Season Catch-up Part 3

The third part of our Season Catch-up see us turn our attention to one of the most popular hills in the country, Gurston Down hillclimb, near Salisbury in Wiltshire.

Matt Neal Gurston Down

BTCC Champ Matt Neal was a star attraction at Gurston Down.

 

As the hill was celebrating it’s 300th event over the end of April weekend, The Chairmans Invitation Class was in the program again, and as in 2011 it featured a very famous name from professional motorsport.

BARC SW Press Officer Simon McBeath supplied us with all the details from the weekend as he always does, so check out the following reports on a very special weekend for all involved at Gurston:

 

Heavy showers made for changing conditions on track and underfoot at Gurston Down, Broad Chalke near Salisbury over the weekend, but a good crowd braved the weather and witnessed some cracking motorsport action against the clock on the fast and sinuous 967 meter award-winning hillclimb course.

Helping the 300th meeting celebrations, British Touring Car Championship star Matt Neal entertained on Sunday in the Honda Racing/Synchro Motorsport Jazz, winning the Chairman’s Invitation class by three tenths from fellow Honda man Alyn James in the Synchro Civic, having trailed in second place by a tenth at the half way mark…!

There were scraps aplenty in the classes, and with both days generally drying out as the timed runs progressed, positions were frequently changing, particularly during the second runs. Three drivers hold joint first place on 21.50 points after Sunday’s first round of the Gates of Brockenhurst Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship: Simon Purcell in his 1.4s Lotus Exige (up to 2000cc modified limited production marque sports car class), Graham Beale in his 2.0t Ginetta G33 (over 2000cc modified limited production marque sports car class) and Jim White in his 1.4 Mini Clubman (up to 1400cc modified series production cars).

Best Time of the Day was set on both days by Peter D. Smith in his 1.6 Force single seater. Smith thus went to the top of the Top Ten Challenge table after Sunday’s first round. Currently in second place is Keith Diggle (2.2 WEV HCS) and in third is the amazing Mike Rudge in his 2.3 Westfield SEi.

Peter D. Smith Force HC

Peter D. Smith set FTD on both days with his Force HC.

 

A close fought battle for BTD among Sunday’s motorbikes went to Sam Matthewman on his 1080cc Suzuki TL and Glyn Poole won the bike Top Ten Run Off as the rains returned at the end of Sunday.

Full details
As always the invitation classes opened proceedings on both days. On Saturday Kevin Diamond was the sole Volvo Owners Club representative and he took away his gold medal with a pair of consistent and spirited climbs. A heavy shower fell during the first runs of the Austin Sevens so the second climbs on a drying track proved especially crucial. Daniel Cowley maintained his half time lead to take the win by nearly a second from Bernard Cowley in the shared Seven Special. Meanwhile in the track division Colin Danks dominated.

The weather saw changes of order in the TVR class too, with Steven Mogg, second at the break in his 5.0 Griffith 500, jumped ahead to win by 0.44s from the 4.6 Griffith of Howard Barnard.

It was all change among the Westfields too as halftime leader Martin Watson (2.0 Westfield SEiW) got bumped down to third after the second runs by Peter Goulding who in turn was just eight hundredths clear of Paul Morcom, all in similar models.

The Classic Marque class produced some excellent action and a very nice clutch of sports cars. Rob Pallet (5.0 Ginetta G33) was always quickest though, but had to work for it to keep Steve Cox ((5.0 TVR V8S) at bay. Behind him, Geoff Stallard (2.0 Lotus Elan) and Terry Drinkwater (2.0 MGA Coupe) had a great scrap, Stallard taking third by half a second on Saturday but Drinkwater got his revenge by a scant three hundredths on Sunday!

Sunday’s ‘one make’ classes kicked off with the TRs and John Weedon got the verdict this time in his 2.7 TR5 ahead of Roderick Warner in his gruff TR7 V8.

The Big Healey class saw changing fortunes as first run leader Pat Cooper (3.0 100/6) was edged into second by a markedly improving Richard Mason (3.0 3000 Mk 3) as the track dried.

In the Sprites class local man Murray Wakeham always looked in smoothly control in his 1.4 Sprite, comfortably fastest in the damp first runs and a third of a second clear of Adie Ball (1.4 Sprite) in the drier second runs. Just five hundredths behind Ball was Paul Baker in his 1.4 Sebring Sprite.

On to the regular Gurston classes, and in the road going series production class up to 2000cc newcomers to Gurston competition, brothers Adam and Andy Greenen were unbeatable in their rapid 2.0 Honda Civic Type R, with Adam, a recent graduate of the Gurston Hillclimb Drivers School, taking the win on both days (despite a lurid moment in Hollow on Saturday’s first run!). On Saturday Paul Hearne was 3rd in his 2.0 Renault Clio and on Sunday it was the turn of Tim Forset to collect 3rd place in his 1.7 Lotus Elan.

The over 2000cc roadgoing series production class saw the a pressing-on Shaun Fudge take the win in his 2.0t Subaru Impreza on Saturday with wife Sarah in 3rd place, top HAS contender Brian Marshall (3.2t Porsche 944) sandwiched in between. On Sunday Simon Neve came through for first in class in his potent 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6 ahead of first run leader Lewis Fanner in his 2.5t Subaru Impreza WRX. Class record holder Stephen Moore (2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6) couldn’t quite match the pace of these two and had to be content with third, half a second adrift.

A delighted Adrian Lewis picked up a first in the roadgoing specialist production cars class in his 1.3 Westfield Megabusa on Saturday ahead of Andrew Thorpe in his 5.0 TVR Griffith. On Sunday Piers Thynne won in his turbocharged Westfield Megabusa from Lewis, who was only half a second behind Thynne’s more potent car.

In the up to 2000cc marque sports car class Simon Purcell took the win on both days in his rebuilt supercharged 1.4 Lotus Exige ahead of Stephanie Limb and her mum, Gurston treasurer Dee Stapley in their shared 1.8 MGF.

Graham Beale picked up a double first in his 2.0t Ginetta G33 in the over 2000cc marque sports car class, with Tim Painter putting his glorious 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup into second on Saturday, and Steve Holley taking the runner up spot in his 5.2 TVR Griffith on Sunday after a first run spin at Karousel, with Painter sliding off on the entry to Karousel.

The action in the up to 1400cc modified series production cars class was as frantic as ever. Derek Mullis, who has ascended Gurston over 1000 times now, won on Saturday in his 1.3 Mini Cooper ‘S’ from Graham Masters, veteran of the first ever Gurston event, in his 1.4 Austin Mini. Running on Sunday only, Jim White took the win in his highly developed 16 valve Mini Clubman ahead of Derek Mullis.

There was no catching the fleet Peugeot 205 GTi of Paul Drowne and Colin Satchell in the up to 2000cc modified series production class, as Gurston comp sec and third in class on both days Paul Webster (1.9 Mazda MX5) will attest… On this occasion it was Paul Drowne who took the victor’s spoils on both days, easing out his co-driver by 11 hundredths on Saturday and just five hundredths on Sunday with exuberant attacks on a hill that’s not one of his favourites!

Paul Drowne Peugeot 205

Paul Drown turned the tables on his 205 co-driver Colin Satchell.

 

Richard Hillyar had a mixed weekend, bagging the gold medal in the over 2000cc modified series production saloon class on Saturday but suffering a slightly damaging practice ‘off’ the following day. Adrian and his father David Flagg took a family 1-2 in the class in their 2.0t Subaru Impreza STi on Sunday.

Mark Walker debuted his newly acquired Porsche Caymann in the over 2000cc modified series production sports car class and took home a pair of gold medals to celebrate with!

The specialist production car classes were amalgamated on both days, and it was never really in doubt that former Gurston champion Mike Rudge (2.3 Westfield SEi) would be at the forefront here. Mike duly obliged with his usual enthusiasm with times on a par with the sports libres, setting third BTD on Sunday! Ritchie Gatt, last year’s championship runner up, was second in class on both days in his 2.0 Westfield SEiW.

Fyrth Crosse also scored a double top, taking the Historically Interesting class win on both days in his 1.6 Ensign LNF3.

Jonathan Gates and Peter Sexton went well on Saturday in their shared supercharged 1.3 Force LM, taking a 1-2 in the up to 2000cc sports libre class, but mechanical gremlins prevented their appearance the following day. Sunday’s class went to defending Gurston Down Hillclimb Champion Mark Mortimer in his 2.0 Mallock Mk 18 ahead of father and daughter Ben Stapley and Hannah Stapley-Bealing in their shared Formula 1300.

The changeable conditions saw changing fortunes in the over 2000cc sports libre class, with Chris Cannell taking the win and third BTD in his 2.6 Force SR8 on Saturday ahead of Keith Diggle in his 2.2 WEV HCS. The positions reversed on Sunday however with the determined Diggle digging deep to overturn the previous days result and set second BTD.

There were fun and games in the 500 Owners Association class for racing cars up to 500cc, with Alistair and John Dent both taking alternative (grassy) routes on their first Saturday climbs! John came through for the win in his Cooper Mk 8 by just four hundredths. On Sunday Alistair wreaked his revenge in the Hornet F3, winning by over a second.

James Moore had a good weekend in his 1.1 OMS 2000M with a first in the 1100cc racing car class on Saturday and a second on Sunday as John Oxborrow overcame a practice off to come through for Sunday’s win in the 1.0 OX7. On Saturday Gurston debutant Keith Weeks from Scotland did well to lead at half time and finished second in his 1.0 Image FF5, just a quarter of a second behind Moore.

In the new class for Racing Cars Manufactured up to 1985 father and son Brian and Adrian Moody took a family 1-2 on both days in their iconic 1.6 Ralt RT3, Brian a few tenths ahead each time.

Sunday’s Formula Ford class saw the shared Jamun M91 of Roger Labbett and Andrew Abbey take to the track, the latter taking the win.

The 1600cc racing car class was the domain of the 1.6 Force of Peter D. Smith and Richard Gaylard this weekend, Smith winning and setting BTD on both days from his co-driver.

The up to 2000cc racing car class ran on Saturday only, with Andy McBeath taking the spoils and second BTD in his 1.3 supercharged OMS25 from Andrew Dinner’s 2.0 Pilbeam MP82.

The racing car class over 2000cc was filled entirely with the so-called ‘sand racers’ from the Channel Islands, although these cars now run exclusively in hillclimbs and sprints, and Scott Rayson bagged the gold medal on both days in his 6.8 litre Chevrolet Special ahead of fellow Guernseyman Peter Jory in his monstrous 7.5 litre Chevrolet Special!

Among the bikes there were class wins for Gavin Shaw (MZ 250), Paul Tilley (Honda 257), Glyn Poole (Honda CR 500), Peter Short (Honda 525), Sam Matthewman (Suzuki TL 1000) and T Martin and R Sinkins (DDS Aprillia).

Sam Matthewman Suzuki TL1000

Sam Matthewman took a class win with his Suzuki.

 

Our next event is a British Hillclimb Championship counter on May 24th & 25th, with the UK’s top cars and stars descending on Gurston once again. Can Alex Summers, winner of the opening two BHC Run Offs at Prescott on April 27th in his 1.3 supercharged DJ Firehawk take the fight to the big V8s on Gurston’s ‘power hill’? Don’t miss it; it’s going to be awesome!

For full details and all the latest information, keep up to speed at www.gurstondown.org.

 

Thank you so much for this report Simon, all of your efforts are really appreciated and we look forward to getting more news from ‘down on the farm’!

 

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