Castle Combe Circuits second Autumn Classic closed the racing season at the Wiltshire circuit for the second year running a couple of weeks ago and it proved again proved a big hit with the spectators more of whom used the event to dress up 30’s to 50’s costume than I remember last year.
After arriving I made my way to the paddock for a Big Boys Breakfast while the practice sessions were getting underway. Above the 1959 Ecurie Ecosse 2 stroke diesel powered Commer Transporter and many ex Ecurie Ecosse team cars, including the 1960 Cooper T49 Monaco, 1961 Sebring Austin Healey Sprite and the rear engined 1962 Tojeiro-Buick Coupé will all be coming up for auction at Bonhams in December.
There were many interesting vehicles in the car park including this sports car about which I know nothing apart from the fact it said “Triumph” on the tax disc, if you know more please do not hesitate to chime on below.
After practice and before racing commenced there were several demonstrations including the one seen above featuring a selection of “mods” on their scooters and “rockers” on their motorcycles with “rozers” in hot pursuit aboard a Wolseley and Triumph Herald squad cars.
Nick Mason’s Maserati 250F arrived a later than intended and sadly sans Nick, but it made a welcome appearance on the track, unfortunately the PA was a little weak at Old Paddock when I took this photo so I’m not sure who was at the wheel, if you know chime in below.
The Historic Aston Martins got the afternoons racing underway, Martin Hunt driving a Fraser Nash Le Mans Replica did well to lead from second on the grid for the opening lap but it was Chris Woodgate, seen above qualifying his Aston Martin DB3 #DB3/6 on pole in the early morning mist, who led from lap 2 until the finish, while Hunt fell back to finish an eventual fifth.
Grahame Bull and Anthony Reid locked out the front row for the Norman Dewis Trophy for Jaguars with the #12 E Type and #33 XK120 respectively. Reid made a great race of it taking the lead on lap 2 and then again from lap six to 18 until he was slowed by a puncture which left Bull with an unassailable lead.
The Big Healey’s provided the second biggest grid of the day and by far the fiercest competition which saw five competitors trying to go unsuccessfully line abreast into the Bobbies chicane at one point ! Above the #73 Chris Clarkson / Ted Williams, #16 Eric Wolley / Dan Cox and #98 Nils-Fredrick Nyblaeus / Jeremy Welch cars fight over blagging rights for the best entry line into Tower Corner. David Grace and Anders Schildt were declared the winners after Dan Cox driving the fastest car in the race went backwards into the barriers, without injury, at Tower.
The rather more leisurely VSCC Pre War Sports Cars race was won by Frederic Wakeman from pole abourd his Fraser Nash Super Sports but only after past a fast starting HRG driven by Andrew Mitchel who led the opening three laps. The brothers Blakeney-Edwards provided the scrap of the race Simon in the #4 Fraser Nash Shelsey got the better of Patrick in the #3 Fraser Nash Owlet Saloon to home 3rd. The brothers are seen congratulating each other on their return to the pits.
Andrew Sharp, seen leading in his #45 Aston Martin DB2 a above, from third on the grid managed to lead every lap of The FISCAR 50’s Inter Marque, but only after he had managed to build up a big enough to make his compulsory pit stop 5 mins before the end of the race. Nike Thorn and Johnny Todd driving the #44 Austin Healey 100S did well to finish just 0.07 seconds behind Sharp, from second on the grid, on a thrilling closing lap.
The biggest grid of the day was provided by the Miller Oils Formula Junior Championship competitors. Jack Woodhouse qualified on pole in his #84 Lotus 20/22 and won the close fought race by half a second from Peter Morton who started alongside him in the rare #75 Lightning Envoyette seen above on the opening lap.
The final race of the day was for 50’s Lightweight Sports Racing Cars had eight entries of which just seven took the start. But it only takes two cars to make a race and Alex Quattlebaum proved it by taking the win from 4th on the grid in his #10 Leco MG after a race long battle with 2nd place starter Brian Arculus in his #17 Lotus IX. Brian might have won the race had he not switched his lights on which appeared to have an adverse effect on the smooth running of his motor. Alex is seen making his final pass on Brian 2 laps from home above.
And so the 2013 season of Motorsport that began with the sad loss of circuit saviour Howard Strawford, drew to a close at Castle Combe in Wiltshire, roll on 2014 !
Thanks for joining me on this Autumn Classic edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a 1990 Thunderbird. Don’t forget to come back now !