CASTLE COMBE: Tony storms it Castle Combe
TONY Hutchings was dominant on his way to victory in the Castle Combe Circuit’s Saloon Car Championship race during the Whitsun Bank Holiday race meeting on Monday, writes John Moon.
The former champion, from Calne, had only qualified his unique Audi TT in third place, pole position being taken by qualifying specialist Mark Wyatt from Bristol in his Astra, just ahead of Shepton Mallet’s Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird (CHAB) in his Renault Megane.
CHAB led away from the start and built a small lead but once Hutchings had grabbed second from Wyatt, the gap began falling until CHAB retired on lap four with mechanical failure, leaving Hutchings to streak away and win by almost ten seconds.
Wyatt’s class B car took second ahead of his class rival, Bridgwater’s Tony Dolley in the Peugeot 106 and some way ahead of the Class A turbo Astra VXRs of Swindon’s Julian Ellison and Keynsham’s John Barnard.
Carl Loader, from Chard, again took the class C win with seventh overall, while Bristol’s David Rose consolidated his overall points lead with another class D win in his VW Lupo. Weston-super- Mare’s Kieren Simmons was notable in his Class B Fiesta, which took 12th overall and third in class despite being relatively unmodified.
Ashley Crossey took another clear victory in the circuit’s Formula Ford 1600 race in his Spectrum 011B and was awarded the Driver of the Day title as well.
The battle behind Crossey was ferocious, with Nathan Ward from Coventry, taking second and reigning champion, Adam Higgins, third in his Van Diemen.
Langford’s Roger Orgee was notable for his charge from the back of the grid after missing qualifying, eventually narrowly being squeezed into fourth on the line ahead of Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper in his Swift SC92.
Melksham’s Ed Moore was another to have held second place in his JL13 Van Diemen, losing it and dropping to 6th after a spin into Quarry corner.
Gary Prebble became the most prolific race winner in Castle Combe’s history, taking his 37th victory after starting from the pit lane with a clutch problem. Barry Squibb had led in his Mitsubishi Evo until a turbo boost issue saw him crawl home, one lap down. The Aeriel Atom of Nick Holden was third.
An unfortunate coming together at Bobbies eliminated Norman Lackford and Andy Crockett from the lead of the circuit’s Sports Racing series race, giving Axminster’s Chris Vinall a win in his Radical SR3 RS. Richard Gray was second in his SR4 version and Weston-super-Mare’s Antony Weeks, third in his Prosport.
The headlining Dave Allan Memorial Trophy race, a 90-minute endurance event, saw British Touring Car championship driver Matt Neal’s over exuberance force his Honda Jazz, built by the factory race team, Syncho Motorsport, at Swindon into retirement on the fourth.
Neal’s team mate for the special event, Swindon’s Dan Ludlow, never got to drive the car in the race. Andrew Smith and Phil Keen, sharing an Ariel Atom, took the win, one lap up on Westbury on Trym’s Tim Woodman in his Caterham.
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