ROUND 15 – 29th July 2017
As an Instructor here, I should have some insight into the nuances of the ‘Combe’. So, read on for my take of this fast Wiltshire circuit.
We start, as with all racetracks nowadays, from the pit lane and my normal point about surface changes from pit lane to track applies.
Start moving over to the right of the track as you build speed towards Avon Rise – this gives you better positioning and sight lines. Avon Rise is a fast left, but you need to go through under power for stability. So, either brake beforehand or carry speed through, depending on your cars capability. You then need to get stopped and turned for Quarry Corner – this right-hand bend is statistically the most accident-prone in UK, so be aware! Ideally, you would tuck into the extreme left-hand and take a late apex. However, in reality, after negotiating Avon Rise, a mid-track approach is probably more sensible, again taking as late an entry as you can. Use all the road on exit and accelerate along Farm Straight towards The Esses.
The Esses have a tighter entry and a faster exit. Stay left, then apex at the right-hand tyres and then use the wide exit to gather speed. You will immediately go into the fast right at Old Paddock Bend. Here, aim for the orange mark on the outside barriers and use that as your turn in for the right-hander, apexing, then using the width of the road on exit.
Accelerate up through the flat left kink at Hammerdown and stay left for Tower Corner, braking hard. Another tighter in and faster out corner, ensure you take the apex then use the width of the road as you head for Bobbies. This has, you guessed it, a tighter entry but more room on exit. It’s important here to exit well as you now head for the finish line at Westway, going through a gentle right kink.
Castle Combe is a track where you constantly learn each time around. I’m up to over 2000 laps now, but discover a bit more speed each time. So, take your time and build up to this quick old place!