MOTOR RACING: Combe’s tribute

This Is Wiltshire: Chippenham’s Will Di Claudio is again expected to be a Saloon Car Championship contender at the Castle Combe circuit Chippenham’s Will Di Claudio is again expected to be a Saloon Car Championship contender at the Castle Combe circuit

CASTLE Combe’s racing calendar roars back into action on Monday with a tribute to circuit owner Howard Strawford, who died last month.

Howard’s Day, on the circuit’s traditional Easter Monday date, is expected to welcome back many of the 70 champions its three in-house championships have crowned down the years.

A tribute of a parade of the 250 participating cars will take place between qualifying and racing at lunchtime, with the focus on Combe’s own trio of championships, which Stawford was instrumental in establishing.

The Castle Combe Saloon Car championship, supported by National Windscreens, has had its class system refined, so potentially an outright race winner could come from any three of them.

The upper limit for class A is now 3400cc, making it a natural home for the turbo cars such as the SEAT Leon Cupra of Burton’s Rob Ballard and the VW Polo of Bath’s Angus Gorringe.

To level the playing field, the top three drivers in each class will have to run ‘success ballast’ up to a maximum of 60 kilos, to keep the racing even closer.

It means 2008 and 2012 champion Will Di Claudio from Chippenham, could be subjected to heavier weight in his 106 Peugeot, which runs in the relatively unchanged class C.

The fastest cars of the day will be found in the Castle Combe Sports and GT championship, supported by Siliconhoses.com.

The big battle is likely to be between former double champion Simon Tilling, from Vernham Dean, in his Radical SR3, and Trowbridge’s Andrew Shanley in his Radical Prosport.

The pair have fought an ongoing battle for the last three years.

A fascinating new entry in class C is Bridgwater’s Josh Fisher, in the 1300cc Fishface 01, built by his father Brian, a former multiple GT champion.

Drivers in the Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 championship, supported by Startline, get longer 15-lap races this year and there is a new class for cars built before 1982.

Young drivers look set to hold sway, with Saltford’s Steven Jensen back in the Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum, teammate Roger Orgee, from Langford, in the Van Diemen RF00 and Bradford on Avon’s Ed Moore hoping to rediscover lost form in a Ray GR11.

Luke Cooper, the 19-year-old from Yatton Keynell, will make sporadic appearances in a car older than him.

The meeting is a joint venture between Castle Combe Racing Club and the British Racing and Sports Car Club, of which Strawford was vice-president and chairman.

BRSCC races include a pair of races for each of the ‘Mighty’ and ‘Super Mighty’ Mini championships, Mazda MX-5s in the SuperCup races and the BRSCC Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship.

Monday’s action starts at 8.35am with qualifying, racing getting under way from 12.30pm.

Admission is £15 adults, £10 OAPs, £2.50 for paddock transfer (free if booked in advance), and accompanied U16s go free.

See castlecombecircuit.co.uk for details.

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