Tag Archives: Great Western Sprint

2014 Highlights – Motor Racing

45 years after I was taken to my first motor race meeting in the middle of Africa it is hard to believe that one of my greatest joy’s is getting up in the middle of the night and heading to the next one.

M4 East Bound

This year I managed to get to at an average of one meeting month from March through to October.

Gould GR55, Colin Calder, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe,

For the last couple of seasons my motor racing year has got underway in March marshaling at the Bristol Motor Clubs Great Western Sprint, this year my duties in the pit lane were over for the top ten run off, above Colin Calder made his 15 hour trip from Scotland worthwhile by grinding out the fastest time of the day narrowly pipping his daughter heather by just over 1/10 of a second.

Lola, Goodliff, Elva, Woodhouse, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

The VSCC Spring Start meeting at Silverstone saw the start of the 80th Anniversary of ERA celebrtions, top race of the day was the Formula Junior event which saw a race long scrap twixt the red 1960 Lola Mk2 of Simon Goodliff and the 1959 Elva 100 driven by Mark Woodhouse fall in Simon’s favour.

Ocon, Verstappen, Dallara F312, Silverstone

2014 was Max Verstappen’s first season in car racing, in his third car race ever, above, he is seen overtaking Esteban Ocon on his way to second place in the 3rd European Formula Three championship of the season run at the Silverstone 6 Hours meeting. Even then he probably would have found it unlikely to believe that aged seventeen years and one hundred and sixty-six days old he is set to become the youngest driver ever to start a Formula One Grand Prix when making his 33rd race car start driving a Torro Rosso in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne next season.

Benhard / Webber / Hartley, Porsche 919 Hybrid, 6 Hours of Silverstone

The 6 Hours of Silverstone meeting was my second visit to Silverstone in 8 days. Timo Benhard Mark Webber and Brandon Hartley in the #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid above started the event in 6th place and survived to finish 3rd. At the end of the season Mark Webber became world news and ended up in hospital after crashing his 919 Hybrid with in half an hour of the finish of the race run in São Paulo an event which completely eclipsed the fact that #14 Porsche 919 Hybrid team mates Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb went on to score the teams first World Endurance Championship race win since returning to top level endurance racing at the start of the year.

Maserati MC12 Goodwood Cent 100, Michael Bartels, Goodwood Festival of Speed

At the end of June I popped over to Goodwood for the Festival of Speed where Sebastian Loeb driving his 2013 Pikes Peak winning Peugeot 208 was tipped to make an attempt on the Goodwood Hillclimb course record set by ‘Quick Nick’ Heidfeld driving a Formula One McLaren Mercedes in 1999. Dark horse for the Goodwood Hillclimb turned out to be Michael Bartles driving the specially liveried Maserati MC12 ‘Goodwood Cent 100’ which finished just over a second down on Loeb who missed taking the outright record thanks to the gearing being short on top speed.

Lotus Cortina, Shedden, Meaden, Silverstone Classic,

Gordon Shedden and Richard Meaden provided the tyre smoking dice of the day driving their Lotus Cortina’s on the Super Saturday morning of the Silverstone Classic meeting. Richard Meaden seen following above won with team mate Grant Tromans after Gordon’s car over heated during the mandatory pit stop in the Sir John Whitmore Trophy.

07 14 07 26 Lola T70 Voyazides Hadfield_2455sc

Having already won the Mustang Celebration trophy during the afternoon of the Super Saturday Silverstone Classic meeting Leo Voyazides swapped his Ford Falcon for his Lola T70 Coupé and won the FIA Historic Masters Sports Cars race with Simon Hadfield after Martin O’Connel’s 2 litre/122 cui Chevron B19 mysteriously went off road with out injury to the driver.

Mallock Mk 9, Michael Mallock, Oulton Park,

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend I managed to get up to Oulton Park for the Gold Cup meeting, while the day was fairly wet and miserable the racing was hot from beginning to end. Michael Mallock achieved the rare feet of not only winning a race in a car, #9 Mallock Mk 9 Formula Ford, bearing his family name but also beating a field of rear engined Formula Ford cars with the only vehicle carrying it’s engine in front of the driver.

Plymouth Satellite, Cheng Lim, Brighton Speed Trials,

Having encouraged readers to help save Brighton Speed Trials at the beginning of the year I managed to make my way down to Sussex for the saved event in September. Slowest car in the event but none the less entertaining was Cheng Lim’s Plymouth Satellite.

BY-Pod, Chipping Sodbury School, Renishaw Castle Combe Heat 2014

Counting as one of the most awesome vehicles I have seen all season is Chipping Sodbury Schools BY-Pod electric vehicle taking part in the Renishaw Castle Combe Heat 2014 of the Greenpower Challenge. I left the meeting with my spirits for the future of motorsport in what ever form it might take thoroughly uplifted.

Cooper Mk X, Steve Jones, Cooper Mk XI, George Shackleton, BAC MSC Challenge Trophy, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

One of the many highlights of the third Autumn Classic meeting run at Castle Combe was the dice between the Cooper 500 Formula 3 cars of Steve Jones and George Shackleton for the BAC MSC Challenge Trophy, Steve claimed the spoils in his slightly older #74 Mark X. Next year among the many attractions of the 4th Autumn Classic at Castle Combe on October 3rd will be one of the BRM V16’s which for my money would be worth the price of entry if nothing else showed up.

Thanks for joining me on this “2014 Highlights” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Great Western Sprint – Castle Combe

On Saturday I got up at some unseemly hour and braved rain, hail and sunshine on my way over to Castle Combe for the Williams Automobiles Motorsport Specialists Great Western Sprint organised by the Bristol Motor Club.

Volkswagen Golf IV, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

For my sins I volunteered to be a marshal and found myself rather busier than expected by being assigned the paddock gate where my duties included checking competitors competition numbers were visible and that they were wearing mandatory seat belts, gloves and helmet, I was also instructed to make sure each car that passed me had the correct scrutineering sticker attached.

Volvo Amazon, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Before the action started and during the lunch break I’m managed to take a few snaps, above David Jameson’s 1968 Volvo Amazon basks in the mid day sun.

Hillman Avenger Tiger, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Looking mean at dawn above is Neville Breach’s 1972 Sunbeam Avenger Tiger Mk II which unfortunately retired early when the motor started seizing up.

Ford Fiesta ST, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Bristol Pegasus Motor Club’s Pete Goodman only took delivery of his Ford Fiesta ST a couple of weeks ago, but had already put sufficient miles on it for a first service before Saturday, he told me the car was still so new he was circumspect of “really thrashing it”.

Zeus ZR 163, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Among the open wheelers present was the Formula Ford spec 1980 Zeus ZR 163 shared by Russell and Mark Haynes. Up close the body work bears some resemblance to the 1981 Lotus 88. Little remembered Zeus fact; well known scribe for Motoring News, Autosport and more recently MotorSport, Simon Arron once drove a Zeus into the sleepers at Silverstone.

Ralt Judd RT37, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

The 1993 Ralt RT37 was originally built for 2 litre / 122 cui Formula 3 racing, Peter Howgate’s example above is fitted with a 3.2 litre / 195 cui Judd V8.

Lola Tegra T90/50, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Slightly older is the 1990 Lola Tegra T90/50 built for the 3 litre / 183 cui Formula 3000 series. The car shared by Graham Porret and Terry Holmes is now fitted with a 3.5 litre / 213 cui V8. On it’s last run the electrics cut out leaving Terry Holmes stranded in gear just short of the finish line.

Gould GR55, Graves, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Running a top sprint car is fraught with difficulties if the motor gets too warm the electronics take over and cut the motor and will not let it start again until the engine has dropped well below operating temperature, if the engine temperature gets too low damage is guaranteed when the motor is run at maximum revs hence Terry Graves Gould GR55 has a blanket wrapped over it in the near freezing conditions as he waited to go out in the top twelve run offs. Terry who has just acquired this car, still fitted with short hill climb gear ratio’s finished the day with a respectable if breathless 8th fastest time.

Reynard DB Mk1, Sampson, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

With the cars all assembled for the top 12 run offs my enjoyable if a little hectic contribution to the day was over and I had time to watch some of the track action from the pit wall. Above Craig Sampson in the unusual if not unique Reynard DB Mk1 managed forth fastest time while his partner driver Mark Smith recorded the 3rd fastest time of the day.

Gould GR55, Calder, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

The top two spots on the ‘podium’ were reserved for the Calder clan Gould GR55 which had made a 15 hour one way trip from Scotland to Castle Combe. Dad Colin is seen above grinding out the fastest time of the day pipping his daughter Heather by just by a smidgeon over a tenth of a second.

Calder & Calder, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Below father and daughter give each other a hug after the final run’s, to make up for Heather’s disappointment she at least knew the 15 hour journey would be marginally more tolerable than if she had not let her father win.

Thanks for joining me on this “Great Western Sprint” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the last in the present series of vintage American vehicles. Don’t forget to come back now !


Mad Snow & Englishman – Great Western Sprint

It’s only five years since the last time it was so cold at this time of year and it must be a sign I wear double thickness rose tinted lenses that I cannot remember it, however at 5:45 am my alarm clock went off on Saturday and about an hour later I stumbled out of the house and made my way to Castle Combe where I had volunteered to marshal at the Great Western Sprint sponsored by Williams Automobiles and organised by the Bristol Motor Club for the day.

Mazda MX5, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Between signing on at the Strawford Centre and breakfast at the Tavern Club House Tony Thomas was defrosting his MX5 in the paddock.

Big Boys Breakfast, Tavern Club House, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

They say an army marches on it’s stomach and with the inclement weather I decided a Big Boys Breakfast looked like a bargain at £6.95.

Kayne Special III, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

After my hearty breakfast I had just enough time to scoot around the paddock where John & Jonathon Biggs were preparing to fit the familiar Kayne Special III with road tyres to cope with the slippery conditions.

ADR Sport 2, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Andy Lawrence ADR Sport 2 displayed a welcome sense of humour which may have helped him to a class win in the under 1800 cc Sports Libre Class.

Austin Cooper S, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Looking pristine despite the conditions was Mark Whitchurch’s Austin Cooper S.

Ginetta G4, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

According to official records Roger Coote’s Ginetta G4 dates back to 2000 despite wearing a circa 1966 license plate more in keeping with the design era of the car.

Volvo Amazon, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Sleet was falling as David Jamesons prepared his 1968 Volvo Amazon for a practice run.

Ford Cosworth DFR, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

The 1988 Formula One season saw teams choose between two engine options 1.5 litre turbo or 3.5 litre atmospheric induction, Ford chose to abandon it’s turbo and supplied the Benetton team with a normally inducted Ford Cosworth DFR V8, like the one seen here in the back of Terry Graves Gould GR37, Benetton managed to finish 3rd in the manufacturer’s championship behind the Turbo powered McLaren Honda and Ferrari teams and ahead of the Lotus Honda and Arrows Megatron (BMW) turbo teams.

Subaru Impreza, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

My partner for marshaling duties on the inside of the track at Westway for the day was Carl, who drove us from the marshals meeting to the circuit gate opposite our post in his 2006 Sabaru Impreza fitted with natty Warholesque green and pink wheels.

Mini Cooper, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Apart from reporting the odd miscreant competitor who missed the Bobbies chicane our duties were not particularly taxing. Our post also served as the finishing line for the 1 3/4 lap sprint. I grabbed the following snaps on my i-phone while stood down during tea breaks. Above James Pile crosses the finishing line in his MINI Cooper Traveller.

Audi 80 Quattro, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Last time I recall seeing an Audi 80 on a race track was in 1980 when Sir Stirling Moss drove one in the British Saloon Car Championship, car of the day for me was undoubtedly Keith Murray’s Audi 80 quattro fitted with a turbocharged motor the car not only looked and sounded great but went like a rocket easily winning the Harkness Tyres Modified Production class beating Andy Trayner driving an Audi Quattro Coupé.

Mallock Mk 18b, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Luke Trotman’s Mallock Mk18b broke a drive shaft in practice and then failed the first timed run, as did the two other competitors in the Sports Libre under 1800 cc class and ended up finishing second in the final run. It was around this time that I spotted something dayglo on the track and called a temporary halt to the proceeding for what turned out to be a ball of dayglo masking tape, shades of calling a NASCAR style ‘Jr caution’ there ! Doh !

Van Diemen RF 96, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

Van Diemen was founded by the father of the only Australian to win a NASCAR Race Marcos Ambrose and Ralph Fairman father of one time Formula One driver Ralph Fairman Jr in 1973. Steve Miles is seen above driving his 1996 Van Diemen RF 96 which would have started life a Formula Ford 2000 spec car to a fifth place in the top 12 Run Offs.

Lola Tegra Judd T90, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe

The event overall was one by Terry Holmes in his Lola Tegra Judd T90 who only needed one run in the top twelve to set fastest time, and generously decided not to take a second run saving us marshals from standing a around in the freezing for an additional couple of minuets.

At mid day proceedings had been stopped for a welcome lunch break during which I refuelled on delicious beef madras curry with rice AND chips but by the end of the day my sense of humour was beginning to slip and I was ready to get home and jump into a hot bath to defrost.

Thanks for joining me on this “Mad Snow & Englishman” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.