CASTLE COMBE: Like father, like son
10:30am Friday 11th October 2013 in Latest News
Chippenham’s Adam Higgins made history at the Castle Combe circuit on Saturday when he became the first son of a former champion to take the title, writes John Moon.
Higgins needed a single point to put him out of the reach of Saltford’s Steven Jensen in the battle for the Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 championship.
Jensen needed a race victory, fastest lap and Higgins to fail to score to pinch the title.
An accident in qualifying for the carnival race put Jensen’s participation in doubt, after spinning and being collected by Melksham’s Ed Moore.
Jensen’s Kevin Mills Racing team managed to repair his Spectrum, but Moore was unable to repair his car in time, after hoping to score a second consecutive victory.
Making Jensen’s life even more difficult was his own team-mate, Ashley Crossey, who took pole position and led for the first two and a half laps. Jensen had been threatening since the off and duly claimed the lead into Quarry, third time around, which he retained until the end.
That would not be enough as fastest lap went to Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper in the class B Swift.
Behind him, Higgins threw caution to the wind to move into second on lap 11, where he stayed until the premature finish on lap 12, after an accident which claimed Cooper, prompting the organisers to wave the chequered flag three laps early.
Higgins said: “It’s absolutely definite now. I came and did the business today and it’s a dream come true.
“I have to thank dad and my wife – without them I wouldn’t be doing this.”
Cooper’s father, Bob, was a four-time FF1600 champion at Combe, three of his successes being multiple ones from 1981.
Jensen meanwhile, announced his retirement from racing, no doubt disappointed to miss out on the title by such a small margin.
The two major casualties, Cooper and Moore, both managed to repair their cars in time for the annual carnival race, with Cooper starting from pole position.
But it was Crossey who took an immediate lead.
Timsbury’s Oliver White held off Adam Higgins for most of the race to take second, whilst Langford’s Roger Orgee claimed third with a last-ditch dive down the inside into Camp on the last lap, leaving Higgins fourth. Cooper won class B and was fifth overall, with Moore sixth.
The second title of the day went to Josh Smith from Wrington, who, in a similar position to Jensen, had to win the Sports and GT championship race and take fastest lap. He also had to rely on his rival, Perry Waddams, finishing second or lower in class D, without a point for fastest lap in his class.
Two drivers were in the mix to foil either Smith or Waddams, the complexion of the race and the title ebbing between the two as the laps ticked off. Initially, Trowbridge’s Andrew Shanley in the Radical Prosport, converted his pole to a healthy lead, but Smith gradually reeled him in, taking the lead on the penultimate lap and most importantly, the fastest lap in his Radical PR6.
Waddams meanwhile, was at the mercy of a pair of Mitsubishi Evos, which arrived in his class to make life even more difficult.
Melksham’s Simon Norris was one of those, placing his ‘9’ version in an impressive third fastest position, but failing to complete the first lap.
Gary Prebble, the 2012 champion, brought his Evo back for some end-of-season fun and quickly assumed the class lead and third overall, running way ahead of Waddams and establishing a substantial lead, allowing him to back off and give third to Norman Lackford, for the sake of his engine.
Steve Putt’s Mazda RX7 was also initially ahead of Waddams, the TVR driver found a way through, but Prebble’s fastest lap was totally out of reach, giving the title to Smith, who was also named driver of the day.
The title interest in Combe’s Saloon Car championship was for class B, but in this instance, things were much more straightforward.
Bristolian Mark Wyatt simply had to finish ahead of Bridgwater’s Tony Dolley, which he did convincingly from pole position.
Corsham’s Will Di Claudio, already this year’s champion, ran well from third on the grid, again dominating class C, until he retired with a drive shaft failure on lap seven, giving Dolley that place.
The two races for the Production BMW championship were dominated by West Country drivers, with Tim Wilson from Portishead in his first race for a year, claiming pole in a hired car, paid for as a birthday present from his family.
Running third in race one, he dropped to fifth after a wild tail-slapping slide over the line.
Matt Parkes from Downend took a close win, with Mike Tovey from Longwell Green very close behind.
Race two saw the perfect podium for the three drivers, who are all friends, Tovey taking the win, with Parkes second and Wilson fighting back to third.
Westbury on Trym’s Tim Woodman in the Caterham and Cricklade’s Nick Holden in the Ariel Atom enjoyed a race-long dice to second and third in the saloon versus sports car race, with Rob Ballard fourth.
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