HSCC Castle Combe

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A mid-morning snowstorm followed the early drizzle, yet by early afternoon there was sufficient balmy sunshine to generate custom for the ice-cream vendors. The Historic Sports Car Club’s 50th anniversary meeting commenced with four seasons in almost as many hours…

In 1966 a small group of enthusiasts created the HSCC to provide a competitive outlet for older sports cars – and the movement’s first race, won by Neil Corner’s Jaguar D-type, took place at Castle Combe. By way of commemoration, a representative grid – featuring a number of cars that took place in that inaugural event – lined up for public inspection at lunchtime on both days.

There were 17 races over the weekend, a blend of HSCC staples plus a sprinkling of the circuit’s own well-supported championships, and highlights included a 37-car field in the 40-minute Guards Trophy, a Chevron benefit in which the B6 of Simon Hadfield/Michael Schryver beat the B8s driven single-handedly by James Schryver and Charles Allison.

Ray Mallock (U2 Mk2) won the front-engined Formula Junior race, after a close initial tussle with Stuart Roach’s spectacularly driven Stanguellini. Andrew Tart’s front-drive Bond eventually separated the pair and closed to within almost a second of the leader by the end.

Given the foul conditions of Saturday morning, small cars dominated Historic Touring Car Championship qualifying and it was something of a reverse giant-killing that Warren Briggs (Ford Mustang) and Chris Clarkson (Falcon) were as high as fourth and seventh among the Minis and Imps. On a dry track, however, Briggs was able to pull a clear lead before the rest of the field reached Quarry for the first time. The Kiwi went on to win from Chris Sanders (Lotus Cortina), Greg Thornton (Mustang) and Clarkson, as pole-sitter Roger Godfrey (Mini) slipped to a class-winning eighth.

The Historic Formula Ford field attracted sufficient entries for two separate races, won by Merlyn drivers Mark Shaw and Callum Grant, although the competitive vim was diluted by the fact that the quickest couple of drivers were kept apart. Scope, surely, for the reintroduction of two heats and a final..? Simon Arron

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