HSA CHAMPIONSHIP FAQs
Have a question about the HSA Speed Championship and its regulations? This FAQ is intended to answer many of the questions that we regularly hear about the Championship. If your question doesn't appear on this page you can always get in touch with us via the enquiry page and we will get back to you with the answer.
The aim of the HSA Speed Championship is to continue to be the premier club level National Speed Championship, for Sprinters and Hillclimbers, appealing equally to both experienced competitors and novices.
We try and achieve this in a number of ways:
- Approachable organisers, most of whom are competitors and officials who are usually in attendance at Championship rounds
- A high profile sponsor who is closely involved with Hillclimbing and Sprinting and is interested in the sport’s development at every level
- A highly informative web site including clear and timely results
- Family friendly competition with pleasant company in an environment where everyone can get the most from their sport
- Invitations to the best venues from organisers who value the presence and status of the HSA Championship and its competitors
- Regular reports and photos, both in Speedscene magazine and on the web site
The HSA Speed Championship dates back to 1996 and provides the perfect starting point for both new competitors to the sport of Speed Hillclimbing and Sprinting and also the more experienced competitor. Widely recognised as the premier clubman’s speed championship you may enter with just an MSA ‘B’ Speed licence, which does not require a test or medical.
Comprising more than 30 rounds throughout the British Isles including iconic venues like Shelsley Walsh, Prescott, Harewood, Goodwood, Mallory Park and Aintree. There are around 26 different classes, which cover cars of every type from a daily road car, with only a minimum of modifications required, through modified and specialist cars to single seat racing cars and classic cars from the past. All cars must comply with MSA rules in the ‘Blue Book’, which you receive with your competition licence.
The championship is scored on the best 9 results so you can choose where to compete and as often or as little according to your personal preference. There is a good selection of awards including one for those only taking part in 4 rounds and one for drivers sharing a car. The unique scoring system gives all competitors the opportunity to score consistently by gaining points from both their place in class and their best time achieved. All rounds of the Championship are reported in Speedscene magazine and this web site along with plenty of action photos.
Frequently asked questions:
Q. Why do I have to join the HSA in order to compete in the Championship?
A. The MSA (the governing body of most motor sport in the UK) requires any competitor entering a Championship or an event to be a fully paid up member of an MSA accredited motor club. For regional, single venue or one make Championships this requirement is met by being a member of one of the clubs in the region, the venues’s own club or the one make club. Other, more diverse Championships, including the HSA, require competitors to become members of the organising club. Membership of the HSA not only provides access to the Championship but also invitations to many other events held throughout the year. In addition, it offers members Speedscene magazine and full involvement via the HSA web site. The HSA also has two representatives on the MSA Speed Committee where our views can be taken into account at a National level. We have found that our members and competitors appreciate making this wider contribution to the sport.
Q. What do you mean by Championship classes and Event classes?
A. This is the question that most confuses newcomers to the sport. Event and Championship organisers have the right to decide on the classes they wish to offer within a set of categories laid down by the MSA. This means that the classes described in the Championship regulations will often be different to those offered in the regulations for an event you might wish to enter. This isn’t a great problem as there will always be a class (or in some cases a choice of classes) that your car will be eligible for. It does mean, however, that some of your fellow competitors in the Championship may not be in the same class as you on the day of every event. Again, this isn’t too great a problem because when we work out the Championship scores for each event we put each competitor into their correct Championship class, irrespective of which class the event organiser allocated.
Q. Why don’t you include other competitors in the Class at an event for scoring purposes as some other Championships do?
A. For two very good reasons (also see Question above):
ONE: We have found that competitors sometimes like the opportunity to compete at the ‘big’ events such as rounds of the British Hillclimb, British Sprint and Midland Hillclimb Championships. If we were to include all competitors per class for scoring purposes then competitors in many classes (mainly the non roadgoing ones) would be competing against the best cars and drivers in the UK. Although this is a good thing in terms of encouraging a higher level of competition, it would mean the scores achieved by HSA competitors at these events could be lower and therefore a potential disincentive to attend these premier events. With our approach you are actually competing against the best on the day while, at the same time, competing against your peers in the Championship. The best of both worlds we think.
TWO: At an event you often find competitors who ‘belong’ to a Championship class spread out over two, three or even four other event classes – including,for example those competing in age related, one make, single club, ‘B’ licence holders, another Championship etc. To bring all the competitors from these other classes together into our Championship classes for scoring purposes is both difficult and error prone. What was the year of manufacture of a particular car, what tyres was another using, was it a bike or car engine fitted and so on? We could guess but we aim to provide our competitors with both fast and accurate, and above all transparent scoring, and so prefer to avoid anything which could cloud the picture.
Q. Why do you have so many rounds?
A. Simply for choice. We know that some competitors prefer not to travel long distances while others prefer hillclimbs to sprints or vice versa. Some competitors favour certain venues while others have work or family commitments which rule out certain week-ends. We offer over 30 rounds per year , but the results from no more than a competitor’s best nine scores count for the Championship.
Q. Why are there so many classes?
A. This is a difficult one. The aim is to offer a class for every car and provide as level a playing field as possible within each class. However, aside from one make classes, there can still be a large difference in performance within a class. Obviously we can’t have a class for each car, so it has to be a compromise, and one which we keep under regular review. This is motor sport though and competitors seek the maximum advantage they can, so choosing the best car for the class remains a way of gaining a competitive advantage. Since the winner of the highest scoring class will also be the overall Championship winner, this choice can be quite important!
Q. Why don’t you use a handicap scoring system for classes where there is a big difference in performance between eligible cars?
A. Handicapping is a bit like the holy grail! Wonderful if you can find it but very elusive. We think that handicapping could work for some of our classes but we haven’t yet come up with a method that we feel is fair in all circumstances. We recognise that it is used successfully in some other Championships – often the one make variety where the job of the handicapper is a little easier. Another difficulty is creating a fair set of rules for the overall Championship. We don’t think it would be fair for some class winners to compete on a handicap basis alongside others who are aiming to beat existing records and their class competitors on a scratch basis. We are, however, keeping this handicapping issue under review, as it may be appropriate for levelling out the wide performance differences between eg classic/historic cars and creating a parallel competition for them alongside the overall Championship.
Q. Why doesn’t your scoring recognise wet events and adjust the scores accordingly?
A. We have considered this at length and recognise that it has been tried elsewhere. However, how wet is wet, who decides, what if a timed run is wet/damp for some competitors and dry for the others and so on? If we could find a solution that was fair in all circumstances and free from producing distorted scores we would introduce it. Another holy grail!
In any case, with only nine out of 30 plus events to count, the rain factor should be minimised over most seasons.
Q. Why don’t you have any rounds in Scotland or Northern Ireland?
A. A good question and one we continually review. In the past we have included a round in Scotland but only one competitor turned up! If interest grows we will certainly consider it again.
Q. Why was the Championship held for the ALDON trophy?
A. The HSA Speed Championship began in 1998 and for the first 10 years of its life was sponsored by ALDON Automotive. With such a history and well known past champions names engraved on the trophy, subsequent sponsors elected to retain this historical link until the 2012 Championship year when ALDON and SBD joined together to present a prestigious new trophy now known as the HSA Championship Trophy.
Q. What does the Championship eligibility scrutineer do?
A. The Championship eligibility scrutineer is an MSA Scrutineer who judges whether a vehiicle is eligible for the Championship class it is entered in. Remember these Championship classes may often be different to the classes at an event and the event scrutineers are concerned only with the regulations that apply on the day. Our eligibility scrutineer attends a number of Championship rounds and is available to answer questions by ‘phone or email.
Q. What do the Championship stewards do?
A. Any decision taken by the HSA Championship organisers that a competitor feels is wrong can be appealed to the Championship stewards who will adjudicate on the matter.
Q. Why must competitors register for the Championship at least 7 days prior to their first event?
A. To give the Championship organisers sufficient time to verify the competitor’s details and send the Championship documentation (registration card and stickers) necessary to be accepted for an event and hence qualify for the Championship.
Q. Why do only the first two timed runs at an event count towards scoring?
A. Two timed runs are the minimum number that event organisers should provide - excluding instances of force majeure. Often when time or circumstances permit the organisers may offer more timed runs, - sometimes as many as five or six. The main reason we limit Championship scoring to the first two is because we use HSA Class records as the basis of our scoring and so if, one year, an event has five timed runs there is a greatly increased chance of setting a new record which would be much more difficult to reach in following years if only two runs were offered. Another reason is that competitors would feel obliged to take part in all the timed runs which may be difficult for those travelling long distances or for those experiencing damage or reliability issues or who simply don’t wish to over use their cars.
Q. Why don’t you offer awards for the best lady or veteran driver?
A. We used to, but in this day and age gender and age discrimination are less acceptable than they were.
Q. Do you have to take part in 9 events to qualify for an award?
A. No! Your best 9 scores count but in many cases awards can be won by scoring well in a fewer number of rounds. You can, of course, chose to take part in just 4 events to qualify for the Peter Stevens memorial trophy for the highest score from 4 rounds.
Q. What should I do if I think another competitor’s car is ineligible?
A. This is a tricky one but there are well established ways of dealing with it. Firstly it is worth noting that there is the letter of the rules (as laid down in the MSA Blue Book and organisers’ own regulations) and there is the spirit of the rules. In professional motor sport it is said that there is no such thing as the spirit of the rules but we are an amateur sport where we aim to have fair and friendly competition so we will deal with both.
To a very large extent, the HSA Championship rules follow the regulations set out in the MSA’s Blue Book. There are good reasons for this. The Blue Book regulations have been developed over many years, run into hundreds of pages and are well understood by the scrutineers who attend every event. Of course there will always be some grey areas, differences in interpretation and apparent contradictions but the Blue Book is still by far and away the most comprehensive and best understood source of regulations.
Now if it is felt that another car infringes the rules set out for the class it is entered in then, in the first instance, a friendly and polite enquiry to the competitor can often resolve the point at issue by clarifying either your or the competitor’s understanding of the rule in question. Alternatively you can ask an event scrutineer to clarify your understanding of the regulations and if a number of competitors voice the same concern the matter may well be taken further. As a last resort a formal protest can be lodged, usually within 30 minutes from the end of the meeting and in accordance with the procedures set out in C(5) of the Blue Book, although it must be said that this is a rare occurrence in Hillclimbing and Sprinting. A final option is to raise the question with the Championship eligiblity scrutineer and the Championship Stewards who may investigate the matter further, depending on what steps have already been taken.
The spirit of the rules is a more difficult concept to enforce or police as it is largely subjective. If it concerns an important issue then it should really be written into the regulations but otherwise it really all comes down to peer pressure and action. For example is spending £50,000 on an engine for a car in a Roadgoing class against the spirit of the regulations? Maybe so, although we sometimes see complete cars costing more than this. But if someone really wants to win that badly all that will happen is that people will feel it to be excessive and will desert the class leaving it without any other competitors.
Q. Why does a Sports Racing car hold some records for Class W?
A. We used to have one class (W) for Classic Racing & Sports Racing cars built up to Dec 1975 but when the MSA introduced their 7 categories they insisted we split this class into one for Racing cars (W) and one for Sports Racing cars (W3).It was decided to keep all existing records for W and start afresh with W3. We recognised that a few W records were held by a Sports Racer but took the view that if single seaters couldn't beat a sports racer's record then they needed to try harder!