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NG Road Racing…. Castle Combe Preview

Tuesday June 21, 2016 at 1:43pm
Who will be crowned King of the Castle......

Yet another bumper weekend of bike racing is on the cards for this Castle Combe Grand National meeting. All the usual NG races which we will touch on in a minute plus so much more. The feature race will undoubtedly be the Phoenix King of Combe, where all the fastest riders will gather on the grid to try and lift this trophy. Past two-time winner Dan Cooper hails from just a few miles up the road in Stroud and after suffering injury at this years NW200 and a difficult TT would love to make it a hat trick of wins here.

Such is the pull of The Combe we have three National championship rounds here too. As ever the 250GP ACU National runners are here with South African defending champ Phil Atkinson fending off two former champs in the shape of Ant Hodson and Dan Jackson, all ride TZ250's. Local Melksham man Darrell Higgins has 27 wins around Combe and would love to add to that tally, but his fortunes have been a little up and down this year, so it a case of fingers crossed. Adding spice is Dan Cooper who has managed to get his hands on a 250 for the weekend !!. Joining the 250's NG have take over the running of the National 125GP series to after being dropped from the BSB calendar in favour of 250 single four-strokes. The two-stroke class still has a lot of support and Arnie Shelton is looking good so far on his RS125 Honda.

Its not just the modern stuff on track...the Lansdowne boys are back !!. The historic race series with immaculately prepared races bikes from the 50's and 60's doing battle as they used to around Combe. Mike Russell, Chris Firmin and Alex Sinclair on a brace on 500 Manx Norton's have been the ones out front in the main Bonhams backed class. Dean Stimpson and Glen English will be aiming to close the gap down to Russell who is starting to eek out an small series lead.

The bulk of the weekend will see the regular NG runners vying for points in the 14 round year long series.

Max Symonds has closed the gap down to Josh day in the 600 Open after Josh no scored at the last round, can the former class champ grab his first 600 win of 2016 here ? It will be tough as that-man-Dan, Cooper that is has a Moto 2 bike for the 600's.

Tim Bradley and John Price will again be head to head in the F400, Price doubles up in the 500 class too on his ZXR and will be looking to hold Dave Hampton at bay on his Tigcraft Single. With the whole range of classes from Formula 125, right through the GP45's, pre injections, Streetstock, mini and super twins, sound of thunder and Ducati Desmo Dues in both 600 and 620cc guise on two wheels...... and then there are the Sidecars with Scottish pairing Jim Hamilton and Mick Fairhurst going for their fourth championships.

The Circuit

Castle Combe as we know is one of the longest established short circuits in the UK with meetings dating back to the 1950’s. All the greats on two and four wheels have raced here, from John Surtees, through Mike Hailwood to Carl Fogarty. Combe is fast… very fast… and very flat, and known to be bumpy in places, so a well-set-up bike is essential. Suspension and traction are key to a fast lap…. and that allied to a bit of bravery !!. On a map it looks straightforward but any racer will say " is far from it !".

The Fastest

BSB Superbike rider Joe Burns set the fastest NG Road Racing lap here on his JG Speedfit ZX10R Kawasaki. He hustled the ZX10 round in 1min 10.91 seconds.... That’s an average speed of 93.92mph. That is the fastest lap of Combe with the current circuit layout, so believe me when I say… “…….that time will take some beating !!!!!”


As well as all the racing there are tribute parade laps to mark 65 years of bike racing at "The Combe" by a host of top stars including former six time World champion Jim Redman... GP winner Stuart Graham....multiple British champ Steve Spray and current BSB Honda works rider Jenny Tinmouth and now we can add Peter Williams the former Norton works rider and winner of the Avon Tyres Trophy here in 1966 to the list of guests. Add in Rex Butcher, David Hailwood and Freddie Sheene and there is a raft of racing history.

To top it all off there is a parade of Classic road bikes, race bikes and machines of interest out on track both days.

Two grand days out at the Combe !!!.

This 2-day meeting at Castle Combe is tagged as the Grand National meeting, and for very good reason.

Not only is there the full gamut of NG Championship races but the National championship races for 125cc and 250GP machinery, and the Lansdowne Historic Series.

As well as all the racing action there is a feast for the eyes and ears with parades of classics and bikes of interest.

Also celebrating 65 years of bike racing there will be a tribute parade including World Champions, British Champions and past GP and UK winners, including Jim Redman, Stuart Graham, Steve Spray, Rex Butcher, Peter Williams and Rod Scivyer. Plus Freddie Sheene and David Hailwood as well as current BSB Honda UK works rider Jenny Tinmouth.

Admission Prices.

Ticket Type         Saturday              Sunday

Adults   £10         £15                         (Weekend ticket £20....check online for offers)

Concessions       £8           £12

Children (U16)   Free       Free                       (If accompanied by an adult)

For full conditions of admission and to take advantage of online bookings -

Directions to the Circuit

Castle Combe is situated in Wiltshire near J17 and J18 of the M4 and approx. 5 miles West of Chippenham on the B4039. Look out for the brown chequered flag signs. Sat Nav: SN14 7EY

Race Day Timetable       

Timetable           Sat          Sun

Technical Inspection       7:00am 8:00am See the bikes being checked by the Scrutineers, and wander round the pits

Free Practice      9:00am 9:00am Watch the riders get familiar with the circuit in free practice

Qualifying Races               10:30am               10:00am               The competitors race for grid positions for the finals

Championship Races      14:00pm               13:30pm               Now it gets serious…..Championship points, trophies and glory at stake

NOTE : All timings are subject to change by the promoting organisation or the circuit management.

What’s on track

20 NG Road Racing championship each day split into qualifiers and final for each of the classes. That means some 8 hours of on track action each day. I suggest you get in nice and early, take a wander around the paddock and soak up the atmosphere as the riders go though technical inspection and free practice before taking to the track in anger for the qualifiers in seeded championship order. The main finals kick off early afternoon when all the championship points and prizes are contested.

Feature races:   125/250GP ACU National Championship                The Ducati Sporting Club Desmo Due Series -The Phoenix Open King of Combe            The Lansdowne Historic Series

                Tribute and Demo laps  Parade of classics and specials


NG Support classes:       F125  ç 125GP  çMoto 3  ç F400  ç GP45  ç 500cc  ç 600cc  ç Powerbike  çSound of Thunder

Super Twin ç Mini Twin  ç Streetstock  ç Pre Injection  ç Formula Prostocks | Sidecars  ç Newcomers

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