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MOTOR RACING: Screen test for Combe drivers
9:00am Friday 4th May 2012 in Latest news
AFTER the success of last year's live televised meeting, Castle Combe does it again on Monday when the Motors TV Live Race Day beams Wiltshire to the screens of viewers in 39 countries, using five languages.
A bonus for spectators are the giant television screens at Camp and Quarry on the circuit.
With just one round under their belts so far this year, the complexion of the circuit's three home championships could look rather different after this event.
A significant feature of the opening round of the Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 race was the omnipresence of the Higgins family.
Father Bob needs little introduction to long time circuit regulars, having won the championship in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1992 when he was living in Bath.
He is back for 2012 with a new RF2012 Van Diemen in class A.
Son Adam, from Chippenham, has begun sharing in the family success, having won class B of the championship last year, while brother Richard, from Burnham on Sea, looks to be following in the same footsteps by winning it at Easter.
Race winner Roger Orgee, from Langport, is looking strong and confident in the Van Diemen RF00, run by Kevin Mills Racing, his inter-team rivalry coming from Saltford's Steven Jensen in the Spectrum 011B and in 011c versions Chepstow's Nick Jones & Coventry's Nathan Ward, the latter taking pole last time.
Adding to the competition is Felix Fisher, from Bridgwater, a sure-fire front runner in his Van Diemen RF00.
Looking to return to the form which gave him the 2009 title and 2 'Carnival' wins is Bratton's Ben Norton in the Wiltshire College Spectrum, hoping to be joined by a yet to be announced new teammate. Bitterly disappointed with his fifth place last time was Yatton Keynell's Luke Cooper, his first win at his home circuit surely not far off now in the family Swift SC10.
The opening round of the circuit's Saloon Car championship saw the oldest car in the field take an impressive outright win.
Southampton's Adam Prebble defied the damp in his Rover Turbo to beat the rain-meister Mark Funnell from Trowbridge in the Mini, the pair some way clear of third-placed Tony Hutchings, from Calne, in his Audi TT.
If the weather is dry this time, expect the likes of Bristol's Mark Wyatt in the Astra and Bridgwater's Tony Dolley in the Peugeot 206 to be further forward. Watch out too for the diesel Golf of Lloyd Allard, from Cirencester.
With an eye on another title even at this early stage of the year is Chippenham's Will Di Claudio, seemingly making Class B his own with his rapid Peugeot 106.
Chippenham's Martin Chivers is likely to be the best of the MG ZR runners.
Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird, from Ditcheat, and Reading's Russell Akers will continue their class C battle in Fiesta and Astra respectively.
The Prebble name was also at the front of the Vadabar Sports and GT race last time, with Adam's brother Gary winning outright, a feat rarely achieved by a saloon car.
The wet weather was certainly a help to the four wheel drive Mitsubishi Evo, but Prebble's skill in the tricky conditions should not be underestimated.
Reigning champion Simon Tilling had the new smaller engine of his Radical SR3 singing in the rain last time and in more normal conditions can expect to be an outright rather than a class winner, though the seven-litre Aquila of Salisbury's Nigel Mustill might have something to say about that.
Opponents for Tilling in Class B include Wrington's Darcy Smith in his Radical SR4, while in the Invitation class is Smith's son Josh in his Radical PR6.
From Bath, Des Andrews has the Megahart, which ran to 5th overall and third in class last time.
Eagerly awaited is the debut of the V10 engined BMW M6 of Vadabar M.D. Doug Watson, from Blagdon, whilst in his old BMW Z3 is Angus Gorringe from Bath, out in a Polo GTi in the saloons race too.
Minis old and new provide four, edge of the seat, races.
The contrast between the old and new is fascinating, with the BMC powered 'Miglias', almost as fast as the BMW powered machinery.
Both ancient and modern have two bites of the cherry, with the added excitement of the 'Miglias' and 'Se7ens' running together.
In the 'Se7ens' are Gloucester drivers Darren Thomas and Roland Parsloe and, from Coleford in Somerset, Julian Proctor, his car running in the 'S' class.
Peter Baldwin will be a favourite, fresh from his 'Miglia' pole position and a win at Donington Park.
The 750 Motor Club's Toyota MR2 championship brings a mass of these relatively unmodified mid engined pocket rockets together in classes for each of the three variants. Paul Hinson was the man to beat at Silverstone in April.
The 'Gadgethelpline.com Classic Sports & Saloon Series' caters for essentially road going, production cars built between 1960 and 1975.
Alfas seem to be the vehicle of choice, but expect some British opposition from various BMC powered machinery.
The day comes to an end with Formula Free, where any type of single seater can take part.
Monday's action starts at 8.40am with qualifying, racing getting under way from 1pm.
Admission prices are again held at £15 for adults, £7.50 for OAPs, £2.50 for Paddock Transfer, while accompanied U16s are admitted free.
For further information, visit the Castle Combe Circuit online at castlecombecircuit.co.uk, Facebook or Twitter or tune in to channel number 413 on Sky, or 545 on Virgin Media.
CASTLE COMBE REPORT, REACTION & PICTURES IN NEXT THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND NEXT FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES
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