BRATTON driver Ben Norton proved he had lost none of his winning touch after roaring to victory at Castle Combe’s Motors TV Live race day on Bank Holiday Monday.
Budget constraints mean the Wiltshire College Spectrum driver is unable to contest many of this year’s races, but that didn’t stop him from wrapping up a race victory Startline Formula Ford 1600 championship in his first outing this year.
Despite not managing any testing sessions in the car, Norton duelled with Saltford’s Steven Jenson throughout the 15-minute race.
Jensen led but, after three laps, succumbed to the pressure from Norton, who took the flag just .136 of a second in front.
Both were awarded joint driver of the day honours after thrilling the huge crowd.
Third was Adam Higgins, from Chippenham, in the Van Diemen JL12 which he started fifth.
Melksham’s Ed Moore was happier in his new version of Higgins’s car, coming fourth.
In another Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum was Langford’s Roger Orgee in fifth.
Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper took the class B win and sixth overall in the Swift SC92.
Filling every place from second to sixth – Jensen, Higgins, Moore, Orgee and Cooper – were second generation Combe drivers, most of their fathers having raced against each other in the Formula Ford championship.
Chippenham’s Kyle Tilley, in a one-off race in a Van Diemen RF89, won class C and was 10th overall.
The MSA British Championship ‘Superkarts’ put on an enthralling spectacle, Cirencester’s Louis Wall taking his new Anderson Honda to a fourth in race one, and ninth in race two, having qualified third.
After a drive shaft failure in qualifying for the Sports and GT championship race, Trowbridge’s Andrew Shanley had to work his magic in his Radical from the back of the grid.
With a busy pack ahead of his bright yellow car, he was fourth by lap four, before the retirement of leader Jonathan Hair, in the front-engined Mallock Beagle Mk36 DD, elevated the local man to third, promoting him to the head of the championship points.
Taunton’s Craig Fleming took the win in his Juno from Wrington’s Josh Smith (Radical PR6). Smith’s father, Darcy, brought his SR4 Radical to fifth.
The surviving Sports and GT drivers rounded off the day with a non-championship ‘Fun Race’, the finishing order being Fleming, Hair, Shanley and Smith junior.
Bristol’s Mark Wyatt was in a class of his own in the National Windscreens Saloon Car championship race and took his pole-sitting Astra to victory.
Burton’s Rob Ballard and Corsham’s Will Di Claudio took the remaining podium places in SEAT Leon Cupra and Peugeot 106GTi respectively.
Di Claudio’s smaller class C car was initially ahead of the SEAT, but after the demise of Calne’s Tony Hutching’s from second place, when an electrical issue sidelined his Audi TT, Ballard found a way through.
Adrian Slade, from Devizes, held fourth for most of the race until he suffered a fuel system failure in his class C Peugeot 106 Gti, allowing Bridgwater’s Tony Dolley to take his place in his Peugeot 206 GTi.
Former Autograss racer, James Winter, from Chippenham, drove well to take second in class C and fifth overall, with Bath’s Guy Parr a second adrift in his Fiesta and third in the C class.
The drivers filling eighth, ninth and 10th, resumed their battle in the non championship ‘Fun Race’ later in the day, Chippenham’s Martin Chivers (T.G. Cooper MG ZR), Bath’s Angus Gorringe (VW Polo) and Shepton Mallet’s Charles Hyde Andrews Bird, in his class D-winning Fiesta each clocking up their best-ever finishes for another west county podium.
The Aero Racing Morgan Challenge races saw Bristol’s Tim Pearce take two seventh places, while Horton’s Henry Williams took a pair of class E wins, albeit well down the field in his 4/4 Sport.
Cirencester’s David Boucher took a third place in the first 750 Motor Club Locost race, having qualified on the front row of the grid, but retired in race two.
REACTION & PICTURES FROM CASTLE COMBE IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES