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MOTOR SPORT: Di Claudio loses championship lead
6:50am Tuesday 24th July 2012 in Other Sport
THE full highs and lows of motor racing were experienced by Will Di Claudio at Castle Combe’s Classic 50 Race Weekend. Saturday’s race saw the local ace take the outright saloon lap record, whilst Sunday’s outing came to an end before it began and with it the lead of his championship.
Class B cars like Di Claudio’s Peugeot 106 have often been able to run at the front of the National Mobile Windscreens Saloon Cars and have even held the outright saloon lap record. But since 2007, Bristol’s Mark Wyatt had what seemed an untouchable record of 1:15.932 in his class A Astra.
That was until Saturday’s race, which saw Di Claudio being given a clear track to demonstrate his and his car’s abilities. Di Claudio’s break came from a slow getaway by fellow front row man, Adam Prebble in his Rover Turbo, who further diminished his chances by coming together with a fast starting Tony Dolley.
Di Claudio said: “I saw Adam made a poor start so thought I would just go for it. It was brilliant.” With no immediate pressure and a clear track, Di Claudio’s attack on the record came to fruition on lap three with a stunning 1:15.903, breaking the previous class B record of Yatton Keynell’s Jason Cooper by just under half a second.
Prebble recovered from his first lap ‘faux pas’ to take second.
Sunday’s race saw Di Claudio starting from pole but the car’s Electronic Control Unit gave up the ghost before the race had begun, leaving Di Claudio stranded in the infield and his championship lead given up. The race win went to Prebble, well clear of Dolley. Ben Norton further extended his championship lead in Castle Combe’s Formula Ford 1600 championship races, supported by Startline, with a pair of wins against stiff opposition.
In both races, it was Saltford’s Steven Jensen who was the initial threat, but Norton managed to cover all his attempts to pass. On Saturday, there was nothing between them, with Nathan Ward slotted in third, but on Sunday, Ward found a way past Jensen on lap 10, the pair often a little too close for comfort. The squabbling between Ward and Jensen gave Norton a winning margin over Ward of 4.2 seconds.
Just like Jensen and Ward, Langport’s Roger Orgee and Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper in the Swift enjoyed race long battles on both days, reversing their positions. Orgee had the edge on Saturday and ran ahead of Cooper for most of Sunday’s race until the last time through Camp when the pair touched, sending Orgee for a grass cutting exercise and giving fourth to Cooper. Orgee was able to recover and still took fifth, with James Raven in the Swift Cooper picking up sixth and his second B class win of the weekend.
The Vadabar Sports and GT championship races saw Simon Tilling in the Radical SR3 perform his usual trick of falling to the back of the field at the start, only to recover to win, the first by almost 38 seconds. On Sunday, life wasn’t quite so easy as Trowbridge’s Andrew Shanley was in situ to lead for the first five laps staying within 3.5 seconds of his rival by the flag in his Radical Prosport, which had been sidelined on Saturday with a misfire.
Eric Woolley was a dominant winner of the GadgetHelpline.com Classic 60’s Sports and Saloons race in his highly developed Mark 1 Escort.
The rest of the programme was for races from the Corsham-based Classic Sports Car Club, one of the most eagerly awaited being the CSCC’s Special Saloons races which saw a pair of dominant local victories for North Wraxall’s Ian Hall, who was in a class of his own in his mighty 5.3 litre V8 engined Darrian Wildcat, which led both races from start to finish.
The 40-minute CSCC ‘Swinging Sixties’ race saw Sam Summerhayes finish a superb fifth overall in his Mini in only his third race, against a formidable field of almost 40 cars. Cirencester’s Charles Marriott was 18th in his rare Turner.