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Castle Combe - 5 April 1999


Weather/Track: Cloudy/damp
Pos No Class Driver Car Time
Lap Behind
kph mph
1 8 A Peter Garland +8 1:16.86 11   139.45 86.65
2 29 A Keith Ahlers +8 1:18.51 8 1.65 136.52 84.83
3 1 B Rick Lloyd +8 1:18.63 8 1.77 136.31 84.70
4 20 A Simon McDermott +8 1:20.98 9 4.12 132.36 82.24
5 13 C Chris Acklam +8 1:21.19 8 4.33 132.01 82.03
6 14 B Grahame Walker +8 1:21.64 11 4.78 131.29 81.58
7 50 C Paul Burry +8 1:22.02 8 5.16 130.68 81.20
8 16 A Malcolm Paul +8 1:22.85 9 5.99 129.37 80.39
9 54 D Peter Horsman +8mb 1:23.29 10 6.43 128.69 79.96
10 35 C Chris Springall +8 1:23.33 10 6.47 128.62 79.92
11 36 C Martin Kurrein +8 1:23.59 5 6.73 128.22 79.67
12 41 B Adrian van der Kroft +8 1:25.14 10 8.28 125.89 78.22
13 17 D Jack Bellinger +8mb 1:26.04 10 9.18 124.57 77.41
14 71 D Kelvin Laidlaw +8 1:27.17 9 10.31 122.96 76.40
15 31 D Leigh Sebba +8 1:29.40 5 12.54 119.89 74.50
16 55 B Philip McKelvey +8 1:32.51 8 15.65 115.86 71.99
17 26 E Brian Jenkins +4 1:43.02 7 26.16 104.04 64.65

Castle Combe - 5 April 1999


Weather/Track conditions: Bright/dry
Pos No Class Driver Car Race time
Laps Behind
mph Best
on mph
1 1 B Rick Lloyd +8 13:06.88 10   84.64 1:16.85 10 86.66
2 8 A Peter Garland +8 13:37.99 10 0:31.11 81.42 1:16.36 2 87.22
3 16 A Malcolm Paul +8 13:53.63 10 0:46.75 79.89 1:22.26 6 80.96
4 14 B Grahame Walker +8 13:56.23 10 0:49.35 79.64 1:21.77 7 81.45
5 35 C Chris Springall +8 13:58.31 10 0:51.43 79.45 1:21.26 9 81.96
6 13 C Chris Acklam +8 13:58.50 10 0:51.62 79.43 1:21.34 8 81.88
7 41 B Adrian van der Kroft +8 13:58.75 10 0:51.87 79.40 1:20.45 9 82.78
8 50 C Paul Burry +8 14:00.03 10 0:53.15 79.28 1:21.92 9 81.30
9 54 D Peter Horsman +8mb 14:02.06 10 0:55.18 79.09 1:22.12 8 81.10
10 17 D Jack Bellinger +8mb 14:23.33 10 1:16.45 77.14 1:23.83 5 79.45
11 31 D Leigh Sebba +8 13:24.57 9 0:17.69 74.50 1:25.43 2 77.96
12 71 D Kelvin Laidlaw +8 13:26.88 9 0:20.00 74.29 1:26.64 3 76.87
13 55 B Philip McKelvey +8 14:00.14 9 0:53.26 71.35 1:29.41 2 74.49
14 26 E Brian Jenkins +4 14:13.25 8 1:06.37 62.44 1:43.68 2 64.24

Not classified

  29 A Keith Ahlers +8 01:22.34 1   80.88 1:22.34 1 80.88

Castle Combe - 5 April 1999

Fastest laps

  mins:secs on kph mph *Track change 
  A Peter Garland +8 1:16.36 2 140.36 87.22 Lap record*
  B Rick Lloyd +8 1:16.85 10 139.47 86.66 Lap record*
  C Chris Springall +4 1:21.26 9 131.90 81.96 Lap record*
  D Peter Horsman +8 1:22.12 6 130.52 81.10 Lap record*
  E Brian Jenkins +4 1:43.68 2 103.38 64.24 Lap record*

Garland’s faulty rubber leaves Lloyd holding the trophy

Castle Combe - 5 April 1999

Castle Combe may not be the most popular venue in this year’s championship, yet it managed to throw up plenty of drama and excitement to kick off the 1999 season. Even before race day there were dramas. Chris Springall had had to switch to his class C +8 which had been in a barn for 5 months, after the clutch had broken on his class A car testing at Brands over the Easter weekend. Grahame Walker had problems too. Arriving on Sunday he must have been expecting a relaxing evening chatting about the forthcoming season, but a profound whine from his rebuilt car left Grahame chasing a new water-pump. After running down the battery on his mobile he finally secured a replacement which took him ‘til 2.00am to install protected from the Wiltshire rain in an improvised garage beneath the awning of the Walker motor-village.

Race day 11.20 and as the sky brightened 17 Morgans and a Mini went out onto a damp track for qualifying. Walker’s car was still whining and the newly christened Simon Orange McDermott was concerned about a timing problem although he seemed to be going well putting in a 1:25 lap early on, then he spun his car into Camp Corner but recovered elegantly to applause from the large Bank Holiday crowd. Keith Ahlers and Rick Lloyd were having a good time circulating within a second of each other, Ahlers’ car skipping and Lloyd’s 4 wheel drifting as they went through Folly together. Later on though after putting in the second fastest time on lap 8, Ahlers’ session was over, an engine problem leaving him stranded out on the circuit. Six laps into the session and yellow flags came out at Bobbies the new corner which had been the talking point of the paddock. With no reference point, many of the drivers were having difficulty choosing a braking point for the blind entrance and as Martin Kurrein followed Malcolm Paul into the chicane, Kurrein had braked late and Paul early, as a result what had been a reasonable gap shrunk rapidly and Kurrein’s practice ended as his left front hit Paul’s right rear throwing the latter into a spin from which he recovered and continued. After his car had been towed back to the paddock, Kurrein decided to call it a day “I hate the circuit and I’ve had a bad start to the day” he said. Meanwhile, Peter Garland, who had not even seen a drawing of the new circuit layout prior to qualifying, citing a missing page, was deceptively quick and by the end of the session was a full 1.26 seconds clear of the field.

By the end of practice only 14 cars returned to the paddock under their own steam, but even for those that returned, the scruitineering bay beckoned and for the already bruised Malcolm Paul and pole-sitter Peter Garland, modifications to their exhaust systems were required after failing the noise test. For Garland conforming to the noise regulations would prove costly later on. McDermott having returned to the paddock early with what appeared to be a minor problem withdrew from the event shortly after qualifying concerned that his engine might melt after his car was found to be over-enriching. “The best part about Castle Combe is the way home” he said as he prepared for a slow return to Macclesfield in his truck which had mechanical problems of its own.

Rick Lloyd had a good session and with third fastest time returned to the paddock confident he had the only remaining Libra car in full working order, however by 4:19, as the competitors for race 8 were called to the assembly area, his confidence proved misplaced. Rod Coe had casually remarked on a apparent tweak to Rick’s car which he thought might be a sneaky way of getting him round the circuit’s new corners faster, but beneath the parcel shelf the “demon tweak” was found to be something more alarming. The 1998 champion’s spring-stud had snapped allowing the left rear axle to slip back revealing 2 inches of gleaming leaf spring. As the other drivers sat calmly in the assembly area, Ian Grimes dived under the stricken car and with cry of “9/16ths” went to work assisted by an extended pit crew consisting of Colin Hoad, Brett Sindercombe, Rick Bourne and Mark Aston.

At 4:35 the 14 survivors calmly took up position on the grid where they were held for several minutes while two of the previous race’s casualties collected by Bobbies were collected from Bobbies. This delay proved crucial to Rick Lloyd who by 4.42, following an astonishing job by his adopted crew, took his place alongside Keith Ahlers on the front row of the grid and overshot the grid box in his exuberance. Now the 15 “grey haired Gentlemen” set off on the warm up lap, Lloyd reassuring himself about the 20 minute fix, vigorously weaving his black +8 from side to side on the dry track.

Beneath the thick black cloud 4 green beacons signalled the start of this millennium’s last season. Not used to racing starts, the roar from his neighbours left first timer Paul Burry unable to hear his engine revs, as he donated samples of the new Yokohama control tyre to the revised Castle Combe circuit, he was relegated from an impressive 7th position on the grid by his new friends. Adrian van de Kroft was another slow starter and was disappointed when both Leigh Sebba and Jack Bellinger passed the class B man who had qualified in a lowly 12th. Neither of the class D runners were kind enough to give way to him through Quarry but he managed to get them both by the end of Lap 1 using an unorthodox no-braking technique through Old Paddock Bend to dispatch a circumspect Bellinger who by taking to the grass saved his ride home from the flying Dutchman. Holding his composure but not his position, Bellinger had a lonely race finishing 10th, losing touch with the 6 car battle in front but pulling away from Leigh Sebba who by lap 5 had turned his attention to his mirrors and the charging Kelvin Laidlaw. Laidlaw passed him into Quarry but Sebba took his 11th place back through Westway and kept it to the end while Laidlaw struggled behind him with an intermittent misfire.

Behind them, the other rookie Philip McKelvey had a comfortable time in his elegant lightweight +8. McKelvey had his own game plan, having anticipated when he would be passed by the leaders, the newcomer spent the race alone gaining valuable track time mindful of other drivers, finishing the race in 13th having wiped over 3 seconds from his qualifying time.

Heading for an easy class win was Brian Jenkins who single handedly took on the class E mantle of avoiding the noisy Rovers as they lapped him. In an all too rare appearance, Jenkins wished there had been a few more entries in the class. Further up the field a battle royal raged between Grahame Walker, Chris Springall, Chris Acklam, Paul Burry, Adrian Van de Kroft and Peter Horsman. For the duration of the race these 6 cars were separated by no more than 4 seconds. After his “dreadful” start, Paul Burry had lost a place to Chris Springall and spent his race as the tail gunner in a Springall/Acklam battle whilst trying to fend off the attentions of Peter Horsman who had his own fending to do from wild man Adrian Van de Kroft. Van de Kroft with his extra power was pushing Horsman hard and repeatedly managed to take him as they passed the pits but would then lose the position at Tower. After exchanging places several times Kroft used his extra power on lap 7 to take and consolidate 8th place from where he launched a fresh assault on Burry who, on lap 9 succumbed to the class B man both posting their fastest laps in the struggle.

Springall must have been glad that he’d had to bring his class C car with him as by the end of lap 1 he had gained 5 places and out accelerated Walker onto the start finish straight. On lap 4, Walker asserted his class B status re-taking 4th which he held to the finish briefly believing he was catching Malcolm Paul who had a solitary time finishing 3rd. With Walker up the road, Acklam now had a clear shot at Springall and in a display of confidence in each other they traded places until on lap 8 as they went up through Avon Rise Acklam passed Springall on the inside and slammed the door shut into Quarry. Acklam held 5th until the next lap when Springall who had kept within shouting distance re-took him into The Esses. As they went through Camp Corner together for the last time Acklam sought revenge as he whipped out of Springall’s tow onto the start/finish straight and when they crossed the line was a mere 0.19secs short of passing the injured doctor.

Up at the front, Peter Garland had a perfect start and for the first lap Keith Ahlers and Rick Lloyd held their grid positions close on the Malvern man’s tail. By lap 2 though, and for the second time in a day after a considerable effort to fix it between sessions, Ahlers’ engine gave up on him again. Lloyd backed off to avoid the stricken car, and by the time Garland put his car sideways through Camp Corner at the end of the second lap his gap to Lloyd had increased to 4 seconds. 2 laps later and Lloyd began to catch the leader who was out of shape under braking and sliding through all the corners. Garland’s modification to his exhaust system (with which he had to reduce the noise output by 5dB) had inadvertently redirected the gasses onto his left rear tyre which by lap 4 was superheated and rapidly disintegrating. Already pumped up after his pre-race drama, Lloyd sensed a weakness and pushed hard steadily eating into Garland’s lead until by lap 8 they were separated by only a fraction of a second. Under the circumstances Garland was doing a great job keeping the ex bike racer at bay but at the end of the next lap with two back markers to negotiate, the inadequacies of his liquid tyre triumphed over his ability to compensate and through Camp Corner he lost it. Behind him, Lloyd reacted quickly to the revolving ‘Shed’, dived to the right and passed the now stationary former champion on the grass going on to take victory by 30 seconds from Garland who recovered to 2nd and to his disbelief a class win.