Easter Monday saw Castle Combe Circuit hold its annual Howard’s Day race meeting, commemorating Welshman Howard Strawford who saved the Wiltshire circuit as a motor racing venue in the 1970s before going on to build it into one of the UK’s leading club racing circuits, writes Peter Hughes.
The event also celebrated the 50thanniversary of the circuit’s own Formula Ford Championship. Formula Ford was for many years almost a compulsory part of any aspiring Grand Prix driver’s cv and remains today an important stepping stone for many drivers en route to the pinnacle of the sport. Castle Combe’s Championship has the longest continuous history of any UK series for the iconic cars.
The celebrations attracted a number of familiar faces. Among them racing driver turned TV presenter Tiff Needell who was competing in the Lotus 69F that he originally won in a competition run by Autosport magazine in 1971.
Tiff was joined in the Classic Formula Ford races by former British Touring Car Champion Tim Harvey who can now be seen commentating on the series for ITV, Meanwhile, Channel Four Grand Prix commentator Ben Edwards was in action in the Castle Combe Championship races.
While Tiff Needell crashed out of the opening classic race while challenging for second place, ending his racing for the day, Tim Harvey picked up a third place in the opening race, following that up with a fourth place in the second race. Victory on both occasions went to Cambridge driver Ben Tinkler.
Ben Edwards managed a fifth in class in the opening race for the Castle Combe Championship but failed to finish race two. Victory in both races went to Bridgwater racer Felix Fisher while there were two second in class finishes for Steve Bracegirdle of Llanvair Discoed. Monmouth driver Michael Phillips took a third and fourth in class.
Among the other results Bradley John of Cowbridge took his Mitsubishi Lance Evo 9 to second in class in both races for the Castle Combe GT Championship.