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Castle Combe

Every driver gets that itch every now and then. Its the NEED FOR SPEED. Petrol heads look for the empty road where driver and machine come together just like double clutch down to 2nd just to hear that engine rip.

A driver don’t pick the car, the car picks the driver. It’s a mystical bond between man and machine.

This thirst for speed would be settled on the Castle Come circuit.

Castle Combe Circuit opened just 18 months after Silverstone in the summer of 1950, making it one of the longest established circuits in the UK. Until 1999, the circuit followed its original layout, around the perimeter of the old air base. In that first year, a young Stirling Moss won a race and over the next few years, names like Mike Hawthorn, Colin Chapman, Les Leston, Roy Salvadori and John Surtees thrilled huge crowds.

Castle Combe Track Layout

By the 60’s, several planning constraints had seen the circuit become run down and although the old Brands Hatch company, Motor Circuit Developments tried hard to develop meetings in the early 70’s with Formula 5000 and other major events, planning problems prevented long-term development. However in 1976, the circuit lease was obtained by the current owners and the long road to developing the circuit as a modern national racing venue began. Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, and David Coulthard all won races in the 70’s and 80’s, and by the 90’s, the circuit hosted rounds of most of the national championships.

Today, the circuit boasts modern facilities for competitors and spectators, and the resurfaced and now reshaped circuit providing what is generally recognised as providing the closest circuit racing in British motorsport.


For those who watch the DRIVE TV will notice Chris Harris is regularly hooning about here.

John aka Joda who works at Castle Combe track and Mercedes-Benz world needed some help getting some MINIs to the show so I was more than happy to help.

AMG Line up

Mercedes Benz AMG Line up

We follow each other on IG and he regularly post some awesome pics at work with all the tasty motors he drives on track and road.

Everyone had seen the pictures I posted up on my blog last year and the fun I had so a lot more members were willing to pedal to the metal this time. This would which add to the excitement on the day.

I helped organise the event but I was last to arrive at the meet point to a plethora of MINIs awaiting for some HOONING.

We all headed out together in convoy to Castle Combe circuit to what is a mainly classic Mini event as its organised by Mini World.

There was a new upgrade to the Fast Five

Phil had decided to leave THE BEST CLUBMAN Ever behind and step up his game

Best Clubman

Mr Kitchen was always the odd ball out of the Fast Five but in a good way given his different tastes and preferences. Mid afternoon I received a text off Phil saying he is buying a new MINI!!! I was like WHATTTTTTTTT

It’s a JCW!!!!

Hatch or Roadster??

Coupe : D

Should I get Harmon Kardon?? Hells Yeah

Phil was interested in my stand point of Roadster as he looked for to my 1st car review – MINI Cooper S Roadster

I was glad he got JCW given the problems he had with tuning with Cooper S

I am sorry but the JCW is better than S in its power delivery and performs effortlessly compared to the S. The JCW has the stopping power to match and that Extra 20bhp makes a huge difference in light car.

JCW Coupe 2 JCW Coupe

Like I said Phil likes being that bit different so he went a NOT NORMAL colour choice this time around – Metallic Kite Blue

JCW Coupe Kite Blue

(Photo credit to Felt Tip Felon aka Lee with a UNIQUE Clubbie – Feature coming soon)

The banter had already begun as we parked up on our stand as everyone was gunning for GP Garry plus Mr King had bone or two to pick with him with their long-standing grudge after MINI UNITED 2012 Go Karting racing antics. No hair nets getting in the way this time LOL

I had promised Jay that he could ride shotgun with me when I went around the track to show him what the JCW was made of and for him to step up his game to get one.

We all headed to sign on for some track time to get our safety briefing and helmets

On the way back I noticed these three familiar Minis from a BIG film which involved a trip to Italy for some gold bullion

Hang on guys I got an Idea…

Italian Job

There was no messing around this time as we all dawned our helmets and I suction mounted the Go Pro to bonnet

Go Pro 3

My Co Pilot was ready to


GP Garry was already

GP Garry

The Bandit aka Mr King was right behind him


Christina aka Wifey No. 1 was ready


MINI Toque member Overboost was primed and ready

R50 Cooper S

Here is the complete line for the MINI heading on the track

SNM Track Day

Time for a quick selfie before I headed out #NoFilter

Track Day Selfie

The Sussex road and race crew we were up front leading the pack

I rolled out expecting the 1st lap to be a sightseeing/warm up lap but the pack up front thought otherwise as I sat behind track keeping to track etiquette of not overtaking on the corners and sat back for the back straight to let the JCW loose.

I tucked in behind Overboost on camp corner before the back straight to slipstream him as knocked it down to 3rd and winded out the revs to redline to 4th.

JCW Track 4

With 4th gear dispatched I roared past him and eyed the familiar rear lights of Christine’s JCW who slowed down to let me pass as she knew I wouldn’t be messing around.

Now I had some time to make up some for lost ground behind traffic and my warm up lap. So it was time to keep it nice and neat and keep to the racing line as it was more a race with the clock and skill to catch up Garry & Mr King.

I headed around with full concentration and only asking Jay if he was alright when it reined in the JCW on the brembo brakes on the back straight to see if he was ok with the speeds I was going at.

All was well as I went around when I spotted an R53 Cooper S in my rearview trying to pass and with this being an open track day there was no passing on a corner. I found this numpty mounting the kerb trying to overtake me on last corner before the back straight.

JCW Track 3

He went to overtake then found out the JCW is no match on the back straight leaving him behind. I braked after doing 110mph on first corner and following the racing line to find this time this bonehead next to my door mid corner.

What happened to track day etiquette??? It was made crystal clear in the briefing not to overtake on the corners on multiple occasions

So I back of the accelerator and let them him pass because the last thing I wanted was accident on track with a passenger onboard. I slowed down and short shifted to leave a gap before building the speed up again.

JCW Track 2

It was back to chasing down the lads upfront.I don’t know what happened to this Red Cooper on track as the owner either lost their sense of redirection or get scared of my arrival of the JCW in their rear view as they drove into the run off section of the track.

Was James May driving???

Having passed the Cooper next up was another MINI Mate Dawn in her JCW called ‘Sapphire’ which is gracing the front cover of Modern MINI Magazine now!!!

JCW Sapphire 2 JCW Sapphire 3

She is another owner who loves her JCW  to bits and coming from an R53 Cooper S she has been the MINI family and community alot longer than me.

However she was passed on the back straight with me taking the JCW to 120mph before braking for the 1st corner. But sadly time is cruel mistress as after completing this lap and seeing Phil & Garry in my sights the chequered flag was waved signalling an end to the session for a cool down lap.

JCW Track

I had a little natter with Jay on the cool down lap asking if was scared at any point as he held on to the overhead handle most of the time around. Well at least he knows now that I can DRIVE and that he needs to hurry up and buy a JCW!

JCW Track 3

I noticed I was alot quicker this time around and given I got more speed on the back straight and what I was taught at Goodwood sank in from the instructor. But there is still room for improvement in technique.

Well if any of my readers want to jump in the JCW for a quick spin I am always more than happy to oblige so don’t be shy

Next up was walk around the club stands to see what tastes were about

All of these are photos below are from my very close friend of mine who I love to bits. Sammieeeeeeee has been awesome friend to me and has taken the BEST photos of my JCW to date. She has that MINIac enthusiasm like I do when some utter the word MINI. But for the love me I don’t know how she wears those shorts all year round???

Here is a link to the facebook page and website for her MINI photography called MINI Madness


So please go over send her some MINI Love

MINI Madness – FB Page

MINI Madness – Website

I will be doing a full post on her very soon…

Enough talking here there are MINIs

Blue Mini Classic British Racing Green Classic Mini Classic & New MINI Classic Clubman Mini Classic Mini Clubman Classic Mini Mix Classic Mini Track Exhaust Clean Cooper S Dat Stripe Dodge Charger Look Classic Mini Green Classic Mini Gulf Livery Mini Monte Carlo Rally Classic Mini Look Mr Bean Classic Mini Red Devil MINIs Rust Classic Mini Rusty Classic Mini Smile Classic Mini Yellow Classic Mini

I had promised earlier in the day Phil my carbon fibre rear diffuser off my JCW for his coupe so I handed it over. He asked if I would install the carbon fibre door handle overlays which I was more than happy to do. To be honest the fit and finish was fantastic on them given he only spent around £60 for the pair which left me thinking at some point I will have to get some on my JCW at some point.

Carbon fibre diffuser Carbon fibre door handles

Phil has been loving his JCW Coupe so far as it gets way better fuel with pops and bangs on demand. I asked him how it felt to make the move over from the S to the JCW. He reaffirmed the JCW just has that more effortless power delivery to it and more eager to get up and go.

I unwittingly have his Coupe a name when I called it the ‘Blue Turtle’ because of its roof, so now the JCW Coupe is called Leonardo after the blue mutant ninja turtle.

All of the fast five all have JCWs now so no hanging around even more now ; )

Eagle eyed readers will be wondering about Mrs King aka wifey no.2 R53 Cooper S? Lets say she made the upgrade to an R56 JCW to (more information to follower later with lots of piccies)

All that was left now to do was watch the professional take the classics Minis around and make it look easy as they were full throttle all the way around.

The angles they were coming into cause trail braking was insane as it did result in a few spin offs which is all part of the fun.

Classic Mini Track Action Classic MINI track battle 2 Classic Mini Track Battle Classic Mini Track Exhaust

This brought the day to a close with a parade laps to finish off this track action filled day and it being the UK it had to rain. But this didn’t dampen our spirits as the classic & modern MINIs all rolled out together : D

IMG_1181 IMG_1185 IMG_1187 IMG_1189

After the track day I was left with a dilemma as I wasn’t happy with the JCW suspension and brake feel. So I had a quiet word with my wallet and we came to agreement to give Lohen at visit for enhancements and coilovers.

Next Blog Post: MINI Factory Tour – The Last R56

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