Junior… Reports of Raptor Return

Whilst scanning about on the net and catching up with the goss on the awesome uphillracers forum this week we spotted a very interesting post from a former British Hillclimb Champion about how he would like to get back out on the hills again.

Graeme Wight Jnr Gould GR55

Graeme has a demo run in a Gould V6 (now owned by Tony Wilt) at TWF Shelsley Walsh in 2007.

 

A phone call and a chat later and we can confirm that 2001 & 2002 BHC winner and owner of GW Racing, the manufacturers of the awesome little GWR Raptor, Graeme Wight Jnr is indeed going to be seen in a racesuit and skid lid again. But like so much goss and rumour at this time of year, all is not as it seems!

A few people got a little over-excited at the news of a possible return and started talking about championship challenges and Run Offs, but that is not part of the plan. At the moment!

After winning the BHC back-to-back with his Gould-Cosworth GR51B (the car now run by the Young family with Judd power), Graeme started on the mighty challenge of building his own top line challenger. The mighty Arrows V10 F1-engined GWR Predator was an awesome project and a mighty beast, but the build and development of the unique car was frighteningly expensive and the transmission issues that stymied the car could not be easily resolved. By the end of 2008 the car was running well and Graeme claimed an amazing Run Off win (at his home hill of Doune), but then suffered a pretty substantial transmission failure and was mothballed.

http://youtu.be/Bk89EqfGme4

 

The Scotsman then turned his attention to building and developing the beautiful, giant-killing GWR Raptor chassis for motorcycle-engines. This has kept Graeme off of the streets for the past 5 years, but now he has a hankering to get back behind the wheel again!

Graeme told us “I’m really not going out to go racing as such. The plan is to build myself a Raptor which I can play with and try different set-ups, and also which can be a demo car for potential Raptor customers”. He then added “I must admit that I am getting pretty excited though!”.

No decision has yet been made about whether the car will be a supercharged, turbocharged or normally aspirated as yet, but we can confirm that the car will feature a motorcycle-based powertrain, “I love these motorcycle engines they are so high-tech, and I have now sold the V6 (the title-winning Cosworth KF V6) so I can’t use that!”.

Lee Adams GWR Raptor

Past few years have been spent developing the GWR Raptor (thanks to Steve Wilkinson)

 

Although he hasn’t competed regularly since 2008, Graeme did share the original Raptor (now owned by Steve Day) with Lee Adams at a couple of events at the back-end of 2010. A good performance at September Prescott that year showed that the talent is still there, but it was a storming run at the season-closing Loton Park event which provided the what-if moment for Graeme as a broken throttle cable at the top of the hill saw a cracking second qualifier come to naught.

It will be brilliant to see Junior back out competing again, even if it will be more infrequently than we would like, and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on. As Graeme told us “most of my experience of setting a car up has been learned since I last drove a car”…

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