Who Needs Goodwood!?

With Glastonbury Festival and the Goodwood Festival of Speed happening elsewhere in the South of England, the picturesque Prescott Hillclimb in Gloucestershire held its Mid-Summer Speed Fest over the weekend.

Prescott Hillclimb

The Gloucestershire venue was in fine fettle.

 

The event featured a stand-alone round of the hugely popular Midland Hillclimb Championship, alongside the HSA, National Speed and Paul Matty Classic Sports Championships. The event also hosted the second round of the famous Prescott Gold Cup.

Top British Championship contenders Will Hall, Trevor Willis and Deryk Young were present and unsurprisingly dominated proceedings at the top end of the results, but there were many interesting scraps further down the entry list to keep the crowd amused.

Despite suffering from a starter problem prior to practice on Sunday morning, 2012 BHC winner Willis threw his RPE V8-powered OMS 28 around like it was a group 4 rally car to claim FTD and both BMTR Run Off wins. After noise issues on the Saturday, Hall ran the Force WH with its 2013-spec exhaust system for the main event and was a comfortable second each time. Midlands master Deryk Young blasted the big methanol-fuelled Judd V8 Gould under the bridge faster than all bar Hall for a podium spot in the first shootout but failed to qualify second time up after an issue saw the car struggle off of the start line. OMS constructor and 1600cc class winner Steve Owen took Del’s spot on the podium after a good day with his bike-engined 28 chassis.

In the classes there were some close battles as well as some real upsets… Midland Championship hopeful Robert Lancaster-Gaye was well beaten by the Evo 5 of Roy Stanley and was forced to hand sole lead of the series to former champ Mike Turpin, who had the measure of fellow VX220 driver Eynon Price when it mattered.

The ever-entertaining Class B for road-going kit cars saw an upset as Team Warby took a bit of a hammering! Their mega-powerful 2.5 litre Caterham had to settle for a most unusual 3rd (Snr) & 4th (Jnr) place in class as the more nimble versions of first run leader Simon Jenks and popular winner Steve Garner charged ahead. Former 1600cc Racing Car record holder Robert Kenrick had another fun run in his Father’s multiple Midland title winning Caterham-BDG to take a comfortable win in the Modified class.

A lovely selection of proper(!) Sports Libre cars contested the sub-2000cc class and our old mate Andy Short was chuffed to bits with a Prescott class win in his turbo-charged OMS SC1, ahead of similar atmo-engined version of Tim Cross and Charles Williams. The retirement of Stevens/Britnell (engine) and Graham Loakes (suspension) meant that Graham Wynn only had the interesting, but somewhat outclassed, Jaguar-engined Lotus Excel of Nick Phelps to play with in the big class and an easy win followed.

The usual massed-ranks of 1100cc runners jostled for position all weekend, but there was never any doubt about the winner. Chris Aspinall is the man to beat at the moment as he gets to grips with the Team C&A Empire Wraith, and a super-consistent pair of class runs saw him claim the win, get into both Run Offs and set the first sub-40s run for one of the Willem Toet-penned aero masterpieces. The podium spots were filled by the smallest of the new OMS 28s with Simon Andrews at the wheel, and the space frame OMS Hornet of hillclimb superstar Mark Goodyear! Jim Spencer proved that there is room for an ex. circuit car amongst the specialist machinery with fourth in his converted ex. F3 Reynard.

Chris Aspinall Empire Wraith

Chris Aspinall claimed the win in a huge 1100 field.

 

Chassis and engine builder extraordinaire Steve Owen took a dominant win in the 1600cc ahead of a delighted Mike Lee, the 1991 Leaders Champion and 2011 SHC Driver of the Year winner making a rare venture to a Midland round with his OMS 2000M. With all four runners within 1 second at the end, Richard Summers came out on top amongst the FF1600 runners ahead of Darren Gumley who should be back in his 1100cc Force very soon.

It was great to see a pair of Gould GR59s back in action again after a tricky, delayed start to the season. The blown Hayabusa chassis of Paul Haimes (turbo) and Simon Moyse (blower) set a class 1-2 as Haimes lead home Moyse. Haimes missed out on the Run Offs as he isn’t registered for the MHC, but Moyse was in each time although frustrated at being unable to match his morning pace later in the day.

Simon Moyse Gould GR59

The GR59s hoovered up the top 2-litre awards!

 

As usual in the MHC, former British Sprint Champion Rodney Eyles used the grunt of his Hart motor to power ahead of Jon Varley’s prototype March 77P and take top spot in the pre-1985 class and second overall in the title race. The earlier class saw a very tough record erased as Richard Jones finally got his Brabham BT29X under Peter Voigt’s 2003 target. The extra power from his newly rebuilt 1800cc BDA motor has seen Jones add the Prescott and Shelsley records to the Gurston record he already held, only Loton to go Richard!

The meeting did seem to limp along slowly at times as many incidents and occasionally slow clear-ups dragged on, but despite this the lovely weather and great competition meant that nearly everyone left the home of the Bugatti Owners Club with a smile on their face!

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