Castle Combe Autumn Classic
Abecassis and Blakeney-Edwards
top Autumn Classic winners
Marcus Pye Reports
Victories for Jonathan Abecassis (Austin-Healey 100/4) and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash Super Sports) evoked memories of the past at Castle Combe’s seventh stand-alone Autumn Classic event on Saturday, October 5, by common consent one of the best (maybe the best) CCAC yet.
Photos Eric Sawyer
Abecassis’ FiSCar triumph over Robin Pearce (AC Ace Bristol) and the agile Lotus Elites of Brian Arculus – who grabbed second after the pitstops – and Robin Ellis/Richard Fores, came 64 years after his grandfather George Abecassis beat 1950 Le Mans winner Louis Rosier (Ferrari 750 Monza) to win the Redex Trophy in his HWM-Jaguar.
Despite a worrying vibration from his Super Sports’ rear end, Blakeney-Edwards bested 29 rivals in the Freddie Giles Memorial Frazer Nash feature race, emulating the local hero’s legendary aplomb in the chain-driven cars at the circuit that the marque’s parent company, AFN Ltd., effectively owned from late 1963 until 1975 when its saviour Howard Strawford took on the lease. Intrepid youngster Tom Waterfield seized second from Eddie Williams, also driving a Super Sports, after a wonderful scrap in PB-E’s wake.
New to the bill, the Historic Racing Drivers’ Club’s photogenic Classic Alfa Challenge race was another highlight. Driving his ex-Mennato Boffa Campobasso Corse/Sud Ti Trofeo superbly, Ted Pearson ended Chris Snowdon’s unbeaten run in his big-winged Alfetta GTV. Their fine duel was defused when Snowdon spun – a rare occurrence – at Quarry corner, a favourite viewing spot for spectators.
Former Historic F1 racer Mark Williams (AC Cobra) topped the HRDC Allstars contest, beating Welshman Grant Williams’ hot Jaguar E-type coupe, which resembled a 1970s’ Modsports car. In the Marcos marque’s 60th anniversary year, Andrew Smith completed the podium in his Volvo-engined 1800GT. Earlier, Lotus Cortina men Ambrogio Perfetti and Pete Chambers had seen off Alex Thistlethwayte’s Mustang in the Coy’s 100 Trophy (95km) mini-enduro.
Fresh from their Spa Six Hours exertions, Martin Hunt and his Jaguar E-type roadster landed their third Norman Dewis Trophy success in six seasons. Co-equipier Mike Grant Peterkin started another great Blakeney Motorsport end-of-term outing by winning the Historic Formula Ford race in the ex-Tony Trimmer Brabham BT21 that his father Martin GP (of HGPCA fame) saddled here in period. The entertaining Formula Junior bout saw Stuart Roach eventually shake off Chris Drake’s tenacious Terrier in his younge rear-engined Alexis Mk4.
Photo Jeff Bloxham
MARC SWAFFER 1958-2019
The death of enthusiastic Historic racer Marc Swaffer, 61, cast a shadow over the seventh Castle Combe Autumn Classic on October 5. Swaffer’s Austin A40 veered quietly off the circuit at the Bobbies deviation and came to rest in a field of tall crops. Despite prompt attention, doctors were unable to revive him. Businessman Swaffer started racing in the HRDC’s Austin A35 Academy class in 2015 and, having achieved promising results, graduated to the Speedwell spec A40 last season. HMRN extends its sympathies to his family and friends.