Time to step up for the men who would be King (...of Combe)

Monday June 26, 2017 at 12:15pm
Time to step up for the men who would be King (...of Combe)
We are already at meeting five of the 2017 series, and so far we have had full grids and great racing at Brands, Oulton, Donington and Cadwell Park. When you gaze down the enrty list this weekend looks like the trend will certainly continue.

The focus for many will be the King of Combe where all the fastest riders of the weekend will mass for a shot at the prestigious title. It looks like it will be a battle between two men...... and they are both local boys!. Stroud based Dan Cooper the three time winner is back to defend, but he will be on his 600cc Honda whereas his main challenger, and NG's top man of 2017 Josh Day from Cirencester is on a ZX10R. Cooper has track knowledge and has just returned from the Isle of Man TT. Day is on fire on the short circuits and has an unbeaten record so far this year. Expect a host of other Superbike riders to be putting the pressure on as Chris Pope, Michael Blank, Nick Williamson, Peter Carr and Shaun Hennessey are all confirmed on the grid.

Many of this year championships are turning into head-to-head challenges. Ciaran Bligh and Paul Jeffery in the 1300 Streetstock.... Simon Bastable and Leif Williams in 700 Streetstock... Thomas Payne and Paul Harlington in 1300 pre injection... Ben Broadway and Dave Mackay in the Sound of Thunder as well a a tight 3-way with Michael Rees, William Hollland and Jake Detloff in the Super Twins.

Elsewhere other classes have runaway leaders that need to be pegged back. Dave Hampton has a good grip on the 500 and supermono series and Paul Wardell is piling on the points in the Mini Twins. Phil Webber too is having things pretty much all to himself in the Prostock class....challengers step up!

The 250 National series sees a return to the grids for reigning champion Philip Atkinson after injury. Whilst he has been absent former champ Ant Hodson has been banging in the big points and is looking in a commanding position for the 2017 title.

There are two full days of action on and off track at this the Castle Combe Grand National meeting.

Castle Combe Circuit

This 1.85 mile circuit was developed from the RAF base that was opened in 1941, but was decommissioned just 7 years later in 1948. 1950 saw the first race meeting held here with Stirling Moss taking a race win. It was 1952 that the first bike race meeting took place with John Surtees taking the 500 race, just three years before becoming World 500cc champion.

The circuit has remained with pretty much the same layout over the last 66 year, but for the introduction of a couple of chicanes.

It has seen all the greats race here on four and two wheels from Moss to Senna, and Surtees to Sheene.

It is also the ONLY circuit in Europe that you can walk all the way round as a spectator and continue to watch the racing on track.

NG's Fastest Rider at Castle Combe

Ben Godfrey holds the figures for the fastest NG lap here at Combe from July last year. Back then he was on a BMW S1000R and circulated in 1min 10.72sec, which equates to an average of 94.17mph.

Adding extra interest to the weekend

NG Road Racing is again running and promoting the British National series for 125cc and 250cc GP machinery. This is the only place in the UK that you will see these ex-GP machines racing for a full British Championship title backed by the ACU (The sports governing body in the UK). We also welcome the Ducati Desmo Due Series back for another year and the same goes for the ever growing band of Formula Prostock runners. In addition to the national series we also have the popular TSGP Two-stroke runners, and for lovers of the sights and sounds of the older race bikes from the 1960's there is the popular Lansdowne Classic Series.

A Grand National like no other.... Legendary riders and iconic bikes, on and off track.

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 carrying the prestige of being crowned a British Champion, 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.

It is 60 years since the legendary Mike Hailwood won here on a Honda 125, and this weekend pays tribute to Mike, with a host of his former bikes here courtesy of David and Pauline Hailwood. Steve Wynne of Sports Motorcycles fame will also be bringing the 900SS Ducati that Mike the Bike used in his famous and successful TT comeback in 1978.

Guy Martin will be out on track on Sunday on the Iconic Honda-6 cylinder.

Freddie Spencer the 250 and 500cc GP World Champion for Rothmans Honda in 1983 and 1985 will also be taking bikes out onto the 1.85 mile circuit. There is so much more to feast your eyes on, and treat your ears too.

I personally cannot wait for this festival of bikes, personalities and racing.

Race Day Timetable       

Timetable           Sat          Sun        Timings are subject to change by the promoters and/or circuit management.

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.

Admission Prices.

Ticket Type         Sat          Sun

Adults   £15         £20         (Two-day weekend ticket just £30)

Seniors £12         £17         (Two-day weekend ticket just £24)

Under 17             Free       Free       (www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk for conditions)

For full conditions of admission and to take advantage of online bookings - www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk

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

What’s on track

Up to 20 NG Road Racing championship races each day split into qualifiers and finals 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, then take 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 and Guest races:            

125/250GP ACU National Championship               

The Ducati Sporting Club Desmo Due Series

The Phoenix Open         

The Formula Prostocks and Bandit Challenge

TSGP Two-stroke GP series

The Lansdowne Classic series

NG Championship classes:         

F125  ç 125GP  çMoto 3  ç F400  ç 500cc  ç 600cc  ç Powerbike  çSound of Thunder | Supermono | Super Twin ç Mini Twin  ç Streetstock  ç Pre Injection  ç Sidecars  ç Newcomers 

For all the info...

For full information regarding this event, including the meeting race preview check out the NG Road Racing Facebook page which can be found by searching in the usual way... then just click like… or log on to | www.ngroadracing.org

For information specific to this round and the circuit take a look at www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk

The Grand National is so much more than just the racing.....

Experience a Castle Combe Race Meeting like no other, where the corners usually taken by cars at 100mph are done on two wheels at over 160mph!

It’s the only event of its kind here at Castle Combe where you can watch 20 races each day, but there is so much more to the weekend

GUY MARTIN will be on track with the iconic Honda Six - (Sunday only)

Guy Martin the truck mechanic, road racer, record breaker and TV star recently signed for Honda Racing The TT ace will ride the 297cc RC167 as part of the popular Classic parade to commemorate 60 years since the legendary Mike Hailwood® made his debut at the circuit back in 1957. Mike’s first Honda-mounted victory came at Castle Combe in 1961, setting a lap record in the process.

 Adding to the unstinting support of the Hailwood family for the event, Honda UK’s Neil Tuxworth has added their corporate weight to the family-run track, whereby the Japanese factory has always enjoyed a special relationship with Castle Combe, and has been for a number of years their unique test venue prior to the Isle of Man TT Races.

Joining the ‘Honda Six’ on track will be a host of famous names on legendary machinery whereby the organisers have been granted special permission by Mike’s widow, Pauline, to run some of Hailwood’s iconic machinery at the track where the nine-times World Champion and 14-times TT winner rode in only his second ever meeting. On display and in action will be many actual race bikes ridden by ‘Mike the Bike’™ including the Ducati on which he made his sensational TT-winning comeback in 1978.

Neil Tuxworth, Honda UK Racing Manager: “We wanted to show our appreciation of Mike by supporting the Hailwood family at this unique event. Honda’s history with Mike goes back well over 50 years and for the last decade we have used the venue for our TT preparations. It’s great that we can support the circuit for this special commemoration of one of Honda’s most famous and respected riders by allowing Guy to ride the bike that took Mike to so much success over the years.”

 Graham Marshallsay Managing Director of Castle Combe Circuit: “Preparations for our NG Road Racing Club-organised meeting in July have been going on for some months and the Mike Hailwood® tribute parade is something that we are very proud to bring to our visitors. To celebrate Mike is special but to now be able to welcome Guy riding one of the most iconic race bikes ever built will be a very special day in our history. We are very grateful to Honda for their support in making this possible.”

And there is more

Without doubt this year’s Grand National race meeting will be the biggest bike meeting at Castle Combe since we ran the non-championship Superbike races in 2004 and the line-up of bikes and riders in Sunday’s special Mike Hailwood commemoration parades gets better almost by the day. And of course the parades are just part of a fabulous weekend of motorcycle racing run by the NG Road Racing Club.

Feature races on both Saturday and Sunday will be rounds of the 125cc & 250cc ACU National Championships while the Bonham’s British Historic Championships will highlight the classic feel of the meeting. Add in another 15 or so races for just about every solo class right up the King of Castle Combe open class and it’s easy to see why the meeting has a growing reputation for one of the most popular outside of BSB.

And then we have the Classic & Specials parades with some 50 bikes on track and making a great display in the paddock.

But it’s the Tribute to the GOAT (Greatest of all time) that has really set the meeting as special. Debate will forever rage about the greatest of all time title. Hailwood or Rossi, but to honour Mike Hailwood 60 years after his first Castle Combe Race is a privilege and we are very grateful for the family’s support and enthusiasm. What started as a comment at the end of last year’s meeting has become something very special---as one well known motorcycle racing journalist recently commented “I’ve never seen a Hailwood Tribute like this before”

More legends lined up to be at the Grand National

The racing legend that is Freddie Spencer will be in attendance, and will be out on track. He will ride one of the ex-Hailwood 1960's 500 Honda's and also one of his own Rothmans 500 Honda NS Triples.

He will be joined out on track over the weekend by....

David Hailwood Henry Cole

Steve Plater       Alan Smith

Glen Richards    Mike Hawthorne

Stuart Graham  Frank Melling

Stan Woods        Fred Smart

Ian Martin           John Weed

Rex Butcher       Christian Gregory

Alan Dugdale     Plus........ many more

New Sponsors race to get involved

It’s not just the bikes and riders queuing up to be part of the weekend as we are delighted to welcome new event partners Protint UK, Orchard Computers, and WMB joining established supporters Fowlers, Dymag, Mr Blast and Turner Racing while providing a taste of luxury for the stars is Empire RV.

British Moto 2 GP challenger

The Sprit Moto 2 bike will be displaying the new GP Sport bike which is being ridden in the British Supersport Championship at the meeting. Event partner Dymag has supplied the wheels for this new British challenger and will give race fans the chance to see the bike up close on the DYMAG stand.

Triumph display

Fans will flock to the Triumph display where the latest range of bikes will be on display plus a unique show of the last Triumph to win a British Championship and the last to win a TT and the actual TT110 on which Mike Hailwood won the Thruxton 500 race in 1957. Glen Richards who took Triumph to victory in the 2008 British Supersport Championship will be reunited with his bike.

New Avon Tyres Deal at Combe

Long term circuit sponsors recently announced a new long term deal with the circuit and Racing School, Having supported the circuit with the famous Avon Bridge since 1952---thought to be the longest sponsorship agreement in British Motorsport the new deal has widened to include additional trackside advertising, branding on the bridge at Old Paddock and at the circuit entrances, All the circuits rescue and support vehicles now run on Avon tyres as do the fleet of Racing School saloons, Formula Ford racing cars and sports cars.

On bike track days our instructors will be running with the latest Avon 3D Ultra Extremes and at the bike meeting Avon will be supporting the Mike Hailwood Tribute parades. Mikes first TT win—the 1961 Ultra Lightweight 125cc race was won on Avon. It was also Honda’s first TT win.

There is so much going on..... make sure you are there both days

In addition to these not-to-be-missed parades, there is a packed programme of racing organised by NG Road Racing Club, and featuring a number of major championships, over the weekend.

Further news will be announced in due course and for further information, please contact... Rodney Gooch - 01249 782417 - rodney@castlecombecircuit.co.uk



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