Thrilling Gurston Finale

The 2012 Gurston Down hillclimb season came to an end yesterday with a one-day meeting organised, as always, by the BARC SW Centre.

Simon Thornley  Gurston Down

Simon Thornley got close to Darren Luke’s tough class record en route to the championship title


It was a cracking event, with both the Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship and the Gurston Down Top 10 Challenge titles going down to the wire and being decided on the day.

As always, Simon McBeath has sent us an excellent and thorough report on the goings-on at the popular Wiltshire hill.

The 2012 Gates of Brockenhurst Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship was won in fine style on Sunday September 9th by Simon Thornley from Redditch in his roadgoing specialist production class 1.9 Westfield with a determined 31.84 second first climb, less than two tenths away from the class record. Simon’s final points tally of 25.60 points was only 0.68 points clear of a hard charging Roy Barker though, the 2010 champion from Stockbridge resetting the over 2000cc modified series production saloon car class record with a tremendous 32.73 second climb on his final run of the season in the 2.3 Mitsubishi Evo 5. And charging into the final podium spot in the championship was another former Gurston champ, the irrepressible Mike Rudge from Cwmbran attacking the hill in habitual style in his 2.3 Westfield to set a time just 12 hundredths away from his own class record to finish third overall on 23.39 points.

Fastest time of the day went to Tony Wiltshire from Newton Abbott in his 2.5 Gould GR55 with an excellent personal best 27.39 second climb, and this also tied up the Top Ten Challenge title for Tony once again.

Tony Wiltshire Gurston Down

Tony Wilt set FTD with a PB time


One other class record was broken during the meeting, Stephen Moore from Stapleford taking his 2.0 Mitsubishi Evo 6 to a new roadgoing series production cars record in 33.81 seconds. And one of Gurston’s oldest records was equalled by Karl Chard from New Milton in the family 2.0 Toyota MR2, his time of 33.97 seconds exactly matching the mark set back in 1997.

Local drivers featured strongly in the event as always.

In the Austin Healey Sprite invitation class Murray Wakeham from Warminster came from behind with a second run charge to take the class in his 1.4 Austin Healey Sprite.

The roadgoing series production class up to 2000cc produced the usual battle but Miles Horne from Fordingbridge went sub-40 seconds on both runs in his 2.0 Peugeot 306 to take the win. In his 2.0 Honda S2000 Adrian Cornwell from Wells set an identical time to Jules Freeman from Eastleigh in his 2.0 Renault Clio Cup but Cornwell took second place on aggregate by just seven hundredths!

In the up to 2000cc modified limited production marque sports car class Simon Purcell from Sherborne took the expected win in his 1.4 supercharged Lotus Exige from Hannah Stapley Bealing (Sturminster Newton) in her 1.8 MGF.

Southampton’s Jim White had to come from behind after gear selection problems in his 1.4 Austin Mini Clubman on the run to the finish first time up, but a very deliberate second effort got him the up to 1400cc modified series production class win from Andover’s Neil Turner in his 1.4 Mini Cooper S with Jim’s son Steve White, also from Southampton and sharing the car with his Dad in third.

In the up to 2000cc modified series production class outgoing Gurston champion Paul Webster from Fareham had the consolation of the class win in his New Techniques 1.9 Mazda MX5.

The event didn’t go so well for Weymouth father and son duo Graham and Geoff Blake though as Geoff lost the back end of the car exiting the Karousel hairpin and collided with a very sturdy barrier, which deranged the rear suspension and put the car out of action for the rest of the meeting. Graham had managed to set a time on his first climb though and took second in class.

The Historically Interesting class produced some fine cars to watch, and Salisbury’s Chris Cannell emerged comfortably the fastest in his 1.7 St Bruno Roughcutter to take the class win.

Another great tussle ensued in the up to 2000cc sports libre class with Aldershot’s Keith Diggle once more getting the verdict in his superb self-constructed 2.0 WEV HCS, this time by just under four tenths from Gurston championship sponsor Jonathan Gates from Brockenhurst in his 1.6 Force LM.

The over 2000cc sports libre class was tight too, and this time Sue Hayes from Salisbury emerged top in the twin-engined 2.6 Force SR8 ahead of regular rival Hayley Thorne from Frampton near Dorchester in the 5.0 Pilbeam MP43 by just thirteen hundredths.

Sue Hayes Gurston Down

Sue Hayes took the big Libre win with the twin-engined Force


The ‘historic’ 500cc racing cars entertained as ever, and the class win went to Mark Riley from Frome in his Creamer JAP.

The up to 1600cc racing car class was hard fought and James Blackmore from Ropley near Winchester had to come from behind with a final run charge to steal the win in his 1.6 OMS 25 by just thirteen hundredths from first run leader Ed Hollier from Ottery St Mary in his 1.6 Pilbeam MP62.

It was a great finish to another great season at the scenic Wiltshire hillclimb venue that saw record driver entry levels and superb motorsport competition against the clock.

News, views, dates and details at

Many thanks for the report Simon, and many thanks to all of the committee and crew at Gurston for yet another fantastic year of hillclimb competition.

Here’s to more of the same in 2013!

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