Crowd favourites return to Castle Combe A Plant Lux Raceday

Like fish and chips or Laurel and Hardy, Ferraris and Minis seem to complement each other perfectly and at Castle Combe circuit on August Bank Holiday Monday that delicious combination will be entertaining the crowds.Two Ferrari races and four Mini races make up the core of the programme at the traditional ‘A Plant Lux Raceday’, with a combination of the Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic and Formula Open series, providing a nice contrast between the old and new Italian supercars.Pewsey’s Graham Reeder has been a regular supporter of this event for many years and this season has been scoring well in the ‘Open’ with his 430 GT3, though the top spot on the podium has just eluded him. In the ‘Classic’ race, it’s 308s and 328s, such as that of East Chinnock’s Gary Culver, plus the odd Mondial, which provide the visual and aural feast.The Mini entertainment comes in the shape of a pair of races for both the ‘Mighty Mini’ and ‘Super Mighty Mini’ championships. As the names suggest, the difference is in the amount of modifications allowed to the traditional old cars, which are now all too rare on the road, but still hugely popular on the circuit. What you can be sure of is super close racing and a lovely contrast to the aura of the Ferraris.Another place where close racing goes without saying is in the Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 championship, which has its penultimate round. The tension at the top of the points table is palpable, with local drivers very much in the thick of the battle. Whilst Langford’s Roger Orgee appears to have a slight lead in his KMR Van Diemen RF00, in reality, once dropped scores are taken into account, it’s Chippenham’s Adam Higgins who holds the advantage. Having solved the engine problem which inhibited his progress earlier in the year, Higgins is showing all the form which took him to last year’s title. Intriguingly, Adam’s brother Richard from Burnham on Sea, is one of his adversaries and lies in a solid 4th, in his first year in a class A car.Whilst the Higgins family are on a high and determined to emulate father Bob’s consecutive multiple titles from the 1981 season, Gloucester’s Kevin Mills has the unenviable task of stopping two of his team’s drivers from clashing. After a controversial coming together between erstwhile championship leader Ashley Crossey from Flax Bourton and Coventry’s Nathan Ward at the last round, Crossey has dropped to an adjusted second in the points, after establishing what looked like a solid lead earlier in the year. Ward’s three non-finishes have put him out of contention for the title, but he is still hungry to add to the win he notched up in June. This is nothing but good news for Higgins, who is happy to see the drivers from his rival team taking points from each other. As yet, ‘team orders’ have not made it to Castle Combe and it’s unlikely they ever will…..Another driver who could take points from those arguably needing them the most is 2004 and 2007 champion Ed Moore from Melksham. Like Ward, he has too many non-finishes to challenge for the title, but his Van Diemen JL013K can be rapid when let loose, as Moore showed at the last meeting.Tewkesbury’s Paul Barnes is emerging as the main man in class B for the slightly older cars, whilst Plymouth’s David Cobbold is making the C class his own in his 1989 Van Diemen.The scoring for the ‘Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship’ allows drivers from the smaller capacity classes to amass points equally with the others. Consequently, Bristol’s David Rose heads the tables in his VW Lupo, with an adjusted 4 point lead over his nearest rivals, Calne’s Tony Hutchings and Bridgwater’s Tony Dolley. The two Tonys are absolutely even on points and both face stiff competition in their classes, which makes the job of Rose slightly easier.Dolley’s challenge is stiffer this time, with the return of Bristol’s Mark Wyatt to class B, having been absent with engine problems to his Astra. When the car works as it should, it is incredibly fast and was only demoted from its lap record holding spot by the A class Audi TT of Hutchings in July. So Dolley has to hope Wyatt or his car has one of its ‘off days’, to have any chance of maximum scoring.Hutchings meanwhile, has plenty of opposition able to pounce. Reading’s Russell Akers has been super impressive in his turbocharged Astra and was unlucky to be taken out in the first running of the last race, his Interceptor Racing team doing a great job to rebuild it in time for the restart. The Renault Megane of Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird from Shepton Mallet is another ‘hot’ car and driver combination, whilst Swindon’s Julian Ellison and Keynsham’s John Barnard are Astra Turbo rivals with huge amounts of motive power.Bath drivers Dave Scaramanga and Angus Gorringe have their pair of VW Scirroccos whilst Bill Brockbank from Stonehouse returns with his potent SEAT Ibiza Cupra.Chard’s Carl Loader and Stroud’s Rodney Apperly are neck and neck in class C with their respective Saxo VTS and Peugeot 106.The circuit’s ‘GT’ championship, is all about Mitsubishi Evo’s this year. For the die-hard fans of these awesome cars, there is one in particular they all want see, the brutal short wheel base ‘Evo 9’ of Melksham’s Simon Norris. As well as being a highly effective track car, taking a win at its last outing at the circuit in May, the specially bodied machine can hold its own in a straight line drag race. In July this year it clocked just short of 200 mph in a kilometre from a standing start!What everyone is looking forward to is seeing the Norris Designs machine in a straight fight with championship leader, Gary Prebble from Southampton. In comparison, Prebble’s Evo seems relatively modest, but took its owner to a record 40th win at the circuit last time out.Droitwich’s Keith Dunn is back to see is he can reclaim the lead of class B in his Caterham C400, after missing a few rounds.Delighting the crowds will be the pair of ‘Rage’ buggies from Mark Higginson and Craig Moore, especially away from the line where they are both fast and spectacular!The circuit’s ‘Sports Racing’ series resumes and welcomes a number of interesting entries. Former ‘Sports and GT’ champion, Simon Tilling from Vernham Dean, is bringing his wonderful Ligier JS49T back after blitzing the track in May. He will face the equally rare and mind blowing 6.2 litre Riley Grand Am car of another former champion, Salisbury’s Nigel Mustill. In the lower capacity class B, stalwart Norman Lackford comes all the way from Penzance with his Radical and will face the likes of Wrington’s Darcy Smith in his similar machine.Monday's action starts at 8.30 am with qualifying, racing getting under way from 12:35Admission prices are £15 for Adults and £10 for OAPs, whilst accompanied children under 16 are admitted free. ‘Paddock Transfer’ is free if the tickets are booked in advance.For further information, visit the Castle Combe Circuit online at www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk   built by racecar

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