Castle Combe Results 051014

Castle Combe 5th October 2014

The third running of the Castle Combe Autumn Classic provided the first 500 event at this classic airfield circuit since 1962, that race being won by Howard Bennett with Nigel Rowland and Miss Isobel Robinson on the podium, all in Coopers. The first race, in July 1950, was won  by Clive Lones in his Tiger Kitten Iota with Gerry Millington in the Milli-Union, second and Vic Worlock in his eponymous car third, so the a very different line up of cars over the period. As well as a packed day's racing, the 500 OA had seven cars on display at Avon Rise, see Mike Report, below.

Amazingly, after heavy rain on Saturday, the Indian Summer made one last appearance for Sunday, some gentlemen being observed in shorts, to help make the event a great success, helped by a 24 car 500 entry which pleased Marcus Pye, our number one fan, immensely.

It was also a chance the celebrate the competitive career of John Turner, one of the founders of the 500 Owners association in 1968 and still racing hard and fast. As well as several of his cars and some of his personal history, the annual cake competition was held in his honour and the somewhat surreal sight of Shirley exploding from a cardboard box.....

The cake competition proved to be more competitive than ever, judges Ashman and Frost taking their bribes, sorry duties very seriously to declare Martin Sheppard the winner with Kitty Chisholm in second and Doug Yates, third.

Very serious stuff, Nigel and Simon judge the cakes but what's Kitty up to?

Marcus Pye, off duty, turned up in assembly. We'll get him pushing one day.

That me? John checks out his past with son, Andy Turner.


Conditions were pretty much ideal for qualifying, warm and dry, especially welcome on this very fast and quite bumpy circuit which consists of a series of fast and very fast sweepers punctuated by a couple of chicanes, making judging of entry speeds and lines critical. Roy Hunt and Paul Hughes didn't make the session, both with ignition failure but both were allowed to qualify later to form the back row. Steve Jones took pole with an impressive 1:29.8, his lines very consistent and committed from the off. George Shackleton's Cooper  would line up next to him with a 1:30.5 with Simon Frost's Martin in third. Simon completed 8 laps but suffered engine shut down and spent the afternoon changing magnetos, next up was the Mackson of Gordon Russell. Understandably the front two rows featured Norton powered cars at this fast track but the third row was made up of a pair of JAPs; Richard De La Roche's Smith-Buckler and anniversary boy Turner's Cooper. With a nine point lead in Class Two, Richard only needed to keep Gordon in sight to take the championship. Most others spent the session learning the circuit, there was a bigger spread of times than normal but there were few mechanical failures, save for Roy Wright who had to bring the Flash Special in after three laps. Maurice had a few grassy moments in the Fillingham, mainly due to considerately watching his mirrors rather than the tarmac in front! Strangely, the Class Three protagonists qualified lower then usual, Daryl Woods in seventh and Ian Phillips in eleventh, in a borrowed Cooper-Norton. With only two points between then, it was certainly all to play for. Roy Hunt's mechanical failure meant that his chances were now somewhat mathematical. In Class One, Shirley out qualified Alan Croft's JP but Alan's seven point lead meant he just had to finish to be sure. Frosty and Hunt aside, post practice fettling was minor so the others set about enjoying the sunshine, racing, paddock picnic lunch (thanks girls!) and preparing for the tricky matter of cake "sampling".

The leaders, on it from the off.



By five o'clock everyone was ready to get on with it, including the cars, which all fired up nicely and a full twenty four cars lined up for the rolling start. With a pace car leading them round, the formation was particularly tidy as they approached Camp Corner, the flag hanging until its seemed they would have to stop..... George Shackleton that was on it first, the inside line allowing him to get slightly more momentum out of Camp to take the lead going into Quarry, he and Steve set a blistering first lap pace; 1:35 and 36 respectively and again on lap two (both in the 1:29s) to put clear water between themselves and the pack. Having been out manoeuvred, Steve pounced on lap three, when George lost a second, to take the lead and began to steadily increase the gap to three car lengths. Then, just when the race seemed to be over, George was back on his tail and didn't hesitate when they came across a back marker on the apex at the end of lap eight to lead by a couple of tenths over the line. Steve was not to be beaten though, setting a 1:29.4 on lap 9 and fastest lap of all on the final lap, dipping into the 1:28s. A great race and well deserved win.


Simon Frost started from third and steadily pulled out a couple of second's gap to Gordon's Mackson. Then on lap six, he had an audible misfire and a lap later he was out, promoting Russell to the podium and Class 2 win to ensure second in Class for the year. A second or so behind came Richard De La Roche, leading the JAP class and almost matching Gordon's time to take fourth and clinch Class 2 as well as the Turner Trophy. Darrell Woods crossed the line only a couple of tenths behind, having taken Turner on lap one, he steadily closed on Richard, the pair running nose to tail from lap three onwards. Crucially, Darrel would get second in class to take the Championship by two points, with Ian Phillips back in eight overall so second for the year. John Turner was in sixth place with only a second in hand over Roy Hunt, who had started from the very back and whose times would surely have put him on the podium otherwise, at least it consolidated his third overall in Class Three Championship.


Entertainment for the crowd also came from the race long battle was between the Cooper-Triumph of JB Jones and Nigel's Challis's Petty. Nigel seems a little unsure of the swing axle's handling on fast bends but JB was suffering from a misfire at the top of the rev range so the pendulum swung between the two, corner to corner and straight to straight!


Shirley took Class 1 honours in her Cooper-JAP, fifteenth overall, but with Alan bringing the JP round in nineteenth it's the new boy who takes the year overall.


All in all, a terrific way to end the season, a great race at a great circuit and a great atmosphere. Well done to all you drivers, pushers, fettlers, cooks, bottle washers and cake testers!

Richard DLR, Darrell, Richard B-M and Mark

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap

Class P1: Shirley Monro - Cooper Mk IV-JAP

Class P2: Gordon Russell - Mackson-Norton

Class P3: Steve Jones - Cooper Mk X

JAP: John Turner - Cooper Mk IX


DNF: Simon Frost - Martin-Norton, Mark Palmer - Wishart-Norton, Stuart Wright - Cooper Mk XI-JAP


Words: Neilly Wheely and Mike Wood


Pics: Neil, Robin, Pete Lovell



1 Steve Jones Cooper Mk X-Norton P3 15:05 10 1:28.234
2 George Shackleton Cooper Mk XI-Norton INV 15:07 10 1:29.473
3 Gordon Russell Mackson-Norton P2 15:38 10 1:32.668
4 Richard De La Roche Smith-Buckler-JAP P2 15:40 10 1:32.829
5 Darrell Woods Cooper Mk XII-Norton P3 15:40 10 1:32.566
6 John Turner Cooper Mk IX-JAP P3 15:47 10 1:32.569
7 Roy Hunt Martin-Norton P3 15:48 10 1:31.326
8 Ian Phillips Cooper Mk VIII-Norton P3 15:59 10 1:33.367
9 Xavier Kingsland Staride-Norton P2 16:00 10 1:22.861
10 Richard Bishop-Miller Revis-JAP P3 16:01 10 1:33.881
11 Mark Riley Creamer-Norton P2 16:01 10 1:34.619
12 Nigel Challis Petty-Norton P3 16:41 10 1:38.295
13 JB Jones Cooper Mk IX-Triumph P3 17:06 10 1:38.650
14 Shirley Monro Cooper Mk IV-JAP P1 15:31 9 1:40.642
15 Roy Wright Flash-Norton P3 15:50 9 1:39.418
16 Doug Yates Waye-JAP P2 16:05 9 1:43.409
17 Kerry Horan Trenberth-Vincent P2 16:26 9 1:47.479
18 Richard Utley JBS-Norton P2 16:39 9 1:47.497
19 Alan Croft JP-Vincent P1 15:50 9 1:49.303
20 Paul Hewes Cooper Mk VIII-Norton P3 16:02 9 1:52.773
21 Maurice Van Der Brempt Fillingham-JAP P3 15:13 7 2:08.398

George's delightful rear end

If Marcus won't interview you, just pick on a couple of blokes. Alan describes his recent fishing success.

What are you suggesting, George?

The Castle Combe Autumn Classic is fast becoming more than just a simple race meeting. In addition to a well constructed programme of races it hosts displays from many car and motorcycle clubs.

The 500 concept originated in Bristol in 1946 and 500's were present at the very first meeting, held on 8 July 1950. To support the first 500 race since 1955, we were invited to stage our own display. Seven cars were present, ranging from the earliest days of the 500 movement up until 1956.

Built by Bristol telephone engineer Gerry Millington, the car is probably the second constructed from the original drawings produced in 1946 by Dick Caesar for the IOTA marque. The first was 'Stromboli'. It was initially fitted with a Norton ES2 engine but now sports a JAP.

GS1 - Squanderbug
Conceived in 1946, this car was designed and built by aviation engineer Gerald Spink. It first ran at the 1947 Brighton Speed Trials. The build quality was well above average for the time.

Built by Les Rowbotham, this is another early design. It was first raced at Silverstone in 1949.

Cooper Mk IV
At the second ever meeting held at Castle Combe on 7 October 1950, Collins drove this car to second position behind Stirling Moss in heat 2. He then went on to win the final, with Moss back in fourth place. In 1951 Collins brought the car back to the circuit in March for the opening meeting of the year. He was second in his heat but retired in the final.

Iota cars were one of the earliest of the new half litre formula conceived in 1947. They were designed by Dick Caesar and manufactured at a factory in Redcliff, Bristol. The P1 was an updated design put into production for the 1950 race season, although Joe Fry had driven a prototype at the British Grand Prix in May 1949.
This car, which was the first of a production run of 8, was originally driven by Wing Commander Frank Aikens

Of the cars on display, CB2 has the longest connection with Castle Combe. It evolved from another IOTA P1, which raced at the circuit's first meeting. It continued to appear at the track in the hands of driver and designer Tom Clarke, a Bristol garage owner, up until April 1954.

Brynfan Tyddyn Special
This car was constructed in the USA sometime around 1956 by Senator Theodore Newell-Wood. At the time he owned an Effyh but found there was insufficient space to install a Manx Norton motor. He removed the entire rear and grafted on a late Cooper chassis. Into this, he slotted a rare Ray Petty Manx unit, and with the addition of bespoke bodywork, created the Brynfan Tyddyn Special, named after the road races that ran around the perimeter of his Pennsylvania estate.