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MOTORSPORT: Howard was 'Mr Castle Combe'
CASTLE Combe circuit officials hope a fine 2013 season will be the perfect tribute to owner Howard Strawford.
Strawford, who rescued the track from extinction in the 1970s, died on Saturday after suffering a stroke .
Combe’s sales and marketing director Gooch paid tribute to Strawford and says his wife Pat, son-in-law Graham Marshallsay and daughters Karen Marshallsay and Emma Burns will continue to drive the circuit forward.
“It’s the end of an era and he will be remembered as the man that saved Castle Combe,” said Gooch.
“He leaves a big void but his family have always been involved alongside him. He’d taken more of a back seat in the day-to-day running and his wife Pat, Graham, Karen and Emma will carry on working just as hard as they always have.
“A great season this year would be the perfect tribute to him. Hopefully we can put something on that would make him proud.”
Erling Jensen, the 1993 GT series champion and now a freelance instructor at Combe, said: “He (Strawford) really transformed the track and was behind pretty much everything there – he was Mr Castle Combe.
“He always did everything to make sure that drivers and spectators had a great experience.’’
Jensen, whose son Steven races in Combe’s Formula Ford series, said: “The place has had a massive impact on local businesses and the community and, for me, it’s the best track in the country. He did so much for racing in this area.”
Bradford on Avon’s Ed Moore, who has had more Formula Ford series wins than anyone else at Combe, said: “My father (Ian) raced at Combe in the 1970s and ’80s and my family was always close to his so I’d known him since I was a baby.
“Sometimes, people forget that the drivers are the ones putting on the entertainment but he was very good to us. His wife Pat put in so much hard work alongside him.”
Track photographer Nigel Eddleston-Dike said: “Everything that he did for the track had a great impact on the community, like donating gate receipts to charity and holding car boot sales.
“It’s a great loss and everyone will miss him.”
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