Shropshire Scorcher!

The hardcore nature of the British Hillclimb Championship calendar, plus a tough couple of weeks in the day job, have caused a lack of posts in the last week or so. Sorry about that! Hopefully we can make up for some of that this weekend and next week as we bring you up to speed with a closer look at some of the goings-on over the past few events…

Loton Park Hillclimb

Drivers walk the course at Loton Park

 

Competitors, marshals and spectators were treated to glorious sunshine and high temperatures all weekend as the latest event in the British and Midland Hillclimb Championships took place at Sir Michael Leighton’s Deer Park venue near Shrewsbury.

This was the third event on successive weekends for the BHC runners as the hectic Championship schedule continues, and the seat time was really paying off for some runners as the great conditions allowed drivers to push their cars to the absolute max.

Recent weeks have seen the utter domination of three-time former champ Scott Moran. In mid-May Scott had won 98 BHC Top 12 Run Offs, but by the time he left his home hill of Loton Park he had nailed down his 104th win which brings him level with all-time record holder and former rival Martin Groves.

Scott certainly had to work for his wins this weekend though, “I was on the edge there” he said after the second Run Off of the day “Dad said that there was a 43 in the car after his run, but I wasn’t convinced. I managed a 43.99s so I guess he was right, but I really had to use all of the road to get it!”.

 

Reigning BHC winner Trevor Willis tried everything he knew to try to keep Moran Jnr in sight, but even his best efforts (which included getting the car airborne into turn 1 and massive commitment through the vicious kink on Cedar Straight) could only yield a couple of runner-up placings.

In the first charge for points an inspired Deryk Young, who had been dialing in a new electronics package over the weekend, switched off the traction control and stuck in an impressive run for the final podium position. He couldn’t back it up in the afternoon however and he slipped to fifth.

Roger Moran, Champion way back in 1997, was trying to focus on his concentration after uncharacteristically inconsistent performances at both Gurston and Shelsley in recent weeks. He felt he was getting there by the end of the weekend and was satisfied with 4th at the end after a very disappointing 8th place before lunch.

The boys in the red DJs were sniffing around the back of the top 6 all weekend, with Alex Summers (supercharged Firehawk) 4th and 6th and team-leader Wallace Menzies (V8 Firestorm) 5th and 3rd (much to the delight of Andy Smith).

 

John Bradburn is on a rich vein of form at the moment with the stupendously powerful Cosworth HB powered GR55. Smooth and committed as always, he blasted between the corners for 6th and 7th respectively to reinforce his 6th place in the title race.

The combination of Will Hall and the Force WH secured a Run Off win in the wet at Loton at the back-end of 2012, but he never really looked likely to repeat that in the dry last weekend. The Force was great off of the line and in the twisty stuff, but very hard work up the Cedar (so-called) Straight and required Will to take huge risks for 7 points on the day with 7th and 8th places.

 

Still dialing in the new Gould Turbo-car, Paul Haimes was delighted to qualify each time having solved the gearbox mapping problems which blighted Shelsley and Saturday practice at Loton. A four-placed qualifying run second time up showed the potential in the package, but Haimesy couldn’t make up for a poor start in the shootout and the challenge ended with a harmless spin at Triangle.

With his own electrical gearbox issues now seemingly behind him, Alastair Crawford took a 10th and an 11th from the weekend.

The 1600 pace setters were the ebullient pairing of Eynon Price and Richard Spedding who scrapped hammer & tongs all weekend. Eynon lead for most of the weekend, but Spedding nicked the class win from his grasp. The Welsh Wizard gained revenge in the second Run Off with 9th place, but the class defeat cost him his place at the top of the Leaders Championship table which is now held by Alex Summers.

 

After all of that excitement, and a grueling three consecutive weekends of competition, the championship contenders can take a breath this weekend before preparing themselves for possibly the biggest challenge of the season, Doune Hillclimb. Unfortunately we won’t be in Scotland next weekend, but our spies will certainly be keeping an eye on the action for us, so we’ll bring you all the news we can!

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