AT CASTLE COMBE
Formula Ford 1600 has been enthralling the crowds at Castle Combe since 1969and this Bank Holiday Monday, May 4, should be no different.
Castle Combe's Husqvarna Springtime Raceday is likely to see a continuationof the phenomenally close battle from a field so packed with entries, aqualification race is necessary.
The opening round on Easter Monday showed the 2009 season will be as closelyfought as ever, the depth of talent truly remarkable given the high qualityof previous years and the racing still some of the best you will witnessanywhere on earth.
Nevertheless, a real runaway victor still managed to emerge from thecompressed field of protagonists. Bratton's Ben Norton, driving the Spectrum011 which has been gradually developed with the help of the students fromthe 'in house' Wiltshire College, romped to a 3.6 second win, leaving theothers to squabble amongst themselves. Further aerodynamic tweaks in thepipeline should wring even more from the Australian chassis as the yearprogresses.
Pole man Andrew Jones from the village, resumed his battle with his nemesis,Steven Jensen from Saltford, the latter improving on his 3rd placed gridposition to take second in his locally built Swift SC09. Jensen's car isanother to receive an aerodynamic upgrade shortly which should make theSwift less susceptible to slipstreaming from following cars.
Making a welcome return is Matt Rivett, whose sole ambition seems to be tobeat his old rival and former champion, Ed Moore from Bradford on Avon,which he managed at Easter after Moore bogged down at the start. Watch outfor another no holds barred duel this time. Another strong challenger forMoore and the others will be Nelson Rowe from Wotton under Edge, back with aVan Diemen RF99 in Class A. Bath's Chris Acton should not be discountedeither in the Ray GRS08.
Challenging Rivett for class B honours will be the likes of David Vivianfrom Bradford on Avon, who took second last time and 2008 Class B champion,Felix Fisher from Bridgwater whose Swift SC92 was uncharacteristically offthe pace.
Cirencester's Tom Margetson will be looking to beat Julian Heap to Class Cvictory after out-qualifying him last time.
Similarly successful is the circuit's Saloon Car Championship in associationwith National Mobile Windscreens. A few of the regular names may be missingthis time after a multi car shunt just after the start at the opening round.The accident sidelined Bristol's Mark Wyatt in the Astra, Cirencester'sJonathan Wills in the MG Maestro, Ditcheat's Kevin Bird in the SEAT Leon,Bristol's David Kift and his Peugeot 106 and father and son team, David andBen Urquhart from Yeovil.
Such is the strength of the championship, a tremendous race still ensued,with some notable star drives. Reigning champion, Will Di Claudio fromChippenham, took Class C in his first outing in his newly upgraded 106 butwill be fiercely challenged by Yate's Nick Charles this time, his similarPeugeot a little faster than Di Claudio's but delayed by the Folly accident.
Class D will see a similarly fraught battle resume between Jason Cooper,from Yatton Keynell, in his superbly prepared Fiesta and Bath's Ollie Lewisin the 106. Against the odds, Lewis was more than a match for the Forddriver, setting the fastest lap, despite being pipped to the class win.Expect these two to provide some thrilling competition this year.
Out front, the Mitsubishi Evos will be dominant with Cheltenham's LaurenceKilby hoping his daunting 'rat look' Evo 9 RS is reliable this time afterfailing to start the opening round.
Bath's Guy Woodward is another local hoping his car is up to scratch havingalso missed the opening round. His Jade has now been upgraded with a morepowerful Nissan engine and should be the class of the savesometax.co.ukSpecial GT field.
Nevertheless, opening round victor Andrew Shanley from Trowbridge will havethe bit between his teeth in the Radical which has already won thechampionship twice outright and its class three times in the hands of LouisDavidson. Simon Tilling will be doing his best to deny him with his morepowerful SR3 variant. Ed Moore relies on 2 litre Vauxhall power in hisMallock as a sideline to his FF1600 exploits.
Mark Funnell continues to drive his giant killing Lotus Exige from his homein Trowbridge and will also be favourite to win the Castle Combe Racing ClubOpen Sports and Saloon race. His opposition should include the mighty Evo 3of Melksham's Simon Norris.
Class D see Castle Combe's Keith Sprules looking to get back to form in hisFerrari 360 Challenge car.
Staying with mixed saloon and sports car races is the 20 minute thrash forthe LMA Euro Saloon and Sports Car championship. A number of current andformer circuit racers will be out, including Mark Harrison from KingstonBagpuize in the Owen Developments Mitsubishi Evo and former saloon champion,Ilsa Cox, in her SEAT Leon Cupra.
More saloon cars show up in two races for the Gaz Shocks Production BMWChampionship catering for the popular E30 shape 3 series Beemers. Localsinclude Marlborough's Jerry Brown, Bristol's James Redish and Salisbury'sStuart Waite.
The Ma5da MX5 championship has two ten lap races of competitive action forthese ever popular little road rockets. Tom Roche is the man in the lead sofar this year.Monday's action starts at 8.40 am with qualifying, racing getting under wayfrom 1.00 pm.
Admission prices are £15 for Adults, £7.50 for OAPs, £2.50 for PaddockTransfer, whilst accompanied children under 16 are admitted free.
For further information, visit the Castle Combe Circuit website on www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk built by racecar