Soaking Shelsley – The Classes

Whilst the big boys were attempting to qualify for the Top 12 Shootouts at The World Famous Shelsley Walsh, the class runners were chasing hard for Leaders and Midland championship points. Wet conditions can often throw up some surprise results and this weekend was no exception.

BRM P25 Shelsley Walsh

BRM GP cars on display at Shelsley


Class 1B for 2 litre Specialist Production cars always features a massive scrap between the Automotive engined cars, and with the bike-engined Caterham of the invincible Darren Luke absent this weekend, that scrap was also for the win. Ash Mason (still waiting to finish building his DJ Firehawk) wheeled out the Westfield again and took the win with a great second run, but he was pushed really hard by class record holder Dave Warburton who closed to within 4/100ths of Mason’s time. Dave’s Father Allan took third place, but was some distance behind after big moments into Kennel Bend and through The Esses. Star of the day though must have been an inspired Ray Lohr, who lead the field at half time (and gained bragging rights for some time) before slipping to 4th as he failed to improve later.

The over 2 litre Spec Prod class was a game of two halves as the Rover-powered TVR & Morgan of Steve Mogg & Mike Meredith respectively lead the way at the break, but in the afternoon record holder Simon Jenks found nearly 5 seconds to take the win.

2012 hillclimb returnee Keith Murray was back at Shelsley and again gunning for Willem Toet’s age-old 2 litre mod-prod record with his charasmatic new Audi 80. The 4×4 turbocar is a stunning bit of kit, but again the weather scuppered his record-breaking plans. Murray still took the class win by 2 seconds and will surely deal with the record when the track conditions allow. Flying Scotsman David Patterson (rated by Graeme Wight Jnr as “the best driver I know”) chased really hard with his lovely 106 Rallye for 2nd place.

The unlimited Mod Prod result was never in doubt as the spectacular looking and sounding VX220 of Mike Turpin charged to the win. Behind him however, there was a great Porsche battle between two very different 911s. Andy Tomkins eventually claimed second with his normally aspriated SC Targa, but he was just quarter of a second clear of the supercharged Carrera of Andrew Norris.

Wee-Hairy Les Mutch made the long journey from North of the Border worthwhile by taking Mod Spec Prod honours with the GWR Dax. Debbie Dunbar sprang a surprise by running second in the trickier morning conditions, but Father Andy pushed hard to take finish runner-up to Mutch later on. Mike Jolly, co-driving the GWR Dax as always, found a chunk of time on the second run to push Debbie back to fourth. Peter Kukainis must have been most disappointed though, he put in a conservative first run, but then suffered a misfire as he came to the line second time round and the Midlands specialist was unable to run.

For the second week in a row, there was a healthy gathering of Clubmans cars at a BHC round. Scottish Mallock stalwart George Emmerson stormed to an unexpected win ahead of former MG director Kim Johnson. The win was unexpected as the bookies favourites were definitely the Stephens Brothers in their (ex. Thompson, Brown, Lee, Groves, etc.) record-holding Mallock Mk21/24, but unfortunately Gary & Gavin’s challenge never really got going this weekend.

Strangely, one of the best supported classes of 2011 has become somewhat depleted in 2012. After the withdrawl of Rob Stevens and Mark Dempster the 2 litre Sports Libre class was down to just two runners, and to be honest there was no competition for eventual winner Graham Wynn OBE who took his Force LM to the win, over 7 seconds clear of Brian Dennis’ much modified, but somewhat out-gunned Morris Mini.

The Unlimited Libre class saw a much healthier and very varied turnout. The 4×4 Puma of Mike Manning was predicted by many (including the Sturmanizer) to qualify for the Run Offs in the wet, but it just wasn’t to be. His first qualifier was a little disappointing but still enough to lead the class, and then a bad day was completed by a pulley breaking on the way to the line for the second run AND Terry Clifford sneaking through for the class win in his ex. Fidoe Pilbeam MP43. Now really getting to grips with his brilliant Evo Mini, Allan McDonald took third in what must be perfect conditions for the lightweight 4×4 car.

The 1100s were all about the Force PT of Gary Thomas as he lead throughout and eventually took the win by nearly two seconds after a really on the edge second run. Simon Fidoe found a chunk of time on the second runs as he took his Empire-Suzuki to the runner up spot, just ahead of fellow second run improver Hamish Lindsay in the familiar Jedi.

There was a bit of a surprise in the 1600s. Whilst Lee Adams has been the man to beat all year and tops the Leaders Championship, Raptor co-driver Jos Goodyear has been getting closer and closer to his pace. At Shelsley Jos’ promise was really showcased, he chased Lee home in the first Run Off and then put a storming second qualifier to take the class win by over a second. Maybe the Leaders isn’t sewn up just yet eh?! An inspired Nev Rollason qualified each time and pushed hard-charger Richard Spedding back to fourth in his OMS 25.

After the fireworks at Gurston last week, the 2 litre scrap was expected to be highlight of the meeting, but unfortunately it was not to be. Several cars retired from the fray (including the new GR59 and newer OMS-TKD V8), and those that remained were a little way off of the expected pace. 2012 pace-setter Alex Summers was especially disappointed, the wet conditions were causing his blower to inhale the water spraying from his front tyres, and the resultant power loss cost him nearly 20mph over the finish line. Summers still took the class win by nearly a second from Morgan Jenkins, but was very disappointed not to get into either run off.

The big class was all about FTD man Trevor Willis as he took the win ahead of Roger Moran, Scott Moran and Wallace Menzies.

Despite the best efforts of the weather the event ran smoothly, featured some great competition (and car control), and even finished early!

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