Castle Combe Autumn Classic

HOME » Magazine » » » Castle Combe Autumn Classic

Stormtroopers Haddon and Wolfe win GTSCC classic

Castle Combe’s ninth Autumn Classic should have been a special climax to the circuit’s 70th Anniversary celebrations on October 3-4.  Coronavirus dictated a late start to the season, with initial events run without spectators, but just when car club members and enthusiasts (in limited numbers) were invited back to South West England’s longest-serving venue, cruelly the rains came.  Thirty-six hours of unbroken precipitation failed to break competitors’ spirits on the Saturday – when a superb GT & Sports Car Cup enduro played out – but no overnight respite saw the new-for-2020 second day torpedoed.  Two feet of standing water in one run-off area made racing untenable.

Tom Water eld won the Freddie Giles Memorial Trophy race for Frazer Nashs in his Supersports.  Photos Eric Sawyer

Marcus Pye Reports

The GTSCC spectacle was world class.  An extraordinary battle raged throughout its 90 minutes as Andrew Haddon/Andy Wolfe (Lotus Elan) and Gregor Fisken/Marino Franchitti (in Gregor’s hooded early GT3 spec Jaguar E-type) slugged it out.  The cars were seldom more than a few seconds apart, their owners starting and finishing – but the mid-stint scrap between the vastly-experienced Wolfe and 2014 Sebring 12 Hours winner Franchitti was wonderful to behold as they scythed through seemingly endless traffic in the 33-car field.

The sweet aroma of methanol fuel pervaded the area as 18 500cc Formula 3 cars of the 1950s, representing 10 chassis marques and three engine manufacturers took to the wet track

Formula 3 500cc

The sweet aroma of methanol fuel pervaded the assembly area as 18 500cc Formula 3 cars of the 1950s, representing 10 chassis marques and three engine manufacturers, prepared to head out for the rolling start in the distant wheeltracks of period stars Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Don Parker and Jim Russell.  Missing, alas, was 2016 victor Richard de la Roche who had qualified his Smith Buckler on pole, only for a big end bearing failure to silence its JAP engine during the warm-up ritual.

Mike Fowler (above) was uncatchable once George Shackleton (right) retired his Cooper Mk11

Assuaging his father’s F3 disappointment, Peter de la Roche drove Pat Barford’s Lola Mk3 brilliantly to beat Lotus-mounted spinner Clive Richards (22) and Sam Wilson (in Simon Diffey’s second-string 20) in Historic Formula Junior.  Regenmeister Stuart Roach flung his Alexis Mk2 to fourth, ahead of Diffey’s Veedol Lotus 20/22 – future Lotus F1 team manager Peter Warr’s ‘62 Nürburgring winner – and debutant Tim Child in the ex-Curt Lincoln/Chris Merrick Cooper T56.  Nick Taylor (Elva-BMC 100) and Alex Morton (Condor) pursued Roach in the front-engined set. 



A magnificent pre-war Frazer Nash and GN pack – plus Philip Champion’s gloriously swoopy FN Mille Miglia – set out for the Freddie Giles Memorial Trophy race.  Tom Waterfield drove Simon Blakeney-Edwards’ Super Sports with great brio to win by a country mile. 

Peter de la Roche drove Pat Barford’s Lola Mk3 brilliantly in the Formula Junior race to beat Lotus-mounted spinner Clive Richards

Piloting a historic car for the first time in five years, third generation Combe racer Alex Buncombe lapped allcomers in the Norman Dewis Memorial Trophy Pre-‘66 Jaguar contest, debuting Bob Neville’s newly-built E-type FHC.  Surprisingly, the 2014 HSCC Autosport Three Hours winner had not previously raced at his local circuit, where granddad John and father Jonathan were favourites. 

Two drivers with British Touring Car Championship experience won the Dunlop National Mini Challenge rounds.  Andrew Jordan staved off Kane Astin among the 1275cc Mini Miglias while Jeff Smith beat Spencer Wanstall home in the 1000cc Seven class, in its 50th year. 

For a full report see our November 2020 issue

These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News.  Some have been abbreviated for this web site.  If you'd like to receive the full version, please visit our subscription page where you will find postal subscriptions available.  A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.