Professional race preparation and management

Reports > Championship finals day at Castle Combe October 5th 2013

A disappointing end to the season - but second in the Championship for Steve Bracegirdle

The WPR team headed to Castle Combe for the final race of the season at the Wiltshire track with Steve Bracegirdle looking to take the Class C Formula Ford Championship being level on points with season long rival Iain Houston - both in Van Diemen RF89s.

Practice went largely to plan with Steve taking Class C pole from Houston, Glen Finn and WPR's Pete Diccox. Of the other WPR drivers things weren't going quite so well. Ray Smith in his Swift SC93 had a cunning plan to drop back and pick up a tow from one of the leading runners but this came to nought as a misfire intervened. This was later dicovered to be a damaged rotor in the distributor. Calum McHale out for another run in his Mygale SJ01was also experiencing difficulties which turned out to be a damaged thrust bearing in the clutch. Although this couldn't be fixed in time for the first race Calum was able to make the Formula Ford Carnival later in the day.

So to the Championship decider. Pete Diccox made his customary cracking start to take the Class C lead off the line but fell to second to an even faster starting Glenn Finn. Houston got off the line slightly ahead of Steve Bracegirdle and they were close going into Quarry for the first time but a spin dropped Steve to the back of the field some 10 seconds behind his Championship rival. Over the course of the next 5 laps Steve began hauling Houston in at a very rapid rate. On Lap 6 a daring move up the inside at Camp saw Steve move to second in Class ahead of Houston, both drivers having got past Pete.

Steve continued to pull away and close in on Class C leader Finn who he followed for a few laps, happy to maintain the gap to Houston and the lead in the Championship. Following a couple of attempts to pass Finn Steve was alongside going into Tower on Lap 10 and the two tangled which saw Steve go straight on into the tyre barriers in a quite frightening accident. Despite considerable front end damage to the car Steve was released from the cockpit and walked to the waiting ambulance, shaken but nothing worse.

As the race ran out Houston came home second in Class to Finn to take the Championship with Steve in second place and only fastest Class C lap (a 1m 14.52s) as compensation. Pete Diccox finished third in Class which also gave him third place in the Championship.

Ray was still suffering engine problems in the race but soldiered on until a inside lunge by one of the leaders while lapping Ray saw him retire after 9 laps although without any serious damage.

The Formula Ford Carnival saw Calum finally out for a race and joined by Don Boyack (Van Diemen RF88) having his first ever race at Castle Combe and sometime WPR driver Olly Bull in his Swift SC92.

Despite starting from the back of the grid (due to his problems in practice) Calum began lapping quickly and move up the field. By Lap 5 he caught Glenn Finn and then spent a few laps trying to get by the quick Class C driver eventually managing it with an outside manoeuvre at Tower and going on to finish an unlapped 14th.

Olly had a fast but uneventful run to eighth just behind the leading pack. Ray's problems continued retiring on Lap 7 while Don ran to the finish.