Bernie and the 130 mph day in 1997

Bernie Chodosh has been in the garage organising the display of his 450 empty racing oil cans and found a photo which I enjoyed. Bernie in his yellow ’58 Corvette is muscling up the inside of #30 red and white ’63 Vette driven by his mate Jeff Barley. Bernie’s Corvette is the same car that sons Simeon and Adam drive with us… #8 in jet black.

The boys’ eagle eyes noticed the drivers are wearing no gloves. Shock horror.

The date? Most likely 1997. In which case Bernie was there on a historic day…

In August 1997, the outright Castle Combe circuit record was re-written in the most spectacular style. The BOSS series, open to a wide range of powerful single-seater racing cars, was headed by Nigel Greensall in a former Grand Prix Tyrrell 022 entered by Paul Stoddart’s European Aviation Racing team. Greensall, a regular racer and winner at Castle Combe in a wide range of cars, rose to the challenge and smashed the circuit record by lapping in 50.59 seconds, an average of 130.93mph. It was a stunning display that thrilled the bumper Bank Holiday crowd and would make Greensall the all-time fastest driver in the circuit’s history. The arrival speed at Old Paddock was 178mph and about 145mph turning through the corner; back up to just over 170mph down into Tower, which was a third gear corner. The peak speed on Dean Straight was 179mph before Camp.

Read more about the circuit that day at

Castle Combe Circuit opened in 1950, and the first meeting was staged on 8 July by the Bristol Motorcycle & Light Car Club. Over the next few years, the circuit attracted star names such as Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorn, Roy Salvadori and John Surtees. Castle Combe has staged many different motorsport disciplines over the years. Nigel Greensall’s 1997 lap record was never beaten because a tragic accident involving the death of a spectator forced the owners into installing two new chicanes in order to slow the cars down. The new layout was slightly longer at 1.85 miles (2.98 km), and was completed over the winter of 1998-1999.