Storm Katie strikes Wilt­shire track and flood­ing forces Howard’s Day off

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports - By Mar­cus Pye

To wide­spread dis­ap­point­ment, Cas­tle Combe’s tra­di­tional Easter Mon­day sea­sonopen­ing race meet­ing – Howard’s Day IV, re­mem­ber­ing cir­cuit saviour Howard Straw­ford – was aban­doned with­out a wheel hav­ing turned in anger.

Storm Katie, which dom­i­nated the Bank Holiday weather, had in­flicted the worst of her wrath overnight, leav­ing ma­jor flood­ing be­tween Quarry and Old Pad­dock cor­ners, but more se­ri­ously wa­ter­log­ging the track mar­gins at the east­ern end of the cir­cuit.

The event marks the first time in the cir­cuit’s his­tory – dat­ing back to 1950 – that a meet­ing has been rained off.

Dun­lop Mini Se7en com­peti­tors were due to be on track first for qual­i­fy­ing at 0830hrs, but re­mained in the assem­bly area for three hours while mar­shals and the cir­cuit crew, us­ing a pump, en­deav­oured to make the cir­cuit ‘race­able’.

A state­ment from or­gan­iser Cas­tle Combe Rac­ing Club read: “It is with sin­cere re­gret we have aban­doned today’s race meet­ing on safety grounds due to flood wa­ter on the track. Meet­ing aban­doned at 1130hrs af­ter valiant ef­forts by cir­cuit staff and mar­shals.”

CCRC chair­man Ken Davies added: “Iron­i­cally, the cir­cuit was bone dry by 1145hrs, but had a car gone off side­ways or even straight on into the wa­ter­logged grass we could not have guar­an­teed the safety of its driver or mar­shals. For that rea­son we had no op­tion but to take the de­ci­sion.”

For­mer com­peti­tor Davies con­firmed that, while there was no lee­way within Cas­tle Combe’s 11-day calendar to resched­ule the event – set to cel­e­brate the CCRC’S 10th an­niver­sary – an al­ter­na­tive fix­ture for the Mini Se7en and Mini Miglia rounds has been ten­ta­tively agreed. The lost races for the res­i­dent FF1600, Saloon and GT cham­pi­onships will be made up with dou­ble­head­ers later in the sea­son.

Spec­ta­tors who had bought tick­ets have been of­fered full re­funds. While many Combe com­peti­tors are based within strik­ing dis­tance of the venue, Cater­ham Su­pers­port racer Fin­lay Hutchi­son had trav­elled from Dundee spe­cially to take part in the event.

Photos: Steve Jones, Mar­cus Pye, Gra­ham Ravens­dale

Wa­ter­logged grass and run off left the track too dan­ger­ous

Mar­shals used ma­chin­ery

Mi­nis waited for hours

Cir­cuit flood­ing was bad

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