Castle Combe FF1600 legend Bob Higgins explains 2019 return

Four-time Castle Combe FF1600 by Melksham Motor Spares champion Bob Higgins has admitted he’s having to learn how to drive the new style of FF1600 cars on his full-season return.

Higgins, who won the CCRC-organised championship between 1981-’83 as well as in 1992, celebrated his 70th birthday on May 27, the date of the latest circuit race meeting.

He returned to Castle Combe for the opening round of the season, when the Wiltshire circuit celebrated 50 years of its circuit-based FF1600 series.

“[I’ve been] sat here talking to my son who’s used to driving the newer type of car,” Higgins told FF1600website after qualifying.

“And he’s been saying ‘yeah I’ve been telling you dad! You’re too aggressive’, and I say ‘I don’t know any other way to drive’.”

Higgins’ return to the CCRC FF1600 field in a new Firman RFR17 was triggered by the fact he would be turning 70 during the year.

“I’ve stood back and let them [race] – because we didn’t have the budget obviously. I let the boys do it. I said ‘I’m 70 this year, I’m going to do the whole season’.”

“I bought a new car for it, I’m learning how to drive it. I’m going to do the whole season. I can’t be disappointed as I’ve got no expectations.”

Higgins qualified 11th for the opening race of the May 27 meeting, despite not going flat-out during his short run on track – there were two red flags with the second one ending the session early.

“I did three laps in slow to scrub the tyres in, just about to get going because I waited for the quick boys to catch up,” Higgins said.

“The tyres were just about coming in. Did half a lap and the red flag came out. I never used second, just third and top [fourth gear] to scrub the tyres in gently and it was a 1m13.3s. If I tried hard I wouldn’t have done that!”

Photo by Mike Stokes

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