Records Tumble Down on the Farm

Overcast and windy conditions greeted competitors at yesterday’s British Hillclimb Championship round at Gurston Down and helped to produce a stack of new class records.

I am not allowed to discuss the first class of the day, Chloe will cover that in a later post, so let’s begin with former Gould V6 driver, and son of the late 6-time BHC champion Tony, Peter Marsh. Peter was debuting his new hillclimb challenger the stunning Nissan GTR. The 3.8litre turbocar was a bit of a handful on the tight confines of the Wiltshire hill, but Peter used all of the 450+ BHP to dispose of Roy Barker’s 2010 Class 4b record on his first run.

Next up saw the usual 4c Specialist Roadgoing thrash and despite not competing this weekend Dave Wilson was onhand to provide his unique style of encouragement to Dave & Allan Warby. Despite trailing son Dave in practice, Allan stormed through to demolish Dave’s 2010 class record when it mattered. An un-named ‘pink racer’ was heard to say “Warby’s too f%^king fast and needs to retire to grow more rhubarb!”

Gurston’s modified Minis really are SERIOUSLY modified, and a great scrap resulted in another record as local drivers Jim White and Neal Masters drove the record into the 35s for the first time, Masters coming out on top with a stunning 35.54s.

The over 2-litre Mod Prod Sports class was another to run at record pace, and featured a slightly surprising result. Former single-seater driver Ian Chard’s MR2 turbo stormed past a fleet of Porsches (and Mike Hall’s Morgan) to trim Bob Mortimer’s record, despite shedding it’s bodywork first time up.

Andy Dunbar & Les Mutch took the next two classes with impressive times, although couldn’t quite match the class records which belong to experienced Gurston campaigners (and former hill champions) Mike Rudge and Johnny Gates.

Into the racing car classes and Moto GP commentator and owner Toby Moody narrowly missed Adam Steel’s 7 year old 600cc record with his Force DS600. While Steel, now running in the 1100cc class, closed in on the late Rob Barks’ record with the home-built Martlett but couldn’t get into the 28s.

Despite the absense of Eynon Price this weekend, the 1600cc class was a cracker again. Lee Adams, on his first ever visit to Gurston, and Will Hall had a ding-dong battle in practice but Will couldn’t match Lee’s pace as the Scotsman started to learn the hill, particularly the downhill run to Hollow Bend. Lee was flat through Hollow all day on Sunday, despite the wind picking up on Sunday afternoon, “I could feel the wind moving the car around, but I was committed by then” Lee said after taking the record sub-28s for the first time. Will couldn’t quite match Lee’s pace on the lower section of the hill and slipped to over 3/4s behind after a big moment on the brakes at Karousel 2nd time up.

A somewhat depleted 2-litre class featured the first National-level win for Andy McBeath’s supercharged OMS 25. Andy overcame the challenge of 1st run leader Tony Hunt to set his first 29 with the new car.

As expected Scott Moran took the big class ahead of star of the day Wallace Menzies.

Run Off 1

Having qualified fastest, twice former champ Scott Moran came under huge pressure from Wallace Menzies and had to really dig deep to take the win. Wallace lead a great battle for the podium places as half a second covered 2nd to 6th places. Trevor Willis sneaked into 3rd after a fairly steady qualifier (for him!). Will Hall & Lee Adams again starred setting the first ever sub-28s runs for 4-cylinder cars.

The unluckiest driver though must’ve been Ash Mason. In qualifying the Pilbeam driver managed to tame the prodigious power of the big Judd V8 through the tricky bits, but it got a touch squirrely over the finish and Ash suffered at the hands of Gurston’s unique ‘two wheel off rule’ at the finish line. Just to be clear, all four wheels must be on the tarmac as the car crosses the finish line.

Run Off 2

The results for the 2nd run off may have looked similar to the first, but it sure was exciting! Despite qualifying down the order Willis threw the Powertec-engined OMS at Hollow Bend and produced a cracking 14.2s split to lead early on. Menzies though was determined to challenge Moran for the win. The red DJ sounded incredible off of the line and slipped ahead of Willis by 1/100th with 26.50s. Scott saw this time, focused, and charged into the run. An incredible 13.89s split, followed by smooth progress through Karousel and Ashes and the usual ‘flat’ blast through the finish to complete a double win.

Scott may have extended his championship lead over Trevor Willis, but Wallace Menzies and the DJ crew have drawn a line in the sand. They mean business, and surely it won’t be long before they claim their first National Hillclimb win.

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