REIGNING Saloon car champion Simon Thornton-Norris began the new season where he left off by claiming a class win in the first round of the series at the Castle Combe Circuit on Easter Monday.

It was far from a faultless race for the man from Holt though, as an electrical problem for his Class B Mitsubishi Colt dropped him from third on the grid to outside the top ten by the end of the opening lap.

A charge back through the field brought him back into fourth by the chequered flag, but a ten-second penalty for exceeding track limits demoted him down to fifth.

He said: “The engine cut out off the line, I had an electrical problem and turned the ignition off and on and it did it again. I still don’t know what the problem was.

“After that I just went as fast as I possibly could and I was on the ragged edge and without the problem the car would have been competitive.”

There was more good news for local driver Will Di Claudio who claimed the Class C win in his Peugeot 106 GTi, as well as third-overall.

“The other guys their cars were just too quick but we will keep trying all through the season for an outright win,” said Di Claudio, who claimed the Class D title in last year’s series.

“The car felt really good but I think there’s more to come.”

Luke Cooper was left frustrated with a fifth-place finish in the opening round of the Formula Ford 1600 series after starting the race from second.

“The car was amazing but every time I pulled out of the tow the train of cars pushed me back,” said the Chippenham racer.

“The people we were racing against had more speed and there’s not really anything we can do unless we buy a new engine.

“The car itself is amazing and we have the pace, I’m disappointed it should have been so much better than what we had.”

Pole-sitter Michael Moyers led from start to finish but had victory snatched from his grasp after incurring a five-second penalty due to exceeding track limits, demoting him to second-place.

Josh Fisher, who’d pressured Moyers throughout the entire race, inherited the win with reigning champion Roger Orgee completing the podium in third.

Marlborough’s Archie Hine claimed ninth-place on his debut at the circuit having only started car racing at the end of last year.

The 19-year-old is following in his father Ringo’s footsteps, after he competed in Formula Ford during the 1980s and 90s including a sixth-place finish at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in 1986.

“It’s a big step up from go-karting which I only did about ten races of,” said Hine.

“I know I have the pace to go faster and to end up in the midfield by the end of the year would be a good goal.”