Shelsley Starts!

For the first time in 2013 the Teme Valley in Worcestershire reverberated to the sound of highly tuned racing engines at the weekend as the Midland Hillclimb Championship made its first of three visits to Shelsley Walsh.

Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb

The Shelsley Walsh ‘Dyno’

 

The hallowed tarmac of The World Famous venue was in fantastic condition following a whole host of winter improvements and records tumbled as a result. Both the resurfacing to The Esses section and the improved banking on the inside of Crossing Bend seemed to be universally popular amongst the drivers.

Reigning British Hillclimb Champion Trevor Willis was using this Midland Championship event to put more mileage on his still very new OMS 28 chassis. Having shaken the car down with 6th and 3rd placed Run Off finishes at Prescott seven days previous, now it was time to see how the car went at speed. The answer, two Run Off wins and an FTD, appears to be ‘pretty damn good’!

 

Fellow locals Deryk Young and Will Hall filled the remaining podium spots each time, swapping places throughout. Star of the Run Offs though was former multiple Midland Champion Rob Stevens who blasted his supercharged Force sports racer between the banks for a pair of fourth places.

 

In the classes, performance of the day surely came in the 2-litre Mod Prod class. One of the oldest class records in the Shelsley program was comprehensively demolished by one of the most popular cars on the hills. Keith Murray and the 4×4 Audi 80 Turbo approached Willem Toet’s 1993 record at each event last year, and even beat the record in practice in August, but either weather or reliability ruined his plans. Now that mark has been reset, and by some distance, as Murray hustled the immaculate ‘three-box’ saloon to the top in under 30 seconds!

Keith Murray Shelsley Walsh

Keith Murray examines Bottom Esse at Lunchtime

 

The other record breaker on the day came from one of the smoothest drivers at any hillclimb. Andrew Henson has driven a huge variety of great cars over the years from Ralt RT1 to Pilbeam MP62 and he already held the Shelsley Pre-84 record and the Formula Ford record. Andrew, sharing his Van Diemen with Nicola Deardon as always, reset the FF1600 mark by over quarter of a second on his way to the class win.

In qualifying for the all-important, points-scoring Run Offs, sportscar star Stevens approached Nik Mann’s very tough Outright Sports Libre record.

All in all, it was a fantastic start to the Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb season. Great cars, great competition, great people, great commentary, great place!

 

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