Gurston Practice Review

Gurston Down today saw the first appearance of the top British Hillclimb contenders of 2011 in the Westcountry. Practice runs for tomorrows 7th & 8th rounds of the British Hillclimb Championship were taking place at the Wiltshire farm.

Our Correspondent keeps an eye on proceedings

Overcast but dry morning & early afternoon runs saw a fairly quick pace being set by most of the top runners, and even the odd unofficial record being set amongst the class runners. But halfway through the 3rd runs a misty drizzle blew across the edge of Salisbury Plain and for the big cars at least, any chance of meaningful times was gone.

As expected, current championship leader Scott Moran lead the way throughout in the dry, but the performance of the day was from Scotsman Wallace Menzies. Menzies’ DJ Firestorm, which has seen further lightening in the fortnight since Harewood, was absolutely flying with the newly enlarged Cosworth V8 powering the sleek car into 2nd overall ahead of Chris Merrick and Trevor Willis.

Force PC driver Will Hall set the 1600cc pace throughout, but as usual this year Lee Adams was the man that most were watching. On his first ever run at Gurston the ‘other’ flying Scot was well under the 30 second mark, before chipping away yet more time with his later runs.

In the classes the performance of the day must’ve come from lanky Northerner Allan Warburton who (unofficially) took 3/10ths off of son Dave’s record from August last year. As the day ended Allan was gloating and Dave was plotting revenge tomorrow!

Several drivers were suffering from problems and niggles as practice closed today. John Forsyth & Rodney Thorne had solved a misfire (loose injector) and handling problems (adjustments were made by Pilbeam Mick) before what appeared to be a battery problem curtailed their 3rd runs. Richard Alexander broke 2nd gear off of the line in the immaculate family MP62 and is installing a replacement as I type. Also, the OMS 25 of Tim Wilson seemed to be struggling with a gearshift problem on the last run, as was Ash Mason who still hasn’t completely cured the issues that caused the cars withdrawal from Harewood.

Pilbeam Mick gets fixing


  1. Andy Barton says:

    Further fragments from the grain store on Competion Day

    Alastair Crawford, in the ex-Basil Pitt GR55, was unwittingly short of horses in his morning class run; it was only some time after the run that he discovered, for reasons unexplained, that he was not getting full throttle. For the p.m. run he and his spannermen were able to part solve the problem. It was enough, however, to enable him to better his first run time by exactly one second, and so get into the second run-off. What he said afterwards suggested that he may find more horses lurking somewhere between his foot and the throttles, so watch this space.

    Mick Howlett’s word on the Rodney Thorne ex-Lane MP58 was that increasing toe-in would reduce the feeling of steering lightness that both drivers suffered, but more castor was also needed. As this would involve increasing/decreasing effective lower front wishbone lengths by adjustment of the inboard rose-joints, he judged that there would be insufficient time to get this done in time for the p.m. runs.

    Meanwhile, across the paddock, a scene of much widespread activity to get machinery to get to do what was needed of it, was a car one might have expected, in this early stage of its development life, to have been covered in people changing this and adjusting that; but not a soul to be seen. The letters on the nose? GWR.

    James and Chloe, I hope this is not too lengthy for a comment. Please tell me

    Best Regards, Andy [Sorry if there are typos I missed]

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