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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.
FORMULA FORD SUCCESS AT GURSTON
Sponsored by Veloce Publishing, the inaugural 'Formula Ford Fest', held at Gurston Down hillclimb during the Midland Championship meeting, was adjudged a great success by participants and spectators alike. The 15-car class, five of which were 'double driven', was won at record pace by Simon McBeath, who took his Swift SC92F to the top in 36.30s, nine hundredths inside Andrew Henson's Gurston Formula Ford record. Together with Van Diemen RF92 driver Charlie Reilly, McBeath was one of the men responsible for the formation of the event and, as a motorsport writer with work published by Veloce, it was somewhat ironic that the company had offered £100-worth of books to the winner!
Runner-up was Richard Summers in his comparatively elderly Van Diemen RF80, beating 2-times Gurston Top Ten Challenge winner Tony Wiltshire's Swift SC93 by just three hundredths of a second. Former BTCC driver-turned ITV4 commentator Paul O'Neill had his first hillclimb outing in Mark Alley's Swift FB91 and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, while 1997 British hillclimb champion Roger Moran had his second Formula Ford drive of the year in Samantha Lester's Swift FB91. In a 3-car tussle for fourth place covered by four hundredths, Russell Haynes got the nod in his rare Zeus ZR163, built as a Silverstone school car, from Nev Rollason's immaculate Jamun M90 and circuit racer Shaun Macklin in the Swift he last drove at Gurston a decade ago in the 1600cc racing class.
With Formula Fords, once a familiar sight on the hills but subsequently fading from the scene, now coming back into popularity, it's intended that the Gurston Formula Ford Fest will be an annual event. Meanwhile plans are afoot for a sprinting equivalent, starting with Borough 19's event at Cadwell Park in September 2017.
The full line-up of Formula Ford cars and drivers at Gurston (Tracey Inglis-McBeath)
Simon McBeath won the inaugural Festival with a new record (John Hayward)
CRAWFORD TAKES CHARGE
On a rare 2016 appearance, Alastair Crawford stormed one of his favourite hillclimbs to set FTD and win both TTC Group Top Ten Challenge run-offs at Gurston Down's Midland Championship meeting. Never more than two tenths of a second away from Crawford's Gould-NME, Jerseyman Jason Mourant challenged hard in the battle for Challenge points to finish second each time in his 4-litre Gould-Judd. Crawford's FTD was set in qualifying for the opening shoot-out but had Nic Mann been registered for the Midland Championship, and thus eligible for the TTC Group run-offs, the result might have been different. With a searing launch time of just over 1.7 seconds over the first 64 feet (he'd clocked 1.6 the week before en route to a new Shelsley Special record) Mann's second Gurston sports libre record of the day in his turbine-assisted, 4WD Mannic Beattie was threequarters of a second inside his original 2014 mark to secure second FTD.
In the run-offs, Peter and Simon Marsh's supercharged Firehawk provided the closest opposition to the V8s of Crawford and Mourant, although Prescott hero Ed Hollier managed to split the brothers for fourth place in the opening shoot-out in his normally aspirated Empire Evo before following them home in the second one. Nonetheless, he increased his lead on the Challenge table to 34 points ahead of Trevor Willis, well aware that Willis, Scott Moran and Wallace Menzies, absentees all at Gurston but trailing Hollier on the Challenge table, would be fighting back in the remaining six rounds at Shelsley, Prescott and Loton Park.
With the Marsh brothers' Firehawk benefiting from recent development at Harewood by Alex Summers, their pace in the class runs also ensured first and second places on the Gurston Top Ten Challenge table, the meeting also being a round of the Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Championship. In the class-based Championship itself, 2014 champion Simon Purcell and current title defender Stephen Moore were split by a single point in Purcell's favour at the start of the meeting and continued their battle at the top of the table at maximum pace. With an extra point on offer for a class record, Moore initially levelled on points by resetting his over 2-litre Roadgoing standard in his Mitsubishi Evo 6. But later, Purcell lowered his own Marque Sportscar record in his supercharged Exige to regain his single point advantage.
Full results here.
Alastair Crawford swept the board at Gurston (John Hayward)
Nic Mann twice broke his sports libre record to close in on Crawford's FTD (John Hayward)
Chateau Impney Hillclimb - A Resounding Success
Chateau Impney staged its second revival of the famous midlands 1960’s venue over the weekend of 9 and 10 July, and in doing so provided an object lesson in how to run an entertaining and fascinating event for both competitors and spectators alike. Well promoted, but not over-hyped, the meeting attracted a large crowd who came to see some 200 pre-1968 competition cars of all shapes and sizes compete on the 1000 yard course. And it was a proper event, - not an opportunity to mess about doing wheelspin and donuts!
Spectators were particularly well looked after, with aluminium tracking laid on the uphill route to the car park to aid traction in case of rain, and a footbridge near the finish to allow transfer from the paddock to the main viewing areas and their grandstands. There were several large video screens showing live pictures and timing of the entire course, accompanied by a lively and knowledgeable commentary.There was also an H&H auction to which there was open admission, air displays, a food court, a large display of new cars by Listers and a number of special demonstration runs on the hill.
One or two drivers felt that the course was a bit tight with its numerous twists and turns, but it did give most of them the opportunity to use all the performance of their cars. Not surprisingly, the quickest times were set by 1960’s single seaters, with Martin Jones setting FTD and a new course record at 40.50 seconds in his Brabham BT21-B, but all through the field there were strong and exuberant performances to entertain the crowd.
Minor niggles? Well the car park scrum at the end of the meeting could have been handled better, and some weeding out of the entries in future years might be in order, as one or two drivers seemed to be on an economy rather than a competition run. And maybe next time there could be a slightly higher proportion of cars manufactured in the 50s and 60s which would have been prevalent during the earlier heyday of this picturesque venue?
Martin Cowell's Lotus 18 F2 (Mike Stokes)
Bob Dyke's Whistling Billy 1905 steam racer (Mike Stokes)
PRESCOTT, May 25/26: 'The best day's hillclimbing I've ever had', said a delighted Ed Hollier after winning his class, both TTC Group Top Ten Challenge run-offs, setting the day's outright pace and deservedly collecting the Moran Motorhomes Midland Man of the Meeting award at Prescott's BMTR Tyres Midland Championship meeting.
Hollier's FTD was set in winning the morning shoot-out on a dry track.The top qualifier in his Empire Evo-Suzuki, he ran over a second clear of a V8 assault featuring Alastair Crawford, making a rare 2016 appearance in his Gould-NME GR55C, and Oliver Tomlin in his 4-litre Pilbeam-Judd MP97. Fourth, a tenth or so adrift of Tomlin, was Simon Marsh's supercharged DJ Firehawk-Suzuki. Unfortunately his brother Peter, after qualifying third fastest, parked the car against the Armco at the Esses, precipitating a race against time for DJ Racecars to repair it for next weekend's Harewood and British Championship rounds, where Alex Summers is scheduled to put in some development driving in the car.
The afternoon run-off was a different story as significantly mis-timed rain turned the track into an skating rink, with drizzle continuing throughout the final bout. First away, Simon Fidoe's time in the 1-litre Empire Wraith, despite being almost six seconds slower than his qualifier, was unbeaten right up until final runner Hollier crossed the line. Recent handling improvements, courtesy of Ed's father Bob and constructor Bill Chaplin, paid off and despite steadily deteriorating track conditions, Hollier took his second run-off win of the day by almost a second. Fifth in the first run-off, Lee Griffiths brought his turbocharged OMS-Suzuki home third, moving up the Top Ten Challenge table from seventh to fifth place. Hollier, who led the series by a single point coming to Prescott, stretched his advantage over absent six-times Challenge winner Trevor Willis to a useful 20 points.
In the BMTR Tyres Midland Championship, with current leader Ash Mason away on Bentley duties at the Goodwood FOS, another class win for Mike Turpin put the defending champion back on course for a fourth title in his VX220. Class winner Andrew Russell, having a particularly good year in his venerable Ginetta-Imp G15, broke clear of a tie for third place with Richard Brant and leapfrogged Mason into second place in the series.
It turned out to be a good day for Empire Evo constructor Bill Chaplin. Not only did one of his cars sweep the board overall, but another of his customers, Tom Poole, scored his first win in his own Evo in a typically frenetic 24-car 1100 racing class which saw the first ten finishers covered by just 0.66 seconds!
For a report on the HSA Championship section of the meeting, go to 'Championship reports - HSA Speed'
A clean sweep for Ed Hollier at Prescott (Derek Hibbert)
Tom Poole took his first class win in his 2016 Empire Evo (Derek Hibbert)
PURCELL AND MARSH TOP GURSTON TABLES
After two consecutive days of local championship hillclimbing at BARC Southwest Centre's popular Gurston Down venue, 2014 champ Simon Purcell took sole charge of this year's class-based Meadens Skoda Gurston Championship in his supercharged Lotus Exige. At Saturday's event, he broke clear of a three-way tie for the lead with defending champion Stephen Moore and Chris Cannell by a single point, awarded for knocking two tenths of a second off one of the oldest class records in the Gurston books, Pete Tyler's 19-years-old over 2-litre Marque Sportscar mark. Class wins for Moore and Cannell kept them in joint second place on the table, but after another class win for Moore the following day, the roadgoing Mitsubishi driver had the series runner-up spot to himself as Cannell's sonorous, twin-engined sports libre Force-Suzuki had to concede the class to Nic Mann's spectacular Mannic Beattie which had turned up for the Sunday event.
After a one/two for FTD on Saturday when they were split by a tenth in the mid 28s, Simon and Peter Marsh maintained their lead in the parallel Cavendish Ships Stores Top Ten Challenge competition for the outright fastest contenders. Regular Gurston ace Peter D Smith chased their supercharged DJ Firehawk home for third overall chased by Peter Sexton. Narrowly beaten by his fellow New Forest motor dealer and long-time driving partner in their supercharged Force-Suzuki sports libre car, Jonathan Gates readily conceded that: 'Pete's one-year layoff seems to have paid off as he's giving me a particularly hard time this year!'
But rain the following afternoon played into Gates' hands as his early, drier run proved to be the only sub-30sec shot of the competition. His 29.97 would stand as FTD as Sexton chased him home just two hundredths clear of Mann despite a rocket start in damp conditions by the unique 4WD turbocar. Leaving Simon Marsh four tenths adrift although still in charge of the Challenge series, Sexton took over second place on the table from the other Marsh brother, Peter, by a single point.
Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Championship positions after round 3: 1 Simon Purcell (1.8s Lotus Exige) 65.50pts; 2 Stephen Moore (2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6) 64.50; 3 Chris Cannell (2.4 Force-Suzuki SR8) 63.00s; 4 Peter D Smith (1.6 Force-Suzuki) 62.82; 5 Fyrth Crosse (1.6 Ensign-Ford TC LNF3) 62.32; 6 simon Marsh (1.3s DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 62.11; etc.
Cavendish Ships Stores BARC(SW) Top Ten Challenge positions after round 3: 1 Simon Marsh (1.3s DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 28pts; 2 Peter Sexton (1.3s Force-Suzuki LM) 24; 3 Peter Marsh (1.3s DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 23; 4= Jonathan Gates (1.3s Force-Suzuki LM) and Smith 22; 6 Cannell 11; etc.
Simon Purcell took sole charge of the Gurston Championship after round 3 (John Hayward)
Simon Marsh heads the Top Ten Challenge contenders (John Hayward)
TOP AWARD FOR BO'NESS
The Association of Scottish Motoring Writers has awarded this year’s Ford-sponsored Jim Clark Memorial Award to the Bo’ness Hill Climb Revival.
Bill Drysdale and Kenny Baird, who collected the trophy, represent the committee that helped to re-establish the original track for competition use for the Bo’ness Hill Climb Revival, which is now in its ninth year.
Bo’ness Hill Climb opened in 1932 for use by the West Lothian Motorcycle Club and the first combined car and motorcycle meeting, run by the Scottish Sporting Car Club, was held in June 1934. The RAC granted Bo'ness an International Licence in 1947, when the venue hosted the first ever round of the British Hill Climb Championship. In 1959, Lothian Car Club took over the running of the venue and rising star Jim Clark competed there before Bo’ness Town Council sold the land in 1966.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the first British Hill Climb Championship in 2007, a group of enthusiasts organised a gathering of historic racing cars which were driven on what was left of the track. This was the birth of Bo’ness Hill Climb Revival Ltd., now with over 200 members and a restored track.
'Bill and Kenny are two of the leading lights that have helped bring the historic Bo’ness Hill Climb back to life. We're delighted to recognise the tireless work of the committee by presenting them with this year’s Jim Clark Memorial Award,' said Stephen Park, president of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers.
'Bo’ness is the oldest permanent motorsport venue in Scotland and the committee has ensured that classic car and motorsport enthusiasts can continue to enjoy this special track for years to come.' 'On behalf of the Bo’ness Hill Climb Revival committee, we're honoured to receive the prestigious Jim Clark Award,' said committee chairman Kenny Baird. 'We're extremely proud of Scotland’s contribution to motor racing and it's very satisfying to see our hard work recognised in this way and we hope to build on this success in future years.'
Previous recipients of the joint Ford and Scottish Motoring Writers’ Jim Clark Award for their contribution to transport and motorsport include Jackie Stewart, David Coulthard, Louise Aitken-Walker, rally medic Doctor John Harrington, Graham Brunton and Andrew Fraser, who led the design and development team responsible for Ford’s multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.
The next Bo'ness Revival meeting, featuring over 200 classic cars, will take place on 3/4 September.
Thomas shatters Palace record
Gary Thomas, driving his Force PC set a new course record at Crystal Palace on Sunday May 29th taking 0.99s off the previous record he set in 2014. Acknowledging that his was the car to beat and the likely winner of the FTD award, Gary had set himself the target of breaking the old record. With the old record standing at 32.58s it was looking in jeopardy in morning practice when Gary set a 32.86s despite a dusty and green track. But then his first two timed runs in the afternoon were a little slower and a new record was looking far from certain. On almost the last run of the day Gary tried a couple of different things, summoned up full commitment and stormed to a 31.59s.
The Motorsport at the Palace event is run by the 7OAKS Motor Club on a short but tricky course that uses some of the old motor racing circuit. It is unusual for a Sprint in that it attracts competitors from circuit racing, rallying, track day drivers having a one off competitive event as well as many speed event regulars including a good number of HSA members. With static displays, car clubs, a trade area and amusements it attracts large crowds which go towards making it a unique and very enjoyable event. It is a large undertaking for the organisers and given that it runs so smoothly in a very friendly and efficient way is an enormous credit to Chris Judge and the team of volunteers at 7OAKS Motor Club. Other unusual features include the exclusion of shared drives (little room for driver changes), a standalone event not part of any championship and classes split by year of manufacturer rather than capacity – an interesting approach which works surprisingly well. Two practice and three timed runs also met with approval from competitors.
HSA members were involved in some close fought classes including the pre ’99 Roadgoing Series Production where Chris Berrisford (Impreza) was up against plenty of other Imprezas and Evos. Half a second covered Chris, Justin Andrews (Impreza) and winner, Stephen Moore (Evo). A similar situation prevailed in the post ’99 Class where Adam Greenan’s powerful Civic Type R was half a second up on Adam Bettinson’s 911 GT3.
In the Pre ’70 Mod Prod class there was a close battle between Ivan Russell (Anglia) and Eric Morrey with his ‘new’ lightweight, turbocharged Hillman Imp having its first competitive outing albeit with the boost would down a little. Ivan took the honours by a couple of tenths with Paul Bernal-Ryan (Midget) third and Peter Joy in his familiar Elite fourth. Also in the Class, Andrew Cairney made a welcome appearance in Father, Stuart’s, Imp and came 6th.
In Post 90’d Mod Prod Chris Alston (Caterham) overcame Laurie Hatchard (DAX) with Jeff Wiltshire (Sylva Phoenix) a little further back having to contend with gearing that didn’t allow him to exploit his available power. In the Post ’77 Libre Class David Seaton, all the way down from Edinburgh, with his thundering 5 litre BMW V8 powered Pilbeam MP43 overcame Matt Carter’s Radical while in the Pre ’76 single seaters Fyrth Crosse took his customary class win with the Ensign LNF3.
Monday was fortunately dry although considerable colder and windier that the day before. Despite this times were pretty much on a par with the Sunday. Despite posting a 31.60s on T1 and all three timed runs in the 31s Gary Thomas was unable to improve on the new record.
Other performance were similar to the day before but Chris Berrisford improved to take a 2nd in Class, Andy Greenan (Adam’s brother) fell behind the GT3 and Class winner Clive Stangle (Audi TT) and, in the same class Andrew Till appeared in his MG (encouraged by his performances so far this year) to take 7th and Helen Currie a little further back in her Clio. Ivan Russell had to fight off a very rapid Mod Prod Sprite (Darren Tyre) but won by 0.13s. Jeff Wiltshire reversed the position in the newer Mod Prod class and saw off the DAX by 0.12s. In the large 70s and 80s Mod Prod Class (won by Philip West’s Sierra XR4X4) former British Sprint front runner, Mark Smith took third with his new MK2 Escort Rally Car, SBD powered of course!
Andrew Webber brought out his (work in progress- the paintwork was still in primer!) interesting Lotus 62R with a Rover V8 and won the early Libre Class. Finally Andy Laurence (a Palace regular) and Pete Goulding enjoyed a close battle with their Mygale M12s which Andy won by half a second although Pete was hampered by having to run wets on the front, one of his slick shod wheels having buckled on Sunday.
Gary Thomas (Force PC) at Crystal Palace
The Lotus 62R of Andrew Webber
Ulster's Motoring Gem Goes International
Northern Ireland’s Prestigious 111 year old Cultra Hillclimb will this year be celebrating Pre War MG’s with the theme of “Midget Gems” with organisers hoping to have an example of just about every road going M.G. ever made during that fabulous period, with up to six Pre-WW2 MG's competing in the Ards & North Down Council Supported speed hillclimb competition.
The Saturday June 11th event is based in the grounds of the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum Northern Ireland and will again be run in partnership with the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club NI, allowing Ireland’s piece of motoring heritage to be celebrated in the unique parkland setting that surrounds the Edwardian Cultra Manor.
This year’s hillclimb event is a truly international affair and will see the arrival of the Ulster Triple-M Tour, organised by the M.G. Car Club Triple M Register and will provide one of the largest gatherings of pre-war M.G.s seen in Ulster since the 1930s. The English marque won the Ards TT race three times and amongst the sixty confirmed entries will be 3 actual TT cars, Goldie Gardner's C Type (1931), Luis Fontes's J4 (1934) and Aubrey Ashton-Rigby's L2 (1934).
Chris Chadman's MG C Type at Cultra last year
ABBOTT GOES FROM BAC TO FRONT
Having fun were the key words when the Benjafields Racing Club visited Goodwood for its second annual sprint. Effectively a 21st century recreation of what the legendary Bentley Boys of the 1920s and 30s were all about, Benjafields may be the country’s smallest MSA recognised club, but its members own some fabulous cars. Much exotica featured in the track displays and the chance for the public to mingle with grid girls and stroll among many millions of pounds worth of vintage Bentleys in a lunchtime grid walkabout ensured that the day was not like any other Goodwood sprint.
When it came to the action, top of the tree was Tim Abbott who bagged FTD with a second run time of 89.99s in his futuristic looking BAC Mono. Getting a good time early became imperative as spots of rain made conditions tricky and persistent drizzle thwarted any further hopes.
Chris Lunn's Talbot 105 Sports won the opening Pre-War class where Robert Abrey’s rare American built Chalmers 10 caught the eye. Sitting on its 36-inch wooden wheels, the 7.5-litre, 6-cylinder machine is one of two such cars which Abrey owns, the other being a more humble 5-litre, 4-cylinder version. Just 130 Chalmers exist worldwide. The 4.5-litre class was entirely Bentley and drew the day’s biggest entry. Long time marque racer Ewan Getley was well clear of Richard Hudson. Next up, Martin Overington also featured in the demonstration runs aboard his ex.Bell/Takahashi/Okadi/Giacomelli Porsche 962 as well as an ex Eddie Cheever Arrows-BMW Megatron A10. Sadly the newly acquired F1 car cut out on its first run and was relegated to static display status.
The Pre-1960 Classic Car class looked like being a one-car division following the late withdrawal of Michael Kershaw, A couple of changes added variety with Dutch visitor Olaf Pothoven's Porsche 356B chasing home Paul Forty’s Bentley Mk 6 Special. William Medcalf’s immaculately presented Swiftune Mini may have been the smallest car in the post-1960 class, but it was also the quickest ahead of Robert Crofton's Datsun 240Z. The Supercar class, won by Abbott, could have seen a fascinating struggle for FTD until Mark Andrews’ Prosport LM3000, loaned for test by a customer, proved recalcitrant.
The ‘new’ Bentley in which marque expert Stanley Mann, who died in a freak accident at his workshop in February, would have competed made its track debut handled by Mann’s mechanic Ashley Usher for a couple of demonstration laps. This was a recreation of the Marker Special, which started life as a 3-litre works machine when it was damaged in the infamous 1927 White House crash at Le Mans in 1927, was modified by Marker for Brooklands use. It was originally named 'Mother Gun', a referance to its fierce exhaust backfires.
With the on-track action complete, the show moved on to the Goodwood Hotel for the prizegiving and an evening of fine dining and the prize giving. The Bentley Boys of old would have heartily approved!
VELOCE PUBLISHING SUPPORT GURSTON'S 'FORMULA FORD FEST'
Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb has announced that Dorchester-based Veloce Publishing is to support the inaugural Formula Ford Fest at the award-winning Wiltshire venue. Catering for drivers entering 1600cc 'Kent' engined Formula Ford cars, the FF Fest will run within the Midland and Gurston Down Championship meeting over the weekend of July 23rd/24th.
Veloce Publishing already sponsor the Pre-1994 Kent engine Formula Ford class in the Gurston Championship, and fittingly the class championship was won in 2015 by Veloce author Simon McBeath in his 1.6 Swift SC92F. The idea behind the FF Fest is to gather together as many of these very closely matched, iconic single seater racing cars as possible for what is sure to be an incredibly tight competition on the fast and demanding 1057 yard course, where the current FF record of 36.39s is likely to come under attack!
As well as pre-1994 cars, the FF Fest will also cater for ‘classic’ Pre-1982 cars and cars built from 1994 onwards, so it is hoped to attract entries not only from current hillclimbers but also circuit racers from around the region. Note that numbers of entries may have to be limited and this will be at the sole discretion of the Competition Secretary.
Technical regulations for Gurston's FF class and the FF Fest can be found here. For more information contact: Simon McBeath at email@example.com or Mike Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Henson's Van Diemen RF91 currently holds the Gurston Formula Ford record (Simon McBeath)
WILLIS WINS THEN SPINS
A perfect day, weather-wise, for the Midland Hillclimb Championship's May Loton round saw conflicting fortunes and an incredible Top Ten Challenge run-off in terms of retirements. In the overall BMTR Midland Championship, Mike Turpin again won his class in the VX220. Even at this early stage, the already three-times champion looks set for a hat-trick of titles to go with his 2012 win. Only five-times winner Rob Stevens has taken the title more than three times.
Another class highlight came when Richard Jones finally broke Peter Voigt's 12-years-old pre-1972 racing car record by well over half a second. The Brabham-BDA driver now holds all five records for the class on the Midland Championship hills.
No less than five contenders in the opening run-off had problems. Kelvin Broad and Simon Marsh spun out, Felix Summers had gearbox issues and Graham Wynn, back in the Gould GR55 thanks to the loan of a gearbox from Tony Wiltshire’s ex-Marsh car, broke a front wishbone during pre-start tyre warming. The run-off victor was, as expected, Trevor Willis with an FTD run of 44.76 ahead of Ed Hollier, Oliver Tomlin and Jason Mourant. Nine cars reached the top in the closing run-off after Tom Poole spun and Morgan Jenkins suffered clutch failure. Last runner Willis headed for Wales up the Hall Bend slip road and a delighted Hollier registered his first ever Midland run-off win in the Empire-Evo-Suzuki.
Mike Turpin looks on course for a fourth Midland title (Steve Wilkinson)
LEE'S WISCOMBE HAT-TRICK
Saltash’s foremost hill climb specialist, Torbay Motor Club member Mike Lee, took Fastest Time of the Day for the third consecutive year at the Club’s Wiscombe Park Hill Climb on Saturday, eclipsing his 2015 winning time by a full second. His trophy was presented to him by Richard Miles from the Tipton Garage, whose engineering firm had helped Mike with his car preparation when he started in the sport over thirty years ago. Once again the Tipton Garage/Alansway Body Repairs sponsored event proved hugely popular with competitors, with a maximum entry of 130 cars and over 50 motorcycles contesting a total of ten national, regional, club, venue and marque championships.
Lee dominated the event in his OMS 2000M, starting with a first run of 37.21 seconds, a full one and half seconds clear of Neil Coles' OMS CF04. None of the other racing class contenders could stay with this leading pair, with Stuart Browne’s second run the only other time to dip below the 40 second barrier. To add the finishing touch to a perfect performance, Lee further increased his lead with a stunning 37.00 to complete his hat-trick of Torbay MC Wiscombe FTD awards.
Tipton Garage's Richard Miles presents Mike Lee with his award
MENZIES' HOME DOUBLE
Along with the cold, sleet and drizzle, there were high winds and high drama at the early season Doune double-header with several records and PBs. Driving the ex.Groves Gould-NME that he shared with Tom New last season to finish third overall in the British Championship, local man Wallace Menzies set FTD both days as he got in last-minute practice for the 2016 BHC season opener at Prescott this weekend. Les Mutch was the best of the rest each day in his GWR Raptor, while several new drivers and ‘new’ cars made their debuts.
Among those drivers at record pace, Steve Marr, also set to begin his BHC campaign at Prescott, ran inside Doune's Nat B record for his class in the 1100cc PCD Saxon-Suzuki although gearbox problems stemmed his progress the following day. Robert Bremner was in fine form in his AC Cobra, breaking the Classic Road Car record both days.
Wallace Menzies set the pace each day at Doune (Steve Wilkinson)
A MARSH ONE/TWO AT GURSTON
Their late father Tony would have been proud to see the Marsh brothers, Simon and Peter, battling hard for outright honours at Gurston Down hillclimb's opening home championship event of the year on April 17th. Peter led Simon by a hundredth of a second at the break in their supercharged DJ Firehawk-Suzuki, but it was Simon that got the edge by a tenth, with a 29.65sec shot on the last run of the day, to take FTD and lead the Cavendish Ships Stores BARC(SW) Top Ten Challenge after round one. In a weekend's sport notable for close competition, the winner of the previous day's event, Peter D Smith, chased hard in his Force-Suzuki to finish within two tenths of Sunday's FTD man and finish third in the Challenge lineup. But although not registered for Challenge points, Gurston sponsor Peter Sexton returned after a year's layoff, edging out Smith's single seater by two hundredths to take third fastest overall in his Force sports libre car.
The opening round of the class-based Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge ended with six class winners levelling for the lead placing with maximum scores. They included defending champion Stephen Moore, now in a roadgoing version of his Mitsubishi Evo 6, another former champ Simon Purcell, aboard his supercharged Lotus Exige, Graham Beale in his Ginetta G20, Ritchie Gatt's Westfield-Duratec, Chris Cannell in the twin engined sports libre Force SR8 and Derek Mullis aboard his evergreen Mini 'Brighteyes'.
Tense action among the NHCA contenders saw Paul Jeffery set the day's best time on two wheels with a 34.10 on his KTM during the motorcycle top ten run-off, just over two tenths clear of the previous day's winner at Loton Park, Tommy Hodges.
Times for both day's Gurston events are available here.
Simon Marsh set the outright pace at Gurston in a tense duel with his brother Peter (John Hayward)
Ritchie Gatt was among five drivers tied for the lead of the Gurston Championship after round one (John Hayward)
GURSTON FORMULA FORD FEST
Gurston Down is to host its inaugural ‘Hillclimb Formula Ford Fest’ at the July 23rd/24th Midland and Gurston Championship event. The Hillclimb FF Fest will be for 1600cc Kent-engined cars and subject to the requisite entry numbers will be run in three classes: pre-1982 ‘Classic’ FF; pre-’94 FF; and ’94 onwards FF. The first two classes fall within Gurston Down’s existing pre-‘94 FF class, supported by Veloce Publishing Ltd, so drivers in those classes will be eligible for Gurston Championship points as long as they register for the championship before the due date, May 15th.
The idea of a hillclimb ‘FF Fest’ came from Van Diemen RF91 driver Charlie Reilly in 2015 and with the cars being matched on power and weight the competition, already very close, is bound to be even more so ― indeed Andrew Henson’s three-years-old class record may also come under threat!
The technical regulations have been posted on the Drivers Information page of the Gurston Down Hillclimb web site which can be found by clicking here. In essence the regulations for Gurston’s FF classes are identical to circuit racing Kent FF 1600 regs with the sole addition of a timing strut to S.10.9.
Entries for the July 23/24 event are open now and close on June 24th. With the event also a round of the popular Midland Hillclimb Championship numbers may have to be limited, so get those entries in early! As always the acceptance of entries is entirely at the discretion of the competition secretary!
The idea for Gurston's Formula Ford Fest came from Van Diemen driver Charlie Reilly (Simon McBeath)
Tony Wiltshire is already knocking on the door of Andrew Henson's record (Akina Media)
Brad Hobday scores a race podium
Bradley Hobday, who went so well in 2015 in the HSA (4th overall) and British Sprint (6th overall) Championships in his Jedi MK4, has embarked on a new venture in 2016 - circuit racing in the BRSCC Formula Jedi Championship.
In the first race Brad, in the very smart Yuasa backed Jedi, managed to get up to 3rd before a drive shaft snapped! In race two he finished 3rd and achieved the podium in his first ever weekend of circuit racing. "We are absolutely over the moon, especially as it was rather unexpected!" said Brad afterwards.
Brad in the Yuasa backed Jedi
A podium in his second ever circuit race!
DREW MURRAY,1943 - 2016
Scottish motor sport lost a popular character on March 11th when Drew Murray passed away after a long fight with cancer. A motorcycle scrambler and road racer, rallycrosser, rally driver, sprinter and hillclimber and latterly race car constructor, the former haulier who later established his own truck repair, servicing and MOT station was an enormously enthusiastic and essentially practical man, not only constructing his own transporters and even motorhomes, but building a go-kart for his sons Iain and Gordon.
After a successful spell in rallying and rallycross, mainly with Escorts, he moved to sprinting and hillclimbing with a 1300cc Hayabusa engined Fisher Fury, at the same time building his own spaceframe sports libre car, also with Hayabusa power. This led to the culmination of his motorsport career when, in 2014, he won both the Scottish Hillclimb Sports Libre and Scottish Sprint Sports Libre Championships - not bad for a 70-year-old! Even while unwell he continued to work on fabricating his own covered car transporter for the DMS 1 – a project that will now remain unfinished.
Drew will be sorely missed by his wife Liz, his daughter Lynne, sons Iain and Gordon and all his family, not to mention his wider circle of friends and fellow members of Coltness and East Ayrshire Car Clubs.
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