Visit Castle Combe
The Porsche Club Championship runners visited Castle Combe in Wiltshire for two races at the circuit’s August Bank Holiday meeting, and it was a day of doubles with Ian White, Scott Kavanagh and Jeremy Clarke all winning their classes in both rounds.
QualifyingIan White’s 964 C2 was quickest in the morning’s 15-minute session, despite a spin, clear of Ben Demetriou in the leading 968 CS, with Gary Duckman third quickest.
“I really like this circuit but haven’t driven this car here before,” said White “I set out this morning determined to be quick and do my best. The car is hopping around and understeering and I was so committed on one lap through Camp I went off into the infield.”
Scott Kavanagh headed the Class Two runners, while Jeremy Clarke continued to be the man to beat in Class Three.
Race OneWhite once more used his rear-engined traction to make the best start, Demetriou taking second but losing out to the rapid Duckman in the opening laps. Over a second clear after two laps, it took a pair of fastest laps from Duckman to dent his lead, the 968 CS pilot closing to within a second.
Richard Higgins moved up to third on lap four, but Demetriou responded with a fastest race lap of his own and closed up on Higgins, with Mark McAleer right behind, Demetriou regaining third on lap seven. The gap at the front was varying as the leaders began to encounter traffic, and on lap eleven Duckman was just over half a second behind, when White responded and pushed hard to the flag to take the win.
McAleer took fourth from Higgins with three laps to go, while on the same lap Scott Kavanagh moved into the Class Two lead going past Tim Bates on the inside at Camp, having climbed through the field in the race.
“This was the track where I started and I love it here,” said White, “that made me very determined and I have lots of fans and sponsors here today. I tried to keep calm and not push to hard in the middle part of the race.”
“There weren’t enough laps and I didn’t catch the back-markers at the right paces,” said Duckman.
“I didn’t make a great start, and just wasn’t quick enough,” said Demetriou. “Gary was all over me and I had to let him go, then had a good race with Richard. He got past me when I made a mistake, but I got back and held onto third.”
“I made a bad start and was pretty much last at Quarry,” said Kavanagh, “but was able to pick people off. There were two Class One cars between me and Tim, but they slowed each other up and I was able to go past at Camp.”
Clarke led all the way in Class Three, his main problems coming from cars in the other classes. “I had two Class Two cars in front early on,” said Clarke, “and one was putting out oil and it felt really slippery. I decided to go past him but he was quicker than me on the straights. I‘m still learning the circuit really.”
Race TwoThe first start for race two was red-flagged, the grid re-forming minus Ian Oliver and Sarah Bennett-Baggs. White made another strong start with McAleer second ahead of Duckman, but Higgins dropped down the order with a spin at the Esses.
McAleer stayed with White’s 964, but soon came under pressure from Duckman who went past at Quarry on lap five, only to go wide and for McAleer to take the position back. Duckman finally took second for good on lap nine, and set about closing in on White in the remaining laps.
On the final lap of the shortened race the top three were together, but Duckman was denied a move into the final corner as a backmarker meant there was just one line through the rapid corner, and White held on to take his second win of the day.
“That was the thirteenth race of the season so I felt lucky,” said White, who races car number thirteen. “I got caught by some back-markers but I knew there were only a couple of laps to go so I could control it. The back-marker at Camp was a worry, but he stayed on his line and that was fine. It has been a perfect weekend.”
“It was great seeing Ian coming closer to me, but I needed more laps,” said Duckman, “I didn’t realise we were on the last lap. We caught a back-marker in Camp which meant I couldn’t get a good run out of there. We have a new engine in the car and didn’t get time to test, but it was great and Ian and the guys at County Classics have worked tirelessly on it.”
“I had a dismal qualifying this morning, and the first race wasn’t great, but that was better,” said McAleer. “Gary was just so good on the brakes and there was nothing I could do about him.”
Chris Dyer led Class Two in the early laps, but Kavanagh moved ahead on lap three, and stayed just clear of Dyer to clinch Class Two.
“Chris was quick early on, and I was worried as I took a hit in the side on the second start,” said Kavanagh. “I knew he wasn’t going to do anything silly and it was good, I was just happy the tyre held out that was rubbing after the hit.”
Clarke made it a set of double winners on the day with his second Class Three win. Higgins recovered to eighth after a fine drive through the field.
Porsche Club Championship – Race One: 1 Ian White (964 C2) 16 laps in 21m02.489s (84.40mph); 2 Gary Duckman (968 CS) +0.772s; 3 Ben Demetriou (968 CS); 4 Mark McAleer (968 CS); 5 Richard Higgins (968 CS); 6 Ed Hayes (968 CS); 7 Peter Erceg (968 CS); 8 Ian Oliver (911); 9 Scott Kavanagh (944 S2); 10 Tom Segrue (944 S2). Class Winners: White; Kavanagh; Jeremy Clarke (944). Pole Position: Ian White 1m16.737s (86.79mph). Fastest Lap: Hayes 1m17.441s (86.00mph). Starters: 28.
Race 2: 1 White 12 laps in 15m46.719s (84.41mph); 2 Duckman +0.382s; 3 McAleer; 4 Hayes; 5 Demetriou; 6 Erceg; 7 Segrue; 8 Higgins; 9 Kavanagh; 10 Chris Dyer (944 S2). Class Winners: White; Kavanagh; Clarke. Pole Position: White. Fastest Lap: Duckman 1m17.091s (86.39mph). Starters: 26
Next Race: Silverstone, Northants, September 19th and 20th.Click here for the Castle Combe Circuit web site - designed and built by Racecar