THE Castle Combe circuit’s Bristol Forklifts Autumn Classic has provided some memorable moments in its first five years but on Saturday, spectators witnessed a sight many thought they might never see, writes JOHN MOON.

It has been 20 years since a modern Formula One car last raced at the circuit and races with such machinery will never be run at Combe again.

But as part of the Autumn Classic’s three demonstration runs for a huge variety of rare and important vehicles, Welshman Steve Griffiths provided fans with a sight and sound which will remain with them for a long time as he took the Lotus Judd, resplendent in its original yellow Camel colours, around the 1.85 mile circuit.

Almost as intoxicating was a performance from the man who set the all-time outright record at the last F1 race in 1997.

Cheltenham’s Nigel Greensall, as an aside from his later race in the headlining GT & Sports Car Cup, demonstrated a 1975 Formula 5000 Lola T332, in a mock race with the car’s owner, Neil Glover - himself a very accomplished driver - who drove his Chevron B37 which American Peter Gethin raced in the US championship in 1976.

Event sponsor Julian Bronson from Bristol demonstrated his Scarab F1 from 1959, one of the last front-engined Grand Prix cars.

Rain in qualifying created a number of mixed-up grids, the slippery conditions favouring those with less powerful cars or more talent.

Among those was Sir John Chisholm who made the most of the wet conditions in qualifying to take a fine pole position in the Bristol Aeroplane Company Motor Sports Club Challenge Trophy race for 500cc Formula 3 cars.

His unusual Arnott was totally outclassed in the dry race, from which he retired, the win going to Darrell Woods ahead of Xavier Kingsland, both driving Starides.

Stuart Wright was third in the Cooper Mk XI.

Also showing his immense skill in the wet qualifying conditions of the GT & Sports Car Cup race was Greensall.

Driving the GT3 class E Type Jaguar in which he had led the prestigious Kinrara Trophy race at Goodwood, the Cheltenham man again humbled the lightweight Jaguars and Cobras from the GT4 class with a time 1.8 seconds faster than his nearest rivals, Philip Walker and Miles Griffiths in Walker’s Lotus 15.

It was the first time the one-hour race had visited Castle Combe, with only four high profile rounds are held each year.

Compulsory pit stops are a feature of the races, with the owners having to complete at least 50 per cent of the driving, preventing professionals like Greensall from dominating.

His teammate, Chris Milner, started the race but Walker in the Lotus made the early running.

Ben Adams, solo driving a Lola Mk1 took the lead as the race evolved, with Nailsea’s Mark Williams moving up to hold third.

The pit stops, which saw Walker vacate the Lotus for his young hot-shoe Griffiths, were not kind to Adams who had to remain stationary for a minute.

This played into the hands of Walker and Griffiths, the Lola unable to recover and the win going to the Lotus team.

Despite an engine problem which reduced the Cobra’s power by 70 bhp, Williams drove valiantly to retain third. Greensall meanwhile used all his skill to recover the E Type to fourth, ahead of a host of faster cars.

The Healey 3000 team of Chris Clarkson, from Westbury on Trym, and Dave Smithies, from Flax Bourton, overcame an electrical issue in qualifying to take 10th overall and third in class.

The 'Silverline' Historic Formula Junior championship race saw Ben Tilley take victory in the Lotus 22 with pole man Peter De La Roche in the drum-braked BMC Mk 2 a fine second. Richard Smeeton was third in the unusual Wainer.

Patrick Blakeney-Edwards dominated the Vintage Sports Car Club’s Formula Vintage race for Pre-war sports, taking his Frazer Nash Super Sports from pole to a five-second win over his young rival Eddy Williams in a similar car.

Mark Gillies was over-optimistic at the restart after an initial ‘Safety Car’ period, taking third on the road in his Aston Martin Monoposto, but was demoted to fifth with a 30 second penalty, handing his place to Tim Kneller in the Riley TT Sprite.

The Bristol-based Jaguar Enthusiast’s Club’s Norman Dewis Trophy race for pre '66 Jaguars saw E Types dominate the dry 30-minute encounter.

Harry Wyndham drove a fine race from ninth on the grid to take the win, with the flamboyant Grant Williams sliding his way to second.

Milner improved dramatically from his 17th place qualifying slot to take third in the same E Type which later featured in the GT & Sports Car Cup race.

The Jon Gross Memorial Trophy race for Historic Aston Martins saw West Country property magnate Steve Boultbee Brooks take his DB3S to its third consecutive win at the Autumn Classic.

That feat was repeated in the well-supported FiSCaR '50s Inter-marque' race, some three seconds ahead of the Lotus Elite of Robin Ellis.

Nick Matthews added variety to the podium with his Austin Healey 100/4.