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Coming up at Curborough and Prescott
With just over three weeks to go until our Curborough one–lap sprint on 7th October, entries are coming in strongly, but you still have time to join in the fun if you want to. This event marks the final round of the 2017 SBD HSA Speed Championship, and traditionally has been an event at which hillclimbers and sprinters alike have taken the opportunity to try out alternative cars, perhaps with a view to changing mounts in 2018. A key feature of the event is a class winners’ run-off for the Alan Payne Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the class winner who improves most on his or her competition run best time. Quite a few competitors make a weekend of it and also enter the MAC’s sprint on the following day.
You can enter the HSA Curborough Sprint by clicking here.
While on the theme of awards, please note that we are now taking registrations and menu orders for our Annual Awards Lunch at Prescott Clubhouse on 12th November 2017. The cost will be £22.95 per head for a four course lunch. Following feedback from the 2016 event, the format will be slightly different this year, with no after-lunch speaker but more time for socialising before and after the lunch and the presentation of awards. You can sign up with your menu choices and pay online by clicking here, or you can print off an order form and pay by cheque if you prefer.
If you received an Annual Trophy last year, please could you now return it, if you haven’t already done so, to a member of the HSA Committee. The Curborough meeting would be a good opportunity to do just that. We need the trophies back as soon as possible please to allow them to be engraved in time for the Awards Lunch.
The HSA Curborough Sprint
The Prescott Club House
TONY FLETCHER 1943 - 2017
Although the wider hillclimb community were aware that he had been unwell for some time, the news of Tony Fletcher's passing on September 12th came as a sad blow and marked, it's fair to say, the end of an era in the sport.
Tony had occupied key roles in the organisation of hillclimbing for over 50 years, from his earlier days as a timekeeper through to his long tenure as organiser of the British Championship. He was also responsible for the formation of the successful and popular Midland Hillclimb Championship in 1980, which he continued to run until illness finally made that impossible.
Tony's dedication to the sport that had been so much a part of his life was massive and unceasing, indeed it was marked by the MSA with their Lifetime Achievement Award and the HRH Prince Michael Award of Merit. The debt that hillclimb competitors owe to Tony for the sport's increasing popularity and advancement over the last few decades is immeasurable. To his wife Maureen, his son Stephen and his sister Rosie, we offer our sincere condolences.
A full appreciation will follow in the next issue of Speedscene.
RUDGE TAKES FIRST EVER FTD
On a day when wet weather stemmed the pace of the single-seaters, 2007 Gurston Down hillclimb champion Mike Rudge set the outright pace at the fast Wiltshire hill's Championship finals day in his Westfield-Duratec SEi. 'What a great result!' beamed the delighted Welshman. 'I've been hillclimbing for 30 years and this is my first FTD.'
With the Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Championship already decided with a round in hand, the outcome of the Cavendish Ships Stores Top Ten Challenge was still in the balance with three drivers in with a shout at the start of the meeting. One was the third placed Rudge, the others were series leader James Moore in his 1-litre Empire-Suzuki and Chris Cannell, lying second in his unique, twin-engined Force-Suzuki SR8 sports libre car. With wet weather tyres long past their sell-by date, Cannell couldn't find enough pace and slipped to third. Rudge's fine performance made sure he moved up to a best-ever second overall in the series, but with a class-winning time good enough for second FTD, it was Moore that maintained his advantage and joined the ranks of Gurston's Top Ten Challenge title holders for the first time.
Following a succession of MX5 class records, Mark Crookall had already clinched the Gurston Championship back in July. Just as well as his Mazda cried enough on the morning of the event and he had to switch to his VW Golf automatic shopping car! So with both Neil Turner in his 16v Mini and Evo 6 driver Stephen Moore tied on maximum points behind him after the requisite four counting rounds, it was a straight duel for second place overall. Both drivers again won their respective classes but with the tie-break to be decided on the best dropped score, Turner's fifth maximum of the season was enough to claim the Championship runner-up spot.
Westfield driver Mike Rudge scored his first FTD (Steve Lister)
James Moore took Gurston's Top Ten Challenge title in his Empire Evo (Steve Lister)
Thomas and Greenan star at Crystal Palace
On day one of the 2017 Motorsport at the Palace Sprint Gary Thomas took FTD with a 32.46s in his Force PC but was unable to approach his course record owing to a green and dusty track which saw most competitors struggle to match their previous bests. On day two however, in near perfect conditions Andy Greenan in his Empire Evo 2, fresh from Gurston the day before, lowered Gary’s record by a couple of tenths on T2 and then by a further 5 hundredths on his final run to take FTD and leave the course record at 31.30s.
The Sevenoaks & District MC had been obliged to move the event from its traditional May bank holiday date to the August one and, while they were blessed with perfect weather, the great number of other events (and not just Speed ones) taking place over the holiday period meant that entries were lower than usual, particularly on the Monday – we hear that a return to the May date for 2108 is on the cards. In spite of all this the event ran smoothly with plenty of spectators on hand to enjoy the show and, for many, experience Sprinting for the first time.
With classes being organised by age as well as category there were some interesting Class competitions.
Sunday: Throughout practice and timed runs Chris Bennett and Dave Rayner in their Caterhams were rarely more than a couple of tenths apart in Class B14 with the win going to the former driver. In the large Class C15, Clive Scott in the 2006 HSA Championship winning GSM Delta, won from Andrew Cairney in Father, Stuart’s, immaculate Hillman Imp. In Class C16 Richard West’s noisy Sierra XR4 was three tenths ahead of Roger Burgess’ MK2 Escort while in Class C17 Laurie Hatchard’s impressive V8 powered Dax Rush ran out a comfortable winner and his 36.53s was good enough for seventh overall. Of the other contenders for FTD the unique MV Agusta V8 powered Force of Kevin Creaven had to retire after T1 with bent front suspension but set the second fastest time with a 33.83s ahead of Pete Goulding’s Mygale M20 (34.14s) and Palace regulars David Seaton, Pilbeam MP43 BMW (35.53s) and Fyrth Crosse’s Ensign LNF3 (36.17s).
Monday: With competitors leaving and arriving there was different competition in some classes from the day before. In the very competitive Class A6, 2017 HSA Championship front runner Justin Andrews in his Impreza provisionally set the fastest time with a 35.53s ahead of Stephen Moore’s Evo and Chris Berrisford’s Impreza but Justin was later judged as having put two wheels off prior to the finish line and was demoted to second place. In Class A7 Martin Prescott’s Mazda MX5 commendably finished 0.05 s ahead of Christian Enderby‘s Megane R26R while in Class B10/B11 David Nursey and David Waterhouse brought their Turner MK2 down from Shelsley and finished 0.17s apart at the top of the class. Chris Bennett and Dave Rayner continued their close battle finishing as they did the day before while in Class C16 Philip West was out in the Sierra XR4 and his T1 time was enough to win by 0.04s from the Burgess MK2 Escort which was just as well as a big off on T2 ended the Sierra’s day. Finally Pete Goulding set second fastest time with a 34.04s ahead of David Seaton (34.97s) and Fyrth Crosse (with a splendid 35.02s).
A new course record for Andy Greenan's Empire Evo 2
Gary Thomas posted another FTD on Sunday
Sam Wilson makes superb competition debut
Just 16 years and 2 months old, Sam Wilson made a very successful competition debut at Harewood Hillclimb on 5th and 6th August, driving Gary Hill’s 600 cc OMS Hornet, which he shared on each day with Mike Fitzsimons. Still 10 months away from being able to drive on the road, Sam had only driven the car for the first time at a private test session at Curborough the same week, tutored by the constructor of the car, Steve Owen.
Very sensibly, Sam built up his speed over the two days as he learned to explore the full performance of the car. He started with a first practice run of some 78 seconds, but improved progressively to a best time on the Saturday of 64.28 seconds. Then on the Sunday he took almost another 3 seconds off and finished the day on 61.51 seconds as the quickest 600 and 12th out of 15 runners in the combined up to 1100cc racing car class. Sam now has three of the four signatures needed on his Non–Race National B licence in order to upgrade to a Speed National A version. (His first signature came from attending the Harewood driving academy in his mum’s road car).
That he performed so well should not be a surprise, as he comes from a strong motorsport background, and has been around competition vehicles all his life. His dad Tim runs the British Hillclimb Championship and is Chairman of the BARC Yorkshire Centre, and mum Jackie is the entry secretary at Harewood. For the last 5 years, Sam has been a pit crew member for Trevor Willis at national Hillclimb events, assisting with tyre changes, fuelling and checking tyre pressures. He has done some karting and also has a Gas Gas 125 trials bike on which he has completed 3 motorcycle trials. He feels that the balancing skills, throttle control and mechanical sympathy learned from trials riding is helping with feeling his way into competitive times in the OMS.
Sam, who lives near York, has just completed his GCSE exams, and after a 2 week period of work experience at Rolls Royce Motors near Goodwood, expects to return to school in September to work towards A levels in Maths, Physics and Product Design. Speaking to Sam, you get the feeling that he knows exactly what he wants to do and where he’s heading, and his quiet determination will take him a long way.
A study in concentration
Sam exits Farmhouse Bend in the 600cc OMS Hornet
Getting prepared for a run, with co-driver Mike Fitzsimons
Boorman's completes FTD hat trick at Combe
Malcolm Boorman is having a very successful season and made it three FTDs in three events at Castle Combe on July 29th at Bristol Motor Club's Dick Mayo Sprint. Despite the poor forecast the rain held off and the capacity entry enjoyed 4 dry runs which concluded well before the early evening curfew.
After practice it looked as if FTD was going to be fought out between the Clemow/Greenslade 1600 Force PT, the Sketchley 2000cc Force PT and Boorman's OMS 2000M. However, engine problems (Clemow/Greenslade) and Electrics (Sketchley) sidelined both Forces leaving Boorman to take FTD with a 57.61s. The only other driver to break 60s and take second FTD was Meteor Motorsport's SImon Rogers in his Caterham Hayabusa with an outstanding 59.87s time which easily won the well supported Caterham Owners (aka L7C) class.
Elsewhere, the battle of the Elises was won by Clare Tooth ahead of Elen Worthington and David Edwards. Matthew Bennett's 911 Turbo just edged out Trevor Hartland's Evo by 0.03s in the large Roadgoing class and things were even closer in the 1800cc Mod Prod class where Sarah Munns and Brian Davage set identical T2 times of 72.44s in their Minis with the win going to Sarah due to her faster T1 time. Sports Libre was also closely fought with Luke Trotman (Mallock MK18b) coming out just ahead of Clive Wooster (Radical SR4) by 0.26s.
Some other Class wins went to Mike Smith (Specialist Production), Mike Butler (large Mod Prod), Jeff Wiltshire (Specialist Mod Prod), Chris Bennett (1100 Racing Cars) and Andrew O'Malley (MX5s).
PS Malcolm Boorman made it four FTDs on the bounce at Goodwood on the week-end following Combe!
Malcolm Boorman's winning OMS 2000M at Combe (Paul Torkington)
Clare Tooth's rapid Elise (Andy Mitchelmore)
The Force TA of Chris Bennett (Andy Mitchelmore)
MOURANT'S GURSTON DOUBLE
Jason Mourant swept the board at a damp Midland Championship event at Gurston Down, winning both TTC Group Top Ten Challenge run-offs and setting FTD on the second one for which he almost failed to qualify. With sunshine drying the track and conditions the best of the weekend. Mourant 's half spin at Karousel almost brought his Gould-Judd to a halt in Q2, but with a miraculous recovery he managed to qualify fifth and went on to set the day's outright pace with a 28.08 in the run-off, 1.3sec clear of the field. In a day-long battle with Graham Wynn's Gould-HB, Mourant had the edge each time, but in the absence of previous leader Trevor Willis, Challenge series sponsor Wynn now tops the table ahead of rapid class winner Ben Stephenson, who finished third and fourth respectively in his 1-litre Empire Evo.
In the parallel BMTR Midland Championship, another class win in his VX220 kept Mike Turpin on course for a fifth title, but with the chasing Dave West also taking a win, the Peugeot driver remains just three points adrift with two rounds still to run.
With three records already this year and another class win on Sunday, Mark Crookall became the second driver since Paul Webster in 2011 to win the Gurston Down Championship in a Mazda MX5. With one round to go his score in the Meadens Skoda backed series cannot now be beaten. The weather played havoc with the form book in the Cavendish Ships' Stores BARC Top Ten Challenge table. James Moore's 1-litre Empire-Suzuki now holds a narrow advantage over former leader Chris Cannell's twin engined Force sports libre car and Mike Rudge's Westfield, past Gurston champions both, but there will be all to play for at the final round in September.
A superb scrap among the huge pre-94 Formula Ford field saw the lead changing continually towards the end of the frantic second runs. You can read Les Buck's report on the fun and games below.
Jason Mourant took both run-off wins and FTD (Ian Beard)
Graham Wynn chased Mourant home and now heads the TTC Group Challenge table (Ian Beard)
Gurston Down Hillclimb FF Fest Judged A Huge Success
Despite heavy rain showers affecting both practice and competition runs, spirits remained high throughout the weekend of 22/23July within the largest class at Gurston Down hillclimb, namely the Pre-94 Formula Fords. 24 drivers in 18 cars took part in the festivities, which was also the third of three speed events in the 50th Anniversary FF Challenge, sponsored by the Hillclimb and Sprint Association and Merlin Motorsport, with additional support from Ford Performance. This Challenge was designed both to celebrate 50 years since Formula Ford had been initiated in 1967, and to help encourage more Formula Fords to take part in sprints and hillclimbs . (The first and second rounds took place at the Snetterton 100 circuit on May 13th and 14th).
With Formula Ford being a tightly regulated class, the competition was, as expected, very tight, but it was last year’s winner, Simon McBeath in his Swift SC92F who again came out on top, just ahead of former record holder Andrew Henson (Van Diemen RF91) and with Neville Rollason (Jamun M90) in third place and Mark Alley (Swift FB91) fourth.
The 50th Anniversary FF Challenge also produced a tight finish with Iain Houston (Van Diemen RF89) scoring well again to add to his previous Snetterton victory, over Nev Rollason and Charlie Reilly (Van Diemen RF92).
1st Iain Houston 196.67 points
2nd Nev Rollason 195.87
3rd Charlie Reilly 192.46
Andrew Henson, Simon McBeath and Nev Rollason on the FF Podium. Photo Tracey Inglis-McBeath
The Pre 94 Formula Ford Fest Class of 2017. Photo Tracey Inglis McBeath
Iain Houston collects the 50th Anniversary FF Challenge Trophy from Les Buck. Photo Tracey Ingils McBeath
Gurston Down Hillclimb FF Fest attracts big entry!
Gurston Down Hillclimb FF Fest attracts big entry!
The second ‘Hillclimb FF Fest’ will run within the Midland & Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship meeting over the weekend of July 22nd/23rd, and caters for drivers entering 1600cc ‘Kent’ engined pre-1994 Formula Fords. The organisers are delighted to say that Dorchester-based Veloce Publishing will once again support the ‘FF Fest’ at the award-winning Wiltshire venue. Additional support comes from Ford Performance.
The Pre-94 FF class has been gaining support in the speed event world in recent seasons, and last year’s inaugural FF Fest at Gurston Down saw an entry of 15 drivers in 9 cars battle it out against the clock on the fast and sinuous 1km long course. As proof of the growing popularity of the category, the 2017 entry sees no less than 26 drivers in 20 cars going for glory! Among them is the 2016 winner, Veloce author and freelance motorsport writer Simon McBeath from Sturminster Newton, Dorset, who set a new class record of 36.30 seconds on his way to victory last season in his Swift SC92F. He will be up against, among others, former British Touring Car Championship race winner and current ITV4 BTCC commentator Paul O’Neill from Merseyside, guesting in the Swift FB91 of friend Mark Alley from Wells (who currently leads the class in the Gurston Championship); Andrew Henson from Rochdale, the previous record holder in his Van Diemen RF91; and circuit racer and former hillclimber Shaun Macklin from Romsey, who took his Swift SC92F up Gurston in under 36 seconds in 2006, before the class was officially formed.
So the competition will be ferocious this year, and with the cars so closely matched on performance, using as they do the same Ford 1600cc engines prepared to tight regulations and running on the same tyres, any of the 26 drivers could win.
2017 marks two very special 50th anniversaries, with both Formula Ford and Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb getting underway in 1967. So it is fitting that such a strong entry has been received at Gurston this season to help celebrate both these Golden Jubilees!
As a further celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Formula Ford, the Pre-94 FF Register has organised the 50th Anniversary FF Challenge, which is based on the results of two sprint events held on the Snetterton 100 circuit on May 13th & 14th and on the results of the FF Fest at Gurston on July 22nd/23rd. The contest is supported by the Hillclimb & Sprint Association and Merlin Motorsport. Currently leading after Snetterton is Iain Houston (Van Diemen RF89) on 100.00 points, with Geoff Ward (Swift SC93F) second on 99.98 points and Charlie Reilly (Van Diemen RF92) third on 98.71 points.
The 2017 FF Fest paddock will be even larger than it was in 2016. Photo Tracey Inglis-McBeath
Current FF record holder at Gurston Down, Simon McBeath. Photo Steve Lister
Graham Wynn took FTD at Prescott's one-day Midland Championship round, which followed Saturday's club event hosting an SBD/HSA Speed Championship round (see separate report). Appropriately enough as series sponsor, the Gould-Cosworth HB driver also won both TTC Top Ten Challenge run-offs, the final win setting the days outright pace on 39.00sec. But in a shootout that saw seven out of the twelve qualifiers at the wheel of 1100cc single seaters it was Robert Kenrick's GWR Raptor that ran him closest. With standard 1-litre BMW motorcycle power, the former double Midland Hillclimb champion had already qualified top for the opening run-off and finished second to Wynn, then for the closing shot he ran just a quarter of a second shy of Wynn's V8 to take second FTD and the Moran Motorhomes Midland Man of the Meeting award. The Empire Evos of Tom Poole and Ben Stephenson ran third and fourth each time, split by a hundredth at the end, while in a good day for Bill Chaplin's marque his son Lloyd and Adam Greenan swapped the final top six run-off places.
Unchallenged at the head of the Top Ten Challenge table, Trevor Willis was not entered, but top Midland Championship contenders Mike Turpin and David West both enhanced their score with a class win apiece as Turpin continued his quest for a record-equalling fifth Midland title.
Graham Wynn set the outright pace at Prescott (Ian Beard)
Man of the Meeting Robert Kenrick challenged hard for FTD (Geoff Robinson)
MAX TRIMBLE —1935-2017
The HSA has just received the sad news that Hagley & DLCC President Max Trimble has passed away. Max had held the office previously, notably during the time when the Hagley Club first ran the extended Loton Park hillclimb in 1970 and also in 1985, its 50th Anniversary year. He had a tremendous knowledge of, and background in, motor sport having circuit raced extensively during the 1950s, most notably in Jaguar C and D Types. One of the real stalwarts of the Hagley Club, Max was a regular commentator at both Shelsley Walsh and Loton, where he invariably occupied his favourite 'box' at the top of the hill. A great character with a dry sense of humour, Max will be sorely missed not only by his wife Pauline and their family, but by his many friends in the motorsport community. To all of them, we offer our condolences.
THORNE AND FORSYTH SHARE MANOR FARM SPOILS
Rodney Thorne and Andrew Forsyth took a closely contested win apiece by almost exactly the same margin at the Taunton, Torbay and Burnham MCs ‘Three Clubs’ double-header hillclimb at Manor Farm, Charmouth, last weekend.
After a dull and damp start the weather improved and the field took advantage of four timed runs each day. Thorne visibly struggled to put down the power of his Pilbeam MP43 V8 on the uneven lower section of the course, but in a model of consistency on Saturday slotted all four runs into the 25s bracket. Forsyth brought his ex.Chris Houston Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championship-winning OMS CF04 to the venue for the first time and and eventually got into the 25s himself. Stuart Lillington's Radical and Paul Reynolds' Caterham Seven both posed an initial threat with sub-27s class-winning times, but Forsyth's final run was just under three-tenths shy of Thorne’s 25.19 FTD.
On Sunday, Forsyth just shaded Thorne by hundredths on their pre-lunch runs, but when Thorne opened his afternoon account with all four wheels off at Valley and failed to improve on his last run, Forsyth took the contest by the scruff of its neck with two consistent runs, his final 24.91 reversing Saturday's result and taking FTD by just under three tenths.
Andrew Forsyth (shown here at the Gurston test day) took the first outright win for his new OMS
Motorsport journo colleagues were saddened to learn of the recent untimely passing of Dud Candler. His tall, distinctive figure, notebook in hand, was something of a fixture at race circuits and hillclimbs in the south of England for well over 30 years, reporting club events for Autosport and Motoring News - not to mention Speedscene - in addition to a heavy schedule of PR work. Even on his retirement from full-time journalism he never lost his enthusiasm for the sport, being a regular visitor to his local venue at Gurston Down and continuing to report Goodwood sprints and other events in the south east for Speedscene. Dud's funeral will take place at Worthing Crematorium, BN14 0RG, at 12.45pm on Friday, June 2nd.
REVEREND BARRY WHITEHEAD ̶ 1931-2017
We are sorry to report that the Reverend Barry Whitehead succumbed to cancer on May 22. This 'larger than life' character was a self-taught engineer who was inspired to build his own range of RBS (Rev. Barry Special) single-seaters by the books of fellow enthusiast and North country resident, Allan Staniforth. Like Allan, Barry competed primarily in the 1100cc racing car class. For the last 18 years, he shared his cars with his daughter Eve until ill-health forced him to retire from driving two seasons ago when he assumed the role of 'RBS mechanic', preparing and maintaining RBS8 for Eve; he enjoyed the engineering as much as, if not more than, the driving.
His was a much-liked and respected presence in hillclimb paddocks with his booming voice and laugh (not to mention derogatory comments!) and will be sadly missed by a huge number of competitors across the north of England. Barry competed for over 45 years, never missing a season ̶ an amazing record.
Our condolences go to his children Pat, Eve, Mark and Nicola. Barry's funeral will be held at 2pm on Wednesday, 31st May at St Wilfrid’s Church, Standish.
Away from the pulpit - Barry in his element
A THORNE IN THE SIDE
Woolbridge MC’s Rodney Thorne continued to dominate the 2017 time sheets at Wiscombe Park with another FTD award at Torbay Motor Club’s HR Owen Ecurie hill climb event on May 13th, setting a time in the 38 second bracket that none of his rivals could match. This popular event attracted a maximum entry of 120 cars and 45 motorcycles contesting a total of ten national, regional, club, venue and marque championships.
After an accident in the Esses near the end of the second practice, the recovery operation took nearly one and a half hours and as it was after 3.00pm before the event resumed, the organisers reluctantly decided to limit the event to just one timed run. So the pressure was on and Doug Bennett was the first to dip below 40 seconds with a run of 39.46 in his spectacular aero-modified Sylva Stryker. On the hill at the same time, Thorne had no chance to consider his response but immediately set the winning time with a perfect run in his Rover V8 powered Pilbeam MP43, stopping the clocks on an unbeatable 38.57 seconds. The pursuit by the following racing-car classes saw fine efforts from Stuart Browne, within half a second in his OMS 25, then Dave Gardner a further three tenths adrift in his newly-acquired Pilbeam MP62 and just six hundredths clear of Andrew Forsyth, aboard his 2016 Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championship winning OMS CF4.
Many of 2016's leading lights dominated the classes with Jonathan Wright (Audi A3), Richard Trevail (BMW Mini), Ian Ingleheart (Westfield), Ben Bonfield (Austin Mini), Russell Tout (Ford Fiesta) and Jonathan Williamson (Porsche 911) all taking the top awards in their divisions. Richard Withers (MGB GT) won the Classic Marques Speed Challenge on handicap, while Derek Kessell (Maguire Mini Cooper S) was the best of the Downton Engineering Social Club Speed Series’ three entries. Steve Mogg won the 7-car TVR Sports Car Club Speed Championship class in his Griffith, and Rob Orford (MGB Roadster) led home the five other MG Luffield Speed Championship entrants.
Among a strong NHCA contingent, Paul Jeffery set the outright 2-wheel pace of 42.06 on his KTM SMR.
Rodney Thorne cuts in fine in the Esses on his way to FTD (Derek Hibbert)
Paul Jeffery set the pace on two wheels (Derek Hibbert)
Iain Houston wins the first two Hillclimb & Sprint FF Festival events
The pre-94 Formula Ford Sprint and Hillclimb Challenge got off to a thrilling start at Snetterton with a round on both Saturday and Sunday, running as a separate class at the Borough 19 MC’s British Sprint Championship meeting.
The chilly Snetterton wind greeted the 10 competitors who arrived on the Saturday and with no dual-driven cars it was going to be a quick run through every time the cars came forward. Two practice runs and three timed runs were available each day on the Snetterton 100 Circuit, which is enclosed within the confines of the old Snetterton (now called the Snetterton 200) circuit. Run anti-clockwise, the shape of the circuit is very similar to Brands Hatch run in reverse though there is next to no elevation change and the corners are a bit tighter. The runs covered 1 ¾ laps of the circuit which meant that there was one complete flying lap included in a run, which is not always the case.
The Snetterton 200 circuit was hosting the Mini Festival all weekend and so it was a busy place and there was no chance for any sprint commentary as the circuit’s tannoy system was being used for the Mini races. This did mean that the sprinting probably attracted a few new spectators but they may well have been confused by what they saw, especially if they had no idea that there was such a thing as sprinting and they saw everything from a white and pink Mini to a couple of Gould single-seaters circulating!
The FF runners and riders were a mix of some of the regulars from the hillclimb / sprint FF class plus some who were having their first go at sprinting for a while or their first go ever. Cars ranged from the ex-Mike Fisher Pringett Mistrale of 1969 vintage of Les Buck to Charlie Reilly’s over 20 year younger Van Diemen RF92. Van Diemen was the dominant marque with 5 cars on Saturday together with 3 Swifts, Nev Rollason’s familiar (ex Alan Terry) Jamun M90 and the Pringett Mistrale. The class was joined by a double driven Merlyn on the Sunday while a couple of the Saturday runners did not participate.
Unfortunately the 10 runners on Saturday were reduced to nine when Keith Sollis ran wide on his second practice run at the hairpin and his car hit a concrete block embedded in the grass, causing damage to the front cross-member and one of the side rails of his immaculate ex Alistair Lane Star of Mallory winning Van Diemen RF86 which Keith used to win the CCC Speed Championship back in 2001.
Another former champion, this time on the circuits, Iain Houston set the pace all weekend in his Medina Motorsport built Van Diemen RF89 in which he won the 2013 Castle Combe pre-90 FF Championship. His first practice run on Saturday of 102.97s was nearly two seconds quicker than the next best runner, Charlie Reilly, and although his second practice run was a bit slower on a track made greasy by a light shower of rain, Charlie was caught out by the same conditions with a harmless spin, and it was Nev Rollason who picked up the second best time for that run, though still third fastest overall.
The first timed run was held before lunch and as the competitive spirit kicked in the times fell. Iain led with a 101.30s but Geoff Ward in his Swift SC93F, all the way down from Preston, found some extra pace, compared to his practice best of 108.73s, and was second on 102.02s from Nev on 103.08s and Charlie on 103.45s. There was then a bit of a gap to Paul Morcom, out in his Swift rather than his Merlyn, who recorded 106.09s.
Unfortunately Iain had discovered an oil leak and was unable to take his second timed run but although Charlie improved to 101.9s1 he still trailed but was now second as Geoff slowed to 102.39. Nev also was slower and dropped to 4th but Paul found nearly 2 and a half seconds to cement his fifth place as Gerry Fincham, Chris Bennett (in another Medina built RF98), Les Buck and Geoff Lancaster completed the runners in that order.
For the third timed runs the top 5 FF runners ran in reverse order and after Gerry, Chris, Les and Geoff and all improved their times, though not enough to break into the top 5, Paul Morcom led off in 5th place but was slower than his best as was Nev Rollason. Geoff Ward then took a chunk off his previous best to take the lead on 100.34 and while Charlie improved to 101.61s he slipped down to third behind Geoff. So it was all down to Iain who charged round to a time of 100.32s to take nearly a second off his best and win by just 2/100ths of a second, a thrilling end to a successful competition.
1. Iain Houston Van Diemen RF89 100.32s
2. Geoff Ward Swift SC93F 100.34s
3. Charlie Reilly Van Diemen RF92 101.61s
4. Nev Rollason Jamun M90 103.08s
5. Paul Morcom Swift SC93F 103.63s
6. Gerry Fincham Van Diemen RF84 104.93s
7. Chris Bennett Van Diemen RF89 106.50s
8. Les Buck Pringett Mistrale 108.56s
9. Geoff Lancaster Swift SC92F 128.45s
On Sunday, Iain Houston broke the 100 second barrier with a 99.42s while on the last run, featuring the top 5, Geoff Ward was quickest with 100.67.
The top 5 finished in the same order while Chris Bennett moved up to 6th with Gerry Fincham’s absence, Julian Glass in the family Merlyn was 7th, Les Buck stayed in 8th and Colin Glass rounded off the runners in the Merlyn as Geoff Lancaster did not run.
1. Iain HoustonVan Diemen RF89 99.42s
2. Geoff WardSwift SC93F 100.44s
3. Charlie ReillyVan Diemen RF92 101.57s
4. Nev RollasonJamun M90 102.42s
5. Paul MorcomSwift SC93F 104.47s
6. Chris Bennett Van Diemen RF89 105.14s
7. Julian Glass Merlyn 107.42s
8. Les Buck Pringett Mistrale 107.85s
9. Colin Glass Merlyn 116.14s
Iain Houston was the only FF driver to get under 100s (Andy Leivers)
Nev Rollason saved his best to last on Sunday (Andy Leivers)
Formula Fords galore (Christine Bennett)
Geoff Ward's Swift wasn't far behind Houston (Andy Leivers)
SHELSLEY WALSH TO HOST RAC RALLY STAGES
In a first for the 112-year-old venue, the opening stages of a major rally will be held at Shelsley Walsh when the Roger Albert Clark Historic rally visits the Teme Valley on Friday 10 November. Starting at 9.00am, and running at 30sec intervals in batches of 30 cars, competitors will tackle the opening stage which runs from the start to the finish of the hillclimb. Stage 2 will run down the hill (another competition first for Shelsley, although several chicanes will be added) before turning left at Kennel and finishing on the gravel road in the main car park. After a short service halt in the paddock, the rally will continue into the Welsh forests. Documentation will take place before the event at Brightwells in Leominster, who will sponsor the Shelsley stages.
Historic cars will tackle Shelsley for the first time in November as part of a major rally (Geoff Robinson)
FORCING THE PACE AT GURSTON
The supercharged Force-Suzuki LM of Jonathan Gates and Peter Sexton showed the way throughout at Gurston Down's traditional season opening double-header. Sexton scored his first ever Gurston FTD at the Saturday event with the day's sole sub-30sec run as his co-driver fumbled a gearchange entering the Ashes left-hander leading into the steep finish straight. But it was Gates' turn for the win at Sunday's Gurston Championship event, setting the best time of the weekend with a decisive 29.45 to head the venue's Top Ten Challenge table after round one.
The expected challenge from Peter D Smith failed to materialise on Saturday, the Force single-seater driver also struggling with gears before getting two wheels on the grass at Karousel on a frantic second run chase. It was left to Chris Cannell in his twin engined Force sports libre to chase the two leaders home, just three hundredths clear of Smith's co-driver Richard Gaylard. But Smith came good the following day to split the duelling Force LM pair for second overall in the Challenge, with all three drivers running sub-30.
Three-times Gurston champion Steve Butts, returning in his turbocharged Elise after a 3-year layoff, got the better of another former champion, Simon Purcell in his supercharged Elise, in a combined Marque class. But leading the series after the opening round was MX5 driver Steve Crookall, out on his own by virtue of a new record in the Mazda class. Defending champ Stephen Moore, in his Evo 8, ended the day joint second overall with Cannell and Mini ace Neil Turner.
A big turnout of Classic Marques Speed Challenge contenders were on hand each day. Steve Cox led the class after Saturday's first runs, but the TVR V8S driver was elbowed out of top spot by Matthew Eady's nimble Ginetta G4 by close of play. Cox got his own back the following day, pegging Eady back to second place on each run. The diminutive ex.Toet/Marshall Peugeot 205 of Darren Balster was up against the Aston Martin Vantage of Tim Painter and Andy Fraser in a combined class each day. An early lead on Saturday was swallowed up by Painter in the big Aston, but Balster turned the tables on Sunday to exact defeat by half a second.
A delighted Mike Broome scored his first ever win in Sunday's Historically Interesting class aboard the immaculate Alexis Twincam, reversing his defeat by Gurston veteran Geoff Hunt's Lotus 22 the previous day. A close-fought Formula Ford class saw Mark Alley take the win each day, his Swift shared by wife Lynsey on her competition debut. Circuit racer George Haynes (see separate HSA report), at Gurston for the first time, scored a fine second place in the new Zeus, just seven hundredths behind the class winner.
Hotfoot from Prescott where he had set the outright pace on two wheels the previous day, Steve Mills was again on top form on his 1-litre Aprilia Tuono. Not only did he snatch the 1300cc class from Paul Jeffery's 1200cc KTM but he won the motorcycle run-off with a day's best 34.05.
jonathan Gates attacks Ashes on his way to Sunday's outright win (Steve Lister)
Mark Crookall leads the Gurston Championship after a record run (Steve Lister)
Despite running solo, Richard Conway broke the Volvo OC record twice in his historic PV544 (Steve Lister)
SCOTTISH HILLCLIMB OPENER
The Scottish hillclimb season opened with the traditional mid-April meeting at Doune, where 96 drivers lined up for what was a rather frustrating start to the Guyson Scottish Hill Climb Championship. The main culprit was the weather which was dry but very cold for Saturday's event and then wet for most of Sunday's, leading to less than favourable track conditions. This meant plenty of delays due to off-track excursions – the most notable being that of recent Harewood winner Wallace Menzies, who knocked a front corner off his new Gould GR59 on Sunday afternoon. Prescott's opening BHC rounds come just a week later, but the damage should be repairable.
Notable Saturday performances came from David Adam, his Peugeot 205 just 0.31 seconds outside the class record, while Neil Hopkinson's Austin Mini who was only nine hundredths off record pace. There was a healthy battle for FTD between Menzies, Stewart Robb and Les Mutch with the ever smiling Les snatching the win in his Raptor from Wallace by a scant five hundredths of a second.
On Sunday, patchy light rain made the surface very unpredictable and no-one came close to record pace. However, Keith Weeks in his 1-litre Image revelled in the conditions, taking a comfortable class win and third FTD from Mutch and eventual winner Ross Napier's Force PC.
Wallace Menzies threads his new Gould GR59 through the Tunnel (John Crae)
Ross Napier and the Force set the outright pace on Sunday (John Crae)
GATES SETS GURSTON TEST PACE
With an extra 100bhp now available from his supercharged, Daytuner-built Suzuki motorcycle engine, Jonathan Gates set the outright pace at Sunday's Gurston Down test day in his Force LM sports libre car. Despite confining themselves to morning running on a dusty track Gates and co-driver Peter Sexton, who ran third fastest on the day, were satisfied that the car was more than ready for the Gurston competition season, which starts with back-to back events on April 22/23. The pair were split by another Gurston regular, Neal Coles, in his 1.6 OMS-Suzuki CF04. Having taken delivery of his 1.4-litre CF04 only the previous day, Andrew Forsyth was fourth overall in the car that won last year's Millers Oils Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championship in the hands of previous owner Chris Houston.
Now with a massive horsepower increase, Sarah Fudge's Impreza, which she and husband Sean last campaigned in 2015, was the fastest roadgoing saloon. Neal Turner set the ModProd saloon pace in his Polestar 16v Mini, just a second outside his record set last September.
Best value for money was obtained by Steve Barnett, who managed no less than seventeen runs in his hard worked, supercharged Cooper S!
Jonathan Gates topped the Gurston test day timesheets (John Hayward)
Steve Barnett got value for money with seventeen runs up the Wiltshire hill (John Hayward)
100 Competitors registered for 2017 SBD HSA Championship
It may be April 1st but it's no April Fool. One hundred competitors have already registered for the 2017 SBD HSA Speed Championship and the season is only 2 rounds old so there is plenty of time to register for the rest of the season.
It is already shaping up to be an exciting season with three drivers (Terry Holmes, Philip Stader and Alan Mugglestone) all taking maximum points from the first two rounds in three quite different cars - A Lola F3000, an Alfa Berlina and a RAW Fulclum.
Terry Holmes, Lola F3000 (A Leivers)
Philip Stader, Alfa Berlina (C Bennett)
Alan Mugglestone, RAW Fulcrum (S Kilvington)
Ginetta Acquires Blyton Park Driving Centre
Yorkshire car manufacturer Ginetta, a subsidiary of the LNT Group, has today (Wednesday 22 March) announced that it has purchased Blyton Park Driving Centre, a test track in Gainsborough. Former owner Richard Usher is staying on board at the circuit and will continue to manage day to day operations for Ginetta.
As one of the UK’s busiest test facilities, Blyton’s strong business proposition fits well with Ginetta’s wider dedication to the sport making the Yorkshire business a logical buyer for the Circuit. Ginetta has long been a bastion of British Motorsport, with a well-established commitment to breeding the next generation of racing stars. As the new owner of Blyton, Ginetta’s priority will be to protect the flexibility it offers to drivers, manufacturers and motorsport fans alike across the sport.
Improvement plans are already in motion to enhance Blyton’s customer experience through progressive development of the circuit. Plans include additional circuit configurations within the existing complex, along with improved facilities for competitors. All development opportunities will take into consideration the requirements of the individuals, organisations and manufacturers who currently use the track.
Already one of Blyton Park’s biggest customers, Ginetta will continue to use the circuit for all car shakedowns, as well as a venue for customer and corporate track events with plans to make dedicated areas - such as a flat patch - available for customers to hire for set-up. By keeping cars available on site, Ginetta will also give Blyton’s drivers and motorsport fans the opportunity to hire vehicles, including their G40 Club Car.
Nick Portlock, Ginetta Commercial Director; “The purchase of Blyton Park made ideal business sense to Ginetta. It’s one of the UK’s biggest testing facilities and we are one of its biggest customers. We plan to invest in improving the customer offering and experience at the circuit, as it’s crucial for us to ensure it remains ‘business as usual’ with all manufacturers encouraged to continue to use the facility.”
Richard Usher, Blyton Park Managing Director; “Ginetta and I have a fantastic passion for motorsport and are keen to see racing talent flourish. Ginetta is heavily invested in their motorsport career ladder whilst Blyton Park is an ideal place to hone your race craft whether it be on two wheels or four. The circuit has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and the purchase by Ginetta is exactly what we need to continue the development. I am incredibly excited to begin the next chapter in Blyton Park’s history and I am sure our customers are too.”
DAVID RENDER ― 1924-2017
The sport lost one of its senior elder statesmen with the recent passing of David Render at the age of 92. His motorsport career started just after WW2, in which he had served with distinction as a tank commander in Northern France, being awarded the Legion d'honneur as recently as last year. David competed in all forms of motorsport, including racing his Morgan at the very first Goodwood meeting in 1948. He was a great Sporting Trials enthusiast and a leading light behind the TV Trophy Trials of the '50s as well as competing in the televised London MC Autopoint in the '60s. During a long career in hillclimbing and sprinting he drove a wide range of cars, from a Ford Twincam powered Fiat 600 to ex.F1 Lotuses on loan from his friend Colin Chapman. He won the British Sprint Championship in 1983 driving Lola-Hart and March-DFV and sponsored the series for many years through his concrete company Warecrete. He remains the top points scorer in the 46-year history of the series. Having competed in the Brighton Speed Trials since its early post-war days, he delighted to win the event outright in his Pilbeam-Hart sportscar in 1996. Ill-health forced his retirement from active competition in the late 1990s, but he continued to do classic touring events in his Jaguar E-Type and give individual charity talks around the country about his activities in tanks, in motorsport and in business.
David's funeral will take place at St Andrews Church, Totteridge Village, London N20 8PR, on Tuesday March 21st at 1.30.
David's Toleman-Hart at the Knockhill British Sprint round in 1990
We regret to report the recent passing of Terry Smith, in his early 80s. A stalwart of the Bristol motorsport scene, Terry had a long career in sprinting and hillclimbing first in a Cooper-JAP Mk10, then in the 1100cc class in the ex.David Franklin Vixen-Imp VB5. Moving on to bigger machinery, in 1978 he set, jointly with fellow Bristolian Dave Harris's McRae GM1, the fastest time that would ever be recorded over the Brighton Speed Trials' half-kilometre course in his Brabham-Repco. The following year he won the event again in his March-Repco (and again in 1981), and also set the outright Ramsey Road sprint record on the Isle of Man in the March, an achievement which led to his being featured on a special set of motorsport postage stamps issued by the GPO, together with Nigel Mansell and Ari Vatanen. Like several of his Bristol-based associates, Terry switched to a successful career in historic circuit racing, driving an MGB V8 and a Lola T70.
Terry's funeral will take place at South Bristol Crematorium, Bridgwater Road, Bristol, BS13 7AS, on Friday, March 24th at 2.15.
Terry's IOM record was featured on a GPO postage stamp
Roll over Protection Systems - Competitor Guidance
This MSA document sets out to clarify the ROPS requirements for Single-Seater Racing Cars competing in Circuit Racing and Speed Events (Sprints and Hill Climbs).
Formula Ford Celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2017 Speed Events
Borough 19 have now posted their Snetterton entry details for 13 and 14 May.
Online entry here.....http://www.borough19motorclub.org.uk/events-diary/
BARC have now posted the regulations and entry forms for their 22/23 July Formula Ford Fest. The good news is that, for the Pre 1994 class, either an A or a B grade licence can be used and they have waived the necessity to be a BARC member or Midland Hillclimb Championship contender.
Borough 19 Motor Club have not yet posted their regulations and entry form for the Snetterton meetings on13 and 14 May, but we understand that they are likely to do so around the end of March. Again, there are no special qualification requirements for Pre 1994 FF class drivers, beyond membership of an MSA recognised club.
2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of Formula Ford, perhaps the longest running and most successful single seater racing series ever devised. Literally thousands of cars have been built and fitted with the ubiquitous Ford Kent 1600cc engine, and tens of thousands of drivers around the World have competed in them since 1967, when the first race was held in July that year at Brands Hatch.
To mark this anniversary, and to recognise the resurgent interest in sprinting and hillclimbing Formula Fords, three special “”festival” events will be held this coming season. The first two will be held at Snetterton, with two sprint events taking place on 13th and 14th May, to be run by the Borough 19 Motor Club. The third event will be at the BARC’s Gurston Down hillclimb over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd of July. This latter event is a follow-up to “ The Hillclimb FF Fest” staged at Gurston in 2016, where 15 drivers competed in 10 cars.
The essence of Formula Ford is that, due to the tightly defined set of Ford UK regulations, it offers close competition in single seater racing cars of very similar performance levels, but with low purchase and running costs. The relatively modest levels of power and grip (compared to most “slicks and wings” cars) are in excellent balance so the driving experience can be very rewarding.FF therefore offers a welcome to newcomers to the sport as well as to experienced competitors looking for a slightly less frenetic approach to motor racing!
The prime movers behind last year’s Gurston event, Charlie Reilly and Simon McBeath have been joined this year by Paul Morcom and Les Buck to help generate interest in FF competition in general, and the 2017 “Mini–Series” in particular, for which it is intended to award prizes for the best overall performances at the three events. Charlie has begun a Register of FF owners who do compete or have competed recently in sprints and hillclimbs, including some circuit racers, and the list now has some 40 names. It is expected that at least half of them will be at the July Gurston event and at least one third will sign up for the two Snetterton meetings.
If you would like to learn more about the planned events, or wish to be added to the Register, please contact Charlie Reilly via charlie.reilly @sky.com
The 'Hillclimb FF Fest' at Gurston Down in 2016 (T Inglis-McBeath)
Charlie Reilly in action at Snetterton (A Leivers)
Richard Thorne at Loton Park (C Bennett)
Russell Haynes at Blyton Park (JCB Photography)
MICK HOWLETT ― 1956-2017
Hillclimb paddocks across the country will be the poorer for the loss of Mick Howlett, who sadly succumbed to cancer just days ago, shortly after it was diagnosed. 'Pilbeam Mick', as he was universally known, had been with Mike Pilbeam's company for 40 years, was responsible for much of the development and day-to day running of the company's competition vehicles and with his luxuriant beard, beanie hat and ever-present fag-end was a reassuring and familiar figure on the hillclimb scene. Not only Pilbeam customers and drivers, but other competitors with mechanical queries and problems have been grateful for Mick's cheerful and ever-helpful presence. He will be sorely missed by the entire hillclimb community and of course by his wife Sue, to whom we send our sincere condolences.
With the recent passing of David Good, British hillclimbing has lost one of its longest standing figures. Born without a right forearm, he was not allowed a race licence and began his successful hillclimb career in 1955 in ERA R1B. He took the British title in his Cooper-JAP V-twin and finished third overall in 1967 driving the ex.F1 BRM P67, before selling the 4WD car to 1968 champion Peter Lawson. Fourth in 1970 he drove a similar McLaren-Chevy M10 to that year's champion, his near neighbour Sir Nick Williamson, and later in the 1970s the pair were well-known as the 2-car Station Garage Taplow team, Good driving his Lyncar and Williamson his hybrid Marlyn, both with Cosworth DFV engines. David drove in demonstration runs at 'showcase' hillclimbs until comparatively recently driving his championship-winning Cooper-JAP, with which he also set the first hill record at Hagley & DLCC's Chateau Impney meeting. He was also a leading light in the formation of today's successful revival event at the Worcestershire venue.
David Good, with son James, in his Championship-winning Cooper-JAP at the 60th Cooper Anniversary meeting at Prescott in 2006
New HSA web site launched
Welcome to the 'new' HSA web site.
The main reasons for the change are to make it work just as well on a smartphone as it does on a PC and to make it easier to find your way around. Everything that was on the previous version is still here but may have moved. If you get stuck trying to find something then we suggest you use the Site Map link at the bottom of each page to find what you are looking for.
Because some of the menus and page names have changed then it is possible that some bookmarks will no longer take you to the desired page.
If you spot an error or believe something is missing please contact web site admin.
NEW: Abingdon Long Course Sprint
The Sutton & Cheam Motor Club have announced that they will be running an event on the NEW Abingdon Long Course Sprint at Abingdon, Oxfordshire on Sunday 9th April 2017.
This completely new event will feature a sprint course of up to 2 miles, presenting a mixture of fast twists and turns as well as a couple of challenging chicanes to test the skill and ability of all classes of cars and drivers.
Based on the popular ‘Abingdon’ and ‘Bentley’ Courses featured at the Abingdon Motorsport CAR-nival every June, it is planned to run 2 practice and a minimum of 2 timed runs (plus a 3rd for fun if time permits).
Further information will be available shortly on www.scmc.co.uk .
BLYTON TEST & TUITION DAY
Two time HSA Champion and highly respected race engineer, Alan Mugglestone, and his team are holding a test and tuition day aimed at Sprinters and Hillclimbers at Blyton Park on March 11th.
Places are limited and full details can be found in this document.
Alan explores the RAW Fulcrum's handling at Anglesey (N Lambert)
Entries open for St Goueno Masters
The St Goueno Masters event, to be held over 26 to 28 May 2017 on the Cotes d'Armor, Brittany, is a popular event for competitors based in the British Isles and entries are now being taken for the 2017 event.
Matt Carter recieves the 2016 SBD HSA Speed Championship trophy
At the HSA awards lunch held in the Prescott club house on November 27th, Matt Carter received the HSA Trophy for winning the 2016 SBD HSA Speed Championship.
Along with the usual Class awards there were plenty of special awards presented including the Swansea Motor Club for organising the 'best' round of the HSA Championship, Simon Fidoe for the most meritorious performance by an 1100cc competitor nationally and Dave Mockford as the HSA 'Competitor of the Year'.
Photos from the event can be found on the gallery page.
Kim Broughton presents Matt Carter with the HSA trophy
Neil Samuel of the Swansea MC receives the Russ Ward trophy
Simon Fidoe receives the Paul Squires trophy
Dave Mockford, HSA Competitor of the Year
2017 draft SBD HSA Speed Championship calendar announced
The draft calendar for the 2017 SBD HSA Speed Championship has been announced. Please note that these dates remain subject to change until all event and championship permits have been issued.
Also note that, since the first draft was published, the Snetterton dates have changed and the June Anglesey meeting will no longer take place.
2017 British Sprint Championship Draft Calendar announced
The draft calendar for the 2017 SBD Motorsport British Sprint Championship has been announced:
Note: From the original draft calendar the Snetterton dates have changed, the June Anglesey & September Cadwell events have been removed and the Blyton Park July dates have been added.
SKETCHLEY LIGHTS UP GOODWOOD
As the 2016 speed event season drew to a close on at Goodwood on November 5, Glyn Sketchley provided the fireworks at the AC Owners Club's annual sprint by taking FTD on his first run with an 81.99s in his now Garrett turbocharged Force PT.
Bright sunshine welcomed competitors to the West Sussex venue, providing a pleasant rise in a temperature which had dropped close to zero overnight, but a blustery wind still ensured that most people wrapped up warm.
The ACOC’s end-of-term meeting is one of sprinting’s best kept secrets. It may not attract anything like a capacity entry, but the small and enthusiastic organising team ensure that those who do attend thoroughly enjoy themselves and invariably return year after year. What helps to make it fascinating is not only the class structure, with ACOC members in a wide variety of cars (not just ACs) being joined by a number of invited clubs which have their own classes, but also the club’s willingness to keep things moving.
Daylight is at a premium at this time of year so if you're ready to line up, then you do. No running in number order or waiting to hope conditions improve, just get on with it and take your chance. Proceedings were completed shortly after 3 o’clock which speaks volumes for everyone concerned, be they competitors or officials.
While it was Sketchley’s fourth FTD here in the last five years (he was absent in 2015), even that record was beaten by David Goose who this year made it four consecutive class wins in his rare Brooklands Ace.
Other multiple winners included Mark Aldridge in his Jaguar D Type Recreation; Steve Atkinson, whose roadgoing Aston Martin V8 Vantage set a quite staggering second fastest overall; Alistair Pugh's Frazer Nash BMW 328 and the Mille Miglia version of Philip Champion, each of whom topped their respective classes for a third consecutive year.
There were, of course, other class winners I’ve not mentioned. But when you’re making your way home in daylight at this time of year having enjoyed a full day's sport – everyone’s a winner!
We are sorry to report that Mike Hall passed away on October 29 after a protracted illness. He was 69. Mike's name was synonymous with the Morgan marque, and for decades he was its top hillclimber aboard his well-known Plus 8, setting records that stand to this day. He was very proud of the exploits of his son Will, who carries on the family tradition not only in the sport at British Championship level, but in business. Our condolences to Will and to all Mike's family and many friends in hillclimbing.
Mike's Committal will take place at Rowley Regis Crematorium on Friday 11th November at 10.30am. Everyone is then welcome to the family home in Romsley for refreshments and to share fond memories.To assist with arrangements, could you please contact Louise on 07914 854 709 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to advise of your attendance.
Mike in the Plus 8 at Shelsley Walsh
Gone But Certainly Not Forgotten
A large and emotional gathering of probably more than 150 people, including family, friends and former colleagues gathered today at Prescott Hillclimb to witness the dedication of a tree planted in memory of Allan Cameron, who sadly passed away aged 63 earlier this year. Allan had been the Competition Manager at Prescott for many years until the beginning of 2016.
Earlier this month, at the Castle Combe historic meeting, two Austin Healey races were held in Allan’s name, and both his sons Drew and Neil took part. The following day, on October 2nd, a round of the Healeysport Speed Championship was held at Prescott which was also held in memory of Allan, and again both Drew and Neil competed in an Austin Healey 100S and Sprite respectively
Part of the Prescott gathering in memory of Allan Cameron
FTD and record to Buckley at final Combe Sprint
Chris Buckley took his V8 propelled Radical SR8 to FTD and a new course record (70.58s) at the MANBAT Pegasus Sprint at Castle Combe on Saturday Oct 22. After a brief delay due to thick fog the weather cleared and, despite remaining largely overcast with the occasional sunny spell, conditions were good for the time of year and the meeting ran smoothly, finishing on schedule.
All three Sprints that run at Combe each year use a different track format. The Bristol Pegasus MC's approach may only be a single lap but by using the pit exit for both start and return means that competitors get to drive every corner including the very fast and final bend, Camp. Running three or four cars on track at a time requires careful course control bu a good job was done.
Being a 'no single seater' event meant that the roadgoing classes were well supported with Peter Stiles' rapid Suzuki Swift (a good choice for next year's standard classes?) won the up to 1400cc class with a 92.38s while Peter Edwards' ELise took the huge 1.8 litre class with a 87.11s run. Peter Goodman's Fiesta (86.51s) took the up to 2600cc class which left Trevor Hartland (EVO) to battle with Matthew Bennett's 911 Turbo for the large class but coming up 0.19s short of Bennett's 80.15s.
Elsewhere, notable performances included an impressive 76.39s from Jeff Wiltshire in his Phoenix and a 72.61s from Ian Hall's rumbling Darrian Wildcat which pushed Buckley hard for FTD having been ahead in practice and close on T1.
Combe FTD went to Chris Buckley's SR8 (Bob Ridge-Stearn)
Jeff Wiltshire was quick in the Phoenix (Bob Ridge-Stearn)
Matthew Bennett's 911 Turbo took a close class win (Mica Bohannon)
FIDLER PLAYS THE FIELD
Ben Fidler and ERA R4A bagged FTD when the Vintage Sports Car hosted its annual Goodwood sprint on Oct 22. One second bracketed the top three with Fidler’s winning time of 98.65s being half a second quicker than the Alta 61 IS of Ian Baxter, while Nicholas Topliss completed the trio in ERA R4D.
Unfortunately the day’s proceedings had to be decided on the first runs only – a major oil spillage in practice being just one of many time-consuming stoppages resulting in the circuit curfew hour being reached before second runs ended. It was a somewhat anti-climactic way to conclude the club’s inaugural Speed Championship year; emphasised even more so by the fact that not only did the event draw a capacity entry but also a sizeable crowd, which necessitated an overflow car park outside the circuit’s main gates.
Among the well supported Standard and Modified Sports/Saloon category, the Class 3 winning performance by Frazer Nash Super Sports driver Patrick Blakeney-Edwards was a joy to watch. His speed into and through the double apex Woodcote, where he balanced the car quite beautifully on the throttle, was eye-opening. Such was his pace that he wouldn’t have been out of place in the racing car classes!
David Pryke in a Riley engined Morgan 4/4 was quickest of a well-supported Special Sports/Saloon entry; while James Collins was a delighted winner in the combined classes Edwardian Car entry. The Hudson Super Six driver had made his Goodwood debut at the Members race meeting in March and used his circuit experience to good effect to oust practice pace setter Peter Wilson.
Among the Racing Cars, there was a lot of paddock interest in Matt Johnston’s freshly acquired Darmon De Course. Not seen since racing at Montlhery in 2001, the French built machine (in patriotic red, white and blue livery) is actually a 3-wheel Morgan built under licence. Johnston had driven the car for the first time on an airfield just one day earlier but problems prevented a timed run when it mattered.
Ben Fidler set the outright Goodwood pace in ERA R4A (Chris Willows)
Patrick Blakeney-Edwards was spectacular in the Frazer Nash Super Sports (Chris Willows)
James Collins' Hudson Super Six topped the Edwardian entry (Chris Willows)
Sims and Glover share honours at 'new' Mamhead
Torbay Motor Club returned to the Mamhead Estate for their first hill climb there since 2012 with a weekend event on 15th and 16th October which were also rounds of the Torbay Motor Club Speed Championship. Supported by H R Owen Ecurie of Cheltenham, the two day event presented competitors with a new layout of the South Devon track, which had been extended by nearly 100m over the previous version used four years ago. FTD on Saturday went to Torbay Motor Club’s Martyn Glover, who used every ounce of grip from his Mitsubishi EVO4 RS’ 4-wheel drive to good advantage in on the slippery track. On Sunday Roy Sims restored the familiar single seater dominance by taking the top award and setting the new hill record in his Ralt RT33/34, although he was pressed hard by Glover and won by only the narrowest of margins.
Saturday’s early sunshine brought with it the chance to complete practice and the first two timed runs whilst the track remained merely damp, but steadily worsening rain and occasional heavy downpours over the lunch hour put paid to any improvements in times, restricting drivers to cautious runs as they struggled on the soaked surface. Predictably the early conditions saw all the class and overall awards decided in the morning with Stephen Moore (Mitsubishi Evo) being the only driver to set a faster personal time in the afternoon. At the sharp end of the field, Andy Stoddart surprised everyone with a sensational early pace in his Class C2 Vauxhall Nova, leaping ahead in the standings with a stunning 35.64 second run, bettered only by the eventual winner. Neither Dave Sims (Ralt RT33/34) or Kevin Frost (KDM004) were able to generate enough grip to give them the confidence to challenge Glover, whose first run was enough to secure FTD.
Sunday dawned fair, with long sunny spells and a fair wind combining to dry the track and bring the times tumbling from Saturday’s early benchmarks. Almost all of the cars entered on both days bettered their Saturday times immediately and the evidence of sub 2-second 64-foot split times (the equivalent of 1G acceleration!) set by the powerful Class A4 4-wheel drive cars bore testimony to the dramatically improved track conditions on the lower half of the course. Roy Sims took his turn in the Ralt shared with club chairman and son Dave, and immediately set sub-33 second times, while Kevin Frost could not find enough pace to challenge either his racing-car class rival or Martyn Glover’s sensational Mitsubishi.
The battle for FTD was settled in Sims’ favour on his fourth run with a new course record at 32.34 seconds, leaving Glover a mere 5 hundredths of a second adrift on 32.39s. Glover’s do-or-die final attempt to beat Sims’ mark all came to nothing on his last run, with his final attempt to take the FTD award on both days coming to grief when he collided heavily with the Castle bend barriers, stopping the event for a time whilst his battered car was retrieved safely to the paddock, the rueful driver commenting later “I just had to give it a try”!
Four drivers took their class awards on both days, with James Hudson (Golf GTi), Simon Neve (Mitsubishi Evo), Jan Yeo (Westfield SEi) and Kevin Frost (KDM 004) all completing the double.
Saturday: FTD – Martyn Glover (Torbay), Mitsubishi EVO 4 RS, 34.54 seconds.
Class Winners (Club):
A1 David Foster (Bristol Pegasus MC), Leyland Mini 1275GT, 36.42s; A2 James Hudson (Torbay MC), Golf GTi, 35.83s; A3 Simon Neve (Woolbridge MC), Mitsubishi Lancer GSR, 36.34s; A4 Richard Barnes (Taunton), BMW 135i, 42.63s; B2 Tony Wiltshire (Torbay), Caterham 7, 38.09s; B3 Ivan Mead (Plymouth), Raw Striker, 37.55s; C1 Steve Luscombe (MGCC), MG Midget, 42.11s; C2 Andy Stoddart (Torbay), Vauxhall Nova, 35.64s; C3 Stephen Moore (BARC), Mitsubishi Evo 6, 35.19s; C4 Jan Yeo (Torbay), Westfield SEi, 36.94s; Kevin Frost (Torbay), KDM 004, 35.75s
Sunday: FTD – Roy Sims (Torbay MC), Ralt RT33/34, 32.34 seconds.
Class Award Winners (Club):
A1 Steve Hill (Woolbridge), Austin A35, 36.43s; A2 James Hudson (Torbay MC), Golf GTi, 34.55s; A3 Simon Neve (Woolbridge MC), Mitsubishi Lancer GSR, 34.74s; A4 Martyn Glover (Torbay), Mitsubishi EVO 4 RS, 32.39s; B2 Roger Coote (Torbay), Ginetta G4, 35.53s; C2 Gordon Iles (Torbay), Vauxhall Tigra, 33.67s; C4 Jan Yeo (Torbay), Westfield SEi, 33.43s; D3 Harriet Parkin (South Hams MC), 39.83s; E3 Kevin Frost (Torbay), KDM 004, 33.11s
Roy Sims takes the RALT RT33/34 to Sunday FTD (Riches Digital Photography)
Roy Sims receives the FTD award (s?) from Paul Carvell (Riches Digital Photography)
BRITS CZECH OUT IN STYLE
The 50-strong British contingent that travelled to the Czech Republic for the second FIA Masters event at the fabulous Ecce Homo hillclimb, Sternberk, returned home jubilant after a terrific showing by the eight-strong driver line-up from Team UK. Against the strongest possible continental opposition, the Brits finished third, fourth and fifth overall behind the two leading hillclimbers on the European scene, Simone Faggioli (3.0 Norma-Zytec M20FC) and Christian Merli (2.9 Osella-Evo Fortec). Just over a second behind winner Faggioli after 1m18sec of ultra-high speed motoring, and in an exact replica of this year's BHC standings, Scott Moran headed Trevor Willis and Wallace Menzies as our own top three drivers, all covered by just threequarters of a second, collected gold, silver and bronze medals in category 3.
Class awards went to Dave Warburton and 2015/6 Leaders champion Colin Satchell in Caterham-Duratec and Peugeot 205 respectively, while Will Hall, Darren Warwick (after a suspension-bending nudge with a tyre barrier) and Dave Uren finished 8th, 14th and 18th overall in the 107-strong field
'We would like to thank everyone who made who made this trip possible,' said Team UK captain Tim Wilson. 'Including BARC for its backing, the MSA for its support and invaluable help in sorting the documentation needed for us to take part, David Grace for sorting the essential logistics to get the cars to Sternberk, and Wallace Menzies for arranging the team clothing. Thank you all for your support. We look forward to doing the same again at the 3rd edition of the FIA Hillclimb Masters in 2018!'
The victorious Team UK
Top European hillclimber Simone Faggioli set the outright pace
Scott Moran struck gold for Team UK
Willis, Moran and Menzies - a clean sweep in category 3
SBD HSA Speed Championship Awards Lunch open for Bookings
The 2016 SBD HSA Speed Championship Awards Lunch will take place on 27 November 2016 and is now open for bookings at http://www.hillclimbandsprint.co.uk/lunch16.asp . Once again we will be hosting the Awards Lunch at the Prescott Clubhouse, where Ciaran and his team will be laying on a superb 3 course meal, and this venue has proved very popular in recent years. Jerry Sturman will be our guest speaker and it promises to be another excellent day out to mark the end of the season. Do join us if you can, especially if you have won a trophy this year.
THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH
The final two rounds of the Harewood Hillclimb Championship were fought out in brilliant sunshine over September's weekend double-header. There were two distinct battles, one for the overall championship and one for third place. Three of the four protagonists involved were in 2-litre Roadgoing cars while the other, 2012 Harewood champion Sarah Bosworth in her ModProd Elise, came to the venue as series leader.
Despite Saturday's warm weather none of the contenders was on record pace, although Deryck Jones got his Peugeot 205 to within one hundredth of his own class standard, closing the gap to Bosworth to just 0.97 points. The Elise driver was struggling with a recalcitrant car after her first run spin, but her 2-litre Mod Prod opposition sprang into action and she was soon back on track with a new battery and leads. The battle for third was even closer with James Kerr's Peugeot just 0.11 adrift of Jack Pearson, having initially trailed the Integra driver.
On Sunday Kerr was in superb form, closing the gap to Pearson, while final runner Jones clipped 0.02s off his class record and assumed the lead in the championship. Bosworth now knew that she needed to break her own class record to regain the lead and in a super smooth attack on the hill, shaved the smallest amount possible off it to take the class and Championship win. So with none of the top contenders able to improve on their opening times, Bosworth took her second Harewood title, leading Jones by 0.57, while Pearson beat Kerr for third place by just 0.02.
In the Harewood FTD Championship, John Chacksfield’s victory on Saturday assured him of a fifth title with six maximum counting scores. Sunday's mission was a complete season maximum but the OMS 28 driver overstepped the mark under braking for Quarry, ran over the demarcation line on the exit and his time was disallowed. His second run was more cautious, giving him only second FTD behind Morgan Jenkins's Force-Suzuki. With the temperature dropping he was unable to mount a third run challenge and ended the season with 59 points - one shy of his targeted maximum. Despite a spin on Sunday, Ben Lovell had a great weekend in his carbon tubbed OMS sports libre car and held on to second place on the series table while Ed Carter, whose Jedi has suffered several driveshaft breakages this year, salvaged third. Harewood’s Over 65 Championship was taken by stalwart hill veteran Les Procter, despite the engine of his pretty Sebring Sprite suffering from compression loss.
Sarah Bosworth took her second Harewood title with a class record (Steve Wilkinson)
John Chacksfield won Harewood's FTD Championship on a maximum score (Steve Wilkinson)
MOORE RETAINS GURSTON TITLE
A nailbiting finale to the 2016 Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship was decided on a record-breaking tiebreak. With the two front runners unbeaten in their respective classes and on a string of maximum scores going into the final round, 2014 champion Simon Purcell led the series in his supercharged Lotus Exige from Stephen Moore in his Mitsubishi Evo, the only man who could deny him a second title.
With his single point advantage gained by his two class records to Moore's one, another record would clinch it for Purcell, but if he failed to do so and Moore broke his own record, their scores would be level and it would go to a tiebreak. On the first runs, Moore equalled his own record exactly. So when Purcell tried a shade too hard and spun the Exige out of Ashes, it would all be down to the second runs. In a storming second shot, Moore hurled up the Roadgoing Evo in a time that not only broke his own class record, but bettered Purcell's record by over half a second. Under the tiebreak rules, that was enough to decide the Championship outcome unless Purcell ran even faster. He failed to do so, and the title was Moore's for a second successive year.
Several drivers were in with a chance of taking third place overall, but in the end the placing fell to 1400cc ModProd ace Neil Turner, whose Polestar Mini, with 16v BMW headed Brett Sims A-Series unit lowered his similarly powered rival Jim White's 3-year-old class record to lead the former holder home by over a second. 1100cc racing class winner James Moore surged through the order to take fourth overall in his Empire-Suzuki.
Gurston's parallel championship, the Cavendish Ships Stores BARC(SW) Top Ten Challenge, was a straight fight between the Marsh brothers, Simon and Peter. After a bit of a fright in practice when their DJ Firehawk's throttle stuck open at Ashes while returning down the hill(!), Simon set a commanding 28.00s opener which would remain as FTD for the day. His brother couldn't match it on his own first run, and on his second spun the car harmlessly at Karousel after a 127mph approach. Subsequent data-logging suggested a problem with the rear brake balance, but Peter had to give best to Simon for overall Challenge honours. It was Simon's second Challenge title, having previously won the series in 2009 aboard their late father Tony's V6 Gould GR55. With third FTD and the only other sub-30sec run, Peter D Smith moved up into the final podium place on the Challenge table with his Force-Suzuki.
Full results here.
Stephen Moore took a second successive Gurston Championship title (John Hayward)
Simon Marsh repeated his 2009 Top Ten Challenge triumph (John Hayward)
TEAM UK LINEUP FOR 2016 FIA MASTERS
The UK's 8-driver lineup for this year's FIA Masters hillclimb has been announced. Making the trip to Sternberk's Ecce Homo hillclimb for the October 8/9th event in the Czech Republic will be: Scott Moran (this year's British champion, who finished second overall in the 2014 Masters at Eschdorf); Trevor Willis (2012 British champion and currently second on this year's BHC table); Wallace Menzies (top three BHC finisher in 2016); Will Hall (podium finisher in the 2014 Masters); Dave Uren (currently fifth in this year's BHC and round winner at Wiscombe Park) series; David Warburton (highest placed roadgoing competitor in this year's MSA Leaders Championship); Colin Satchell (2015 Leaders champion and currently second in this year's series) and wild card Darren Warwick (BHC round winner and three times runner-up on his home hill at Le Val des Terres in the last two years).
Click here for on-board footage of the full Ecce Homo course. The FIA Masters event will finish after approximately the first 1m 40s of the full course shown on the video.
Scott Moran will be hoping to improve on his Eschdorf result (Tom Maxwell - Raceline Photography)
Wallace Menzies will be making his first FIA Masters appearance (Derek Hibbert)
The ninth Bo'ness Revival week-end on September 3/4 was a huge success, attracting over 12,000 spectators over the two days. The weather just about behaved itself on Saturday, but on Sunday the sun shone over what was a different course this year, with an additional corner just after the Courtyard and the finish line now sited on the old driveway to Kinneil House.
On track, Andrew Patterson took the FTD trophy both days in his FF1600 Lotus 61, defeating the likes of Malcolm Wishart's Lotus 41C and Geoff Hunt's Lotus 22. Several competitors bagged two class wins over the weekend, including Branislav Sudjic in his Stutz Speedster, Adam Smith's Alvis Special and multiple British Sprint champion Stewart Robb, who was driving his MG Midget.
It was great to see two Bo'ness veterans back at the track; the Bantam, aka the Singer Spikins and driven by Neil Thorp, returning after a 70-year absence to take two class wins. Also returning to the hill was the ex.Hartley Whyte (of Whyte and Mackay whisky fame) Jaguar XK120 that was raced at the venue in 1950. Current custodian Kevin Wooding ran in the Jaguar Marque class and thoroughly enjoyed his first experience of hillclimbing.
The Bantam returned to Bo'ness after a 70-year absence (Steve Wilkinson)
Kevin Wooding drove the ex.Whyte XK120 on his first hillclimb (Steve Wilkinson)
Andrew Patterson set the outright pace in his Lotus 61 (Steve Wilkinson)
Sprinting ace Stewart Robb took a couple of class wins in his Midget (Steve Wilkinson)
2017 BRITISH HILLCLIMB DATES
The dates for the 2017 MSA British Hillclimb Championship and Leaders Hillclimb Championship have been announced. Both series will again be sponsored by Avon Tyres and TTC Group.
The format is broadly similar to previous years, except that the two Shelsley events will be back-to-back single day meetings in August as a special celebration event to mark the 70th anniversary of the British Hillclimb Championship. Also the Bouley Bay event has moved from the Thursday to the Wednesday before Le Val des Terres to give more time for the inter-Island crossing.
April 22/23 PRESCOTT Bugatti OC
April 29 CRAIGANTLET* Ulster AC
May 6/7 HAREWOOD BARC (Yorks)
May 27/28 GURSTON DOWN BARC (SW)
June 10/11 LOTON PARK Hagley & DLCC
June 17/18 DOUNE Lothian CC
July 1 BARBON MANOR Liverpool MC
July 2 HAREWOOD BARC (Yorks)
July 12 BOULEY BAY Jersey MC & LCC
July 15 LE VAL DES TERRES* Guernsey MC & CC
July 29/30 WISCOMBE PARK Woolbridge MC
Aug 12 SHELSLEY WALSH Midland AC
Aug 13 SHELSLEY WALSH Midland AC
Aug 26/27 GURSTON DOWN BARC (SW)
Sept 2/3 PRESCOTT Bugatti OC
Sept 16/17 DOUNE Lothian CC
Sept 23/24 LOTON PARK Hagley & DLCC
All are rounds of the MSA Hillclimb Leaders Championship except where marked*
Ben Butterfield, who lost his battle with cancer last week, had been away from the hillclimb scene for several years but his performances are still remembered. He started by driving what appeared to be an indecently quick Mini, but it was only later that the realisation dawned that it was Ben who was quick! He progressed into single seaters with a Formula Forward Van Diemen but was soon offered a shared drive in Leon Bachelier's Dallara. Ben and the Dallara were unbeatable at Doune taking double victories and a promising hillclimb career looked in prospect. However when Ben married he stepped back to raise a family. Recently, after he was diagnosed with cancer, he started a project alongside Ian Tyson to restore the Royale the Tysons used so effectively. However, it was not to be. Our thoughts and condolences are with Ben's wife and his four daughters.
Ben's funeral will be held at Thorncliffe Crematorium, Devonshire Road, Barrow-In-Furness, LA14 5PD on Wednesday 24th August at 11:30.
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