FORTY years since his father won the same race at Castle Combe, Langford’s Roger Orgee took a fine win in the circuit’s opening Formula Ford 1600 championship race of the season on Easter Monday.
And there was a double family celebration for brothers Adam and Richard Higgins, who took second and third on the podium.
Held in tribute to the late Howard Strawford, the man who saved the track from potential closure, ‘Howards Day’, kicked off the 2014 season at the Wiltshire track with a 10-race programme, featuring many crowd favourites.
In the early part of the Formula Ford race, it was pole man Ashley Crossey from Flax Bourton who led the way, with Orgee running a modest third and Chippenham’s Adam Higgins patiently moving up from his fifth-placed grid slot.
By lap sixth, Orgee had found a way through, but Higgins was all over Crossey’s Spectrum and by lap 11 had found a way past, taking the lead from Orgee a lap later.
Those who saw Adam’s aggressive drives to the title last year could have been forgiven in thinking that was the way the race would end, but Orgee was still chasing hard and at the back of the circuit on the final lap, just managed to put his Van Diemen ahead of his rival’s similar machine.
As the pair went into Camp for the last time, Adam tried one last manoeuvre, but at the flag was still 0.129 of a second behind.
At the post race interview, the young Orgee was oblivious to his father’s success, which culminated in the 1974 championship title.
Meanwhile, Adam’s brother Richard, from Burnham on Sea, grabbed third from Crossey on the last lap, making it a Higgins family ‘sandwich’ on the podium, in this Richard’s first outing in class A in his Van Diemen JL12.
Melksham’s Ed Moore who initially held second, understandably dropped to 5th at the finish after the steering wheel of his Van Diemen broke.
Calne’s Tony Hutchings got his 2014 season off to a good start with a fine win in the circuit’s Saloon Car championship race in his unique Audi TT.
While Hutchings led every lap, for the first nine of those he was put under tremendous pressure from Reading’s Russell Akers, making his debut in class A in his Astra, recently converted from modest class D specification.
The pair were hardly more than a few inches apart, but on the last time through Old Paddock, Akers put a wheel on the grass, demoting himself to fourth.
Another former class D runner, Charles Hyde-Andrew –Bird from Shepton Mallet, was a beneficiary of Akers’s off, taking second with Bristol’s Mark Wyatt taking third overall and the class B win in his Astra.
Swindon’s Julian Ellison was fifth in his Astra VXR ahead of Bath’s Dave Scaramanga in his VW Bora. Adrian Slade from Devizes was seventh overall and the class C winner in his Peugeot 106 Gti and must be favourite for this year’s title as his class opposition appears to be somewhat distant.
The circuit’s new ‘Sports Racing Car’ series was poorly supported but saw a good early dice for the lead between veteran Norman Lackford and Andy Crockett, before the latter expired.
The Sports & GT championship race saw a win for Barry Squibb in his Evo 9, just ahead of Keith Dunn, with Westbury on Trym’s Tim Woodman a distant third in his Caterham.
The four Mini races provided their usual brand of close, entertaining racing, with Pill’s Sam Summerhayes the top local runner in ninth in the last Miglia race of the day.
MORE PICTURES FROM CASTLE COMBE IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES