MINI Challenge at Castle Combe
Rounds 7 and 8 of the UK based MINI Challenge at Castle Combe in Wiltshire provided the most entertaining races so far this season. It appeared that Arthur Forster (#1) and Gareth Nixon (#3) both took double-wins in the S-Class and Club-Class respectively however Forster was later disqualified from the result of race two due to a technical infringement.
SaturdayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Free Practice was dominated by Snetterton double-winner Carl Bradley (#4) who set a blistering time of 1:18.113 in hot conditions at an average speed of 85.26mph. In the club-class Graham Parsons (#20) set the early pace followed by Irishwoman Jenny Ryan (#23). Afternoon Qualifying saw Arthur Forster (#1) take pole position for both races with Swede Fredrik NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m (#44) occupying the other front row spot for both. Likewise in the Club-class, a Nixon would start both rounds at the front of his class alongside Parsons.
The following day provided similar conditions and Forster continued to drive as though his car was on rails leading from start to finish during the 15-minute morning sprint race. He maintained a 2-second lead throughout whilst many S-Class cars behind him tangled with one another too frequently. NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m fell from second to fifth by lap 4 with his Advent Motorsport team mate and Brands Hatch winner Allen Jackson (#77) keeping Forster in his sights from second place. However the battle for that place behind reigning champion Forster was hard fought and after Jackson ran wide at Camp corner, the final turn before start/finish straight, he allowed Bradley to pass.
NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m then passed both Jackson and Bradley to recapture second by lap 8 and went on to fastest lap for the fifth time in seven races and finish second. Behind the gaggle of cars from second to sixth, David Shepherd (#22) looked to have settled for a comfortable seventh place but as Bradley, Jackson, Andrew Bailey (#5) and Martin Depper (#30) continued to squabble and clash in the closing stages, a three car train headed by Shepherd found its way through handing a well earned third place finish to student Shepherd. Finlay Crocker (#8) sporting a fresh salmon-colored Works MINI Cooper S also muscled through the mayhem to land a surprise fourth place finish closely followed by Gavin Bristow (#51) in fifth. Having run in second in the early stages, Jackson and BradleyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s antics meant a ninth and eighth place respectively once the dust had settled.
The club-class saw a great battle for the lead between run-away championship leader Nixon and Jonathan Shepherd (#21) back in his own car after is had been rebuilt since he rolled at Pembrey. Nixon led from the off for 9 laps until Shepherd passed but fought back on the final lap to take his fourth win of the season. Front running Parsons and fastest lap holder Tim Crighton (#99) both retired within a lap of each other allowing Rob Austin (#24) to take the final podium position.
Round 8 was the penultimate race of the day and provided the crowd with intense drama from the moment the red lights went out. Light rain had fallen moments before the action got underway and the clerk of the course declared a wet race, although the 27 car field all started on slick tyres as the track was rapidly drying thanks in part to the previous Radical Enduro Championship Race. ForsterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s sprint from the line was not so easy this time around and he lost three places on the opening lap, behind NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m, team-mate Depper and Bradley. On lap 5, Crocker, Bristow and Shepherd all passed the pole-man leaving him in seventh place, but this only made Forster more determined and by lap 9 he had clawed back to fourth place whilst NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m had extended his lead over the battle for second place between Bradley and Depper to over 4-secs. Forster had other ideas, he picked his way through both in a couple of laps and by lap 20 with just 5 mins remaining, caught and passed NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m then went on to take the chequered flag, with Bradley keeping Depper behind him in the closing stages to finish third.
As Forster and Club-Class winner Nixon were paraded around the track to the breathless crowd, scruitneers found ForsterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s car to be below the minimum ride height limit by only a few millimetres and after an appeal by various drivers, he was disqualified from the result, handing a second win of the year to Fredrik NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m. Meanwhile NixonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ongoing dominance in the 2006 championship continued although it was a hard fought win against Crighton who had to settle for second.
Irishwoman Jenny Ryan had been running second in the early stages of the race but at the chequered flag took third place ahead of Jonathan Shepherd and the honour of becoming the first female competitor to finish on the podium in the UK based MINI Challenge and previously the John Cooper Challenge series. Well done to her, next step will be that elusive first win which IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m sure is attainable before the end of the year.
With Nixon also setting the fastest club-class lap in Round 8, actually his first fastest lap of the season, he became only the second person to achieve Pole-Win-Fastest Lap and a maximum 22 points from a round this year, previously it was Arthur Forster in Round 4.
In the points standings, Gareth Nixon extends his lead in the Overall standings to 16 points from Fredrik NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m and in the Club-Class to a massive 50 points from Eric Bailey. NordstrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶m meanwhile extends his lead of the S-Class to 36 points from defending champion Arthur Forster. Nathan Coulter finally scored his first points finish in the S-Class after three fruitless attempts, whilst Gavin Bristow and Edward Lovett (#40) are locked on 64 points each at the top of the Novice Championship.
So after yet another successful weekend of racing, DunlopÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Great & British Series will next appear at Thruxton Racing Circuit, the home of the British Automobile Racing Club and the fastest average lap speed in the UK. One of the main attractions alongside the MINI Challenge and RadicalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s will be the International Truck Challenge and British Truck Racing series. Expect nothing less than outstanding action all weekend.
Written By: Glen
Sort by MINI model
- MINI Paceman 2015 Refresh Debuting in Beijing Next Week
- Exclusive: All R5X Models to Get Halo LED Foglights for 2015
- World Premier: Refreshed 2015 MINI Countryman
- White Roof Radio #507
- MotoringFile’s Longterm JCW Roadster For Sale
- The 2015 MINI Clubman Hits the ‘Ring
- Exclusive: An Early Look at the 2nd Generation 2018 MINI Countryman
- MINI Final Final Test Drive Winner Announced
- White Roof Radio #506
- MotoringFile Review: The 2014 MINI Cooper Manual
MotoringFile on Instagram
- BMW i3 Production Increases at Leipzig Factory
- Premier: BMW 228i Coupe with Track Handling Package
- BMW Investigating Building 3 Series Plant in North America
- BMW Team RLL Race Results at Long Beach
- BMW Team RLL Qualifies Second and Third at Long Beach
- Video: BMW M235i More Than a Bargain M?
- BMWi Video: The Carbon Fiber Journey
- World Debut: BMW X5 eDrive Concept
- BMW Voluntarily Recalls 156,137 Vehicles to Fix Variable Camshaft Issue
- Comparing the M235i to the M36 M3
- Three Houston Scooterists To Run the Cannonball for Cancer Charity
- Piaggio Group Worldwide Profits Plunged in 2013
- Opinion: Will the Vespa Sprint Hurt 946 Sales?
- Yamaha Unveils the Tricity 3-wheel Scooter
- Vespa Officially Announces the 2015 Sprint
- Video: A Baja Vespa Surf Adventure
- The Piaggio / Vespa Rumor Roundup
- Review: Hands-on With the Genuine Buddy 170i Brit Special Edition
- BMW Recalls C-Series Scooters Over Side Stand Switch Issue
- Review: 2014 Stella 125 Automatic First Ride
MINI Model Cheat Sheet
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F55: Five Door Hatch
F60: MINI Crossover
Advertise with MotoringFile
MotoringFile Buyers GuidesR50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range