A couple of weeks ago Castle Combe’s 2014 racing season came to an end with the third Autumn Classic meeting and it has without question grown and flourished in the 36 months since the first one.
Today I’ll focus on last weekend’s racing and return to some of the other stunning attractions at a future date. First race of the day was for Formula Junior cars which was won by Jonathon Milicevic in his 1962 Cooper T59. During the grid walk about before the start I became acquainted with Anthony Binnington who qualified his ex Peter Revson 1963 Cooper T67 6th, fell to 19th on the opening lap and climbed up to 7th in the remaining 15 laps. Anthony tells me his car originally belonged to Peter Revson, first US born Can Am Champion in 1971, who set an all time lap record for the Formula Junior class at any track of 130 mph at Enna Pergusa, Italy on his way to a second place finish behind Frenchman Jo Schlesser in August 1963.
The John Gott Memorial Trophy race for Austin Healey’s last year saw an attempt by the leading 5 cars to go into the Bobbies chicane simultaneously, this year the action was not quite so wild, but the race for the lead twixt winner David Smithies, driving the #50, who got the jump on pole man Bruce Montgomery, driving the #177, at the start was entertaining until Bruce was forced to give up his second place to David Grace who finished just over .2 of a second behind Smithies.
Simon Hadfield driving an Aston Martin DB3S drove a text book race to win the Historic Aston Martin race by nearly a minute. The second place challengers David Reed, driving the #53 Aston Martin DB2, and Chris Jolly, driving the #16 DB2 were rarely more than spitting distance apart until the final 2 laps when the invited Jaguar XK 150 of Paul de Havilland passed Chris and made it stick to the finish.
One of the high lights of the Autumn Classic was seeing 1988 Jaguar Le Mans winner Andy Wallace, driving the #61 Jaguar D type seen above after lapping the #31 Jaguar 3.4 litre Saloon of Les Ely, on his first visit to the circuit in 30 years. Andy recorded a dead heat in a Formula Ford (Pinto) 2000 race on his last visit to the circuit, this time he was in third place in the D-type when the safety car came out and trapped him out of position in traffic from which he could only salvage a 5th behind 4 E-type Jaguars driven by Martin Hunt, Mark Russell, Brian Stevens and Grahame Bull.
I am quite sure if the only competitor in the VSCC Pre War Sports Car Race had been Patrick Blakeney Edwards the crowd would have gone home convinced they had got their money’s worth. Patrick driving the chain driven Fraser Nash Owlet as entertainingly as ever only finished 6th behind winner Frederick Wakeman who was driving a roadster bodied Fraser Nash Super Sports.
The FiSCar 50’s Inter Marque challenge lived up to it’s name with the lead contested by a pair of Lotus Elites, the #6 Cooper Bristol driven by John Ure and Nick Wrigley, and the #10 Elva Courier by Simon and Amanda Hadfield, seen above with Simon going into a brief lead ahead of the eventual winning #75 Lotus Elite shared by Robin Ellis and Richard Fores. The Hadfields finished 10th and the Cooper Bristol 3rd behind the Lotus Elite driven solo by Brian Arculus.
I reported on the activities of the 500 Association on Saturday, above 500 Formula 3 winner of the BAC MSC Challenge Trophy Steve Jones thanks the track marshals with a wave with second place finisher George Shackleton riding shot gun, driving the #74 Cooper Mk X and #23 Cooper Mk XI respectively.
Light levels were falling as the final race of the day, for the ever entertaining Austin Healey’s, got under way.
David Grace, seen leading on the opening lap into Quarry above, made the best start and kept it to the end from pole sitter David Smithies.
I’ll be revisiting Castle Combe in the coming weeks with further blogs on this great day out.
Thanks for joining me on this “8 Race Card” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow to continue the Dodge centenary celebrations. Don’t forget to come back now !