Gurston is Go for 2014!

Hillclimbing returns to the South West of England after the winter break this weekend with events at the British Hillclimb Championship venues of Gurston Down in Wiltshire and Wiscombe Park in Devon.

Colin Satchell Peugeot 205

South West Star Colin Satchell was rapid at the Gurston Test Day (thanks to www.everleyphotography.co.uk).

 

The events at Gurston Down feature many Championships, including the ever-popular class-based Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship and the FTD-based Gurston Down Top 10 Challenge.

BARC SW Centre Press Office Simon McBeath has very kindly sent us his ever-thorough preview for the pair of single-day events at Gurston:

The new motorsport season roars into action again at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb, Broad Chalke near Salisbury on April 26th and 27th with two packed days of championship racing against the clock. The weekend promises to be a veritable speed fest as saloons and sports cars, classic and modern, join the awesomely fast sports racing and single seater racing cars. And on Sunday April 27th the motorbikes of the National Hillclimb Association join in the celebrations as Gurston Down marks its 300th meeting at the multi-award winning scenic Wiltshire venue.

Saturday April 26th sees rounds of the BARC and the Hillclimb and Sprint Association Speed Championships, plus there will be invitation classes for Westfields, TVRs, Classic Marques, Volvos and pre-War Austin 7s as well as the usual mix of production-based machines, sports racing cars and single seater racing cars.

On Sunday April 27th the first round of the popular and well-subscribed Gates of Brockenhurst Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship and the BARC SW Top Ten Challenge will take place featuring all the usual classes, with supporting invitation classes for Austin Healeys, Triumph TRs, historic 500cc racing cars and Classic Marques.

As well as the regular mix of four-wheeled competition cars, some of the country’s top riders from the National Hillclimb Association will be wowing the crowds on (sometimes one…) two and three wheels on Sunday 27th too!

Spectator access is unrivalled – you really can’t get closer to the action that at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb. And with excellent catering and refreshment outlets on site everything is in place for a great value, exciting weekend featuring the best of club motorsport against the clock!

Full Details

Saturday’s invitation classes kick off with the pre-War Austin 7s and last year Gordon Tasker took the ‘road’ division in his 7 Special. In the ‘race’ division Colin Danks won on his last visit to Gurston, and is sure to be a factor again.

From pre-war to bang up to date, and in the TVR class expect to see Alan Davies challenge in his 5.0 Chimaera.

Gurston regular Martin Watson will run his 2.0 Westfield SEiW in Saturday’s Westfield Sports Cars class, but Peter Goulding was very quick last April in his similar car.

The Classic Marques run on both days and this class has indeed attracted some classic sports cars from far and wide. Several of the drivers certainly know their way up Gurston; perhaps keep a close eye on Terry Drinkwater in his 2.0 MGA Coupé and Rob Pallett in his 5.0 Ginetta G33.

Sunday’s running will be opened by the TRs and last September John and Jonathon Weedon made it another family one-two in their quick TR5.

In the Austin Healey ‘Big Healey and Warwick Cars’ class look out for a battle at the front between Pat Cooper (3 litre 100/6) and Richard Mason (3.0 3000 Mk 2).

The Sprites always entertain too; expect fireworks from Robin Johnson and Adie Ball in their shared car and Murray Wakeham.

Onto the ‘regular’ Gurston classes and in the up to 2000cc roadgoing series production class a big local contingent is headed by Hannah Wiltshire in her 2.0 Renault Clio Cup and Anthony Record in his rare 1.8 Proton Satria GTi. On Sunday only Gurston’s club secretary Tim Pitfield makes a welcome return to competition in his 1.8 Mazda MX5. But who will win here?

In the over 2000cc roadgoing series production class on Saturday, husband and wife Sean and Sarah Fudge battle it out in their shared 2.0t Subaru Impreza WRX and pit themselves against Brian Marshall’s 3.2t Porsche 944 turbo, while on Sunday Sarah sits it out as Sean and Brian take on the rapid Stephen Moore in his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6, Simon Neve in his 2.3t Evo 6 and Lewis and Deborah Fanner in their shared 2.5t Subaru Impreza WRX.

The roadgoing specialist production class always produces some rapid machinery, and on Saturday locals Adrian Lewis (1.3 Westfield Megabusa) and Andrew Thorpe (5.0 TVR Griffith) are joined by James Lyons Snr and James Lyons Jnr , both from Wales, in their 1.6 Raw Striker. On Sunday it’s all change with Martin Watson moving back into his usual class with his 2.0 Westfield SEiW and among others is joined by Piers Thynne in his tricky to tame turbocharged 1.3t Westfield Megabusa.

In the modified limited production marque sports cars up to 2000cc Simon Purcell has rebuilt his 1.4s Lotus Exige and will be hoping for a good result. Taking him on are mother and daughter Dee Stapley and Steph Limb in their shared 1.8 MGF.

The over 2000cc modified limited production marque sports car class is also packed with local drivers. Fastest here last year was Graham Beale in his turbocharged 2.0 Ginetta G33, and close behind were Steve Holley in his 5.2 TVR Griffith and Bob Mortimer in his 2.7 Porsche 911. But Tim Painter and co-driver Andy Fraser will debut their recently acquired 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which ran well at the test day earlier in the month, and this car will be quick once the pair are fully familiar with it.

The up to 1400cc modified series production class is packed with classic Minis as usual, Jim White, the class record holder looking favourite in his highly developed 1.4 Mini Clubman. Graham Masters and former Gurston champion Derek Mullis (who has ascended Gurston over 1000 times now!) will be chasing. Look out too on Saturday for a rare sight in speed hillclimbing, the 1.3 Austin A35 of Andrew Young and Robert Frost.

In the up to 2000cc modified series production class another former Gurston champion, current comp. sec. Paul Webster will run his familiar 1.9 Mazda MX5 and finds himself up against some very fast opposition in the form of Colin Satchell and Paul Drowne in their ultra-quick shared 2.0 Peugeot 205 GTi.

The over 2000cc modified series production saloon class sees Richard Hillyar run alone in his 2.0t Renault 21 on Saturday but he is joined by rapid son and father team Adrian and David Flagg in their shared 2.0t Subaru Impreza on Sunday.

The amalgamated modified specialist production class pits Ritchie Gatt, last year’s Gurston Championship runner up in his 2.0 Westfield SEiW against the 2.3 Westfield of third in the 2013 Championship and former champion Mike Rudge. Look out for fast times here then!

The over 2000cc modified series production sports cars feature two locals in very desirable cars, Mark Walker in his 3.4 Porsche Cayman S and Mike Butler in his 2.0t Toyota Celica GT4.

The Historically Interesting class always brings out some lovely machinery, and two Gurston regulars head the field here, Fyrth Crosse in his 1.6 Ensign LNF3 and Hugh Kemp in his 1.6 Palliser WDF3.

The pace really hots up as we get to the up to 2000cc sports libre class, and among the front runners will be Gurston Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates and co-driver Peter Sexton aboard their shared 1.3 supercharged Force LM. The New Forest pairing gave notice of intent on the car’s re-engined debut last September as both dipped well under the 30 second barrier. What odds one of these two could set Best Time of the Day?

Jonathan Gates Force LM

The Gates/Sexton Force LM could challenge for FTD (thanks to www.everleyphotography.co.uk).

 

The over 2000cc sports libre class will see Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes share their twin-engined Force SR8 on Saturday, taking on Keith Diggle who now has a 2.2 litre Ford BDX engine in his self-constructed WEV HCS, which sees him move up from the under 2000cc class. On Sunday it’s just Cannell versus Diggle, and either could snatch BTD with a good run.

The 500 Owners Association field is small but high quality, with Alistair Dent (Hornet F3) and John Dent (Cooper Mk 8) running on Saturday and being joined by Stuart Barnes (Iota P1.01) on Sunday.

In the up to 1100cc racing car class we will see regular top spot sparring partners James Moore in his 1.1 OMS 2000M and the Kemp Brothers, Calum and Euan in their 1.1 OMS PR joined on Sunday only by the rapid John Oxborrow in his self-constructed OX7, John having set fastest time in the recent Gurston test day.

Former Westfield pilots Roger Labbett and Andrew Abbey make up the Formula Ford class on Sunday in their shared Jamun M91.

And in a new class for 2014, for racing cars up to 1985, long time Gurston supporters Brian and Adrian Moody go in their iconic 1.6 Ralt RT3, this the chassis type that took Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle, to name but two, onto the next rung of the career ladder back in the day!

The up to 1600cc racing car class ought to be the property of Peter D. Smith and Richard Gaylard in their rapid 1.6 Force, and with sub-30 second runs a possibility, a BTD challenge could come from these two. These two are joined on both days by Paul Morgan in his 1.1 Morgan G.S Special and on Saturday by Gurston debutant Pete Hammock in his 1.6 OMS CF04.

The up to 2000cc racing car class sees two well-travelled returnees, Andrew Dinner coming up from Cornwall to run his 2.0 Pilbeam MP82 on Saturday only, and Andy McBeath coming down from Cambridgeshire to go in his 1.3 supercharged OMS 25 on both days. Former Top Ten Challenge winner McBeath ought to have the edge and should be in the mix for BTD.

Andy McBeath OMS 25

Andy McBeath will be looking to set the pace with his OMS 25 (thanks to www.everleyphotography.co.uk).

 

Not to be missed either are the Channel Island ‘sand racers’. Running on both days are Peter Jory and Scott Rayson in their respective big V8-powered Chevrolet Specials along with Peter Clarke and Tara Harvey in their shared Jaguar-engined Jagernought.

And on Saturday the four-wheeled entry rounds out with the HSA Speed Championship classes.

On Sunday, among the bikers will be former outright bike hill record holder and still multiple class record holder Glyn Poole from Northampton on his 500cc Honda CR and recent ‘fastest biker’ Sam Matthewman on his 1080cc Suzuki TL, again making the long trip down from York.

Could one of the sports libre cars set Best Time of the Day? Which drivers are going to be the top contenders in the 2014 Gurston Championship? Come and watch the spectacular close-quarters racing against the clock over the weekend, and be a part of the 300th meeting at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb on April 27th.

Thanks so much for the preview Simon, it really is greatly appreciated. Unfortunately the clash of dates this weekend means that we cannot be present ourselves, but we look forward to a report next week!

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