Locals battle it out in MX5 Challenge
THE Vincenzo & Sons Bristol MX5 Challenge kicked off in style at Castle Combe Circuit supporting the first round of the British Sprint Championship. The paddock was packed with amazing cars and people watching the racing. While the top drivers battled it out at 180mph for the British Championship, more modest wheels were turning for the Downend contingent.
Andy Laurence was defending his title from James Hurford and Josh Long of Downend. Paul and Curtis St George from Staple Hill were also challenging. Andy led after practice, having broken the class record, from James, whilst Josh was close behind in 5th, Paul in 7th and Curtis in 11th. In the afternoon, James found some pace and also smashed the class record to take the lead, whilst Andy dropped to third, Josh to 8th, Paul to 11th and Curtis to 13th. It was all down to the final run and James pushed the record even further, whilst Andy finished in 3rd by 0.12 seconds. Josh lost his exhaust and dropped to 9th, whilst Paul and Curtis finished 12th and 13th.
Round 2 was at Cotswold Airfield in Kemble and the same drivers were also joined by Phil Oliver and Emily Long from Downend and Martyn Boulton from Mangotsfield. On the first test, Andy battled his driving partner, Dave Greenslade for the lead, just 0.26 per cent off the pace. James was 4th, Josh in 6th, Phil a brilliant 7th on his return to the championship, Paul 8th, Curtis 12th, Martyn 15th and Emily 19th on her first ever event. The positions remained through the second test, but Andy dropped time with a cone strike after lunch and Josh swapped places with Phil. The final run saw just one change as the field spread out with 5 per cent covering the top 6. Dave took a dominant win with Andy 3rd, James 5th, Phil 6th, Josh 8th, Paul 11th, Curtis 13th, Martyn 16th and Emily 19th.
Round 3 was at Llandow Circuit near Cardiff attended by James, Andy, Paul and Curtis. The first timed run in the morning saw Dave, now the championship leader, slotting into the lead. James moved into 3rd, Andy fell to 5th and whilst making good progress, Paul and Curtis held position. The afternoon provided opportunity for improvement, but James fell to 5th and Andy 6th after the second run. In the final run, Andy went quicker, finishing on the exact same time as last year's winner, Nick Lear. As a result, Andy collected 5th place and knocked James to 6th.
Round 4 is at Westonzoyland Airfield near Bridgwater before the first double-header weekend at Manor Farm Hillclimb in Charmouth around the time you read this. Round 7 is at Clay Pigeon Raceway in July, swiftly followed by round 8 at Castle Combe Circuit on July 27. The weekend of July 27/28 is a free event at Castle Combe with racing on the Saturday and an informal car show on the Sunday. You can see some of the cars on display at Heathfest on July 6.
Bristol Motor Club organise events all through the year. They meet at 8.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month at Colston's School. Members and non-members are very welcome.