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Registrations for 2024 HSA organised championships now open
In 2024 the HSA will be organising three major Championships and two Challenge competitions.
Registrations for the Woodford Trailers Motorsports UK HSA British Sprint championship (including the 11 round Challenge Cup), the Woodford Trailers Motorsports UK HSA Sprint Leaders championship and the Woodford Trailers HSA Speed championship (including the Pre '94 FF Challenge) are now now being taken on-line and by post.
Competitors who register on-line for two Championships (excluding the Challenge competitions) at the same time will receive a discount of £20 and competitors entering three Championships will receive a discount of £30. You can start the registration process here.
The Pre-94 Formula Ford Register Challenge
The 2024 Pre-94 Formula Ford Challenge will take place over four weekends this season. The Challenge runs within the Woodford Trailes HSA Speed Championship is open to competitors with vehicles manufactured prior to 1.1.94 and complying with the relevant Formula Ford Guidance notes and who hold an RS Interclub licence as a minimum
Competitors may register for the Challenge by either registering for the Woodford Trailers HSA Speed Championship in Class J1 or by paying a registration fee of £7 here.
If you would like to learn more about the Challenge, or wish to be added to the Register, please contact Charlie Reilly via email@example.com
Looking for some help to go faster in 2024?
Clive at Shelsley in the Radical (Rob MacDonald)
2024 Woodford Trailers HSA Speed championship draft calendar published
Version 1 of the 2024 Woodford Trailers HSA Speed championship draft calendar is published here. This is a draft calendar and changes may occur at any time.
2024 Woodford Trailers Motorsport UK HSA Sprint Leaders draft calendar published
Version 1 of the 2024 Woodford Trailers Motorsport UK HSA Sprint Leaders championship draft calendar is published here. This is a draft calendar and changes may occur at any time.
2024 Woodford Trailers Motorsport UK HSA British Sprint championship draft calendar published
Version 1 of the 2024 Woodford Trailers Motorsport UK HSA British Sprint championship draft calendar is published here. This is a draft calendar and changes may occur at any time.
Woodford Trailers to sponsor 2024 HSA championships
The Hillclimb and Sprint Association Ltd (HSA) and Woodford Trailers are pleased to announce that Woodford Trailers will become the title sponsor of the HSA's portfolio of speed championships commencing in 2024. The championships will be known as the 2024 Woodford Trailers Motorsport UK HSA British Sprint Championship, the 2024 Woodford Trailers Motorsport UK HSA Sprint Leaders Championship and the Woodford Trailers HSA Speed Championship.
Woodford Trailers, based in Daventry, have been producing British made, prestige open and full covered professional vehicle transporters for over thirty years. They have become a market leader in the commercial, sports and leisure sectors with an excellent reputation for aftercare service.
The HSA's portfolio of championships represent a ladder of opportunity for competitors who wish to take part in speed hillclimbs and sprints starting as a junior or novice in a standard or roadgoing car all the way up to the prestigious British Sprint Championship featuring some of the fastest cars to appear on the UK's circuits and tracks.
REPEAT HAREWOOD TITLES FOR RILEY AND TATHAM
The 2023 Harewood season ended with its traditional double-header Championship finale over the week-end of 16/17 September. Once again it was Adam Riley who emerged as the new champion, this time to make it a hat-trick of titles. New class records in the turbocharged Honda S2000 had given him the vital edge but his season hadn’t been without its challenges as transmission problems had, on occasion, held him back. Having taken FTD on both days in his DJ Firehawk Mk3, David Tatham ended a successful year with second place overall in the series while third place went to David Leach in his dominant Lotus Elise. Rob Spedding came home in fourth in his FF1600 Vector while Karl Jackson, owner of the Championship-winning Honda, closed to within 0.07pts in sixth place.
In the battle for the Harewood FTD Championship, with a string of class wins under his belt it was Tatham again who emerged victorious, and for the second year in a row. Second place on the table went to the latest generation of the Bellerby family, young Jake having taken a maiden class win and FTD in his 1100cc OMS 2000M earlier in the year. Pete Tatham, despite not doing a full season, brought his supercharged OMS 28 home third with Steve Owen was fourth, just two points ahead of Harry Pick. Both Owen and Pick drove OMS 28s, with Steve sharing Harry’s Cosworth XD powered version at the final round. Emma Rayson, who also did only a partial season in her Empire 00, rounded off the top six a further two points adrift.
Adam Riley made it a hat-trick of Harewood Championship titles (Steve Wilkinson)
David Tatham did the double for Harewood FTD series honours (Steve Wilkinson)
SUPERB GURSTON FINALE
The emergence of Gurston’s first 4-time Championship winner and the closest possible finish to the BARC (SW) Top Ten Challenge series made the finale of the BARC (SW) hillclimb season a weekend to remember.
Nineteen years after he first won the class-based Gurston Championship series and already with three titles under his belt, all won in the mid-2000s, Steve Butts and his Elise, now turbocharged, returned to the series a couple of years ago. Steadily whittling down his target times as the 2023 season progressed, he finally topped the scoresheets at this year’s season finale to clinch a record fourth Gurston title.
Coming up on the rails to take second place in the series, again sponsored by Peter Marsh’s Turbo Dynamics company, was Adrian Lewis in his sonorous Westfield Superbusa. This highly effective roadgoing machine is powered, as its name implies, by a supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa unit. Locked in battle for the entire season, Russell Davies and Dan Friel had provided great entertainment in their almost identical Honda Civics. It was never certain which would come out on top during their battles in the 2-litre production road car class, but it was Russell who finally got the verdict over Friel in the Championship chase by a less than 2 point margin out of a total of over 300 points.
In what has been a difficult year for the Westcountryman, as one of the quickest competitors during the Gurston season Ben Bonfield’s primary target was the run-off based Challenge series aboard his Jedi-Suzuki, although he was also a leading contender for the Championship. As well as driving the well-known Jedi-Suzuki shared with his father Tony, he also drove his benefactor Gary Hull’s slightly older model for a weekend following an accident in the non-counting BHC event in May, then again on Sunday’s finale after an engine problem had the previous day sidelined his own Jedi from the penultimate Challenge run-off. But Bonfield still managed to score enough points to finish fifth overall in the Championship ahead of the exuberant Chris Burch in his Mazda MX5. Burch was another to provide great entertainment as in the process of his season-long duels with co-driver Richard Morton, which left both leading the series at some stage, he seemed to spend more time in the Karousel outfield than on the track!
The final round of the BARC Top Ten Challenge, supported this year by Steve Holland’s Online Cleaning Technologies concern, was a real nail-biter in the series that has often produced drama since it became run-off based a few years ago. Although Andrew Forsyth had qualified top for Saturday’s run-off in his OMS, it was a delighted Mike Rudge who took the win, his first of the series, in the ex.Chris Cannell twin engine Force-Suzuki OMS sportscar to leave Forsyth second, although the single seater driver was still with an outside chance of clinching the title despite having missed several rounds. But series leader Ben Bonfield and Steve Holland, driving his rapid Caterham-Hayabusa, were the main challengers and with Bonfield missing the Saturday run-off, Holland’s third place left the two top protagonists tied on points going into Sunday’s final round.
The double points on offer for Sunday’s run-off brought Forsyth into the frame and he duly took the win, but a supreme effort by Holland to demote Bonfield to third place in the borrowed car left all three on equal points at the finish. So the Challenge outcome would be decided on a tiebreak. With the first tiebreak based on the number of rounds completed, with six rounds to the others’ nine each Forsyth would finish third overall, so it would all go down to the second one, based on each driver’s total number of dropped points. Thus, and by just a single point, the verdict went to the Challenge sponsor in his Caterham-Hayabusa!
It had not only been the first time in the history of the Challenge that the series had been won by a car without aerodynamic aids, but also the first time by a non-single-seater racing car. After all that, it went almost unnoticed that FTD had fallen once again to Nic Mann’s amazing Mannic Beattie on 29.74s, the day’s only sub 30 sec run. A spectacular ending, indeed, to another Gurston hillclimb season.
Steve Butts became the first 4-time Gurston Championship winner (Steve Lister)
Steve Holland won the Challenge title by a single point (Steve Lister)
Adrian Lewis - Gurston Championship runner-up (Steve Lister)
Ben Bonfield - Challenge runner-up in a borrowed car (Steve Lister)
AVON TYRE SUPPLY SECURE FOR 2024
The British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) and Birmingham Motor Tyres Ltd (BMTR) are pleased to announce a partnership, securing the supply of Avon tyres for the 2024 season.
Cooper-Avon announced the closure of its Melksham factory last year, which will result in all production activity ceasing in December 2023. Avon Tyres have been loyal sponsors of the BHC since 2012 and also long-term suppliers of specialist Hillclimb tyres across both the UK and Europe for many years.
BHC Championship Coordinator, Tim Wilson said "We have worked closely with Cooper-Avon and BMTR for a number of months and are delighted with the outcome, having been faced with the prospect of no specialist tyres after the end of the 2023 season. This partnership will ensure a level playing field in respect of tyres for the 2024 season, with all registered BHC competitors being required to run on Avon tyres. Tyres in the class-based BHC Cup will remain free."
BMTR played a leading role in securing this arrangement. Paul Nicholls, BMTR Operations & Motorsport Director said "We have agreed a range of tyres with Avon and will have sufficient stock available to supply both the BHC and the wider UK Hillclimb community throughout 2024 as part of our continued commitment and support to the sport."
James Weekley, General Manager Motorsport – Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe ltd. said "We are proud of our long relationship with the British Hillclimb scene and sponsorship of the BHC. We are therefore delighted to be able to help BHC organisers with a supply of Hillclimb tyres for the 2024 season through our UK dealer, BMTR."
TATHAM DOMINATES AT HAREWOOD
Driving his 1100cc DJ Firehawk, David Tatham dominated both days of hillclimbing at Harewood’s early August weekend. Saturday’s Yorkshire Speed Hillclimb meeting had an inauspicious start weatherwise, but as the rain petered out the track dried to allow several PBs and a new class record to be set. Tatham was never headed for FTD as he led home his brother Peter’s supercharged OMS 28 and Harry Pick’s new Cosworth XD powered version, with constructor Steve Owen in the RPE V8 close at hand. Completing an OMS 28 benefit for the places, Paul Crute’s Jaguar V6 engined example just held off Lynn Owen, who rounded off the top six in the works car.
Defending Harewood champion Adam Riley, sharing Karl Jackson’s turbocharged Honda S2000, finally broke the class record he set last year in his own supercharged version, leaving it at 61.64s.
At Sunday’s Montague Burton Trophy meeting David Tatham once more set the pace, again with the only 52sec climb. This time the tables were turned in the duel for second place when his brother was edged out by Pick, while Simon Green’s Westfield-Duratec rounded off the top six, at the expense of Crute.
David Tatham set the pace throughout the weekend (Steve Wilkinson)
Driving Karl Jackson's Honda S2000, Adam Riley broke his own class record (Steve Wilkinson)
WET AND DRY GURSTON
In a Tony Marsh Memorial weekend of two distinct halves at July’s Gurston Down Championship double-header, continual rain dampened Saturday’s Championship rounds and Challenge run-off. In total contrast, a sunny and warm Sunday led to changes in the Championship standings, although high drama on the very last run of the day saw the Challenge leader hang on to his series lead despite being beaten to the run-off win.
In the class-based Gurston Championship, the series backed by Peter Marsh’s Turbo Dynamics Christchurch-based company, the 2-driver/1-car Mazda class provided its usual frantic entertainment. Richard Morton spun in the wet at Karousel, missing out on a Championship score and eventually handing the class to his co-driver Chris Burch, the series leader. But on Sunday, fortunately after Morton had taken both his runs, Burch spun into the barrier on the exit of Ashes, damaged the nose of the MX5 and with no score, dropped to third place in the series. This left Morton leading throughout, and after just making it into the top six at the June weekend, such were the fluctuations in the Championship placings that he moved into the lead. After another weekend of duelling with fellow Honda Civic driver Dan Friel, Russell Davies hung on to second place, while Adrian Lewis in the potent Westfield Superbusa slipped to fourth, ahead of Friel.
Back aboard his Jedi, now repaired following the argument with the Ashes barrier in May, Ben Bonfield dropped to sixth, the handling of the car’s rebuilt front end still not quite to his liking. But as ever, Ben’s main focus was the Top Ten Challenge, sponsored by Steve Holland’s Online Cleaning Technologies concern. Bonfield led the way at the start of the meeting, but his main threat came from Holland himself, particularly as the driver of the rapid Caterham-Hayabusa had taken his first Challenge run-off win in Saturday’s wet shoot-out - from a fifth place qualifier ahead of Bonfield - with the Jedi driver in fourth place and the only Challenge contender scheduled to drop points the following day. Wiscombe Park commitments had prevented Ed Hollier from mounting a full Challenge assault, otherwise things this year might have been different. As it was, the Force HC driver had won the well supported 1100cc racing class each day and qualified top for Saturday’s run-off with FTD. It would be a different story on Sunday as after a season of problems with his awesome Mannic Beattie, Nic Mann set the outright pace on 29.73s, the only sub-30 of the day. But not being registered for the Gurston Championship Nic was not eligible for the run-off.
On Sunday, another win for Holland could give him the Challenge series lead. He’d qualified top, and as he came to the line for the last run of the day, Hollier led from Bonfield and Holland would only need a third place finish to take the lead from Bonfield in the Challenge series. Then, unaccountably, problems with the Caterham’s gearshift saw the car hesitate momentarily out of Ashes. Holland got going again, but could only finish eighth.
So Bonfield had been lucky to hang on to his grasp of the Challenge series, but with just the August 26/27 weekend remaining and double points on offer at Sunday’s Championship finale, there’s still all to play for in both Championships.
Nic Mann's spectacular Mannic Beattie returned to set the weekend pace (Steve Lister)
Steve Holland took his first Challenge run-off win on Saturday, but had problems the following day (Steve Lister)
Richard Morton now leads the Gurston Championship (Steve Lister)
Ben Bonfield was lucky to hang on to his Challenge lead (Steve Lister)
WHITEHEAD WINS IN WESTMORLAND
Although Barbon no longer hosts BHC rounds, club events still thrive on the Cumbrian hill. At Liverpool MC’s event on July 15th, Eve Whitehead’s time on her first class run in Craig Powers’ OMS, complete with new wings - but minus a nosecone! - was good enough for FTD ahead of Anthony Middleton’s ModProd Westfield and Michael Bellerby’s Roadgoing Sylva Striker.
The event was run in variable conditions and after a single practice run, the second competition runs were interrupted by a downpour. However, the track dried during the lunch break allowing some spectacular class battles to be played out in the afternoon. In the Pre-War Austin 7 class Stuart Blackham won the battle of the Pigsty Specials as he slipped past Paul Geering’s version, in the process breaking Colin Danks’ Ulster record which had stood for 13 years. Peter Herbert’s recent engine rebuild paid off as with more power at his disposal, the Yorkshireman took a class win in his 911 leaving Aaron Perrot to take second place in his Aston Martin Vantage S ahead of Dave Everett’s rumbling Morgan Plus 8. In the 1400cc ModProd class, Harewood regular Roy ‘Bod’ Bolderson just held off the opposition in his Mini. David Smith brought his Mini Marcos home in second place just ahead of the Nova of Darren Roberts with the trio covered by under half a second.
With another massive rainstorm visibly approaching from down the valley, the proposed fifth competition run was abandoned, which gave competitors and marshals time to load up their cars and break down the venue before the downpour arrived.
Eve Whitehead heads for the finish and FTD (Steve Wilkinson)
Stuart Blackham broke the longstanding Austin 7 record in his Pigsty Special (Steve Wilkinson)
Pembrey Autumn Sprint week-end
Following a successful Spring sprint week-end at Pembrey which received many positive responses from competitors, BARC Wales are pleased to announce that entries for their Autumn sprint week-end are now open.
The format will be the National circuit on Saturday and the Clubmans circuit on Sunday. The event will be rounds of a number of popular championships including the SBD Motorsport UK HSA British Sprint, SBD Motorsport UK HSA Sprint Leaders, Trident, Connaught and Classis Marques.
GURSTON'S FORSYTH SAGA
Following his run of success at Wiscombe Park, Andrew Forsyth dominated proceedings at Gurston Down’s championship double-header weekend taking FTD each day. Successive wins in the Online Cleaning Technologies Top Ten Challenge run-offs moved the OMS-Suzuki driver up the series table to level with Championship sponsor Steve Holland in second place overall, despite Forsyth having missed two earlier rounds.
In the class-based Turbo Dynamics-backed Gurston Championship, after two runs inside his target time on Saturday had increased his series lead, former 3-times Gurston champion Steve Butts was unlucky to suffer a gearbox breakage on Sunday, sidelining his turbo Elise for the day. The loss of two rounds meant that he slipped to a series ninth place, however as with several other championship contenders, lost rounds could be retrievable with dropped scores coming into play later. Butts’ retirement let Mazda driver Chris Burch into the series lead despite his lurid progress through the Karousel complex on almost every run in the former 3-times Gurston Championship-winning car. Both Burch and co-driver Richard Morton, who now moved into the Championship top six, provided spectacular tyre-smoking action.
Second on the table coming to Gurston on Saturday, Daniel Friel slipped to tenth on the table as he was not entered for Sunday’s meeting. After another stirring duel with fellow Honda Civic driver Russell Davies, which he narrowly won, Davies had to settle for a class defeat by the fleet Mk2 Escort of Martin Ellis on Sunday, but he’d scored enough Gurston points over the weekend to return home with the Championship runner-up placing. Into third on the table came the potent Westfield ‘Superbusa’ of Adrian Lewis, unbeaten all weekend in his class. Up into fourth place came Ben Bonfield, not in his Jedi, which had sustained significant front end damage in argument with the barrier at Ashes three weeks earlier, but in a borrowed car. Gary Hull was his benefactor, and Ben’s adaptation to a slightly older Jedi with significantly different handling characteristics to his own would prove even more successful than he had hoped.
The Top Ten Challenge was Bonfield’s main target as he came to Gurston in the lead of the series. Apart from Andrew Forsyth, his main opposition was the blisteringly fast Caterham-Hayabusa of Steve Holland, who he led by two points. Saturday’s run-off was won by Forsyth, but Holland was only half a second adrift and chased hard by James Moore, the Empire-Suzuki driver and 2017 Challenge champion making his first run-off appearance of the year. As was 3-times Gurston champion Mark Crookall, who was sharing his OMS-Suzuki with Ben Bonfield’s father Tony for the day. After driveshaft problems in practice, Crookall ran third to head a 5-car group covered by less than half a second of which the last was Bonfield Jr. Still acclimatising to the strange car, with only seventh place he lost his series lead to Holland.
A dramatic Sunday run-off saw Bonfield in the lead with three cars to run. Moore then failed to match his time before Holland charged into Karousel – only to spin the Caterham into the infield at Karousel and fail to record a time. Forsyth was left to take the win – by just three tenths from a relieved and grateful Bonfield who, with Holland not scoring, had regained his Challenge series lead with a strong performance aboard Gary Hull’s Jedi.
Elsewhere during the weekend, Nic Mann’s amazing Mannic-Beattie made a return to Gurston, setting a modest (for him) 30.50 on Saturday to deprive Steve Holland of second FTD by nine hundredths. Sadly, an oil leak prevented the car from running on Sunday. It was a pity that classmates Stephen Moore and Jim Herbert appeared on alternate days in their Mitsubishi Evos as Moore lowered his over 2-litre ModProd record on Saturday, unofficially doing it again during the run-off, while Herbert lowered it again the following day. with both qualfying for the run-off on separate days, their mid-field finishes left them tied on points for eighth place in the Challenge series. Joining the weekend’s record breakers was Lloyd Bettinson, who not only reset William Hunt’s year-old Sierra mark in his Fisher Fury Phoenix on Saturday in his Fisher Fury, but went on to lower if further on Sunday.
Gurston’s Historically Interesting class was enlivened on Saturday with the appearance of Dave Roberts’ splendid F5000 McLaren-Chevrolet M12, driven in period by Ulf Norinder. Roberts set an impressive low 36s run on his first visit to Gurston, while on Sunday the immaculately restored Alvis 12/50 of Anthony Norton took to the hill at a rather more sedate pace, having also turned many heads in the paddock.
Andrew Forsyth set the pace all weekend (Steve Lister)
Chris Burch now leads the Gurston Championship in the Mazda (Steve Lister)
Ben Bonfield regained his Challenge lead in a borrowed car (Steve Lister)
Dave Roberts' splendid McLaren-Chevy M18 (Steve Lister)
TONGE LAPS UP AINTREE
Liverpool Motor Club's first sprint of 2023 at Aintree, the sometime former home of the British Grand Prix, took place under blue skies and in near perfect conditions on May 27th. The Club run a tight ship and after two practice runs there were two timed runs before lunch, followed by no less than four more afterwards, although by the sixth run several drivers had either run out of fuel or were packing up for the journey home!
FTD went to Robert Tonge in his Force-Hayabusa TA with a 41.19s run, six tenths clear of Ian Rowlance’s Chrysler 2KF with Chrysler V6 power. A further half-second adrift in third place overall came Daniel Williams, driving his ex.Matt Oliver 2007 British Sprint Championship winning Gould GR37 chassis, its original 4-litre Judd now replaced by a turbocharged 2.3-litre Ford Duratec. With so many runs on offer there was plenty of opportunity for class record breaking and three new ones were set, Ian Butcher taking just two runs to reset the 2-litre Roadgoing Production Saloon mark with a 51.74s in his Honda Integra and Michael Thompson’s 50.30s run in his Honda S2000 lowering the 2-litre Roadgoing Sports Car record, while with two Vantage GT4s in the class it was Tom Whittaker’s that set a new standard of 49.24s among the Aston Martin OC members, ahead of Peter House’s example and interloper Andrew Forret in his BMW 325i.
The meeting closed with the ever popular Lotus Seven Club members’ classes. Setting the overall pace was Malcolm Hickey’s K-Series Caterham Superlight with a 48.90 while in an earlier 11-strong class, winner Robert Jacobs brought his Sigma engine Caterham home second overall amongst the Club contenders in 50.10s.
Robert Tonge set the outright pace at Aintree (Steve Wilkinson)
Tom Whittaker hustles the big GT4 to a new Aston Martin OC record (Steve Wilkinson)
BUTTS AND BONFIELD TOP GURSTON SERIES
Amid a bumper turnout for the second of this year’s five Gurston Down Championship double-header weekends, with bikes as well as cars on the entry list, the lead changed in both the class-based Turbo Dynamics Gurston Championship and the Online Cleaning Technologies BARC (SW) Top Ten Challenge.
Rapidly acclimatising to his now turbo equipped Lotus Elise, former 3-times champion Steve Butts, who last took the title 15 years ago in his normally aspirated version, found enough improvement over his target times to top the Championship table after charging up from fifth place at the start of the weekend. Two fraught moments at Karousel in his Mazda MX5 proved costly for former series leader Richard Morton, as with each of the weekend’s four class runs a counting round, he dropped to ninth place on the table. But with a run under target on Sunday, his co-driver Chris Burch moved up to a series second place ahead of the ever duelling duo of Daniel Friel and Russell Davies in their almost identical Honda Civics.
Among the class run highlights, in one of the biggest classes ever seen at Gurston, with 30-plus entries each day, the Classic Marques Speed Challenge saw Simon Fletcher’s 10-year old TVR Tuscan record finally broken by the Lotus Esprit of Nicholas Olson on Saturday, but although leading again after Sunday’s first runs, the non-appearance of the Lotus for the second runs allowed Stephen Lyle’s Porsche Boxster to slip ahead for the win. Class record holder Neil Turner was back and on winning form in his 16-valve Mini, holding off the similarly powered Mini of old sparring partner Jim White each day. Among the Historics, Fyrth Crosse missed Saturday’s runs having gone home for a replacement starter motor for his Ensign, but he was back on the Sunday to once more take on the pristine ex.Brian Redman Brabham of Ian Baxter. The pair were split by a tenth initially, but despite missing a gearchange and running slower on his second run Baxter took the win after Crosse, too, missed a cog at the top of Karousel and ran wide. Defending Gurston champion Clive Stangle suffered engine problems with his Mitsubishi Evo on Saturday, having to give best to Stephen Moore’s version in the big Roadgoing class, but at least he got a drive in Dan Young’s Zetec powered Locost Procomp the following day. Moore, on the other hand, had a good weekend, switching to his modified version to turn the tables on Jim Herbert’s Evo 5 in the class runs and, like Herbert, qualifying each day for the Challenge run-off.
The hotly contested 751-1400cc motorcycle classes featured heavily in each of their two run-offs over the weekend, the KTMs of Paul Jarrett and Paul Jeffery swapping wins with both bikes in the 33sec bracket. The overall bike FTD went to Jeffery with a 33.45 in Saturday’s run-off.
In the car run-off which concluded each day’s event, the battle for Challenge points continued with Ben Bonfield overturning the absent Andrew Forsyth’s series lead in his fleet Jedi-Suzuki. In appropriate celebration for his 70th birthday on the Sunday, Ben’s father Tony also qualified and finished in the points each day. Ben grabbed the win in Saturday’s round after 4-times Challenge champion Tony Wiltshire, having set a qualifying time that would remain as FTD, spun the Ralt-Peugeot at the bottom of Karousel. Paul Crute’s unique OMS-Jaguar V6 followed Bonfield home ahead of the ever rapid Caterham-Hayabusa of Challenge sponsor Steve Holland. Sunday’s run-off saw Wiltshire back on form to take the win with a 30.20s FTD, while Ben Bonfield’s second place meant that he left Gurston in the overall Challenge lead, just two points clear of Holland, who followed him home in Sunday’s run-off. Fourth place on Sunday went to Crute, who now lies five points adrift of Holland in third place on the series table. Lurking behind the leaders with fourth and fifth place run-off finishes was Mike Rudge, delighted with his first outing in the ex.Chris Cannell twin-engined Force-Suzuki SR8.
3-times Gurston champion Steve Butts leads the 2023 title chase (Steve Lister)
Saturday's run-off winner Ben Bonfield heads the Challenge contenders (Steve Lister)
4-times Challenge champion Tony Wiltshire topped the weekend's timesheets (Steve Lister)
Former Gurston regular Mike Rudge returned for a successful debut outing in his Force SR8 (Steve Lister)
DAMP START - HOT COMPETITION
A damp start and a somewhat thin entry for the opening rounds of the BARC Southwest Centre’s Gurston Down Championship year failed to stem the enthusiasm of competitors, who produced some stirring motoring on the opening weekend of this always successful single venue series. It was a pity that so few spectators were able to watch it, as with the grassland that normally provides car parking and camping space at the Hitchings brothers’ farmland venue waterlogged and unusable, spectator access for cars was limited to all but existing ticket holders.
After the wet and greasy conditions of Saturday’s event Sunday was drier, but colder. Nevertheless times for the fastest competitors saw a 3.5 sec improvement and there were fierce battles both in the classes and in the Top 12 Run-offs that ended each day.
With a new target time scoring system designed to negate the disadvantage of small class numbers, after four rounds of the Turbo Dynamics Gurston Championship (each class run being a counting round) the leader was Richard Morton, driving the Mazda MX5 in which Mark Crookall had taken a hat-trick of Gurston titles some four years ago. Into second place overall came defending champion Clive Stangle, once again aboard his Mitsubishi Evo 5, while third on the table was Andrew Forsyth’s ex. Chris Houston Ulster Hillclimb Championship winning OMS-Suzuki CF04.
Among the highlights of the class runs was a resumption of the perennial battle between the 2-litre Roadgoing Honda Civic Type Rs of Daniel Friel and Russell Davies, with Davies getting Saturday’s verdict in a see-saw duel and repeating it on Sunday in an aggregate decision after both had set equal best times. But this time it was Martin Ellis, third on Saturday in his Escort Mk2, that came through for the class win. In another aggregate decision on Sunday, this time in the Historically Interesting class, experienced Gurston campaigner Fyrth Crosse’s ex.Mike Wilds Ensign single-seater lost out to Gurston newcomer Ian Baxter on his first event in the equally historic and superbly presented F2 Brabham-Twincam BT16, a car driven regularly in period by Brian Redman.
The first two rounds of the BARC (SW) Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge, newly sponsored this year by long-time Caterham-Hayabusa competitor Steve Holland’s company Online Cleaning Technologies, were fought out at the end of each meeting in a top twelve run-off. As at this meeting a year ago, Forsyth was well in charge on Saturday with the run-off win and FTD of 34.13 in decidedly inferior conditions. Second FTD was set by Ed Hollier’s Force-Suzuki HC during the class runs, but as he hadn’t at that stage entered the Championship he was ineligible for the run-off. He soon made amends for that and signed up by Sunday’s event, going on to qualify fastest for the run-off and then take the win, with an FTD of 30.59 sec. Forsyth – who had taken a Challenge double over 10 years ago in his Pilbeam DFZ/R – ran second and ended the weekend leading this year’s series after the weekend’s two rounds.
With a consistent fourth place in each day’s run-off, Steve Holland lay an eventual series second overall by a single point from Clive Stangle and Jedi ace Ben Bonfield, who were tied for third place. Four times Challenge winner and defending champion Tony Wiltshire had a disappointing weekend, for although finishing runner-up to Forsyth in Saturday’s run-off, transmission problems on the startline sidelined his Ralt-Peugeot from Sunday’s shoot-out and he dropped down series table.
But with only seven of the ten rounds to count and double points on offer for the final round, there’s still everything to play for.
Ed Hollier returned to Gurston to set the outright pace for the weekend (Steve Lister)
Richard Morton left the Wiltshire hill with the Championship lead in his MX5 (Steve Lister)
Andrew Forsyth leads the Top Ten Challenge after two rounds (Steve Lister)
New Challenge sponsor Steve Holland lies second overall in the series (Steve Lister)
Bristish Sprint and Sprint Leaders championship registrations now open
Registrations are now open for the 2023 SBD Motorsport UK HSA British Sprint and Sprint Leaders championships.
2023 Triple M HSA Speed Championship registrations open
Registrations for the 2023 Triple M HSA Speed Championship are now open.
A number of changes have been introduced so see the Regulations page for more details.
A 6 round 'Challenge' for Pre 1994 Formula Ford Cars has been included in the HSA Speed Championship. It is open to competitors with Pre '94 FF cars and is open to both HSA Speed Championship competitors and members of the Pre '94 Register.
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