Professional race preparation and management

Reports > August Bank Holiday race day - Combe 29th Aug 2016

Seconds for Higginbottom, thirds for Fisher & Bracegirdle

The August Bank Holiday meeting at Castle Combe on Aug 29th featured double headers for the local championships including Formula Ford, where the WPR team had four cars present, and Saloons where Guy Parr was debuting his 'new' Mini Cooper alongside Steve Bracegirdle in the team's similar car.

It was an early start for the Formula Fords who practiced at 8:30 am and with 32 runners it was the largest field seen for a while with clear laps hard to come by. Nevertheless Josh Fisher qualified the Richard Hudson-Evans' Van Diemen JL14 in fourth place for both races. Although only a couple of tenths off the ultimate pace of the leading runners the team remain mystified why the car, so strong at last year's Walter Hayes, isn't right at the front. Andrew Higginbottom, who has contested every round at Combe so far this year again qualified the team's Van Diemen RF88 well, 2nd in Class C and comfortably into the 1m 12s for Race 1. Steve Bracegirdle qualified fourth in Class C while Pete Diccox, in his penultimate meeting in his long and successful career, was a little further back in the 1m 19s - both drivers in their familiar Van Diemen RF89s.

Race one was interrupted by first a red flag and then a safety car. In the first part Josh dropped to fifth in the early running with Andrew getting off the line well (after his problems getting off the line in recent races) and a fast starting Pete were well up. Steve had got boxed in at the start and was a little adrift. On the re-start Josh got into fourth place and ran at the same pace as the leaders until the finish but just unable to mount a challenge for the podium. The re-start had left the field well spread out and Andrew found himself way behind the class leader but got his head down and, with some fast and consistent lappery, caught up to finish just metres behind in second place. Andrew was having to back off slightly on the straight as the engine was 'popping' a bit at max revs and the team later cleaned the carb finding a bit of grass which may have been to blame. A similar performance from Steve saw him work his way through the back of the field to take the final position on the Class C podium. Pete ran well to finish 24th and his fastest lap almost got into the 1m17s.

Race 2 went pretty much the same way as the first. Josh was settled in fourth place for most of the race, closely following but not really mixing it with the leaders who were fighting over the championship. Such was the intensity of the battle (overtaking moves down the inside and around the outside at Camp!) there was bound to be some tripping over each other and this duly happened on the final lap allowing Josh to slip by and take third place. This time Andrew stayed much closer to the Class C leader and, in a race run at a slightly slower pace, was matching times finishing a second and a half down for another second place. Steve and Pete (having his penultimate race) ran consistently to finish 22nd and 27th respectively.

A massive 41 car field assembled for the two Saloon car races with the near standard Mini Coopers of Guy and Steve not being really competitive but in such a large field there was plenty of opportunity to 'go racing'. In Race 1 Steve started ahead of Guy who was still getting familiar with the car (not having even sat in it before!) but Guy slipped past on Lap 4 to finish 26th a couple of places and seconds ahead of Steve. In Race 2 the positions were reversed with Steve ahead throughout the race finishing 22nd, a couple of places and seconds in front of Guy.