Grand National NG Castle Combe 29 – 30 July 2023
Castle Combe NGRR Grand National 29th – 30th July 2023
Max Symonds is crowned 2023 “King of Combe” Josh Day back to winning ways, Charlie Nesbitt local BSB rider from Swindon smashes the outright lap record 1:06.918 on his Honda CBR 1000.
BSB Brands Hatch July 2023
Bennetts British Superbike Championship Brands Hatch 21st – 23rd of July.
BRIDEWELL BARNSTORMS BRANDS
The Bennetts British Superbike Championship rolled into Brands Hatch over the weekend of the 21st – 23rd of July. The championship standings arriving in Kent were headed by Beer Monster PBM Ducati rider Tommy Bridewell, who held a lead of 25 points over team-mate Glenn Irwin. The spots of water that began to fall in the first part of qualifying had turned to steady rainfall as the pole-setting Q2 session was due to go green. A see-sawing contest for the top spot between Bridewell and OMG Yamaha’s Ryan Vickers saw each bettering the others time as they crossed the line. As the clock ticked down, Bridewell improved once more with twenty seconds to go before going quicker again on his last lap to cement pole by 0.643 seconds from Vickers, who needed a late improvement to bump Josh Brookes back to third. A sodden circuit greeted the field for the twelve-lap Sprint Race later on Saturday afternoon. Bridewell headed the pack into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time from Vickers but the Yamaha was jumped by Danny Kent on the climb to Druids. Vickers was back in second before the first lap was completed and then took the lead when Bridewell had a slide at Hawthorn on lap two. Kent also got ahead of the PBM Ducati at Clearways, with Bridewell falling into clutches of the following four riders as he dealt with a misting visor. As the front pair moved away, the rider on the move was Christian Iddon and the Ducati man took both Leon Haslam and Bridewell to climb to third on lap four. Bridewell’s visibility issues saw him slip behind Haslam, qualifying star Jack Kennedy and Jason O’Halloran by lap seven. At the end of the lap, the black and orange mechanical warning flag was displayed to Haslam as smoke was emanating from his BMW. The red flag quickly followed to clean the circuit of the dropped fluid and the race was called, giving a jubilant Vickers his first British Superbike victory from Kent and Iddon. Sunday dawned dry and bright and the Oxford Products Ducati of Iddon sat on pole position having set the fastest lap in the wet Sprint Race, with Kent and Vickers making up the front row. Iddon and Kent both got away well and it was the 2015 Moto 3 world champion who took the initiative into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time. Kent’s tenure of the lead lasted a single lap as Iddon charged back to the front starting lap two. Iddon couldn’t shake off the Honda though and Kent briefly retakes the lead on the third lap before Iddon immediately bellows back through on the following straight. The top five are still within a second of each other when the Safety Car is deployed on lap eight after Dean Harrison fell at Paddock Hill Bend. Kent headed the queue for the restart from Iddon, Vickers, O’Halloran and Bridewell up from seventh, the Honda having hit the front at Hawthorn just prior to the interruption. Both PBM Ducatis were on the rise when racing resumed, an aggressive lap from Bridewell saw him up to second behind Iddon, who had removed Kent from the lead at Hawthorn. Hawthorn was the scene of Bridewell’s pass for the lead two laps later and the Wiltshireman sped clear to a 2.406-second victory after twenty laps. A blanket covered Iddon, Kent, Glenn Irwin, Vickers, Jason O’Halloran and Kyle Ryde in the battle for the podium places as they took the flag. Bridewell’s late-race pace came with the bout’s fastest lap so would start the final encounter from pole ahead of Kent and Iddon. The front row got away evenly but it was that man Kent again who led the way into Paddock Hill Bend from the poleman. A fired-up Iddon took second from Bridewell starting lap two before usurping Kent for the lead on the GP loop. In the line behind, Ryde lunged ahead of Bridewell at Stirlings for the second time and the steady-away Ducati also momentarily slipped to fifth behind Leon Haslam’s BMW on the third tour. Ryde’s time in third would be short-lived as a broken gear linkage forces the Yamaha out on the fourth lap, which moves the PBM Ducatis of Bridewell and Irwin into a menacing third and fourth. Bridewell takes second from Kent out the back for the seventh time before taking the lead from Iddon into Hawthorn on lap twelve but, unlike earlier, the Ducati couldn’t escape the pack. Bridewell’s PBM partner Irwin forced his way into second at Surtees on lap fifteen and Vickers took advantage to further demote Iddon to fourth. The Ducati moved back up to third at Westfield on the following tour before the Yamaha rider made the place his own at Stirlings on lap seventeen. The squabble had cost Vickers ground to the PBM pair ahead but a fastest lap brought the Yamaha onto their tail heading onto the final lap but Bridewell doesn’t let the win slip and takes his second win of the day from Irwin and Vickers as 0.237 seconds covered the trio. Bridewell leaves Kent with an extended margin of 34.5 points at the top of the championship tree from team-mate Irwin in second. The championship now moves on to the fastest circuit of the year at Thruxton on the 11th -13th of August, the scene of three of the best races of the 2022 championship season.Words and Pics Stephen Carpenter.
BTCC Thruxton Circuit 3rd – 4th June 2023
BTCC Thruxton 3rd – 4th June 2023
NAPA RACING’S DAY IN THE SUN
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship held rounds 10, 11 and 12 in glorious weather at the extremely fast Thruxton circuit over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of June. Coming into the weekend as championship leader after a highly successful last meeting at Snetterton a couple of weeks previously, Ash Sutton continued his hot form to set pole position. Reigning champion and Snetterton race three winner Tom Ingram flung his Excelr8 Hyundai round to join Sutton on the front row, 0.210 seconds down. Thruxtonmeister Josh Cook belied his recent struggles to go fastest in each of the two free practice sessions in his One Motorsport Honda and the Civic was sat atop the times after the first qualifying runs, the ten-time winner in Hampshire would ultimately start from third. A star of qualifying was Mikey Doble, the BTCC rookie lining up fourth in his Power Maxed Astra as all three PMR Vauxhalls made it into the top ten. Of the WSR BMW hordes, Jake Hill’s satellite Laser Tools MB Motorsport car fared best in qualifying to head an all-BMW third row with Colin Turkington alongside. An even getaway from the first two rows of race one saw Sutton maintain first place into Allard but Hill’s BMW from the third row bursts through between Doble and Cook to challenge for third. Ingram tailed the leading Focus into the Complex for the first time from the tussling Hill and Cook, Hill has his nose in front into Cobb but Cook hangs on around the outside to take back third at Seagrave. Colin Turkington dives inside Doble too for fifth. Sutton’s Napa Racing UK teammate Dan Cammish finishes a good first lap by going the long way around Doble into the Club Chicane to end the opening lap in sixth from starting ninth. Sutton was quickly into his stride, opening up a small gap out front to sit just under a second clear after one lap and the margin would continue to grow as he sped to a dominant victory. The top four cars became spread out throughout the race, Sutton victorious by 2.513 seconds from Ingram, who rode plenty of early pressure from Cook as the Hyundai was forced to defend the inside at the chicane for the third time. A small consolation for Cook was setting a new lap record on his way to third. Hill’s BMW took fourth whilst Cammish moved up to fifth when he took advantage of a much better run through Church to take the place from Turkington on lap two but the BMW kept him honest thereafter. Race two was a virtual action replay of race one as Sutton was again away superbly at the start to lead Ingram off the line, Cook and Hill mirrored race one by going side by side through the Complex and the Honda holds third once more at Seagrave before closing in on Ingram. Sutton soon began going away from the field, just as in the opening encounter, so Sutton took his 33rd BTCC win but not by quite the same margin as race one, 2.234 seconds. Ingram sealed second and was edging towards the victorious Focus throughout the second half without being able to mount a challenge, Cook kept at arm’s length from the Hyundai in third. Top BMW driver Hill took fourth despite being closed on by Cammish in the closing stages, the Napa Ford taking a few laps to clear the fast-starting Toyota of Rory Butcher. Colin Turkington also bested Butcher on the penultimate lap for sixth, having lost out to the Toyota in a sketchy moment at Noble for the first time which also cost the BMW another place to Cammish. The reversed grid draw for race three saw double-winner Sutton shoot himself in the foot as he pulled out ball twelve from the pot which placed WSR’s Adam Morgan on pole with Aiden Moffat alongside. Ricky Collard’s Toyota would go from third with Aron Taylor-Smith next up. Napa Racing’s Daniel Rowbottom was handed a three-place grid penalty after contact at the Complex with Nathan Pearson in race two so lined up fifth, the Ford having made good progress after starting 24th to finish an on-the-road eleventh. Morgan used the BMW’s traction to take the lead off the line with Moffat and Collard maintaining second and third. Rowbottom’s Ford made a great start and was up to fourth at the Complex with Turkington further demoting Aron Taylor-Smith for fifth. Just behind them were Hill, Ingram, Cook and Sutton all squabbling over ninth as the field headed out into the country for the first time, double-winner Sutton passing Cook towards Church. Showing great speed in the early stages, Rowbottom uses his favoured move at Seagrave to take Collard’s third place on lap two as a train of cars forms behind a stubborn Moffat’s Honda. In the battle at the foot of the top ten, Cook speeds by Sutton at Church after the Ford tags Ingram at the Complex. Keen to keep the leading Morgan BMW in sight, Rowbottom tried his Seagrave manoeuvre on Moffat on lap three but doesn’t make it stick and the lost momentum sees Collard charging back into third on the outside of Noble. A twitch for Collard at Village allows Rowbottom to retake the place by Church and Turkington follows the Ford through racing up to the chicane. Rowbottom finally breaches Moffat’s defence at the Complex on lap five, the Focus going around the outside of Campbell as the Honda hugged the inside and made the spot his own at Cobb. Morgan had marched into a two and a half seconds lead by now but using the Focus’s superior pace, Rowbottom soon starts reeling in the leading BMW and makes the decisive pass bravely on the inside into Church for the tenth time. Immediately pulling a gap to Morgan, Rowbottom completes a Napa Racing UK clean sweep of victories by 2.733 seconds from Morgan. Moffat fights a rear guard action to keep Colin Turkington and Ricky Collard at bay for his first podium of the year in third. Taylor-Smith’s Astra comes home sixth from Butcher’s Toyota whilst Cammish, Ingram, Hill, Cook and Sutton all finish in a line from eighth to twelfth, Ingram passing Hill around the outside at Goodwood on the penultimate lap as the BMW’s attempt at passing Cammish through Noble fails. Sutton now leads the championship by fourteen points from Ingram leaving Hampshire having bagged two wins at each of the last three meetings, Turkington sits third 41 points in arrears. The Mini 7 Racing Club’s Se7en and Miglia challenges were a popular addition to the support package as the race victories all went to members of the Jordan family, father Mike taking the two Se7en bouts despite the close attention of Connor O’Brien and Ross Billison in race one and two respectively – perfect car placement up Woodham Hill allowed him to hold his challengers at bay each time. Son Andrew took the two Miglia wins after some epic slipstream battling, besting Aaron Smith towards the Club Chicane for the last time in race one as a train of nine cars fought for the win and then shrugging off Jeff Smith’s best efforts in race two. The BTCC now moves on to rounds 13, 14 and 15 at Oulton Park in Cheshire on the 17th and 18th of June.Pics and Words Stephen Carpenter EDP Photo News.
Grand National Castle Combe Motorcycle race meeting 22nd – 23rd April 2023
SYMONDS SETS OUT HIS STALL
North Glos Road Racing Club paid their first of two visits to Castle Combe in 2023 over the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of April.
The King of Combe would run to a new format for this year, the points scored in the six races across the two meetings determining who would take the crown. Reigning King of Combe Max Symonds got his defence of the title off to the perfect start, qualifying on pole position and racing to all three King of Combe/Phoenix Open race wins. Symonds was also unstoppable in the Bluebell Lakes Powerbikes, scoring three wins there too. One of the few riders able to keep the flying Yamaha R1 in sight was road racer Jamie Coward with four close second-placed finishes on his big Honda, he also tore to three wins on his Super Twin Kawasaki ER6. Fellow roads man and former 250 GP National champion Jim Hind was another to impress on his 1000cc Suzuki, taking two fourths and holding off a pack of riders for second in Sunday afternoon’s King of Combe encounter. Another King of Combe hopeful riding well was Bob Collins, who took four thirds in his first four races aboard his Fireblade and two Formula Prostock wins on a Suzuki, but an unfortunate Powerbike high-side ended his meeting on Sunday afternoon. George Edwards flew to all three IMS 600 victories from Ricky Elder, he was regularly lapping with some of the quicker 1000s in his King of Combe outings as well. Thomas Lawlor triumphed in the opening 250 GP National bout but Bobby Varey was dominant on Sunday, Lawlor and Chris Moore both had spells in front before being forced to settle for the podium placings by the vivid Varey Yamaha. Ant Hart and Phil Atkinson fought hard for the GP Originals race victories, Sunday’s battles were a highlight as Atkinson twice defeated Hart with a last-lap pass to avenge Hart’s win on Saturday. Dave MacKay narrowly took the first two Sound of Thunder spoils from Jamie Coward’s Kawasaki twin before taking a much more comfortable win on Sunday afternoon aboard the True Heroes Ducati, top Formula Prostock runner Nick Williamson chased him home ahead of Darren Rumley’s naked KTM. Local man Tyson Lewis proved good value with two Streetstock 1300 wins on his BMW, John Dudman’s R1 taking the other. The all-action Suzuki Bandits had little to separate Chris Edwards and Lee Marks all weekend, the score reading 2-1 to Marks. After Steve Moody prevailed in the concurrent F400 category on Saturday, the closely matched Tony Griffiths, Pete Gibson and Martin Thrower fought out Sunday’s races with Griffiths twice getting the verdict. The combined finishing distance between Elijah Everton and Chace Collymore across the three Junior Supersport thrashes was a mere 0.408 seconds, just 0.049 split them on Saturday as Everton somehow took all three victories. Top Ducati Desmo rider Dominic Cann was with them on Sunday. The evenly matched Mini Twins had a win for Mark Hughes and two for William Holland but Joe Woodward, Jonathan Smith and Nathaniel Manning-Morton were all in with a shout. Nick Sansome’s 250 Honda sealed the first Open 500 win before Steve Moody inflicted another slim defeat to Chace Collymore in the second race, True Heroes team rider James Cleary only just headed Collymore yet again to win in the meeting’s final race as the looming dark cloud finally emptied its contents with the race nearing its conclusion.
North Glos returns to Castle Combe on the 29th and 30th of July for more competitive racing action and to crown the King of Combe.words Stephen Carpenter EDP Photo News.
Castle Combe Countdown 29th August
Castle Combe Countdown Race Meeting 29th August 2022
BTCC Thruxton Circuit 28th August 2022
FORDS FEAST AT THRUXTON AS COOK SERVES UP RACE THREE
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship paid its second visit of the 2022 season to the sweeping Thruxton circuit over the August bank holiday weekend for rounds 22, 23 and 24. Scoring his first pole position in a Ford Focus, Dan Cammish headed current Thruxton maestro Josh Cook by 0.017 seconds. Championship hopefuls Jake Hill and Ashley Sutton made up the second row whilst series leader Colin Turkington languished in 15th, two spots behind closest title rival Tom Ingram. Cammish held the lead at the start of race one whilst Cook came under fire from Sutton, Hill and Gordon Shedden at the Complex. Neither Cook or Sutton were willing to give in at Seagrave, the resulting contact sending Cook sideways and plummeting down the order. Shedden took advantage of Sutton’s loss of momentum to move ahead and the pair settled into second and third places behind Cammish, who had been gifted a big lead by the skirmishes. The Ford man managed the gap over the remainder of the 16 laps to take his first win for Napa Racing, Shedden coming home in second from Sutton and Hill. Championship chasers Ingram and Turkington scored with ninth and tenth place finishes as Cook salvaged three points for thirteenth but had eyes for so much more. Cammish again converted pole into the race lead at the start of race two whilst a great launch from teammate Sutton got him alongside Shedden for second, making the place his own at the Complex. Just behind, Rory Butcher had a run at Jake Hill for fourth but Hill bravely held on around the outside of Noble. Sutton started to pressurise Cammish for the lead on lap two, setting the fastest lap in the process, but Cammish clung on and soon stretched out a small margin until, on lap 13, he was instructed to cede the win to title contender Sutton, pulling aside at Allard. Shedden took his second podium finish of the day with third and Cook regained more of his lost race one positions with eighth. An all-WSR BMW front row formed up for race three, Stephen Jelley and Turkington benefitting from the reversed grid draw which saw ball number 11 drawn, Michael Crees and Cook made up the second row with Cook looking to grab a top result after his race one contact. The two BMs led the way off the line but Cook was in determined mood, outdragging Crees when the lights went out before usurping Turkington for second at Village and then taking a good look at Jelley’s lead into the Club Chicane. Cook made the move stick the next time round and set off towards his third victory at the circuit this year. Turkington soon passed his teammate Jelley for second, which is how they finished. Jelley was reeled in by the squabbling pair Rory Butcher and Sutton in the closing laps but held on, Sutton having charged through from eleventh on the grid. Turkington now leads the points table by six points from Sutton as the championship heads to Silverstone for rounds 25, 26 and 27 on the 24th/25th September Words Stephen Carpenter EDP Photo News.
Grand National Castle Combe 20th – 21th August 2022
SYMONDS TAKES IT TO THE MAX
Symonds Racing BMW rider Max Symonds was unstoppable at the Castle Combe Grand National meeting held over the weekend of the 20th/21st August. After qualifying on pole for the King of Combe and second behind Aaron Ridewood in the Powerbikes, Symonds saw off each of his rivals to emerge victorious in all six races and bag the King of Combe trophy for the first time. One of Symonds closest challengers was Dale Thomas aboard a 600cc Suzuki. Returning after a lengthy break, Thomas showed he had lost little of his speed with pole and two wins in the 600s as well as chasing Symonds home in each of the King of Combe encounters to take home the silver medal. One of the rides of the day on Sunday came from National 250GP rider Bobby Varey. After fluffing the start and falling to the rear of the field, the brightly hued Yamaha set off on a charge. Varey caught leader ‘Tommy 2-Stroke’ Lawlor with less than two laps to go and battled past on the run to Quarry to seal a great win. words Stephen Carpenter EDP Photo News.
BTCC Croft 25th-26th June 2022
LLOYD’S DREAM DOUBLE DELIGHT
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship made the journey up the A1 to Croft, near Darlington, over the weekend of the 25th/26th June for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the 2022 season. The venue has traditionally favoured the rear-wheel-drive cars and that tradition was maintained as the WSR BMW of Colin Turkington sped to pole position by 0.027 seconds from the Team Dynamics Honda Civic of Daniel Rowbottom. Making up the second row were Excelr8 Hyundai i30 pairing Daniel Lloyd and Tom Ingram as 0.076 seconds covered the top four, a remarkable turnaround for Turkington and Lloyd after their car-wrecking incident at Oulton Park just a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile, championship leader Josh Cook languished down in 20th position, bemoaning a lack of straightline speed. As expected, Turkington held the lead off the line of race one whilst a great getaway from Lloyd placed him second into the first corner. The BMW’s vulnerability on cold tyres showed as Lloyd pounced on Turkington at Tower for the first time, challenging around the outside then cutting inside to make the move stick on the run to the Jim Clark Esses. Lloyd survived two safety car restarts and withstood huge pressure from Turkington on the last lap to take a fairytale victory. Rowbottom completed the podium after resisting multiple attacks from Ingram on the second restart. Cook salvaged a point with 15th but Ingram cut his championship lead to just two points. The reduction of Hybrid usage for Lloyd made little difference to the Yorkshireman in race two as another peach of a start saw him lead the pack away. Lloyd’s dream day continued as he held the lead throughout to grab the win despite intense scrutiny from teammate Ingram and Turkington. Ingram, having jumped Rowbottom at the start, passed the BMW on the opening lap through the Jim Clark Esses, striking before Turkington’s tyres came up to temperature. Cook gained four spots from his grid position to come home in 11th but lost the championship lead to Ingram. The draw for race three saw ball number 12 pulled out of the bag so Gordon Shedden was handed pole position for the last race of the day with Cook completing the front row, Stephen Jelley and Tom Chilton making up row two. The front row starting Hondas held off the BMW of Jelley into Clervaux with Shedden ahead, the Team Dynamics man gapping the field to win his 52nd BTCC race by 2.5 seconds and cap his recovery from a race one DNF. Cook seeing off a train of cars for second ahead of Rory Butcher, Jelley, Jake Hill, Turkington and Ingram. Ingram leads the championship by 3 points from Cook heading to Knockhill after the championship’s summer break on the 30th/31st July.Words and Pics Stephen Carpenter EDP Photo News.
BTCC Thruxton May 2022
A WINNING RECIPE FOR COOK
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship made its first of two visits in 2022 to the high-speed Thruxton circuit over the weekend of the 28th/29th May. Bath racer Josh Cook hustled his BTC Racing prepared Honda Civic to pole position from the BMW 330e of Jake Hill, with the Ford Focus of Dan Cammish starting from third – 0.081 seconds covering the trio. The rear-wheel-drive traction advantage off the line from his BMW allowed Hill to edge ahead of Cook on the run to the Complex at the start of race one but Cook muscled past when they got there and wasn’t to be headed for the remainder of the 16 laps, Hill keeping him honest to finish 0.9 seconds behind. Race two followed a similar pattern with Hill again outdragging Cook when the lights went out but this time Hill’s grasp of the lead lasted until the Club Chicane when Cook hung it out around the outside to grab back a lead he wasn’t to lose, heading Hill home by a narrow 0.487 seconds. The reversed grid draw for race three saw Cook starting from seventh, his BTC Racing teammate Jason Plato sat on pole alongside the Ciceley BMW of Adam Morgan. Plato slipped back at the start as a pair of BMWs headed the field, Morgan resisting race-long pressure from 4-time BTCC champion Colin Turkington to take the win by 0.599 seconds. Third in all three races was reigning champion Ashley Sutton aboard a Ford Focus, who finished right with the lead pair in race three, his consistent scoring moving him up to second in the championship table behind new leader Cook – who has now won four of the last six races. The series moves on to Oulton Park on the 11th/12th June and returns to Thruxton on the 27/28th August. Words and Pics Stephen Carpenter EDP Photo News.
Honda Test Castle Combe Circuit 2022
Honda had a successful pre test for Isle of Man TT at Castle Combe Circuit 26 – 27 April 2022 with John McGuinness and Glenn Irwin.