemesis on lap 4 and then Roland Lewis in the Jade Trackstar on the next lap and passing Brent Hill’s Radical next time around. Robert Gillman was trying to close in on fifth placed Chris Vinall having moved up ahead of Steve Bracegirdle and Brent Hill on the second lap, but try as he might Gillman was having to defend sixth place from Bracegirdle who eventually retook the place on lap 6 and it wasn’t long before he then lost another place to the hard charging Nick Jones. The Chepstow based racer then set off after Bracegirdle who he eventually overtook on lap 11. Tilling and Smith were trading fastest laps throughout with Josh Smith obliterating the class lap record on his long awaited return, but Simon Tilling had done enough to hold onto a lead of just two seconds to Josh Smith, with Chris Child in third position . Norman Lackford held on to fourth position whilst Nick Jones recovered to a valiant fifth place ahead of Chris Vinall ahead of Bracegirdle, Gillman, Hill th and Harris with the Jade of Roland Lewis breaking down on the final lap costing him 10 place. Race 2 The epic battle from race one was rejoined in race two as Tilling and Smith set off into the distance once more, but this time Josh Smith emerged from Westway as the race leader. Lackford and Child began their battle for third once more with Nick Jones now hot on their heels ahead of Darcy Smith and Chris Vinall. It would sadly not be a repeat of race one for Chris Child as the Nemesis decided it had raced hard enough for the day and gave up on lap 4 with Brent Hill’s Radical joining him on te sidelines just a lap later. Darcy Smith had once again been given the task of starting from the back but this time the car was playing ball and quickly he worked his way up to the front of the field. He had made it past Child and Jones on lap 2 and then got past Lackford on lap 4. From there he was able to pull out a gap over the rest without being able to get close enough to the leading pair to challenge. But just as it was looking like his son Josh had got Simon Tilling well and truly beaten the Ligier found space enough to grab the lead back on lap 5. th Such was their superior pace that by the end of the 15 and final lap they had lapped everybody up to third placed Darcy Smith, and with two out of two Tilling had completed the perfect weekend with Josh th and Darcy Smith joining him on the podium. Lackford brought his Radical PR6 home in 4 followed by Jones and Vinall, with Bracegirdle crossing the line ahead of Gillman and Harris. Elsewhere, it was a dominant victory for Paul Sibley in the opening race of the day for the Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge ahead of James Dunkley and Edward Reeve, whilst in the Mini Se7en Racing Club races there were four different winners as Darren Thomas and Paul Spark started the Mini Se7en Challenge season in fine style for a victory apiece and Rupert Deeth and Kane Astin grabbing the winners’ trophy in the Mini Miglia Challenge races. Keith White completed a dominant win in race one of the WRDA Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship in his BMW Z4 Intermarque but was beaten fair and square in race two by Martin Davies’ Sierra Cosworth after a red flag cut short the race to a mere two lap sprint at the end of the day.
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