Murray’s in the Money!

The biggest prize in 2012 British Hillclimbing was awarded on Sunday as the BARC (SW) Centre presented £1000 to the driver who improved their class record at Gurston Down by the largest margin on the day.

Keith Murray Gurston Down

Keith Murray collects the magnificant new Tony Marsh Trophy


As always for Gurston Down events, BARC (SW) Centre’s Press Officer Simon McBeath has sent us a brilliant report and photos from this action packed event.

Swindon’s Keith Murray took the Tony Marsh Trophy and the £1000 cash prize at the Spire FM Race Day at Gurston Down near Salisbury yesterday as he won the inaugural ‘Gurston 1000’ event at the Wiltshire speed venue. Murray took the top prize by beating his class record by the biggest margin on the day, and he carved a whopping 1.26 seconds off the mark for modified series production cars up to 2000cc in his awesomely quick 1.4 litre turbocharged Audi 80 Quattro.

Keith Murray Audi 80 Quattro

Keith Murray attacks Ashes Corner at Gurston


Not far behind Murray in a nail-biting contest though was Buckinghamshire’s Rob Stevens in his 1.3 litre supercharged Force SR4 as he took 0.9 seconds off the up to 2000cc sports libre class record.

The 2010 Gurston Down Hillclimb Champion Roy Barker from Stockbridge was also on record-breaking form, Roy taking nearly half a second off the over 2000cc modified series production saloon cars class record in his potent 2.3 litre turbocharged Mitsubishi Evo 5.

Stroud’s Richard Jones was the final record breaker on the day, and he shaved 0.19 seconds off the Historically Interesting class record in his 1.6 litre Brabham BT29X.

Fastest Time of the Day (FTD) was set by Hereford’s Deryk Young who scorched the hill in 27.52 seconds in his 4.0 Gould GR51, and wife Sue set second BTD just eight tenths behind her husband. Deryk also won both AVON/B.M.T.R. Top Ten Challenge Run Offs.

Deryk Young Gould GR51B

Deryk Young passes Jerry’s box at Gurston


Superb conditions brought out good performances and close battles throughout the big entry. And it was tight in the up to 2000cc roadgoing series production car class with half a second covering the top three. Ian Edwards from Lifton in Devon improved on his second climb to take the class in his immaculate black 2.0 Ford Escort RS2000 by just thirteen hundredths from the 2.0 Peugeot 306 of Miles Horne from Fordingbridge.

In the over 2000cc roadgong series production class it was the battle of the ‘Evos’ again as Stephen Moore from Stapleford took his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 to a 37 hundredths win over Simon Neve from Yeovil in his 2.3t Evo 5.

In the specialist production cars class, Gurston newcomer Simon Thornley from Redditch was really getting to grips with the hill in his 1.9 Westfield as he closed on the new class record set in May but missed it by just one hundredth of a second. He picked up the biggest score of the day though to take the lead of the Gates of Brockenhurst Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship after three rounds, with just one round to go in September.

The modified limited production marque sports car class up to 2000cc produced something of a surprise as Sherborne’s Simon Purcell in his 1.4 supercharged Lotus Exige fended off former triple Gurston champion Steve Butts from Abingdon in his supercharged and turbocharged Lotus Elise by two thirds of a second. The over 2000cc modprod marque sports car class went to Graham Beale from Basingstoke in his turbocharged 2.0 Ginetta G33 ahead of Simon Brown from Bourton who was guesting in the 5.2 TVR Griffith of Steve Holley from Salisbury, and Steve finished third.

The Minis were at the fore in the up to 1400cc modified series production class, and Southampton’s Jim White closed to within a quarter of a second of the class record in his 1.4 Mini Clubman to win the class by a comfortable margin ahead of the well-driven but less highly developed 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’ of Neil Turner from Andover. Despite his fast time White dropped from second to third overall in the Gurston Championship.

The sparks flew in the up to 2000 modified series production class as Keith Murray from Swindon twice reset the class record in the astounding 1.4 turbocharged Audi Quattro, finally leaving it some 1.26 seconds faster than previously. 2011 Gurston champion Paul Webster from Fareham missed a personal best by a frustrating hundredth of a second in his 1.9 Mazda MX5 to finish second.


The over 2000cc modified series production saloon class record was also given a severe battering as 2010 Gurston champion Roy Barker from Stockbridge dipped under the old mark on both runs in his 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 5 to leave it 0.47 seconds faster than before. Roy also collected the second highest score of the day in this year’s Gurston championship to move into second overall.

It was very tight in the over 2000cc modified series production sports car class as the current leader of the TTC Group Midland Hillclimb Championship Mike Turpin from Hereford just edged to the class win in his 2.2 supercharged Vauxhall VX220 by one hundredth from Mick Harriman from Henley in Arden in his 2.1t Audi Quattro Sport. Turpin further consolidated his series lead with this win.

In the up to 2000cc modified specialist production class for ‘B-grade’ license holders Geoff Blake from Weymouth  took the win from father Graham in their shared 2.0 Westfield SEi. The ‘A-grade’ license holders class went to Steve Spears from Cannock in his similar car, who edged out the misfiring SEiW variant of Ritchie Gatt from Faygate.

Former Gurston champion Mike Rudge from Cwmbran ran alone in the over 2000cc modified specialist production car class but despite the lack of competition Mike set a time just one hundredth away from his own class record in his 2.3 Westfield SEi.

There were some superb cars in the Historically Interesting class, none more so than the 1.6 Brabham BT29X of Richard Jones from Stroud, who dipped under the class record by nineteen hundredths to take the win from Salisbury’s Chris Cannell, who couldn’t quite get down to his usual times on the first run and then retired with final drive problems.

The up to 2000cc sports libre class was always going to produce some excitement and we were not disappointed! As well as Buckinghamshire’s Rob Stevens carving nine tenths off the class record in his self-developed supercharged 1.3 Force SR4, Gurston regular Keith Diggle from Aldershot set a personal best in his self-built 2.0 WEV HCS to finish second, four tenths clear of Gurston championship sponsor Jonathan Gates from Brockenhurst in his 1.6 Force LM.


The over 2000cc sports libre class saw Rodney Thorne from Frampton, Dorchester make the switch to his 5.0 Pilbeam MP43, the MP58 single seater being hors de combat. And the former Gurston champ flew to a class win and almost went sub-30 seconds in the process to head of Terry Clifford from Gloucestershire in his 2.5 litre Pilbeam MP43 and wife Hayley in the Thorne family’s rumbling V8 sports racer, Hayley carving chunks off her personal best over the weekend. Rod was fourth fastest among the Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge registered contingent and this moved him into the series lead after three rounds.

Father and son John and Andrew Forsyth from Poole and Blandford respectively enjoyed a good scrap in their historic 500cc Alfa Dana, John edging ahead after a misfire afflicted Andrew’s first run. But with the gremlins exorcised, Andrew edged ahead by half a second on the second runs.

In the 1100cc racing car class Adam Steel from Maidenhead was well out in front in the Martlet AS1, built by father Tony from Chichester (who finished third), and Adam closed to within two thirds of a second of the class record. Simon Andrews from Pershore eased into second in his 1.0 OMS 2000M.

Three drivers went sub-30 seconds in the up to 1600cc racing car class, but James Blackmore from Ropley near Winchester in his 1.6 OMS 25 was the only one to go sub-29 seconds and took the win from Peter D. Smith from Wantage in his 1.6 Force and Ed Hollier from Ottery St Mary in his 1.6 Pilbeam MP62.

It was Pilbeams to the fore in the up to 2000cc racing car class as Morgan Jenkins from Daventry in his 2.0 Pilbeam MP87 edged out Tim Davies from Narberth in his 2.0 Pilbeam MP88.

The unlimited capacity racing car class belonged to Deryk Young from Hereford, the 4.0 Gould GR51 driver setting FTD on his first class run. Terry Graves from Launceston was second in class but picked up the maximum 10 points in the Gurston Top Ten Challenge and moved into third overall in that series as a result, one point behind Tony Wiltshire from Newton Abbott whose 2.5 Gould GR55 was damaged too badly in a practice ‘off’ to be repaired in time to take part in the timed runs.

The Midland Championship Formula Ford class went to the 1.6 Van Diemen RF91 of Andrew Henson from Rochdale, and established the Gurston record for this class.

And in the class for racing cars up to 1985, former Gurston Top Ten Challenge winner Rodney Eyles from Taunton took his 2.8 Ralt RT3 Hart to the win and moved himself into second overall in the TTC Group Midland Hillclimb Championship.

So ended another exciting weekend’s speed hillclimbing, and the next event at Gurston Down is the not to be missed Avon Tyres MSA British Hillclimb Championship event on August 25th/26th.

Thanks for the report Simon, and thanks to all at Gurston for a brilliant event!

Also, by special request, here is some of the footage I shot of Allan McDonald this weekend, don’t say we never do anything for you Allan…. You seemed to go in a bit hot and got a load of understeer there!?  There will be more posted on our youtube channel as the week goes on!



  1. OOps ! That was a bad run I went in a bit bit quick.
    The next one was perfect honest.
    Thanks Allan

Speak Your Mind