Bank Holiday bonanza as bumper batch of Britain’s best bowls into Burston/Gurston!

…And we thought that we were getting good at the alliterative headlines!

This weekend the Wiltshire plains will be echoing to the sound of racing engines as a full entry of hillclimb cars attack the challenging & high-speed Gurston Down, near Salisbury.

Karl Chard Mazda MX5

Karl Chard mowing the Ashes infield (thanks to everleyphotgraphy.co.uk)

 

The BARC South West Centre’s Press Officer Simon McBeath has kindly sent us his usual preview for what is sure to be one of the best BHC events of the year.

With a capacity entry of the very best Speed Hillclimbers in the land gathering at Gurston Down on the August Bank Holiday weekend, not only will there be some cracking 150mph plus action against the clock, but the paddock will literally be full to bursting with some fantastic competition machinery to examine at close quarters.

The entry comprises 18 different classes catering for production-based cars (road going and modified), sports racing cars and single-seater racing cars divided up according to engine capacity, so there’ll be some superb competitive action during Sunday’s competition to decide the class winners.

Then there are the climactic ‘Top 12 Run Offs’ when the fastest registered contenders from each set of class runs go for British Hillclimb Championship points in two special ‘shoot outs’. This really is when you see Speed Hillclimbing at its best as the drivers thread their 600+ horsepower racing cars up Gurston’s narrow and alternately fast and twisty course in the shortest time possible…

With one BHC event to go before Gurston our preview is necessarily a little previous! But as things stand 2012 champion Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS 28) heads this year’s series by just two points from former triple champ Scott Moran (3.5 Gould GR61X). Wallace Menzies is a slightly distant third in the high revving 3.2 DJ Firestorm ahead of 1997 champion Roger Moran in the family Gould. Having won both Run Offs at Gurston in May, Scott Moran probably starts as most peoples’ favourite to win again, but Wallace Menzies picked up a pair of second places in that event and the Firestorm may now suit Gurston slightly better than the Gould…

Wallace Menzies DJ Firestorm

Wallace Menzies will be looking for another Run Off win (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)

 

The meeting promises some truly spectacular action. And with excellent food and drink outlets and a licensed bar (plus ice creams!) on site you’re sure to have a great day out at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb!

Practice is on Saturday August 24th and competition is on Sunday August 25th.

The meeting will start with a big class of Gurston Down members in a wide range of cars. Steve Holland looks a likely favourite for the win here in his 1.4 Caterham Hayabusa, and Graham Beale will also be quick in his 2.0 turbocharged Ginetta G33.

In the roadgoing series production class up to 2000cc new class record holder Karl Chard and his father Ian must start as favourites in their 1.8 Mazda MX5, and look out for some spectacular action from these two!

The over 2000cc roadgoing series production class could well see Shaun Fudge in among the medals in his 2.0t Subaru Impreza, this car also shared by wife Sarah who goes in the Gurston Members’ class. It’s good to see Tony Bunker entered in a 3.5 Nissan GT-R, And Neil Duncanson always goes well in his big Audi Quattro.

In the roadgoing specialist production class former record holders father and son Allan and David Warburton from Manchester look the likely favourites in their 2.4 Caterham. David won in July, less than two tenths from the class record…

Onto the ‘modified’ classes and in the up to 1400cc modified series production class the battle is entirely between locals. The man to beat this year has been Neil Turner in his rapid 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’. Andy Russell goes in his fleet 1.1 Ginetta G15 and will be chasing hard, as will father and son Phil and Darren Eaton in their 1.4 Austin Mini. And should former class record holder Jim White appear with his highly developed 1.4 Austin Mini Clubman he will surely be a factor. Gremlins saw him take just one practice run in July’s event, but it was very fast…

There’ll be an entertaining scrap in the up to 2000cc modified series production class too, with Karl Stevens going for gold again here in his rapid 2.0 Ford Escort Mk 2. Doing his best to beat Karl will be national contender Ralph Pinder in his potent Peugeot 205 GTi, who in turn only just pipped former Gurston Champion and current competition secretary Paul Webster (1.9 Mazda MX5) when this trio last met at Gurston in May.

In the modified series production saloons over 2000cc Richard Hillyar runs his 2.0 turbocharged Renault 21 but is up against the 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 of Peter Turnbull.

And the over 2000c modified series production sports car class will see car sharers David Eyre and Philip Page up against each other in their MGB GT V8.

The modified specialist production cars are amazingly fast, and in the up to 2000cc class father and son Graham and Neal Masters continue to get faster in their recently acquired 2.0 Westfield SEi. But they are up against seasoned Westfield campaigners Andy and Debbie Dunbar in their similar machine. And in the over 2000cc class former Gurston champion and 2013 contender Mike Rudge is up against Mike Hall in the rumbling 5.0 Morgan +8.

The hillclimb supersports class sees one car, a 1.7 Mallock Mk 17B, but two drivers, both locals, as the car’s owner Derek Harris shares once again with John Forsyth. John came out top last time…

The sports libre classes have once again brought out a veritable mix of machinery, and we can expect some rapid action too. In the up to 2000cc class battle is re-joined between the local protagonists, Gurston Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates and Peter Sexton in their shared 1.6 Force LM, Keith Diggle in his 2.0 WEV HCS and joint British Hillclimb Championship sponsor and national contender Graham Wynn in his 1.3 turbocharged Force LM.

And there looks like the makings of a good scrap in the over 2000cc sports libre class too, with Andy Fraser and Tim Painter in the growling 3.0 MG Metro 6R4 V6, Allan McDonald from distant Dalbeattie in his 2.4t Mini Evo, but possible favourite for the win is Sue Hayes in the twin-engine 2.6 Force SR8.

Sue Hayes Force SR8

Sue Hayes with the twin-engined Force SR8 (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)

 

Onto the well supported single-seater racing cars then, and in the up to 1100cc class the current Hillclimb Leaders Championship top man Ian Fidoe starts as favourite in his very quick 1.0 Empire. In May it was Simon Andrews next up in his 1.0 OMS 2000M from Darren Gumbley’s 1.0 Force PT. Among the regulars James Moore is perhaps the man most likely to challenge for a top placing in his 1.1 OMS 2000M.

Record holder Andrew Henson shares his Van Diemen RF91 with regular driving partner Nicola Dearden in the Formula Ford class, and these two are joined by Les Buck in his Lotus 61FF. On his second visit to Gurston in July Andrew lowered his own record, so can he shave some more off?

The up to 1600cc racing car class sees a very high quality entry with some fast visitors but some fast locals too! Ed Hollier tied up the Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge back in July in his 1.6 Pilbeam MP62, and Ed demonstrated in the British Championship event at Gurston in May that he is well able to take on the best in the country in this class. Two of those are entered for this meeting; Jos Goodyear, who wasn’t at Gurston in May, in the very quick 1.6 GWR Raptor, an amazing fourth overall in last year’s British Championship and current holder of the Gurston record in this class; and Richard Spedding in his 1.6 Force PC, 10th overall in the 2012 BHC. There are plenty of other very fast car and driver combos who could feature well in this class too.

In the up to 2000cc racing car class we again have the class record holder entered, Alex Summers in his 1.3 supercharged DJ Firehawk, and he looks like the favourite in this class. But former Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge winner Paul Haimes will run his increasingly rapid 1.3 turbocharged Gould GR59 and will pose a serious threat. Look out too for Tim Davies in the normally aspirated 2.0 Pilbeam MP88 and Simon Moyse in the supercharged Gould GR59.

In the over 2000cc racing car class attention will focus on the sheer pace of the top BHC contenders, most of whom come from this class. Reigning British Champion Trevor Willis goes in his 3.2 OMS 28 but is at a power deficit compared to the others, a telling factor at Gurston. Former triple champion Scott Moran won the class (and both Run Offs) in May in the 3.5 Gould GR61X he shares with his father Roger, also a former champion. But look out for Scotsman Wallace Menzies in the 3.2 DJ Firestorm; second in both run offs at Gurston in May, he has scored wins elsewhere this year and Gurston might just suit the Firestorm…

After the frantic action from the racing cars we’ll get a slight breather as the Historically Interesting class takes to the hill, with a big entry featuring some lovely cars from the past. But don’t think the drivers will be hanging about just because their cars are a few decades old! Fyrth Crosse will be a potential winner in his 1.6 Ensign LNf3, and Geoff Hunt will be a contender for a top position in his 1.6 Lotus 22. Chris Cannell will run his 1.7 St Bruno Roughcutter. And Gurston’s former competition secretary Jane Harratt will go in her 1.6 Brabham BT21B.

Jane Harratt Brabham BT21B

Jane Harratt returns to Gurston with the family Brabham (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)

 

The entry rounds off with a class for the SBD Hillclimb & Sprint Association’s Saloon and Sports Car class, and here the current championship leader Colin Satchell goes in his rapid 2.0 Peugeot 205 GTi.

With the Avon Tyres / TTC Group British Hillclimb Championship ‘Top 12 Run Offs’ bringing morning and afternoon sessions to nail-biting climaxes, you won’t want to miss a minute of this top event at Gurston Down!

Issued on behalf of the British Automobile Racing Club (South Western Centre) August 8th 2013.

Thanks as always Simon, we will be tweeting from the event all weekend (signal permitting) so don’t forget to check the Twitter Feed for updates and gossip!

Comments

  1. Jonathan Williamson says:

    Couldn’t manage to make the alliterative quote “…………bowls into Broadchalke?”

    JW ;-)

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