The Heat is on!

This weekend sees one of Gurston Down’s newest and most popular weekends of the year as the Midland Hillclimb Championship runners and riders arrive in Wiltshire for their now annual ‘road-trip’ to Wiltshire.

Keith Murray Audi 80 Quattro

Keith Murray ‘Grabbed the Gurston Grand’ in 2012.


Traditionally the Midland Championship has only run at the ‘big-three’ Midlands venues of Loton Park, Shelsley Walsh and Prescott, but since their first appearance there in 2012 the MHC runners have greatly enjoyed the addition of the Salisbury venue on their calendar.

As always for BARC SW Centre events Gurston Press Officer Simon McBeath has very kindly sent us a thorough preview to the event:

It’s the Spire FM Race Day at Gurston Down again, and once more the organisers have put up an incredible £1000 prize for the driver who beats his or her class record by the biggest margin (or comes closest to it) during the meeting! This is currently the biggest cash prize in UK speed hillclimbing and, as last year at the inaugural ‘Gurston 1000’, a top quality capacity entry has been received.

Last year Keith Murray, a regular in the Midland Hillclimb Championship collared the cash with a blistering new record in his awesome turbocharged Audi 80 Quattro in the up to 2 litre modified series production cars class. Keith has entered again this year, but having reset the class mark can he repeat the same feat? Will the prize go to another of the visitors or can one of the Gurston regulars scoop the loot?

As well as being a round of the prestigious TTC Group Midland Hillclimb Championship and the BMTR Tyres Top Ten Challenge, venturing outside their traditional homeland to visit Gurston Down for only the second time, this meeting is also round 4 of the Gates of Brockenhurst Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship and Top Ten Challenge. And all the top contenders from these competitions have entered, so it’s going to be a cracking event.

Remember, you really can’t get closer to the action that at multiple award-winning Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb. And with top quality catering and additional food and drink outlets on site there’s everything you need for a fantastic and great value weekend out, so do not miss this exciting event!

The ‘roadgoing’ classes open the meeting, and up to 2000cc roadgoing series production class record holder Miles Horne has a chance to break his own mark here in his rapid 2.0 Peugeot 306. Up against him will be father and son Ian and Karl Chard in their 1.8 Mazda MX5. In the over 2000cc roadgoing series production class Stephen Moore also holds the class record in his potent 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 – can he get below his mark again? Simon Neve runs in this class too in his 2.3 litre Evo 6 and he could feature here. And how will Robert Lancaster-Gaye fare in his superb 3.6 Porsche 996 GT3?

The well-supported roadgoing specialist production class sees some quick runners entered from all over the country. The local favourites so far this year have been Piers Thynne (1.3 turbocharged Westfield Megabusa) and Steve Holland (1.4 Caterham Hayabusa) but they will face stiff opposition from – among others – former class record holders father and son Alan and David Warburton in their now 2.5 litre Duratec-powered Caterham 7.

It’s a mother and daughter scrap again in the up to 2000cc marque sports car class as Gurston treasurer Dee Stapley and daughter Steph Limb once again share the family 1.8 MGF. And in the over 2000cc marque sports car class Bob Mortimer brings out his rapid 3.5 Porsche 911 again to take on regular rivals Graham Beale in his rapid 2.0t Ginetta G33 and Steve Holley in his rumbling 5.2 TVR Griffith. Beale has been edging closer to the class record here and will be tough to beat.

Graham Beale Ginetta G33

Graham Beale is always difficult to beat at Gurston Down


The modified series production cars up to 1400cc class could see former record holder Jim White make a belated season’s debut in his rapid 1.4 Austin Mini Clubman, but the man who leads the championship headings in this class at the moment is Neil Turner in his 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’.

The abovementioned Keith Murray (1.4t Audi 80 Quattro) looks like a hot favourite for the win in the up to 2000cc modified series production cars class, but can he beat the record he set at this meeting last year? Karl Stevens will be charging as always but his 2.0 Ford Escort Mk 2 will be gasping for power compared to Murray’s Audi!

The over 2000cc modified series production saloon class will see the Flaggs flying again as father and son David and Adrian Flagg field their 2.0t Subaru Impreza. Adrian currently lies in second place overall in the Gurston Championship. But a former Champion and the current class record holder makes a welcome return here as Roy Barker once more enters his rapid 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 5 after missing a few events. Does Roy have his sights set on a new record?

The over 2000cc modified series production sports car class will see two very quick visitors battling for honours. Mick Harriman (2.1t Audi Quattro Sport) and Mike Turpin (2.2s Vauxhall VX220) were separated by a mere hundredth at this event last year, the verdict going to Turpin (who also got under the class record in practice but could match that pace in the timed runs).

Mike Turpin Vauxhall VX220

Mike Turpin claimed the MHC title in 2012 with his lively blown VX220


The current Gurston Championship leader Ritchie Gatt goes in the up to 2000cc modified specialist production cars class in his 2.0 Westfield and will be hoping to maintain his series lead with a good win. However Neal Masters is getting to grips with his new mount, also a 2.0 Westfield, and is steadily closing the gap here…

Mike Rudge is another former Gurston Champion and currently lies third overall in this year’s series, and he will also be looking for another win with his 2.3 Westfield in the over 2000cc modified specialist production class.

The Historically Interesting class sees all the usual local heroes entered, with former record holders Fyrth Crosse (1.6 Ensign LNF3) and Geoff Hunt (1.6 Lotus 22) making the running here.

In the Hillclimb Supersports class once again Mark Mortimer has entered his 2.0 Mallock Mk 18B, and after sheared wheel studs prevented him running in June 23rd’s event he will be looking for a solid finish here.

The up to 2000cc sports libre class will feature the usual battle between local protagonists Jonathan Gates, the Gurston Championship sponsor, in the 1.6 Force LM he shares with Peter Sexton, and once again these two take on Keith Diggle in his 2.0 WEV HCS, In the Gurston Championship’s first three rounds these three have secured a win apiece so far…! Who will come out top this time?

The over 2000c sports libre class will be a cracker, with class record holder Nic Mann returning in his amazing 1.7 turbocharged Mannic Beattie after a long layoff resolving technical issues with the unique turbocharger system on this car (which features an auxiliary gas turbine driving the turbocharger…). Pitted against him will be Rob Stevens and Adrian Britnell in their shared 1440cc supercharged Force SR4, which now runs in the over 2000cc class (allowing for the 1.4 multiplication factor applied to pressure charged engines) having had its engine very slightly enlarged after breaking the record in the up to 2000cc class last year! And local drivers Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes will also run in their shared twin-engine Force SR8 along with Tim Painter and Andy Fraser in their shared MG Metro 6R4.

The single-seater racing cars kick off with the 500cc historic racers, and father and son John and Andrew Forsyth go in their shared Alfa Dana here.

The 1100cc racing car class sees a quality field going, with Adam Steel pitting his 1.0 Martlet against the 1.0 Empire of Simon Fidoe. Gurston regulars Calum Kemp (1.1 OMS PR) and James Moore (1.1 OMS 2000M) will be battling it out here too.

Formula Ford class record holder Andrew Henson and Nicola Dearden run in their shared 1.6 Van Diemen RF91 once again, and having established the class record on his first visit to Gurston last year Andrew will be looking to improve this year and perhaps put himself into contention for the Gurston Grand?

Andrew Henson Van Diemen

Andrew Henson always drives immaculately in the family Van Diemen.


The up to 1600cc racing car class will feature the current leader of the Gurston Top Ten Challenge, Ed Hollier in his 1.6 Pilbeam MP62, and on current form is the favourite to win here. But in June 23rd’s event Peter D. Smith (1.6 Force) was only 0.35 seconds behind Hollier and should not be ruled out!

There’s a healthy turnout in the up to 2000cc racing car class and predicting a winner here is not easy! Andy McBeath took two class wins in his 1.3s OMS 25 at the June double-header, and Tim Davies won back in May in the 2.0 Pilbeam MP88 he shares with Bill Morris. How will the 1.3s Gould GR59 of father and son Brian and Simon Moyse fare this time?

The over 2000cc racing car class will surely produce ‘Best Time of the Day’, and last year’s outright winner Deryk Young looks favourite in his 4.0 Gould GR51, although Oliver Tomlin recently returned to competition in his 4.0 Pilbeam MP97 after the accident which damaged him and his car at Wiscombe Park last season, so it will be good to see him at Gurston again. Deryk’s wife Sue is the Gurston Ladies record holder in the Gould, and Oliver’s mum Sandra is the former Ladies record holder and she shares the Pilbeam.

Deryk Young Gould GR51B

Deryk Young dominated both Midland Run Offs in 2012


The event rounds off with some pre-1985 racing cars and here Rodney Eyles will surely make the running in his 2.7 Pilbeam MP53.

As always, this meeting promises some terrific motorsport against the clock. Be sure not to miss it!

Keep up to speed on the Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb website

We will be on site at Gurston over the weekend, so keep an eye on the Twitter Feed for all the news, gossip and results!

Speak Your Mind