CASTLE Combe Racing Circuit plays host to its biggest race meeting of the season with an 18-race programme for the Dunlop Great and British Racing Festival over this weekend, writes CHRIS JAMES.

Britain’s best-loved home-produced car, the Mini, celebrates its 50th anniversary, having been launched in August 1959 as the ‘Morris Mini Minor’ and ‘Austin Seven’.

In 1966 two championships known as Mini Miglia and Mini Se7en were devised as a low cost way for Mini enthusiasts to race their beloved cars, and rounds of the championships will be held at the track on Sunday.

Three rounds of the BMW MINI Challenge also take place, with body panels for the model being produced in Swindon.

Ben Norton from Bratton will be looking to extend his lead in the series in the Checkpoin Tyres of Devizes Spectrum 011 in Saturday’s 12-lap race.

Cricklade’s David Tansley competes with his Class A Van Diemen RF99, Swindon’s Oliver Bull, who currently lies eighth in the overall standings, with a Class B Swift SC92 and Tom Margetson of Cirencester races his Reynard FF89 in the pre ‘90 Class C.

Sunday’s 12-lap Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship sees Yatton Keynell’s Jason Cooper in the overall lead of the series with his Class D, Ford Fiesta.

Latton’s Jonathan Wills returns to the series with his MG Maestro Turbo, he will be joined on the grid by North Swindon’s Neil Harris with the Ace Towbars MG ZR and Freshbrook surveyor Wayne Osborne in his Ford Puma.

The fastest race of the weekend is likely to be the 15-lap Castle Combe Special GT Championship where Corsham’s James Johnson lines up with his Class C Fisher Fury and former champion Keith Sprules from Castle Combe with his Class D Ferrari 360 Challenge.

Saturday sees rounds of the Radical UK Cup, with a two driver, 75-minute race and two 20-minute races for the Radical Clubmans Cup.

The remainder of the races feature three 20-minute races for the BARC/Dunlop Sportmaxx Production Cup, two rounds of the BARC Westfield Sportscar Series and the BMW CSL Cup.

The weekend gets under way on Saturday with qualifying from 8.45am, with the first of the day’s seven races from 12.10 pm. Sunday’s 11 races start with qualifying at 9am with racing from 10.45am.

Admission prices on Saturday are £8 for adults, with OAPs £4 and Children and Paddock Transfer free.

Sunday’s charges are £15 for Adults, OAPs £7.50 with children free. Paddock Transfer is £2.50.

n Round three of the Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb Championships takes place on Sunday, held in memory of the former multiple hillclimb champion Tony Marsh, who died in May.

Among the local competitors is Lechlade’s Steven Hollocks, who is sharing an Alfa Romeo.

Alfasud Gurston Down is situated at Broadchalke, about nine miles South West of Salisbury.

Action begins at 8.30 am. Admission on Sunday is £10 for adults, with accompanied under 14s free.