For Sale… More Hillclimb History!

One of the most successful single chassis in the history of the British Hillclimb Championship has been spotted for sale on a popular race car marketplace website.

David Grace Pilbeam MP58

David Grace with MP58-05 at Prescott in 1994 (thanks to Steve Wilkinson)

 

The aluminium honeycomb tubbed Pilbeam MP58 was the car of the late 80s and early 90s on the hills of the UK. The MP58 won BHC titles for Martyn Griffiths (1990 & 1991), Roy Lane (1992 & 1996), David Grace (1993 & 1994) and Andy Priaulx (1995).

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Blasts from the Past in Ulster

Whilst at the British Hillclimb Championship round at Craigantlet, near Belfast, in Northern Ireland last weekend, we spotted some fascinating kit amongst the local entry.

Craigantlet Hillclimb

The famous view from the crossroads at Craigantlet

 

There was a huge field of local Ulster competitors present and several familiar and very interesting bits of kit featured amongst the class runners. Let’s have a look at a small selection of the cars competing.

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Wiscombe Weekend Wrap-up

Although there was a higher-profile Midland Hillclimb Championship round at Loton Park in Shropshire at the weekend, we decided that it was time to check out some proper club hillclimbing and headed West to Wiscombe Park in Devon instead.

Wiscombe Park

It really was cracking weather at Wiscombe!

 

Local club Torbay Motor Club hosted Saturday’s event, before Wildlife Motorsport (the former organisers of Cricket St. Thomas Hillclimb) took over for Sunday. Both events were rounds of the ASWMC South West Hillclimb Championship.

2013 season sensation Ed ‘Kimi’¬†Hollier travelled the 6 miles or so from his home to the hill and used his local knowledge to great effect with another pair of stunning FTDs in the Pilbeam-Suzuki MP62.

Ed was chased hard on Saturday by Cornishman Andrew Dinner in his Vauxhall-powered Pilbeam, the mad Dougie Bennett in his mega horse-powered Sylva Striker and a delighted Paul Crute who finally managed a sub-40s run in his ex. Lane/Young Pilbeam-Jaguar MP58.

 

There was great entertainment throughout the field though and the Class A2 battle was a real highlight. Steve Ellis (Escort), Martin Ellis (Escort), Hugh Trotman (Elise) and Jon Langmead (Kings Mews Elan) had a mighty scrap. Trotman lead at the break, but despite surviving an almighty spin exiting The Esses unscathed, he slipped to third at the end. Langmead found nearly a second when it mattered most and closed in on Trotman, but the Ellis Brothers had the class in the palm of their hand by the end. Martin took the lead with a strong time, but Steve seemed to want it more and threw all caution to the wind at Martini Hairpin, nailed the throttle, and fish-tailed over the line with the rev-limiter popping away. He secured the win by over half a second. Great stuff!

Jon Langmead Lotus Elan

Jon Langmead’s lovely Elan

 

Other cracking performances came from Anthony Wright (Audi A3), Anthony Bulpitt (Sierra Sapphire), Mark Shillaber (Ford Fiesta), Gordy Eyles (Vauxhall Tigra) and Andy Short (OMS SC1).

 

Unluckiest driver of the weekend has to have been Vauxhall Nova Andy Stoddart. Stoddart installed a fresh engine in his car late on Friday night, finished the job at 1.30am, and made an early start to get to the event. Unfortunately within 13 hours of him completing the engine transplant he was sat on the exit of The Gate with a rod through the block. Motorsport can be a very cruel mistress sometimes.

On the Sunday a couple of big-hitters joined the crews at the Devon venue, including Ian Cameron (Chaplin Hornet) and former British Sprint contenders Roy & David Sims (Ralt RT33/34), unfortunately though Andrew Dinner had to depart the venue and return home due to work pressures.

Hollier stormed the hill all day and finished up on a brilliant new personal best of 35.42s, what will he achieve when he puts new tyres on the car at Gurston this weekend!?

 

The modified OMS of Cameron was second on the road, but couldn’t get within three seconds of Kimi. Dave Sims, who was start marshalling the previous day at the hill, nearly pipped Cameron for second. Dougie Bennett was still in the top 5 overall, but was not overly pleased with his times in the monster Striker.

Wiscombe really is such a wonderful place to be when the sun shines, if only we could book it for more hillclimb weekends!

Opening Wiscombe

Woolbridge Motor Club held its first hillclimbs of 2013 by running their traditional late April double-header at Wiscombe Park in East Devon.

Wiscombe Park Hillclimb

 

In years gone by, this event would have been the second round of the British Hillclimb Championship, but since Woolbridge moved their National status event to July in hunt of better weather back in 2001, the April meeting has been a South West Championship event.

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Hillclimb Suspension Development

Over the years the British Hillclimb scene has seen a huge amount of technical innovation, in particular (traditionally) in the area of suspension and steering.

Will Hall Force WH

Traditional, but highly effective pushrod/monoshock set-up on the Force WH

 

From the early days of the BHC when ERAs used clever radius arms in conjunction with leaf springs to generate immense traction, through the transverse leaf-springs of the early Coopers, to wishbones with the 1960s mid-engined cars we’ve seen it all… Or have we?

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Priaulx’s DTM Adventure

British Hillclimbing’s greatest export, certainly in recent memory, has to be 1995 British Hillclimb Champion Andy Priaulx.

Andy Priaulx

Andy Priaulx at Prescott Hillclimb during his Championship year (thanks to Steve Wilkinson)

 

The talented Guernseyman was clearly a step ahead of the rest during his BHC title year and he quickly moved on to roundy-roundy racing, initially in Formula Renault.

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