2014 Race Reports – Round 5: Castle Combe – 26 May 2014

Words and Pictures by : Phil (Scoop) Broster.

‘e’mail : phil_scoop@hotmail.co.uk

The end of May saw the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and the next round of the Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge on Bank Holiday Monday. There were nineteen entries for this round on one of the fastest circuits on the calendar, including all of the regulars.

mgweb1-300x204

Qualifying took place in bright dry conditions with the usual front runners making the pace. Paul Sibley was once again on pole, Martin Morris posted second fastest time after having only completed four laps before pitting with his car stuck in fourth gear. Sam Healey put in his best qualifying to date recording third fastest time, just pipping James Dunkley into fourth place. Andy Southcott was next with Stephen Pegram just beating Paul Campfield into sixth spot.

Nigel Pratt was only just behind with Dean Stanton, Richard Wildman, Tom Walker, Robin Lackford and Neil Cameron all just over a second apart. Darren Harman was next from Ed Reeve who only completed two laps before pulling in with a terminal problem which would see him out for the rest of the day. Edward Easton, Carl Chadwick, John Bridge and John Tewson completed the order.

With Qualifying over a wander round the Paddock caught up with the various maladies which included Martin Morris desperately trying to open up his cars transmission tunnel to get to the gearbox selectors, he would have it all sorted by the time of the race which incidentally wouldn’t be for another seven hours!

Ed Reeves car was on its trailer, it turned out to be a major gearbox issue and with no spare that was that. Paul Campfield discovered a snapped A frame, which explained the cars irregular handling. Suitable welding gear couldn’t be located around the paddock but a trip to a local garage saw a repair made.

mgweb2-300x209
Others without major issues just fettled with their cars or sat around chatting and making tea as the afternoon slowly passed by. Eventually race time came around, we were the last of the day and the weather certainly wasn’t being kind. A threat of rain had people perplexed over tyre choice.

It actually did start to rain as the field went out suitably soaking the track and making it slippery, certainly for the first few laps. The lights went out and at the start Dunkley got the drop leading Sibley into the first corner as the rest made off into the spray.

On the completion of that lap Dunkley was still in the lead with Sibley second and Morris in third. Pratt was fourth with Campfield and Pegram all together as the rest of the pack sped through.

Sibley found a way through and came round in the lead but Dunkley was not giving in and round the back of the circuit challenged for the lead once more. This turned into a great battle with the pair finishing just two seconds apart at the end. Morris would hang on in the early stages but would drop back to a lonely third place.

Meanwhile, behind there was a fantastic fight looming between Pratt, Southcott and Campfield with Pegram also in on the act. There would be a lot of place swapping in this battle with one or other leading the fight before assumed contact eventually breaking it up, certainly as a four car battle, leaving Southcott to stage a recovery.

mgweb3-300x199
Pratt and Campfield would continue fighting to the end with Campfield getting ahead only to be pipped at the flag by the yellow car. Other battles would see Lackford struggling with a misfire fighting to keep ahead of Tewson and Chadwick before finally retiring after five laps by which time we had lost Walker and Wildman who was another to have gearbox issues.

Harman had a half spin dropping him back although he would get back ahead of Tewson and Cameron at the end. Southcott fell into the clutches of Stanton but would finish well ahead at the finish. We lost Easton after eight laps with a split water header tank.

After 20 minutes out came the flag which saw Sibley win but only two seconds ahead of the on form Dunkley, Morris wasn’t far behind before the scrapping Pratt and Campfield came home ahead of Pegram. Southcott finished an unhappy seventh ahead of Stanton with the consolation of class fastest lap on the final lap. Sibley had recorded the race fastest lap at the same time. Harman had recovered ahead of Cameron, Tewson and Chadwick with an uncomfortable Healey next with Bridge completing the order.

This had been an exciting race, well worth the long wait. The next round will be at Silverstone before a short break.

Scoops momentous moment : the battle for fourth for the entire race.