Gurston National Preview

The British Hillclimb Championship represent the very pinnacle of the sport of speed hillclimbing in the UK, half a minute or less of total commitment and concentration from Start to Finish as each driver races against the clock, and it all makes for an utterly astonishing spectacle. And that’s what is coming to Gurston Down on May 25th and 26th as the Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship makes the first of two visits to the glorious Wiltshire venue this season.

Trevor Willis Poster

2012 champion Trevor Willis fields a new OMS 28 chassis with the same 3.2 litre Powertec V8 as last year, and the Moran’s, Scott (2008/9/11 champion) and father Roger (1997 champion), field the same 3.5 Gould GR61X except for new sparkplugs! Indeed consistent finishing with front running pace has been key in the BHC Run Offs held so far this season, which is why the Moran’s currently hold the top two positions. Willis has made an amazing start to his 2013 campaign considering he is running an all new chassis but he spun away a potential win at Harewood in the second Run Off on May 12th and lies in third overall. And fourth place man Wallace Menzies (3.2 DJ Firestorm) missed one Run Off at Prescott’s season opener with a fuel leak and might otherwise have been a place higher in the table after some strong results, though no wins as yet in 2013. Meanwhile, Will Hall has scored in every Run Off in the 3.5 Force Nissan to round out the current top five in the BHC.

As well as the top flight racing cars with their ex-Indycar and Formula 1 engines that battle it out in the British Hillclimb Championship, among the 145-strong entry you’ll also find cars ranging from specially prepared but essentially roadgoing production cars, to highly modified productions cars, through to purpose built sports racing cars and single seater racing cars, the drivers all competing for honours in their respective classes and points in the Hillclimb Leaders Championship.

Spectator access is unrivalled – you really can’t get closer to the action that at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb. And with new catering and additional food and drink outlets on site there’s everything you need for a fantastic and great value day out, so do not miss this exciting event!

Graham Wynn Force LM

Graham Wynn OBE will be pushing hard at Gurston


There are also plenty of Gurston regulars who will be using their hard-won local knowledge to take on the visitors from all over the land at this British Championship event. So let’s run through the classes and try and pick out some drivers to watch.

In the Gurston Down/BARC (SW) ‘members’ class Simon Neve will run in his potent 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6 but is up against some quick opposition including Graham Beale in his 2.0t Ginetta G33.

The road going series production car class ought to go the way of Miles Horne in his rapid 2.0 Peugeot 306. And the over 2000cc roadgoing series production class could see Shaun Fudge go well. Shaun’s wife Sarah runs the car in the BARC (SW) members class too.

The roadgoing specialist production class always sees some fast times, and here Formula 1 engineer Piers Thynne pits his 1.3 turbocharged Westfield Megabusa against former class record holders father and son Allan and David Warburton in their 2.5 Caterham.

The up to 1400cc modified series production car class is populated entirely by local drivers, with Jim White the probable favourite in his quick 1.4 Austin Mini Clubman. But Neil Turner and father and son Phil and Darren Eaton will be quick in their 1.4 Minis too.

Karl Stevens should start as favourite in his 2.0 Ford Escort Mk 2 in the up to 2000cc modified series production cars class but Ralph Pinder (2.0 Peugeot 205 GTi) and Gurston’s competition secretary Paul Webster (1.9 Mazda MX5) will push him hard.

In the amalgamated over 2000cc modified series production saloon and sports car classes Stephen Moore is entered in his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 rather than the roadgoing class in which he holds the current record. Is he going for the record in this class too? He needs to find less than eight tenths to do it. Bob Mortimer will be chasing hard in his 2.7 Porsche 911.

In the up to 2000cc modified specialist production cars class we’ll see Simon Purcell wheel out his trusty 1.4 supercharged Lotus Exige, but making their debut in this class will be former Mini piloting father and son team Graham and Neal Masters in their recently acquired ex-Jonathan Gates Gurston Championship winning 2.0 Westfield SEi. It’s very early days for the dynamic duo in this car, but they are sure to fly in time.

And in the over 2000cc modified specialist production class the record holder Mike Rudge will be flying as always in his rapid 2.3 Westfield SEi, but Mike Hall will be pushing hard in his rumbling 5 litre Morgan V8.

The Historically Interesting class always produces a fine entry, and hot favourite for the win here will be Gurston committee member Geoff Hunt in his superb 1.6 Lotus 22, a car Geoff has now owned for 40 years.

The Hillclimb Supersports class sees Derek Harris share his 1.7 Mallock Mk 17B with another former Mallock driver, Gurston committee member and hillclimb school instructor John Forsyth.

It’s the battle of the sponsors in the sports libre class as Gurston Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates goes in his 1.6 Force LM against the joint British Hillclimb/Hillclimb Leaders Championship sponsor TTC Group boss Graham Wynn from Shropshire in his newly turbocharged and now 1300cc Force LM. But these two will also need to look out for Keith Diggle in his 2.0 WEV HCS.

The over 2000cc sports libre class features local duo Chris Cannell (another Gurston Hillclimb Drivers School instructor) and Sue Hayes go in their amazing twin engine Force SR8. But as ever there’s an eclectic mix of machinery joining them, including the one man who might be hoping for wet weather, Mike Manning in the 2.0 turbo 4WD Ford Puma, a regular BHC points scorer when conditions are less than ideal!

Mike Manning Ford Puma 4x4

Mike Manning on a charge at Gurston with the Puma 4×4


A well-supported 1100cc racing car class sees the top Leaders class contenders joined to do battle and Simon Fidoe in the 1.0 Empire could be the driver to beat here, although Simon Andrews (1.0 OMS 2000M) pipped him last August. And do not discount another former winner in this class at Gurston, Olivia Cooper in the family 1.0 Force HC.

The 1600cc racing car class will see some rapid action, but we must wait and see if class record holder Jos Goodyear gets the 1.6 GWR Raptor running after recent engine problems. But Richard Spedding and Eynon Price in their 1.6 Force PCs, Gurston’s April double BTD man Ed Hollier in his 1.6 Pilbeam MP62, and regulars James Blackmore (1.6 OMS 25) and Peter D. Smith (1.6 Force) will all be in the thick of it. Can any of these rapid combos qualify for the Run Offs? It’s not easy on this power hill with just 1600cc.

The up to 2000cc racing car class is also well supported by quick drivers and quick cars, and class record holder Alex Summers must start as favourite in his 1.3 supercharged DJ Firehawk. But the innovative 1.3 supercharged Gould GR59 of Simon and Brian Moyse is now going well, and the latest GR59, the turbocharged 1.3 litre version of Paul Haimes, should make its Gurston debut after some acclimatisation running at Barbon and Harewood on May 11th & 12th. Once again these drivers will be battling hard to qualify for the Run Offs.

Alex Summers DJ Firehawk

Alex Summers was on record-breaking form at Gurston last season


In addition to all the aforementioned BHC top five going in the over 2000cc racing car class mention should also be made of John Bradburn (3.5 Gould GR55) who is going very well again this year and currently occupies sixth overall in the championship, and Tom New (4.0 Gould GR55) who is making his season debut at Gurston, these two likely to enjoy the benefit of plenty of horsepower on Gurston’s upper reaches.

The Lotus 7 Club Championship classes see many of last year’s top runners going again, but will we see quite so many class records as we had at last year’s second visit of the series to Gurston? In 2012 the records were broken in all six classes!

The meeting promises some truly spectacular action. And with new caterers and new food outlets on site for 2013 you’re sure to have a great day out at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb!

Keep up to speed on the Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb web site

Thanks as always to Gurston Press Officer Simon McBeath for sending us this comprehensive event preview.

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