Read the latest race report from Howard`s Day, 6th April 2015

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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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the show having climbed as high as 12 position by only lap 5 with a run to the top 6 looking a mere
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formality. The man running in 6 place however was about to see his hard work disappear as Ellison’s
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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
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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
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John Barnard’s Civic. Tony Dolley fought back from his spin at Camp to 11 overall and third in Class
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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
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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.
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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
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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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