Event Round-up…. Gurston Down

Last weekend the British Hillclimb Championship made it final visit of the season to the edge of Salisbury Plain and the cracking Gurston Down venue in Wiltshire.

Scott Moran Gould GR61X

Scott Moran was flying high at Gurston (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)


This years championship is really hotting up now with Scott Moran still in the pound seat, but behind him there is a mighty scrap going on for positions two to nine!

Gurston Press Officer Simon McBeath takes up the story of the Gurston weekend:

Conditions were ideal over the August Bank Holiday weekend for fast times at Gurston, and a big crowd witness some superb action against the clock.

The Avon Tyres/TTC Group British Hillclimb Championship contingent put on an impressive display of high speed precision driving on the narrow confines of the fast Wiltshire speed hillclimb course, and four drivers dipped into the 25-second bracket during Sunday’s competition runs. The times were very close in the first Championship Run Off and Moran won by just 12 hundredths of a second from Will Hall in his 3.5 Force V6 and 2012 Champion Trevor Willis in his 3.2 OMS 28, who set exactly the same times to tie for equal second place! Moran’s margin was slightly bigger in the second Run Off as he beat Jos Goodyear in the 1.3 supercharged GWR Raptor by 0.48seconds with Will Hall a further quarter of a second adrift in third place. Goodyear’s miniscule Raptor had earlier reset the class record in the up to 2000cc racing car class, qualified fastest for the second Run Off and was consistently the fastest car across the finish line with a best speed of 155mph!

The meeting opened with the up to 2000cc roadgoing series production class which was won by Steve Harris in the 1.8 Vauxhall Corsa with the only sub-40 second times in the class in his 1.8 Vauxhall Corsa ahead of the duelling duo of Hannah Wiltshire (2.0 Renault Clio 172 Cup) in second place and Mark Alley (1.3 Mazda RX8) who finished just a third of second adrift in third.

The over 2000cc roadgoing series production class saw the big guns setting fast times, and Tony Bunker’s potent Nissan GT-R got the verdict here by 0.35 seconds from Simon Neve in his 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6.

A terrific three-way battle entertained in the roadgoing series production class with Piers Thynne asserting a narrow lead at half time with a tidy run in his turbocharged 1.3t Westfield Megabusa from Allan Warburton (2.5 Caterham) and Simon Jenks (1.6 Caterham Supersport). All three drivers improved second time up with Warburton improving the most with a fine sub-32 second climb (just 18 hundredths from the class record) to win from Thynne and Jenks.

Allan Warburton Caterham 7

With Son Dave away on Formula Student duty, Warby Snr took a class win in the DTA Caterham (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)


Neil Turner took an excellent win in his 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’ in the up to 1400cc modified series production class as pre-event favourite Jim White faded with problems on both runs in his highly stressed 1.4 Austin Mini Clubman. Andy Russell (1.1 Ginetta G15) set an identical time to White’s only run and therefore took second place on aggregate from the Mini pilot in the process.

Keith Murray made a rare visit to Gurston in his well-developed 1.4t Audi 80 Quattro but was rewarded with a win in the up to 2000cc modified series production class ahead of current Gurston Hillclimb Championship leader Simon Purcell in his 1.4t Lotus Exige.

Keith Murray Audi 80 Quattro

Keith Murray was flying as always in the Dialynx Audi 80 (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)


The over 2000cc modified series production saloon belonged very much to Stephen Moore as he closed to within a second of the class record in his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 with a press-on approach.

The over 2000cc modified series production sports car class was a Porsche benefit, and Andy Fraser emerged in front in his 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car with Peter Turnbull just 18 hundredths behind in his similar car.

Andy Fraser Porsche 911 GT3

Andy Fraser finally turned the tables on co-driver Tim Painter to claim his first win of the season (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)


The amalgamated specialist production class saw Mike Rudge on great form (when isn’t he?) as he closed to within eight hundredths of his own class record in the rapid 2.3 Westfield to win from Neal Masters in the ex-Jonathan Gates Gurston Championship-winning 2 litre Westfield.

And the aforementioned former champion and long-time Gurston Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates took just one run to win the up to 2000cc sports libre class from co-driver Peter Sexton in their 1.3 supercharged Force LM. Behind these two, Gurston’s Hon. Sec. Tim Pitfield was third again in his recently acquired 1.3 DJ Firecat despite wrestling with gear selection problems.

Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes debuted their brand new 1.3 supercharged Empire Evo in the up to 2000cc sports libre class too, and their times during practice were progressing well but ‘new car gremlins’ unfortunately prevented them from taking part in the competition runs. We shall see a lot more of the stunning-looking machine at Gurston in 2015.

Nic Mann was on fine form in his astonishing 1.7 litre turbocharged, four-wheel drive Mannic Beattie, taking the over 2000cc sports libre class win but also carving a quarter of a second off his own class record. Joint BHC sponsor Graham Wynn went well in his rapid turbocharged Force LM but finished two thirds of a second adrift of the top Mann!

Nik Mann Mannic Beattie

Nik Mann loves Gurston, and was flying in the incredible Mannic (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)


BARC (SW) committee member John Forsyth was in a class of his own in the 500cc Alfa Dana but enjoyed himself on Sunday with two press-on (or should that be ‘hang on’) 42-second climbs.

It was very tight in the 1100cc racing car class with the top three all improving second time up, but the first run leader Rob Capper (1.0 Force PT) hung on for the win by the smallest possible margin, just one hundredth ahead of the 1.0 Empire Wraith of Phil Cooke. Liam Cooper leapfrogged ahead of wife Olivia to snatch third in the family 1.0 Force PT.

Brian Moody took his almost customary win in the pre-1986 racing car class in his1.6 Ralt RT3 ahead of his son Adrian.

The pace was hot in the up to 1600cc racing car class too, with the top three all going sub-29 seconds. Impressively it was 2013 Gurston Top Ten Challenge winner Ed Hollier who won by a third of a second on the debut of his new 1.6 Empire on its sole run. Steve Owen was next up in the ‘works’ 1.6 OMS 28 with local expert Peter D. Smith third in his 1.6 Force a further quarter of a second behind. A very unfortunate ‘off’ at Hollow Bend befell Richard Spedding on his first timed run in the Leaders Championship topping 1.6 Force PC, but thankfully after checks at hospital Richard was back at the venue in the afternoon, albeit looking rather sore. Hopefully the Force will be back with him very soon.

If the pace was hot among the 1600s it was astonishing in the up to 2000cc racing car class as Jos Goodyear carved another hefty chunk off his class record set back in May in the 1.3s GWR Raptor before skimming another hundredth off in the afternoon runs to qualify top for the second Run Off. Consider the progress: Trevor Willis set a 28.08 second record in May 2005; Alex Summers took that to 27.23s in May 2012 and then to 27.09s in August 2013; May 2014 saw Jos Goodyear set 26.35s but this weekend saw him reduce it to 25.91 seconds…

Jos Goodyear GWR Raptor

Yet again Jos Goodyear set an incredible pace in the little GWR Raptor (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)


In the unlimited racing car class Scott Moran went sub-26 seconds on both runs but was the only driver to do so in the class runs as he headed off Will Hall and Trevor Willis for the gold medal.

The Historically Interesting class produced , as usual, a lovely mix of cars to gaze upon and the action was great too as Amanda George headed off father Richard in their superb 2.0 Chevron B19 by a couple of tenths, with Alan Goodwin’s lovely Aldon AL3 in third.

Pete Hammock grabbed his first Gurston trophy in his debut season with the win in a very mixed BARC (SW Centre) Members National B licence holders class in his 1.6 OMS CF04, despite a badly slipping clutch, with Martin Watson only a quarter of a second behind in his 2.0 Westfield SEiW.

The third class record of the day fell in the SBD HSA Speed Championship Saloon and Sports Car class as Colin Satchell bagged (apologies to J. Sturman…) another win in the rapid 2.0 Peugeot and carved half a second off his own mark. Dean Gammon couldn’t quite save the bacon in his rapid 1.6 Peugeot 106 Rallye but it wasn’t for the want of trying.

Colin Satchell Peugeot 205

Colin Satchell took yet another class win with his impressive Peugeot 205 (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)


Finally John Opie took the win in the HSA sports racing and racing cars class in his 2.0 Ralt RT3, half a second clear of co-driver John Burton.

The Run Offs – and Scott Moran’s outright hill record – brought the meeting to a thrilling climax, and the large crowd enjoyed showing their appreciation with applause and cheers as the drivers returned down the hill back to the paddock.

Scott Moran Gould GR61X

The Outright Hill Record was the icing on the cake for Scott Moran (thanks to everleyphotography.co.uk)


The 2014 season at Gurston Down reaches its conclusion with what promises to be a nail-biting Championship finale on Sunday September 7th. There are lots of scores to be settled, so this will not be a meeting to miss!

Thanks as always for this cracking report Simon…

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