Wallace’s Wobble!

The tricky finish line at Gurston Down is one of the points in British Speed Hillclimbing where the top cars hit the highest terminal speeds seen all year.

Wallace Menzies DJ Racecars

Wallace Menzies prepares to launch the DJ Firestorm


Back in the mid to late 1990s, the advent of the carbon fibre monocoque chassis (in particular the Ralt RT37-based Gould GR37), combined with the fearlessness of David Grace, Alan Thompson and a few others, saw the magic 150mph barrier broken through the speed trap at the Wiltshire farm course.

These days it is taken as a given that the ‘big boys’ will get their cars through the Ess-Bend over the finish line absolutely ‘Harry Flatters’. Still though, all of the top cars are in the 150-159mph bracket.

David Grace Gould GR37

David Grace and the Gould GR37 were the first to regularly hit 150mph at Gurston Down (thanks to Steve Wilkinson)


That nearly changed at the weekend. Scotsman Wallace Menzies has been winding more and more ‘power-grease’ into his ex. Indycar Cosworth XD engine in his stunning DJ Firestorm over the past couple of seasons. The latest raft of winter mods, which include methanol-fuelling via no less than 24 injectors, have seen the power figures rise yet again. And this time the rumour is that the high-revving V8 now exceeds the 650bhp of the previously all-conquering Nicholson McLaren XB unit.

Wallace was pushing harder and harder on the run to the finish and through the preceding Ashes Bend in an attempt to hit the magic 160. Each time though he ended up on the rev-limiter prior to the finish line speed trap, and he just missed out. He did hit a stunning 158mph using the longest gear ratio he currently has. Word is that a 160mph gear may be in place for the August event at Gurston!

It wasn’t only the finish section where the Menzies was pushing so hard however. He was also trying to make the best use of the XD grunt down the start shute and through Hollow Bend. He didn’t always get his line right into the super-fast left-hander, but a pair of second places in the Run Offs and many grinning spectators on the lower reaches of the hill showed just how hard he tried.

Here is a huge moment we caught during first qualifying… Great stuff Wallace!


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