Gurston Class Action

The British Hillclimb Championship and Leaders Championship contenders made their second visit of the year to Gurston Down at the weekend, and the BARC South West Centre put on yet another brilliant event at the Wiltshire venue.

Jeremy Turnbull Ford Model B

Jeremy Turnbull was fastest of the Flatheads


A heavy downpour at lunchtime on Saturday put a slight dampener on the end of the third practice runs, but otherwise the sun was shining and the conditions were good.

Gurston Press Office Simon McBeath has kindly sent over the following report on the class runs:


The ‘Gurston regulars’ class saw Lewis Fanner from East Stour out in front in the family Subaru Impreza, half a second clear of Peter Blomfield from Liskeard in his 1.4 Peugeot 205.

In the roadgoing series production cars up to 2000cc Miles Horne from Fordingbridge gave himself some work to do in his 2.0 Peugeot 306 after an over optimistic entry to the Karousel complex on his first run found him in second spot behind the 2.0 Renault Clio 172 Cup of Jules Freeman from Eastleigh. But Horne responded with a big improvement second time up to take the win from Freeman by over sixth tenths.

The combined roadgoing series production cars over 2000cc and roadgoing specialist production classes went to father and son Allan and David Warburton from Manchester in their 1.8 Caterham, father Allan quickest this time by some three tenths.

In the modified limited production marque sports car class up to 2000cc it was close on the first runs between former triple Gurston champion Steve Butts from Abingdon in his supercharged and turbocharged 1.4 Lotus Elise and Simon Purcell from Sherborne in his supercharged 1.4 Lotus Exige. Butts though found another nine-tenths on his second climb to take a clear win.


Graham Beale from Basingstoke did enough on his first climb in the turbocharged 2.0 Ginetta G33 to win the over 2000cc marque sports car class, but Tim Painter from Frome closed to within two tenths of the winner on his second climb in the recently acquired 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and looks a force to be reckoned with in future.

Local knowledge is never to be underestimated, and Southampton’s Jim White used his to good effect in the up to 1400cc modified series production class as he took the win in his 1.4 Mini Clubman. The rapid Martin Depper from Stourbridge was getting quicker though on this, his second visit to the hill in his 1.4 Mini Cooper and he finished just four tenths adrift this time.

Jim White Austin Mini

The heavily modified 16v Mini of Jim White took another look at Neal Master’s record (thanks to Simon McBeath)

In the up to 2000cc modified series production class Karl Stevens from Andover set two fast times to take the win in his 2.0 Ford Escort Mk 2. Paul Webster from Fareham was second in his 1.9 Mazda MX5 just 12 hundredths ahead of a hard trying Mike Rudge from Cwmbran in his father Graham’s 2.0 Escort RS2000.

In the over 2000cc modified series production saloon class Roy Barker from Stockbridge was always in charge and he closed to within half a second of his own class record in the potent 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 5.

The modified specialist production classes saw Adam Phelps from Hungerford see off his father John in their shared 1.2 Aries Locost in the up to 2000cc division. And the well-travelled Les Mutch from Aberdeeen needed just one run to take the over 2000cc division in his 2.5 Dax Rush as both he and class mate Mike Hall from Romsley in his 5.0 Morgan +8 faltered on their second climbs.

A great selection of cars in the Historically Interesting class produced one of the battles of the day with local favourite Chris Cannell from Salisbury trying everything in the 1.7 St Bruno Roughcutter. But he had no answer to an on-form Fyrth Crosse from Bristol on this day as the latter stormed to victory in his 1.6 Ensign LNF3.


The up to 2000cc sports libre class has seen some great battles this season and this weekend was no different. Keith Diggle from Basingstoke took the lead after the first runs in his 2.0 WEV HCS but Gurston’s long-time sponsor Jonathan Gates from Brockenhurst snatched that lead away with his second effort in the 1.6 Force LM. But Diggle fought back on his second run and took the win by 21 hundredths!

Mike Manning from Camarthen was in a class of his own in all respects in the over 2000cc sports libre class and he stormed to the top in his spectacular turbocharged ex-rallycross 2.0 Ford Puma.

The racing cars opened with the up to 600cc runners and Brodie Branch from Lindfield was on good form in the 0.6 Marengo 3. With constructor Tony Pashley on hand to assist, Brodie closed to within a third of a second of Adam Steel’s very rapid class record to take the win.

There was a terrific scrap in the up to 1100cc racing car class. After the first runs Simon Fidoe from Worcester held sway in the 1.0 Empire from Simon Andrews from Pershore in his 1.0 OMS 200M and Gary Thomas from Nottingham in his 1.1 Force PT. But Thomas carved seven tenths off on his second run to take the win as Andrews and Fidoe swapped places behind him.


The pace was fast and furious in the very competitive up to 1600cc racing car class, with the top four drivers all under 29 seconds. But only one of them dipped below 28 seconds and that was Jos Goodyear from Southam in the 1.6 GWR Raptor, who took thirteen hundredths off the class record on his second climb. Co-driver Lee Adams from Peterhead, the previous record holder, had led by two-hundredths at half time but couldn’t improve by as much as Goodyear. Also in the 28s were Dave Uren from Redditch in his 1.6 Force PC and Richard Spedding from Wombwell in his similar car.

In the up to 2000cc racing car class Tim Davies from Narberth was the only driver under 30 seconds on both climbs and his best in the 2.0 Pilbeam MP88 was nearly seven tenths clear as he took a fairly comfortable win.

The top three in the over 2000cc racing car class all went sub-27 seconds but Scott Moran from Ludlow always looked in command in the 3.5 Gould GR61X. Trevor Willis from Aylesbury managed second despite the comparative power deficit of the 3.2 Powertec V8 in his OMS 25. And Wallace Menzies from Kincardine was third in the svelte 3.2 DJ Firestorm.

Tom New Gould GR55

Tom New chased the top 3 in the Unlimited Class (thanks to Simon McBeath).

The REIS/HSA Speed Championship classes saw the debut of five iconic ‘flathead Fords’ at Gurston Down, and it was great to see them at work on the hill! Jeremy Turnbull from Poole was the fastest of the group in his immaculate 5.2 Ford Model B.

The winner of the REIS/HSA Saloon and sports car class was six times championship winner John Palmer from Worcester in his 1.7 Westfield SE, and the sports racing and racing car division went to John Opie from Marlborough in the 2.0 Ralt RT3 he shares with John Burton from Burrington who was a mere two hundredths behind after leading at the halfway stage!

Full details at

Thank you very much as always Simon.

Our Run Off report will follow this evening.

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