Thanks to the hospitality of Simon Lewis sponsor of the THE SIMON LEWIS TRANSPORT BOOKS FREE SINGLE-SEATER SERIES I found myself attending the British Endurance Championship Racing Weekend at Castle Combe on Sunday.
As I got out of the car and prepared myself for a long afternoon’s racing there was a demonstration of Smart cars in progress including this neat 3 axle combination of car and caravan. Not exactly what I had in mind when I made up my mind to retire from camping in favour of wheeled temporary accommodation, but this combo would certainly cut a smart dash in the Le Mans camp site.
The first race of the day was for Smart cars which preceded the Smart car demonstration, the second race of the day was the 2 hour Britcar MSA Endurance Championship Round which included a welcome grid walk for the public before the race got underway.
Javier Morcillo from Spain driving the #3 Mosler MT900R set an electrifying early pace from pole position that only Micheal Millard driving the #7 Rapier 6 SR2 was able to match.
I was rooting, in vane as it turned out, for one of my many racing instructors, Calum Lockie, driving the #6 Mosler who was forced to join the fray from a pit lane.
After an incident requiring a Safety Car, during which Lockie now running in the top six pitted early for fuel, Millard got past Morcillo who promptly indulged in some lawn mowing which forced him to stop with serious overheating issues out on the circuit.
Millard then proceeded to lead for most of the next hour, a lap ahead of the next fastest car on the circuit, who proved to be Lockie, until he pitted to hand over the Rapier to Ian Heward.
By the time the mandatory pit stops had all been completed it was the Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari 458 driven by Phil Dryburgh and John Gaw running in the invitational class that was uncomfortably in the lead being chased down by the Rapier of Millard/Heward.
No sooner had the #7 Rapier taken the lead with 25 mins to go then it too spun out, leaving the Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari to finish first for the second time in this years Britcar Championship. In the process Dryburgh and Gaw set a new Castle Combe record for the most laps covered in a single race at 96 laps up from the previous record of 95.
The third race of the day was the first of two races in the THE SIMON LEWIS TRANSPORT BOOKS FREE SINGLE-SEATER SERIES. 2010 Monoposto 1000 cc champion Arty Cameron caused a huge upset by catching those ahead of him asleep at the start and snatched the lead from the third row of the grid driving the chain driven #46 Jedi and held it for the opening lap until the more powerful Formula 3 Dallara Renault F302 of pole sitter Stuart Wiltshire breezed past to a comfortable victory. Arty blew his motor making a race of it with the Formula 3 Ralt Vauxhall RT3 of Jim Blockley which came in second.
Tony Dolley driving a Peugeot 206 GTi drove to a second win of the weekend in the Castle Combe Racing Club Saloon Championship after his main challenger Rob Ballard went hay making in his Seat Cupra at Bobbies Chicane early in the race.
It’s been around 20 years since I last saw a Formula Ford race and though there was a change from using Ford Kent engines to Ford Zetec Engines in 1993 and again to using Ford Duratec Engines in 2006 this race catered for cars Formula Ford cars of all ages but all powered by the early Kent engines. My conviction that Formula One would be a lot more entertaining if the cars were built to Formula Ford regulations was confirmed by the race long duel of Ben Norton seen driving the #111 Spectrum 10b and Rob Hall in the #35 Swift SC10. The race was red flagged after an accident between two competitors on the penultimate lap. So far as I know neither was seriously hurt.
Variety was again the watch word for the Castle Combe Sports and GT Championship which featured a somewhat recalcitrant Rover V8 powered #17 Darrian T98 GTR of Ian Hall seen here about to be overtaken by Simon Tillings immaculate #23 Radical SR3 RS powered by a 400 hp 1300 cc / 79 cui Radical Performance Engines tuned turbocharged Suzuki GSX_R motorcycle engine. Tilling, who starting from the back of the grid, blitzed the opposition recording a new class 103 mph lap record, and fastest overall lap of the day, in his amazingly agile machine.
The final race of the day was another in the THE SIMON LEWIS TRANSPORT BOOKS FREE SINGLE-SEATER SERIES and in the absence of Arty Cameron it was Castle Combe regular Roger Orgee, driving the #6 Ford Zetec powered Van Diemen RF00 Formula Ford car, who got the jump on Jim Blockley in the #24 Ralt and Ray Rowan in the Formula 3 #23 Dallara F398 and almost completed a lap in 2nd place before the more powerful Ralt and Dallara breezed past the wingless Van Diemen.
Blackley in the Ralt passed Rowan for second but by this time Stuart Wiltshire was long gone on his way to his second victory, concluding an excellent day’s entertainment.
My thanks again to Simon Lewis who made today’s blog possible.
Hope you have enjoyed today’s Endurance edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a post war Rover. Don’t forget to come back now !
14 01 12 Amended Britcar record race distance to 96 laps not 97 laps as originally stated, thanks to Tim Murray and Pete Stowe for pointing out the error.