Formula Ford championship crescendo at Castle Combe

It seems to happen every year, but yet again the Castle Combe Circuit’s final round of its Formula Ford 1600 championship will reach a nail biting climax, fought out between 3 local drivers.Saturday October 4 is the date not to be missed. Langford’s Roger Orgee, Chippenham’s Adam Higgins and Ashley Crossey from Flax Bourton are the protagonists and 15 laps of the 1.84 mile circuit will decide which of those is the 2014 champion.Just like 2013, Higgins has come from behind and is probably the strongest contender, having a 2 point lead over Orgee after dropped scores are taken into account. His aim on the day is simple - stay ahead of Orgee. A win will guarantee him his second consecutive title, whatever the others do. But Orgee has that same task and a little more, just to add to the pressure. To be sure of the title, Orgee has to win and set fastest lap to give him that vital extra point, or Higgins will beat him if he finishes second. There are a plethora of other points combinations, but effectively these two will be out to beat each other in the most comprehensive manner possible. Their track records in 2014 give Higgins the slight advantage, having scored 2 wins to Orgee’s sole opening round victory and Higgins with 3 fastest laps to Orgee’s one. Higgins has his family team behind him, including his ‘never say die’ father Bob, who knows all too well how to win consecutive championships, having done so before his son was born……. Orgee also has the experience and the inevitable pressure from a title winning father – his namesake winning 40 years ago, in 1974. These days, Gloucester’s Kevin Mills runs the team behind Orgee, but has the added management issue of 3 of his drivers wanting race victory. Some of the team also have ‘previous’, with a ‘Rosberg and Hamilton at Spa’ type incident inflicting a body blow to the serenity of the outfit at the first August Bank Holiday round.Whether he was the ‘Rosberg’ or the ‘Hamilton’ is still the matter of some debate, but Crossey has to make up at least 14 points on Higgins and needs to do everything he can to avoid another tangle with Coventry’s Nathan Ward, with whom he shares the ‘KMR’ garage. Ward’s title battle was over long ago after three ‘DNFs’, which means both drivers have nothing to lose by going all out for a win, making this final round as eagerly awaited as a referendum result.Adam’s brother Richard, from Burnham on Sea, is just out of mathematical contention for the title but has shown remarkable consistency in his first year in an A class car. He is unlikely to interfere in the main title battle, but will be more than happy if he is able to deny his brother’s rivals some valuable points.Similarly, Ed Moore from Melksham will be hoping he can steal a win while the aforementioned are scrapping amongst themselves, assuming his Van Diemen JL013K performs as he would like.A finish is all Tewkesbury’s Paul Barnes has to aim for to clinch the class B title in his Swift SC92, whilst Plymouth’s David Cobbold has had no need even to enter for some time, having decimated the opposition in C class long ago in his 1989 Van Diemen.The ‘Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship’ overall title has also been decided, as have three of its classes, but class C for cars between 1400 and 1800cc is a battle between 2 West Country drivers. Chard’s Carl Loader and Stroud’s Rodney Apperley in their respective Saxo VTS and Peugeot 106 have just 3 points separating them, so variables such as weather conditions, reliability and other drivers, will all play a part in the outcome. Loader has shown the superior speed this year and has 5 wins to demonstrate that, but Apperley’s Peugeot has won the championship outright before in the hands of Yate’s Nick Charles, so the battle is not over yet.Calne’s Tony Hutchings has class A in his pocket, courtesy of his Audi TT, but will nevertheless be challenged hard on the day by the likes of the Renault Megane of Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird from Shepton Mallet, a super-fast car/driver combination, lacking reliability in its first full season. For Reading’s Russell Akers in the Astra Turbo it’s been a similar story, though he’s also suffered from being taken out of a couple of races by others.Other quick Astras are in the hands of Swindon’s Julian Ellison and Keynsham’s John Barnard, whilst the VW Scirocco gang from Bath are Dave Scaramanga and Angus Gorringe, their cars being particularly formidable and surely race winners in the future. Re-joining them in class A is Melksham’s Rob Ballard in his SEAT Leaon Cupra, which notched up a win in May, when it was lent to multiple race winner and Combe champion, Gary Prebble.Bridgwater’s Tony Dolley is the 2014 class B champion with his Peugeot 206 Gti, but Bristol’s Mark Wyatt has the speed in his Interceptor Astra and could well challenge for outright honours if everything clicks.Meanwhile, Class D, has produced champion, David Rose, and will see 1.4 litre cars such as his VW Lupo against such as the Suzuki Swift of Arthur Marks and the MG ZR of Adrian Slade from Devizes.Gary Prebble from Southampton already has his hand on the circuit’s ‘GT’ championship crown, his 3rd Castle Combe title. His Mitsubisho Evo will again be the car to beat, but the 6.2 litre TVR Tuscan of Perry Waddams and the ‘Rage B uggies’ will make an interesting contrast. Of particular interest is the 4 car Nissan GT Academy team of 370Zs. Gaetan Paletou from France is the 2014 winner of the NISMO PlayStation® GT Academy and will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the 2011 winner, Jann Mardenborough, who is now a GP3 race winner and newly elected member of the prestigious ‘British Racing Driver’s Club’. The four Nissans will also be having fun in the ‘Open Sports vs Saloons’ race.The circuit’s final ‘Sports Racing’ round of the year sees former Combe ‘Sports and GT’ champion, Simon Tilling from Vernham Dean, back with his superb Ligier JS49T alongside the 6.2 litre Riley Grand Am car of another former champion, Salisbury’s Nigel Mustill. In the lower capacity class B, Bradford on Avon’s Guy Woodward, an accomplished former champion and race winner in a variety of cars, has a now rare outing in a Radical SR3 and will face fellow veteran Norman Lackford from Penzance in his Radical PR6.The 11 race programme also features the annual ‘FF1600 Carnival’ with Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper making a welcome appearance in the family team’s Swift SC92. There are also a pair of Monoposto Tiedeman Trophy series races, featuring some diverse and very fast single seaters, together with the Pre 1982 Classic Formula Ford championship and the HSCC Formula Ford 2000 championship.Saturday's action starts at 8.30 am with qualifying, racing getting under way from 12:30


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