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Last year’s MGF race was a memorable one as lady racer Suzi Hart-Banks took a victory at the expense of James Rhodes and Alastair Lyall after they were penalised for false starts. Lyall is back this year to make amends and faces tremendous opposition from the likes of Warren Hughes, Donington winner Jamie Hunter and many others. As always, the MGF presence in the paddock will be an impressive one, so it’s worth coming early for a good look.
The National Saloon’s has local interest in the Honda ‘factory’ squad of Swindon’s Dave Allen and Kevin Hicks, both in Civic Vti’s. Allen took 5th overall at the last round at Donington but has to overcome the impressive Honda Integras if he is to do better on home soil. Last year’s Castle Combe winner, Finn, Toni Ruokonen, has ironically switched from Integra to the two car Peugeot 306 Gti team this season and is 4th in the championship, with ex B.T.C.C. racer, Simon Harrison, at the head of the pack, in a Type R Integra. Apart from one Ford and a Proton, the rest of the field in Honda mounted too.
The circuit’s own saloon car championship, the Pagrid Performance Braking should be as hot as ever. Still leading the overall points, despite losing an on-the-road victory at the last round for corner cutting is Tim Hablon from Holt, near Trowbridge, in his Class B Peugeot Gti. His life has been made much easier by the demise of Brian Cox’s engine at the last race, giving him a 5 point lead over the class A driver. Bridgwater’s Tony Dolley in the Corsa benefited from Hanlon’s penalty to take a class win, but is still 10 points adrift of the Peugeot driver.
Bristol’s Mark Wyatt is now the leading Astra driver, having inherited the win from Hanlon last time. Clevedon’s Duncan Rickards is also an Astra man, whilst Midsoner Norton’s Grantley Woodhatch will be trying to split the Vauxhalls with his Vento, having missed the last round after fracturing his hand whilst loading his car onto the trailer!
Backwell’s Charles Atherton is within one point of the Class C lead, having won the last three rounds, whilst Julian Howell from Radstock has also been eating into Paul Gardenr’s points with his Mini.
Sailsbury’s Robin Parsons is now 5 points adrift in second place of the National Mobile Windscreens Formula Ford 1600 Championship after a tremendous three car battle at the last round.
Tim Reynolds from Chippenham took 4th place and could now be on top of his Vector, which seems to be less user friendly than some of the better known marques.
The Henley Sales Recruitment Class B has Hugh Elliot from Bradford On Avon back in the lead after a victory in the last race, with Dursley’s Wayne Poole is still third and Swindon’s Gavin Rissone 4th. Poole also features in the Universal Racing Classic Formula Ford 2000 race in a Reynald SF79.
The Brookspeed Special GTs should see the return of Bath’s Guy Woodward in his Supersports Nemesis after a disappointing debut last month. The team are working on new aerodynamics to cure the car’s inherent understeer, so the quick local solicitor could well be a challenge to the likes of Burnham On Sea’s Geoff Thorne in Class B. Geremy Thomas from Warminister took his first class win in his Radical last time and now lies second in the class C points.
Another Bath driver who featured at the last meeting was Nick Lott, who finished 7th in the Histroic Formula Ford race. He’s back for the Granada Health and Fitness Classic Forumla Ford encounter in his Merlyn, whilst Swindon’s Roger Newman is a B class entry in his Van Diemen RF80.
Completing the Bath line-up is Christopher Humphrey, entered in the Flemings Thoroughbred Sports Car Championship with his Austin Healey 3000 Mk11. Bristolian Chris Clarkson has a Mark 1 version and you can also see TVRs, MGs, Aston Martins, TRs and even a Tornado! The classic part of the day is rounded off with races for the MGCC BCV8 Championship and the similarly MG dominated Phoenix championship. The latter includes Radstock’s Matthew Howell, brother of Julian and also a ‘Pagrid’ racer, in his well prepared MG Metro.
The day starts at 8.30 am with qualifying, racing getting under way from 1.30 pm. Admission charges are £10 for adults and £2.50 for children, OAP’s and paddock transfer.