Boggy Barbon!

The Barbon Manor Hillclimb venue is on a very exposed hillside on the edge of the Lake District in the North West of England. Unfortunately this means that often inclement weather can have a dramatic affect on events at the fast switch-back course.

Trevor Willis OMS 28

Reigning Champ took the sole win at Barbon Manor

 

Combine this with the fact that the venue is a temporary venue with a mostly grass paddock, then unfortunately wet events can be a very challenging exercise for drivers, crews and organisers alike.

This year saw Liverpool Motor Club running the BHC rounds at Barbon for the first time, having taken over from Westmorland Motor Club over the winter and Liverpool faced a major challenge. Heavy rain in the area for the previous couple of days, combined with a large weather front drifting over on Saturday morning turned the paddock into a quagmire before the event had even started, and the hill itself was very, very wet with a few ‘rivers’ of water washing across it.

The organisers did a great job of helping competitors into the paddock though, and the event was able to begin albeit slightly delayed.

Paddock conditions were tricky

Paddock conditions were tricky!

 

When the first competitors did venture onto the track though, they faced a huge challenge with standing (and running!) water on the course. Westfield driver Jerry Neary had a very long and bouncy ride across the grass and even Roger Moran had several moments on his way up in the Gould GR61X. There were several debates as to whether the event should continue or not, but continue it did but with practice limited to just one run. To sum up how bad conditions were, after practice the second fastest car OVERALL was the road-going Porsche 911 of Peter Herbert!

Just 42 cars stepped forward to take timed runs in the afternoon, but the delays meant that as far as the British Hillclimb and Leaders Championships were concerned, the day was going to be decided on one run.

Qualifying for the single Top 12 Run Off saw Trevor Willis out front by nearly a second from a close battle between Will Hall and Wallace Menzies.

Alex Summers lead the way in the 2-litre class ahead of Simon Moyse, in a class which saw Paul Haimes take a single exploratory shake-down run in the greatly anticipated new Gould GR59 Turbo.

2012 sensation Jos Goodyear may have been absent from Barbon due to the ongoing electrical issues which have affected the GWR Raptor so far this year, but the class battle was a cracker with team-mates Eynon Price and Richard Spedding separated by just 1/100th in Eynon’s favour.

Into the Run Off and there would be points for all who made the top as Simon Moyse got no further than Lafone Hairpin, Moyse due to being a little eager on the throttle and pushing straight on without damage and Summers blew a fuse in his ECU. The biggest problem in the Run Off was reserved for Force LM driver Graham Wynn OBE who had a scary moment at Richmond, possibly due to a rosejoint failure, the car is damaged but should hopefully be back in action for Loton Park’s Midland round next weekend.

Former Rallycrosser Mike Manning was frustrated by the drying surface with his 4×4 Puma and possibly should have chosen slicks rather than intermediates, but he still claimed 2pts for 9th.

1600 Warriors Spedding & Price were separated by a massive quarter of a second, this time in favour of the car owner. Ian Dayson’s two main drivers Will Hall and John Bradburn had a mighty scrap for 3rd, which was resolved in Bradburn’s favour by less than a tenth of a second.

John Bradburn was on top form at Barbon

John Bradburn was on top form at Barbon

 

Fastest runner in practice Wallace Menzies jumped up from a 3rd placed qualifier to lead with just one runner to go.

Defending champ Trevor Willis was in charge all along in the tricky conditions though, and he charged to the win by just under a second. The first BHC win for the new for 2013 OMS 28 was in the bag, much to the delight of Trevor and his gofors Mike Fitzsimons and Sam Wilson.

It took an impressive effort from the organising club, and a lot of patience and graft from the drivers & crews to salvage a Run Off and a good result from the event, well done to all…. And the less said about Mr Editor’s spectacular wipe-out whilst trying to walk across the paddock the better!

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