Winter events begin with Castle Combe’s Supercar Saturday
Published on: 24 Sep 2013
This month’s report from the local drivers doesn’t involve any competition, but it does show there’s more to racing than being behind the wheel, writes Andy Laurence.
With a lack of events in the sprinting and autosolo championships at this time of year, Sandy, James and Andy had no racing on. Luckily, the 5 Clubs Hillclimb at Wiscombe Park, near Honiton is always at the start of September. As the only hillclimb Bristol Motor Club run, a bunch of members crammed into a few cars and drove down to camp for the weekend and help marshal the event.
Standing to watch single seaters powered by Formula One engines race up a tarmac track just 14 feet wide and lined with trees at well over 100mph is quite astounding. To do so from such close quarters at the marshals’ post at Top Esses is a privilege. Rain fell several times during the weekend, making the track inconsistently slippery. When the rain starts, the section of track through the fields is wet, yet the track through the woods is dry. When the rain stops, the opposite happens and drivers meet a slippy surface as they round the corner into the woodland.
The changing conditions caught many drivers out, including Bristol Motor Club members, Simon Clemow and Dan Trotman. Whilst Simon suffered a broken toe link on his Force racing car that caused the accident, Dan made an error of judgement, ploughing into the undergrowth in his turbocharged Mazda MX5.
On Saturday night, all the drivers and marshals descended on the local pub for some food, beer and some banter before heading back to the campsite for some sleep before doing the same thing again on the Sunday. Sandy, James and Andy enjoyed their experience marshalling and have vowed to return to Wiscombe next year. James said “I can’t believe it only cost me petrol money and we got free food and such a great view” whilst Sandy commented that “it was great that the drivers all waved to us on the way back down the hill to say thanks for marshalling. I felt really appreciated.”
Looking forward to October, the winter events are upon us. Sandy and James are planning to enter a NavScatter on October 25, which is a free navigational competition that always ends in a pub. The following day, Andy is taking a bunch of Downend residents to Castle Combe for their first experience of motorsport at Supercar Saturday, where people can get passenger rides around the circuit in proper racing cars in exchange for a donation to charity. Andy’s then off to Mallory Park Circuit for the final sprint of the year. Sandy and James are both hoping to compete at the Strensham AutoSolo before heading to Silverstone for the last round of the championship. After that, we’re into the winter season where tarmac is swapped for muddy challenges...
If having a go at marshalling sounds like something you might enjoy, then you can join the Bristol Motor Club Marshals’ Club to receive free training and a hefty discount on the orange uniform you will have seen the marshals wearing on TV. Find out more about the club at www.bristolmc.org.uk, facebook.com/BristolMotorClub or twitter.com/BristolMC. Alternatively, just turn up to club night at Colston’s School on the first Tuesday of every month.