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Event 15 at Loton Park on 24/09/2023
With the British Championship done and dusted and his Gould already in the throes of a rebuild, Wallace Menzies had opted not to attend Loton’s BHC finale weekend. But in his absence, and with Championship top ten positions still to be decided, the competition was as fierce as ever. And with this weekend scheduled to be his last in top level hillclimbing for the foreseeable future, Scott Moran was looking to bow out on a high. It would be a busy weekend for the six-time champion, as he was also driving his father Roger’s Skoda rally car which was a strong contender for the final two rounds of the BHC Tin Top Challenge, so there was a strong chance that Scott could be competing in four run-offs on the same day!
          That’s exactly how it turned out, but in British Championship terms it was the dynamic Matt Ryder that would deny Scott a ninth win of the season by relegating him to second place by a quarter of a second in the opening run-off. Once again demonstrating huge potential for his 2024 season, Ryder was on top form at Loton, going on to win the second shoot-out as well, ahead of an inspired Will Hall. Scott was not destined to go out with a win, as a small mistake at Museum was enough to demote him to fourth place, so close was the competition.
          After a few lean weekends, Trevor Willis hit his best form since finishing runner-up at Bouley Bay with a strong third place in the opening run-off. He slipped to sixth later on but still gained a place on the Championship table despite Sean Gould, one point ahead going into Loton, finishing a strong third behind Hall But the Gould constructor, running early on in the morning’s damp conditions, had missed the opening cut. With only one score on the day, he would concede his Championship top six placing to Willis.
          Alex Summers, determined to get his self-built AFS P4t into the points for the first time following a few tweaks after Prescott, did it in style with two mid-field placings, demoting Willis to sixth place second time up. But in the opening run-off, Summers missed out on fifth place by four hundredths after a fine drive by David Warburton. ‘Little Warby’ was determined to keep his ‘Number 10’ for next year out of the clutches of Richard Spedding who, just two points behind and with his own Raptor still out of action, was sharing the similar car of Scot Simon Mackay. Despite Spedding getting the borrowed car into the run-off each time and finishing eighth behind Dave Uren in the opening shoot-out, Warburton’s spirited opening run-off charge would virtually assure him of the coveted ‘No.10’ for 2024, which was confirmed after the Yorkshireman later finished out of the points together with Eynon Price.
          Seventh each time, David Uren was happy enough to stay ahead of Paul Haimes in eighth place on the table, bearing in mind he’d missed much of the season with engine problems. Haimes’ Gould turbo, together with Zach Zammitt’s Empire Wraith, had retired with problems after lunch. Jack Cottrill made the cut each time and although finishing out of the points in the morning, together with Adam Greenen, he finished ahead of Warburton in the afternoon and ended his season with the DJ Dallara-XD twelfth on the Championship table. Johnathen Varley mopped up the final point of the final round after an excellent year in the Predator-TKD in which he’d taken both the BH Cup and Midland Hillclimb titles.
          Rounds 5 and 6 of the BHC Tin Top Challenge provided a nail-biting end to this highly successful new venture. Already with three out of four wins under his belt coming to Loton, Steve Darley looked an odds-on bet for the title ahead of his Subaru Legacy co-driver Damien Bradley. With no dropped points to complicate the scoring of this short series, Darley looked to have it sewn up after winning the first run-off as the pair performed their customary one/two. But they’d reckoned without the man knocking on the door, Simon Bainbridge in his Audi powered SBR Chrono. The driver of the big sports libre car, more used to the wide open sprint circuits than the tortuous hills, snatched a surprise afternoon run-off win from Bradley by  thirteen hundredths to confirm his third place in the Challenge. Darley needed only a fourth place finish to clinch the title, but storming into Fallow in an all-out final shot he spun the Legacy spectacularly under braking and toured home eighth and last, handing the title to his co-driver.
          Having tied with his son for third place in round 5, Roger Moran exercised his prerogative by edging Scott out to fourth by half a second in round 6 aboard their 4WD Skoda Fabia R5 rally car. At the wheel of one of his ‘spare’ Mitsubishi Evos, Stephen Moore chased them home at the end to consolidate fourth place in the series behind Bainbridge, ahead of Chris Berrisford’s Impreza and Moran Sr.
Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park

FTD: Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 43.09s

Championship run-off, round 29: 1 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 43.44s; 2 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 43.70s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 43.95s; 4 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 44.74s; 5 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 44.82s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 AFS P4t-Cosworth/Opel KF) 44.86s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 45.07s; 8 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 45.52s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 45.69s; 10 Zach Zammit (1.3t Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 46.42s; 11 Jack Cottrill (2.7 DJ Dallara-Cosworth XD) 47.50s; 12 Adam Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 48.64s.

Championship run-off, round 30: 1 Ryder 43.09s; 2 Hall 43.66s; 3 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 43.76s; 4 Moran 44.00s; 5 Summers 44.21s; 6 Willis 44.29s; 7 Uren 44.35s; 8 Cottrill 44.63s; 9 Warburton 45.16s; 10 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 45.99s; 11 Spedding 46.37s; 12 Eynon Price (1.7 Force-Suzuki TA) 46.64s.

British Hillclimb Championship final positions: 1 Wallace Menzies 222pts; 2 Moran 211; 3 Ryder 198; 4 Summers 164; 5 Hall 154; 6 Willis 128; 7 Gould 124; 8 Uren 87; 9 Haimes 63; 10 Warburton 54; etc.

BHC Tin Top Challenge, round 5: 1 Steve Darley (2.4t Subaru Legacy GL) 52.82s; 2 Damien Bradley (2.4t Subaru Legacy GL) 54.19s;  3= Scott Moran and Roger Moran (1.6t Skoda Fabia R5) 54.50s; 5 Simon Bainbridge (4.2t SBR Chrono-Audi V8) 54.77s; 6 Stuart Reid (1.9 Peugeot 205) 56.12s; 7 Stephen Moore (2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6) 56.44s; 8 Chris Berrisford (2.4t Subaru Impreza) 57.90s; 9 Robbie Birrell (2.5t Porsche Cayman GTS) 59.85s; 10 Robert Wilson (1.8 Peugeot 205) 60.99s.

BHC Tin Top Challenge, round 6: 1 Bainbridge 52.08s; 2 Bradley 52.21s; 3 Roger Moran 53.77s; 4 Scott Moran 54.27s; 5 Moore 54.97s; 6 Berrisford 56.94s;  Darley 28.09s; 2 Bradley 28.29s; 3 Moore 29.41s; 4; 5 Berrisford 30.88s; 7 Birrell 57.41s; 8 Darley 66.31s; No other starters.

BHC Tin Top Challenge final positions: 1 Bradley 55pts; 2 Darley 52; 3 Bainbridge 46; 4 Moore 40; 5 Berrisford 30; 6 Roger Moran 28; 7 Birrell 21; 8= Reid and Scott Moran 15; 10 Gavin Neate; etc.


Third overall in the Championship, Matt Ryder ended his season with a double win (Stuart Wing)

Scott Moran made his last appearance in top-line British hillclimbing (Stuart Wing)

Johnathen Varley clinched both the BH Cup and Midland Championship titles (Stuart Wing)

Damien Bradley won the inaugural BHC Tin Top Challenge series (Stuart Wing)


Event 14 at Prescott on 03/09/2023
In a last ditch attempt to stay in the hunt for the British Championship, even two run-off wins by Scott Moran were not enough to halt the charge of Wallace Menzies. After four tyre-smoking burnouts coming to the line, a fourth place finish in Prescott’s opening run-off, albeit a second away from his hill record set two years ago, was enough for the Scot to take his fourth consecutive BHC title. This singular feat had been performed only once before in the history of the Championship –almost seventy years ago – by the late Ken Wharton.
          As another memorable British hillclimb season drew towards its conclusion, the competition was as close as ever. In a result not seen in the BHC since he tied for the win at Gurston Down with co-driver Alex Summers in 2015, Scott tied for the opening run-off win again, this time with the man already assured of a best ever third overall in the Championship, Matt Ryder. The two drivers shared FTD with a time, although unofficially, inside the over 2-litre class record.
          Towards the end of his first year in his new Gould GR59, Will Hall continues to get increasingly good results. In the opening run-off, he kept Menzies out of third place to run within half a second of the two leaders. Having set the pace in qualifying for round 27, Dave Uren closed to within six hundredths of Menzies but with the title in the bag, the champion elect upped his pace in the afternoon and both he and Uren moved up a place at the expense of Hall. Trevor Willis couldn’t quite match Uren’s pace in the morning run-off, although the 3-times British champion is well clear of his rival on the Championship table and after sixth place in the afternoon bout, he could still end the season in the Championship top half dozen as he currently lies a single point behind the sixth placed Sean Gould. Following his win at Loton the previous weekend, the ultra-successful constructor himself managed just ninth and seventh places at Prescott, but the performance in the same car of his protégé Matt Ryder this season must be a source of huge satisfaction – not to mention his Gould cars filling eight out of the top ten places in the Championship!
          After a sixth place qualifier with a new class record, Paul Haimes had a difficult opening run-off with launch problems in the GR59-Suzuki turbo. He was marginally outrun by David Warburton, who took seventh place in his similar, but unblown chassis. Haimes dropped a place in the afternoon to run just clear of Jack Cottrill, making another of his increasingly frequent run-off appearances in the DJ modified Dallara-XD. But in his quest for another ‘number’ in 2023, Warburton clung on for the final point in the afternoon and regained his place in the Championship top ten.
          For the second weekend in succession, Johnathen Varley got the Predator-TKD into the opening run-off with a new 2-litre class record. Unlike at Loton, he couldn’t manage another record in the afternoon but he still made the cut for the shoot-out, although finishing out of the points. However, his earlier record pace meant that he broke clear of a 3-way tie for the lead of the parallel, class based BHC Cup to take sole charge of the series. With his DJ Firestorm out of action, Alex Summers made a debut run-off appearance in his striking new AFS P4t, qualifying the car for a second time in the afternoon. After a seven year build programme, Alex admitted that there was still a lot of development to be done, nevertheless to qualify the car for the first time marked a great achievement for the car’s driver/constructor.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott

FTD: Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) and Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4
         GR59BJ) 34.95s
Championship run-off, round 27: 1= Moran and Ryder 34.95s; 3 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 35.43s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 35.60s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 35.66s; 6 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 35.81s; 7 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 36.57s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 36.73s; 9 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 36.81s; 10 Jack Cottrill (2.7 DJ Dallara-Cosworth XD) 37.14s; 11 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 37.57s; 12 Alex Summers (2.5 AFS P4t-Cosworth/Opel KF) 37.69s.
Championship run-off, round 28: 1 Moran 35.01s; 2 Ryder 35.17s; 3 Menzies 35.51s; 4 Uren 35.60s; 5 Hall 35.75s; 6 Willis 35.76s; 7 Gould 36.16s; 8 Haimes 36.42s; 9 Cottrill 36.55s; 10 Warburton 36.74s; 11 Summers 37.35s; 12 Varley 38.29s.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 28: 1 Menzies 222pts; 2 Moran 209; 3 Ryder 186; 4 Summers 163; 5 Hall 143; 6 Gould 117; 7 Willis 118; 8 Dave Uren 79; 9 Haimes 61; 10 Warburton 46; etc.


Wallace Menzies secured his fourth successive BHC title (Stuart Wing)

Two more wins by Scott Moran were not enough to challenge the Championship leader (Stuart Wing)

Matt Ryder tied for a run-off win and FTD (Stuard Wing)

Alex Summers gave his AFS P4t its British run-off debut (Stuart Wing)


Event 13 at Loton Park on 27/08/2023
At the first of this year’s two Loton Park BHC meetings and with the duel between Championship leader Wallace Menzies and Scott Moran moving towards its conclusion, Scott hung on to his slender title hopes by outpacing his rival in both run-offs. He took the opening win with a convincing 0.86 sec margin on a dry track, but as drizzle set in during the second shoot-out both protagonists finished mid-field and the gap closed to four tenths. Had those second run-off positions been reversed however, Wallace would have taken the title with four rounds in hand… With Scott now needing additional points for a hill record to stay in the hunt, the defending champion is on the brink of achieving his ambition of four-in-a-row.
          Will Hall produced another fine performance in his GR59-Judd to finish third in the opening run-off, finishing just ahead of Matt Ryder. But Ryder had incurred a one second penalty when, like several others during the day, he uprooted a marker post on the inside of Keepers. But for that, he would have finished second and split the two leaders. Another all-out effort by Trevor Willis kept the OMS V8 ahead of Dave Uren’s GR55B while as the first non-V8 home, Paul Haimes managed to keep his bike engine Gould turbo ahead of the ever improving Jack Cottrill’s DJ modified Dallara-XD by six hundredths. Having shaved two hundredths off his own 2-litre record in qualifying, Johnathen Varley and the Predator-TKD confined David Warburton to the final point. That the GR59-Suzuki driver was another to incur a marker penalty at Keepers made no difference and he would still have finished tenth as in addition, problems beset the remaining two key runners.
          First away as a double driver, Sean Gould had performed a lurid spin at Loggerheads in the Gould shared with Matt Ryder, while problems once again struck the unfortunate Alex Summers. His Firestorm coasted straight on at Fallow and into the holding paddock with electronic problems, which would keep the Firestorm out for the rest of the day.
          Just as the second run-off was about to start, light drizzle began. Steadily worsening conditions would favour the early runners, which played right into the hands of Graham Wynn. First away in his Gould-Judd, he promptly set a time marginally quicker than his qualifier which would eventually leave him in second place, his best ever BHC run-off finish. Next up, Sean Gould made no mistakes this time and his mid-44, some two seconds away from Moran’s earlier winning time, looked to be good enough for the win in the deteriorating conditions, and so it would prove. As the two double-driven cars returned to the paddock, conditions worsened but there was still enough grip for Jack Cottrill to get a run that, despite being edged out of third place by following runner Eynon Price, the former rallyman revelling in the now slippery conditions, would leave him in a best ever fourth place BHC finish at the end.
          All the runners remained on slicks, but as the track became ever more slippery, the top four in the opening run-off, Moran, Menzies, Hall and Ryder, followed each other home again although well down the field and some seven seconds off their earlier pace. But running last as top qualifier, so in the worst of the conditions, Moran had produced another superb run to head off Menzies and keep his slender championship hopes alive. Having reset his class record once again in qualifying, Varley brought the Predator home over a second and a half clear of the tenth placed Trevor Willis as the OMS got briefly out of shape into Keepers. Out of the points were Paul Haimes and Dave Uren, who had just managed to catch the big Gould after a big sideways moment out of Triangle in the slippery conditions.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park

FTD: Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 42.52s

Championship run-off, round 25: 1 Moran 42.52s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 43.38s; 3 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 43.51s; 4 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 43.75s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 43.81s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 44.05s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 44.90s; 8 Jack Cottrill (2.7 DJ Dallara Cosworth XD) 44.96s; 9 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 45.31s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 46.42s; Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) DNF; Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 26: 1 Gould 44.57s; 2 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 46.79s; 3 Eynon Price (1.7 Force-Suzuki TA) 48.54s; 4 Cottrill 48.90s; 5 Moran 49.40s; 6 Menzies 49.79s; 7 Hall 50.40s; 8 Ryder 50.45s; 9 Varley 50.67s; 10 Willis 52.34s; 11 Haimes 53.49s; 12 Uren 54.77s.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 26: 1 Menzies 218pts; 2 Moran 199; 3 Ryder 172; 4 Summers 163; 5 Hall 129; 6 Gould 111; 7 Willis 106; 8 Dave Uren 66; 9 Haimes 55; 10 Richard Spedding 44; etc.


With another win and a double defeat of Wallace Menzies, Scott Moran kept his Championship hopes alive (Stuart Wing)

Sean Gould beat the rain to take his first run of the year (Stuart Wing)

Jack Cottrill produced his best ever BHC finish (Stuart Wing)

Johnathen Varley qualified the Predator with two class records (Stuart Wing)


Event 12 at Shelsley Walsh on 13/08/2023
After relatively lean year in his DJ Firestorm, Alex Summers’ season is at last proving competitive. On the back of his win at Wiscombe Park a fortnight earlier, he won the opening run-off in less than ideal conditions at Shelsley Walsh and followed it up with third place in the afternoon, to level with Matt Ryder in third spot on the Championship table. With hill conditions at their best, Ryder hit top form in the closing run-off to take his second win of the season and with it, a coveted Shelsley FTD in a time just two tenths shy of Sean Gould’s hill record set in the same car two years earlier. Still in a comfortable second place on the table, Scott Moran was runner-up each time, tied in the opening run-off with an inspired Will Hall, who had to settle for fourth place in the afternoon. Even Championship leader Wallace Menzies would have settled for that – instead it had been a day he’d rather forget.
          After qualifying in only seventh place for the morning shoot-out, Menzies could only score a highly discardable six points for a fifth place finish – his worst result of the year apart from the failed run at Wiscombe on his previous outing. Then in the final shoot-out, having just witnessed that storming shot by Ryder, he was right on the pace and clocking 133mph on Ess approach when he lost it under braking at Bottom Ess. The Gould charged the left-hand bank, losing a complete front corner and damaging the rear wing as it rebounded into the barrier. Happily, Wallace was quite unhurt, and it was a measure of the defending champion’s character that before returning down the hill he walked round and thanked every one of the marshals that were recovering the car and clearing the track.
          So with a time just two tenths behind Ryder’s FTD, Moran’s run for second place was particularly accomplished considering he’d had to endure a 20 minute wait to take what would be the last run of the day. After Shelsley, with the top four closing up on points any one of them could still theoretically take the title, But despite recent misfortunes, Wallace is still in the driving seat.
          It was good to see Dave Uren back in the fray, playing himself back in with a new gearbox at last installed in the GR55B. Sean Gould was not quite so happy, visiting the grass outfield first before, and even more so after, Kennel Bend in successive run-offs. He trailed the sixth placed Uren by three hundredths in the morning but slipped to ninth in the afternoon. Trevor Willis just failed to get on terms with Sean in the morning but moved up behind Uren for sixth place later on, his OMS V8 holding off a hard charging Zach Zammit, over from Malta for the first time this year and going great guns in the works Empire Wraith-Suzuki turbocar ahead of Paul Haimes’ similarly powered GR59 each time. Haimes tied with Dave Warburton’s normally aspirated version for the final point in the opening run-off, at the expense of Johnathen Varley, but the Predator-TKD V8 driver was disappointed to narrowly miss the afternoon cut – particularly as he’d set a new 2-litre class record on his qualifying attempt. Warburton got in instead, but he was out of luck as Jack Cottrill’s DJ-Dallara V8 bagged the final point.
          With one or two single seaters coming off worst against Shelsley’s unyielding banks during the day, fortunately without harm to their drivers, mention must be made of ‘Save of the Day’ by Terry Graves. With a nearside front wheel high in the air from Crossing to Bottom Ess, he managed to keep his wayward Gould-XD on the black stuff after an offside rear suspension breakage.
          Rounds 3 and 4 of the BHC Tin Top Challenge, held before each BHC run-off, produced a similar result to the inaugural rounds at Harewood with the Subaru Legacy of joint series leaders Stephen Darley and Damien Bradley leading throughout. But this time it was Darley in charge each time. After breaking Bradley’s 2022 class record in qualifying he found even more time in the second run-off to complete a double win and take a 2-point lead ahead of his co-driver in this 6-round series. In a reversal of their Harewood placings, Steven Moore was next up each time in his Mitsubishi Evo6 with Simon Bainbridge chasing hard in the spectacular Audi V8 powered SBR Chrono, leaving them tied for third place in the Challenge series.
          Stuart Reid’s rapid Peugeot 205 all but caught Chris Berrisford’s Impreza in the afternoon as they held the next two places. Having broken the big Series Production record in his Alfa 4C, Rodney Eyles relieved Cayman mounted Robbie Birrell of his earlier seventh place in the afternoon run-off, pushing Andrew Norris’s supercharged 911 down a place to ninth, while Peter Siddle’s effective Clio 182 Cup and Jonathan Williamson’s evergreen Porsche were eased out of the closing run-off by Richard Snow’s Cayman GT4.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh

FTD: Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 22.57s

Championship run-off, round 23: 1 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 23.10s; 2= Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 23.19s; 2= Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 23.19s; 4 Ryder 23.34s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 23.45s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 23.63s; 7 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 23.66s; 8 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 23.97s; 9 Zac Zammit (1.3t Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 24.81s; 10= Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.94s; 10= David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.94s; 12 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 25.44s.

Championship run-off, round 24: 1 Ryder 22.57s; 2 Moran 22.78s; 3 Summers 22.80s; 4 Hall 22.83s; 5 Uren 23.55s; 6 Willis 23.77s; 7 Zammit 24.22s; 8 Haimes 24.46s; 9 Gould 24.57s; 10 Jack Cottrill (2.7 DJ Dallara Cosworth XD) 24.62s; 11 Warburton 24.68s; Menzies DNF.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 24: 1 Menzies 204pts; 2 Moran 186; 3= Ryder and Summers 163; 5 Hall 117; 6 Gould 101; 7 Willis 99; 8 Dave Uren 61; 9 Haimes 51; 10 Richard Spedding 44; etc.

BHC Tin Top Challenge, round 3: 1 Steve Darley (2.4t Subaru Legacy GL) 28.71s; 2 Damien Bradley (2.4t Subaru Legacy GL) 22.88s;  3 Stephen Moore (2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6 RS) 29.55s; 4 Simon Bainbridge (4.2t SBR Chrono-Audi V8) 30.57s; 5 Chris Berrisford (2.4t Subaru Impreza) 30.92s; 6 Stuart Reid (1.9 Peugeot 205) 32.15s; 7 Robbie Birrell (2.5t Porsche Cayman GTS) 32.57s; 8 Andrew Norris (3.3s Porsche 911) 32.63s; 9 Peter Siddle (2.0 Renault Clio 182 Cup) 33.34s; 10 Jonathan Williamson (3.2 Porsche 911 Carrera) 33.72s; etc.

BHC Tin Top Challenge, round 4: 1 Darley 28.09s; 2 Bradley 28.29s; 3 Moore 29.41s; 4 Bainbridge 29.55s; 5 Berrisford 30.88s; 6 Reid 31.85s; 7 Rodney Eyles (1.8t Alfa Romeo 4C) 31.93s; 8 Birrell 32.20s; 9 Norris 32.54s; 10 Richard Snow 3.8 Porsche Cayman GT4) 33.23s; etc.

BHC Tin Top Challenge positions after round 4: 1 Darley 39pts; 2 Bradley 37; 3= Bainbridge and Moore 30; 5 Berrisford 22; 6 Birrell 15; 7 Roger Moran 12; 8 Reid 10; 9 Gavin Neate 6; 10 Norris 5; etc.


Matt Ryder took his second win of the season (Stuart Wing)

Alex Summers levelled with Ryder for a Championship third place (Stuart Wing)

Scott Moran closed in on the Championship leader (Stuart Wing)

Record=breaker Steven Darley won both Tin Top run-offs and leads the series (Stuart Wing)


Event 11 at Wiscombe Park on 30/07/2023
With each of Wiscombe Park’s two BHC run-offs held on consecutive days, the fortunes of Championship leader Wallace Menzies could hardly have been more different.
          Saturday’s event started off wet, but the track dried throughout the day and from an unaccustomed eighth qualifying place a determined Menzies produced a typically scintillating run, storming the South Devon hill to take the run-off win with a new hill record. On Sunday the rain returned in earnest and set in for the day. On a now treacherous track, with average run-off times seven seconds slower than on the previous day, top qualifier and last runner Menzies charged up Castle Straight and braked a fraction too late into the tight Martini hairpin. On a snap decision by the driver the red GR59 shot up the escape road for a zero score, handing the win to Alex Summers. It was the Firestorm drivers third win of the year – some consolation, perhaps, for losing his year-old Wiscombe hill record to Menzies the previous day by a mere hundredth of a second.
          Having finished a strong second behind Menzies in Saturday’s run-off, Summers repeated his season’s best form at Saturday’s Gurston double-header, closing to within a single point of Championship third placeman Matt Ryder. The Ryder/Gould duo’s fortunes were much better than in the Channel Islands a week or so earlier and on Saturday Ryder was back in the top three, just behind Summers. Things looked promising for Gould when he qualified the GR59 top for Saturday’s run-off. But it all went wrong in the shoot-out itself when, after looking to be on a flyer, he overdid things at Martini. He ran wide, stopped without hitting the bank, rolled back and powered over the line, but the time had ticked by and he finished out of the points. Earlier in Saturday’s run-off, the notorious top hairpin had claimed another victim when, in a foretaste of Menzies’ incident the following day, Darren Gumbley had taken to the escape road in his Force TA. The Gould team had better luck in Sunday’s run-off, with Sean following Matt home to grab fourth and fifth places. However Scott Moran, who had been edged out by Ryder by three hundredths on Saturday’s dry track, turned the tables in the wet the following day. His second place, just five hundredths behind Summers, kept him within arm’s length (just about!) of the Championship leader with eight rounds still to run.
          Trevor Willis brought the OMS V8 home fifth on Saturday, although dropping a place the following day, allowing Will Hall to slip past by eight hundredths in his GR59. With both drivers clipping the marker posts on the inside of Martini in an effort not to run wide, Paul Haimes had edged out Hall for sixth on Saturday but had to settle for seventh behind Willis the following day. But with championship rivals Richard Spedding and Dave Warburton not taking part in either run-off (Warburton failed to qualify Alex Summers’ creation, the AFS P4T, while Spedding non-started), Haimes leapfrogged them both on the table to move back into the Championship top ten.
          The Wiscombe weekend was notable for no less than four drivers making the cut for a British hillclimb run-off for the first time. Reigning BHC Cup champion Alex Coles has stepped up from a Formula Ford into his father Neal’s 1600cc OMS-Suzuki 28 this year and qualified and scored each day in the car. Eighth place on Saturday, ahead of experienced run-off campaigner Lee Griffiths’ similar, but bigger engined OMS-Suzuki, was followed by tenth place the next day. Ahead of Coles on that wet Sunday, two 1100cc class runners had done well to qualify amongst the ‘big guns’, Stuart Bickley and Tom Weaver finishing eighth and ninth in bike powered Force TA and Empire Evo respectively, while in a rare BHC appearance by a saloon car, Stephen Darley made the Sunday cut in the potent Subaru Legacy, the car that his co-driver Damien Bradley had qualified for a Harewood BHC run-off in similar conditions two years ago.
          Darley and Bradley also jointly lead the BHC Tin Top Challenge, having swapped wins and second places in the first two rounds at Harewood in July. They will be anxious to consolidate their series advantage at the next two, when the BHC ‘circus’ returns to Shelsley Walsh in a fortnight.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Wiscombe Park

FTD (Saturday): Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 32.93s (outright hill record)

FTD (Sunday): Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 39.64s

Championship run-off, round 21: 1 Menzies 32.93s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 33.23s; 3 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 33.37s; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 33.40s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 34.04s; 6 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 34.34s; 7 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 34.75s; 8 Alex Coles (1.6 OMS-Suzuki 28) 36.07s; 9 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 28) 36.12s; 10 Adam Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 37.10s; 12 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 39.18s; Darren Gumbley (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 22: 1 Summers 39.81s; 2 Moran 39.87s; 3 Ryder 40.11s; 4 Gould 40.27s; 5 Hall 40.67s; 6 Willis 40.75s; 7 Haimes 41.46s; 8 Stuart Bickley (1.1 Force-Suzuki TA) 42.10s; 9 Tom Weaver (1.0 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 42.88s; 10 Alex Coles (1.6 OMS-Suzuki 28) 43.34s; 11 Steve Darley (2.4t Subaru Legacy) 44.10s; Menzies DNF.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 22: 1 Menzies 198pts; 2 Moran 168; 3 Ryder 146; 4 Summers 145; 5 Hall 101; 6 Gould 95; 7 Willis 91; 8 Dave Uren 50; 9 Haimes 47; 10 Richard Spedding 44; etc.


After breaking the hill record on Saturday, Wallace Menzies failed to score on Sunday (Nigel Cole)

Alex Summers stepped in to take Sunday's run-off win (Nigel Cole)

Alex Coles scored twice on his British run-off debut (Nigel Cole)

Driving his 1100cc Force TA, Stuart Bickley chased the BHC big guns on his first run-off appearance (Nigel Cole)


Event 10 at Le Val Des Terres on 22/07/2023
A spin over the line exiting Le Val Des Terres’ notorious final right-hander is nothing uncommon. But to spin and clout the bank while at the same time setting a new hill record most certainly is. That’s exactly what Wallace Menzies did on his way to what would be a double win at the Guernsey hill, which set him still further on the road to a fourth successive BHC title. It had taken until round 19 to set the first new hill record of the 2023 season, but it came at a price as this shunt in the opening run-off not only removed a rear tyre but caused rear suspension damage, which meant that Tom New and Team Tillicoultry Quarries faced a race against time to prepare the GR59 for the late afternoon qualifying runs. They got the job done in the nick of time and Wallace immediately set the fastest Q-time for the second run-off, which speaks volumes for his confidence in his team. They were well rewarded when their driver went on to take a second win and increase his Championship lead to 35 points.
          The action had indeed been frantic in that opening shoot-out, Scott Moran crossing the line broadside in bringing his own GR59 home in second place, over half a second behind the new record-holder, while Will Hall had crossed the line before spinning his own version through 180⁰ as he brought it home third. Just two hundredths behind Hall in fourth place, local man Nick Saunders produced a fine effort in his Reynick-Suzuki with Dave Warburton just five hundredths adrift in the bike-engined GR59. Alex Summers managed to bring the Firestorm home in sixth place, but it was close, third to sixth being covered by just 0.14s with Warburton on his best ever form on the Guernsey hill.
          With the second run-off again the property of Menzies, Moran chased him home again, closing to within just three hundredths, but this time it was Saunders who bagged third spot to equal his best ever BHC finish as he edged out Hall by seven hundredths. Competition was again intense, the Guernseyman relegating Hall to fourth place and just two hundredths clear of Alex Summers, who this time had slipped by Warburton into fifth and started to close in on Matt Ryder’s fourth place on the series table. Once again unable to get their GR59 on the pace, Ryder and Sean Gould had another disappointing day with Ryder just scraping into the points at the expense of his co-driver, while in the closing run-off they at least made the final two scoring positions as an under-the-weather Trevor Willis, who had led them both in the opening run-off in a tie for eighth place with Paul Haimes, slipped out of the points. He was joined by Darren Gumbley who had made the cut each time, but without adding to his score. Another local man, Tim Tulie, had twice made the cut after setting a new class record in his 1100cc Empire-Suzuki. He enjoyed a day-long duel with Haimes, heading home the supercharged GR59-Suzuki for seventh place each time.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Le Val des Terres

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 26.56s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 19: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 26.47s;
2 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 27.05; 3 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 27.53s; 4 Nick Saunders (1.6 Reynick-Suzuki) 27.55s; 5 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 27.50s; 6 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 27.67s; 7 Tim Tulie (1.1 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 28.06s; 8= Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.30s; 8= Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 28.30s; 10 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 28.64s; 11 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 28.94s; 12 Darren Gumbley (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 29.41s.

Championship run-off, round 20: 1 Menzies 26.91s; 2 Moran 26.94s; 3 Saunders 27.67s; 4 Hall
27.74s; 5 Summers 27.76s; 6 Warburton 28.01s; 7 Tulie 28.13s; 8 Haimes 28.51s; 9 Ryder
28.55s; 10 Gould 28.89s; 11 Willis 28.95s; 12 Gumbley 29.04s.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 20: 1 Menzies 187pts; 2 Moran 152; 3 Ryder 130; 4 Summers 126; 5 Hall 91; 6 Gould 88; 7 Willis 80; 8 Dave Uren 50; 9 Richard Spedding 44; 10 Warburton 39; etc.


Wallace Menzies set a new hill record in spectacular fashion! (Andrew Le Poidevin)

Local driver Nick Saunders got his Reynick-Suzuki in amongst the big hitters each time (Andrew Le Poidevin)

Another local man, Tim Tulie, twice brought his 1-litre Empire home in seventh place (Andrew Le Poidevin)

David Warburton hit his best ever Guernsey form (Andrew Le Poidevin)


Event 9 at Bouley Bay on 19/07/2023
Despite a big lockup and a slide at the final bend, where he had to dip the clutch to prevent his GR59 from stalling, Wallace Menzies hung on to take FTD with an opening run-off win by a quarter of a second on the hairpin-strewn public road course at Bouley Bay. His closest Championship rival Scott Moran had suffered clutch issues in practice, but recovered to take fourth place. In the closing run-off, after gaining time on the tortuous climb’s middle reaches, it was the six-time champion’s turn to take a narrow seven hundredths win from the series leader, but as the Championship heads towards its latter stages, Menzies’ progress towards a fourth successive title seems unstoppable.
          Hot on the winners’ heels in the first run-off was a delighted Trevor Willis. Much to his relief his 36.48s hill record, which has stood for seven years, remained intact throughout the day. More importantly, it was the OMS-RPE V8 driver’s best result of the season and his first podium finish since Prescott’s opening round back in April. A fourth place finish in the second run-off gave him his best combined result of the year. Alex Summers, who has been having a lean time of late in the Firestorm but is hanging on to fourth place on the table, was another to have a moment at the notorious top bend which left him just eight hundredths behind Willis in the first shoot-out, before edging out Trevor by exactly the same margin to take another third place at the end.
          Chasing the top four hard each time was Richard Spedding. Seven hundredths behind Moran in round 17 and a mere one hundredth behind Willis in round 18, the driver of the diminutive Raptor-Suzuki was another driver having his best weekend of the season so far. Matt Ryder was the first to suffer at the hands of the hard charging Yorkshireman, lack of knowledge of the demanding hill plus a GR59 which neither he nor Sean Gould could get to handle to their satisfaction being contributory factors. After Matt’s recent win at Harewood, the Jersey result was particularly hard to take. Darren Gumbley, on the other hand, was delighted to finish round 17 within half a second of Ryder’s GR59 for his first British points since Craigantlet in April. Co-driver Dave Uren, still awaiting his Gould GR55’s gearbox rebuild, brought their Force TA home for the final point behind a disappointed Sean Gould, following a time-consuming sideways moment at the notorious Radio Hairpin and Will Hall, who spent most of his time looking out of the side of his own GR59!
          The second run-off, however, saw Hall find another half second and improve to eighth place with a time five hundredths away from his Bouley PB in the Force. With a determined shot almost a second and a half inside his qualifier Dave Warburton, who had failed to make the cut for round 17, ran within a couple of tenths of Hall for seventh place, ahead of Ryder, Gumbley and final points scorer Gould. Guernseymen filled the two non-scoring places each time with Andy Bougourd, a veteran of this year’s Championship season, getting into round 17 and class winner Tim Tulie doing particularly well to qualify his 1100cc Empire-Suzuki in his first BHC qualification outside Guernsey. Ahead of them both was Nick Saunders in the much campaigned Reynick, but three days later, on home soil, it would be a different story …

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Bouley Bay

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 36.99s

Championship run-off, round 17: 1 Menzies 36.99s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 37.26s;
3 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 37.34; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 37.50s; 5 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 37.57s; 6 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 37.92s; 7 Darren Gumbley (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 38.39s; 8 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 38.77s; 9 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 38.80s; 10 Dave Uren (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 39.36s; 11 Nick Saunders (1.6 Reynick-Suzuki) 39.89s; 12 Andy Bougourd (1.6 Force-Suzuki PT) 40.47s.
Championship run-off, round 18: 1 Moran 37.28s; 2 Menzies 37.35s; 3 Summers 37.84s; 4
Willis 37.92s; 5 Spedding 37.93s; 6 Hall 38.22s; 7 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59)
38.43s; 8 Ryder 38.48s; 9  Gumbley 38.49s; 10 Gould 38.84s; 11 Saunders 38.95s; 12 Tim Tulie
(1.1 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 40.26s.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 18: 1 Menzies 166pts; 2 Moran 134; 3 Ryder 127; 4 Summers 115; 5 Gould 87; 6 Willis 77; 7 Hall 76; 8 Uren 50; 9 Spedding 44; 10 Paul Haimes 32; etc.


Despite a big moment at the final bend, Wallace Menzies took the opening run-off win with FTD (Andrew Le Poidevin)

Scott Moran took a narrow win from the series leader in round 18 (Andrew Le Poidevin)

Runner-up to Menzies in round 17, Trevor Willis enjoyed his best result of the season so far (Andrew Le Poidevin)

Alex Summers battled throughout with Trevor Willis for two third place finishes (Andrew Le Poidevin)


Event 8 at Harewood on 02/07/2023
Exactly one year after his maiden BHC win with a new hill record at Harewood, Matt Ryder returned to the Yorkshire hill to set the outright pace once again. Having qualified top for the closing run-off just ahead of his co-driver, the Gould GR59’s constructor Sean Gould, the 26-year-old edged out Wallace Menzies to snatch the win, and FTD, from the Championship leader.
          Menzies had already won the opening run-off from Ryder and now extended his series lead to a healthy 28 points, but his closest rival is now Ryder, who slipped past Scott Moran on the Championship table after uncharacteristically untidy third and fourth place finishes, which included a big lock-up and sideways entry into the final part of Quarry in the first shoot-out and skittling both sets of marker posts in the Esses on the second. This left the 6-times champion trailing Ryder by just two points on the series table.
          Hanging on to fourth place on the table after another difficult weekend, Alex Summers sat out Saturday’s practice sessions with transmission problems. But the Firestorm was back in action on Sunday to open with a fourth place finish. In an all-out attempt to make up for lost time in the second shoot-out Alex was well on the pace into Quarry, only to become another to fall foul of the notorious, tightening right-hander before the finish. With two wheels on the grass he retrieved the situation, but not the time, which would only be good enough for fifth place at the end, a hundredth clear of the ever-spectacular Trevor Willis who finished sixth each time.
          The OMS V8 driver had chased home Sean Gould in the opening shoot-out, while after that fine second place qualifier and third place finish in the closing run-off, Sean  enjoyed his best combined result since Gurston Down back in May. Two seventh place finishes kept Will Hall comfortably in the Championship top six, his Gould V8 leading home Richard Spedding’s Raptor-Suzuki in the opening run-off, but  the despite a two tenths improvement in round 16, the local driver found himself just out of the points as the overall pace stepped up,.
          Split by two hundredths in round 15 were Paul Haimes and Dave Warburton in their GR59s, Haimes’ turbo version getting the edge for eighth place. But Jack Cottrill joined the fray for round 16, surging into eighth place in his DJ Dallara-XD ahead of Warburton who, with an improvement of almost a second, relegated Haimes to the final point.
          Jason Tunnicliffe made the cut for the first time this year, although in round 15  the Empire Wraith turbo driver, together with Andy Greenan in his Evo 3 version from Bill Chaplin’s emporium, finished out of the points, as did Eynon Price’s Force TA in round 16.
          Harewood also saw the first two rounds of the new BHC Tin Top Challenge, a 3-event, 6-round series which will see further rounds at Shelsley and Loton. With both drivers inside Harewod’s 2-litre Modified Production record during the class runs, when honours finally fell to Damien Bradley, it looked a fair bet that both Bradley and his driving partner Steve Darley in their Subaru Legacy, with a reputed 700bhp on tap on full boost, would be hot favourites for top honours in the two 10-car run-offs, each held before those for the British Championship. And so it proved, with the pair swapping wins to end the day tied in the lead of the Challenge on a day when, apart from the two leaders, all the top eight finishers and their placings were identical.
          Simon Bainbridge in his Audi powered sports libre SBR Chrono drew away, albeit only slightly, from rapid Mitsubishi Evo ace Stephen Moore, last year’s Midland Hillclimb champion at the wheel of his Evo 6. Roger Moran was well in touch with Moore, driving his rally spec. Skoda and competing in his first run-off at a British Championship event since 2014. The 1997 British champion finished ahead of Chris Berrisford and Robbie Birrell, class record-breakers both, in Impreza and Porsche Cayman respectively. Gavin Neate and his Peugeot 106 ran eighth each time ahead of, initially, Jonathan Williamson’s much campaigned Porsche Carrera, which led home Peter Siddle, but the Clio driver was eased out of round two by Phil Tucker is his rapid and immaculate Nova, which then relegated Williamson to the final place.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood

FTD: Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 47.70s

Championship run-off, round 15: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 47.80s; 2 Ryder 48.02s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 48.52s; 4 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 49.07s; 5 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 49.22s; 6 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 49.41s; 7 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 49.44s; 8 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 50.86s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 50.96s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 50.98s; 11 Jason Tunnicliffe (1.3t Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 52.18s; 12 Andrew Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 52.28s.

Championship run-off, round 16: 1 Ryder 47.70s; 2 Menzies 48.04s; 3 Gould 48.71s; 4 Moran 48.74s; 5 Summers 48.75s; 6 Willis 48.76s; 7 Hall 49.22s; 8 Jack Cottrill (2.7 DJ Dallara-Cosworth XD) 49.80s; 9 Warburton 50.03s; 10 Haimes 50.34s; 11 Spedding 50.68s; 12 Eynon Price (1.7 Force-Suzuki TA) 50.76s.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 16: 1 Menzies 147pts; 2 Ryder 119; 3 Moran 117; 3; 4 Summers 99; 5 Gould 84; 6 Hall 68; 7 Trevor Willis 61; 8 Dave Uren 49; 9= Spedding and Haimes 32; etc.

BHC Tin Top Challenge, round 1: 1 Damien Bradley (2.4t Subaru Legacy GL) 56.30s; 2 Steve Darley (2.4t Subaru Legacy GL) 56.76s; 3 Simon Bainbridge (4.2t SBR Chrono-Audi V8) 58.74s; 4 Stephen Moore (2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6 RS) 59.04s; 5 Roger Moran (1.6t Skoda Fabia R5) 59.35s; 6 Chris Berrisford (2.4t Subaru Impreza) 62.34s; 7 Robbie Birrell (2.5t Porsche Cayman GTS) 62.55s; 8 Gavin Neate (1.4 Peugeot 106) 63.14s; 9 Jonathan Williamson (3.2 Porsche 911 Carrera) 63.73s; 10 Peter Siddle (2.0 Renault Clio 182 Cup) 66.01s.

BHC Tin Top Challenge, round 2: 1 Darley 56.63s; 2 Bradley 56.99s; 3 Bainbridge 58.28s; 4 Moore 58.93s; 5 Moran 59.38s; 6 Berrisford 61.60s; 7 Birrell 62.71s; 8 Neate 62.30s; 9 Phil Tucker (1.4 Vauxhall Nova) 63.78s; 10 Williamson 64.11s.

BHC Tin Top Challenge positions after round 2: 1= Darley and Bradley 19pts; 3 Bainbridge 16; 4 Moore 14; 5 Moran 12; 6 Berrisford 10; 7 Birrell 8; 8 Neate 6; 9 Williamson 3; 10 Tucker 2; etc.


Matt Ryder set the outright pace on the last run of the day (Steve Wilkinson)

With a win and second place, Wallace Menzies extended his Championship lead (Steve Wilkinson)

Scott Moran conceded his Championship second place to Ryder (Steve Wilkinson)

Damien Bradley won the opening round of the BHC TinTop Challenge (Steve Wilkinson)


Event 7 at Doune on 18/06/2023
In a repeat of the format used at Wiscombe Park last year, there was one run-off on each day of the weekend at Doune. But halfway through Saturday’s run-off the rain arrived and by the time the top three qualifiers – Scott Moran, an inspired David Warburton and Alex Summers – came to the line their chance of a top finish had disappeared.
For Championship leader Wallace Menzies, a relatively poor Saturday qualifier, over a second behind Summers, would prove a blessing in disguise. Using his mastery of damp conditions he just beat his qualifier to take his seventh win of the season. As with Will Hall at Craigantlet, Sean Gould was the first to run and would benefit from a dry track. His time of 36.65 remained good enough for second place, just ahead of local hot-shoe Stuart Sugden in his Raptor, who managed the last truly dry run.
          Matt Ryder, running just before Wallace, salvaged fourth ahead of 2004 Doune winner Paul Haimes while after a lurid, but non-damaging spin at Junction in practice, Will Hall qualified and took his Gould-Judd to sixth place. Richard Spedding had solved the issue that affected his Raptor at Shelsley Walsh and finished seventh. With the rain now taking effect, running third from last limited Scott Moran to eighth place while early runners Johnathen Varley and Dave Tatham – after qualifying a 1-litre car at Doune! – were the final points scorers.
          And what of the two drivers running last? David Warburton had broken Sean Gould’s 2017 class record by two hundredths – in the same car, now methanol fuelled – for a fine second place qualifier. But as the rain came down he slipped out of the points. And the top qualifier, a very disappointed Alex Summers, could do no better that a mid-40 in the worst of the rain to finish out of the points.
          Two top names missing from the run-off were Dave Uren and Trevor Willis who had suffered gearbox and engine problems respectively at Shelsley Walsh. The gearbox in Uren’s  venerable GR55 had finally cried enough and Dave was sharing Darren Gumbley’s 1.6-litre Force, but was over a second away from qualifying. His regular co-driver Nicola Menzies was sharing father George Coghill’s classic Chevron B45 but its engine failed after practice. Trevor’s RPE engine had been rebuilt but on Saturday morning there was no oil pressure as the scavenge pump had failed. A quick reshuffle saw Trevor take Steve Owen’s place in Simon Andrews’ similar OMS 28, but he failed to qualify.
          In contrast, conditions on Sunday were perfect. This played right into Alex Summers’ hands as he slotted in a class record breaking qualifier with the first sub-35 of the weekend. In the all-important run-off, penultimate runner Scott Moran went one better as he closed in on Alex’s outright hill record of 34.21s set last year. But then, with his Firestorm-XD finally working as well on the Avons as it had last year on the Pirellis, Summers stormed to the top just eight hundredths outside his hill record, taking his second win of the season to make up for the disappointment of the previous day.  
          After qualifying fifth, Menzies put together his first sub-36 of the weekend for third place, maintaining his season-long record of top three finishes and stretching his Championship lead over Moran to 26 points. A tenth or so behind Menzies, Matt Ryder hung on to the leading duo to end the weekend just two points behind Moran on the series table, while Will Hall went one better than the previous day to finish fifth. Having shaved a couple of hundredths off his class record for the 1600cc class on Saturday, David Warburton did a proper job on Sunday and took the record below 36 seconds to qualify third, but even with a time that was quicker still in the run-off he could only finish sixth, although ahead of Sean Gould and Stuart Sugden, despite the Scot taking his Raptor below Warburton’s class record set the previous day. Richard Spedding took ninth with his best time of the weekend but Paul Haimes, who had qualified well in sixth place with a new class record, could only finish tenth, such was the pace set by those ahead of him.
          Finishing just outside the points in her first run-off of the year, Olivia Cooper had set a new Ladies’ hill record of 38.23s in qualifying, over a second inside Nicola Menzies’ mark. Behind her was the second Scottish Raptor of Simon Mackay who had failed to qualify on the Saturday after he went mowing over Jock Ramsay’s lawn at the top of East Brae. On Sunday he did qualify, but then went one better at the notorious right-hander, attacking the grass on both sides of the track on his way to twelfth place!

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Doune

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 34.29s

Championship run-off, round 13: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 36.43s; 2 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 36.65s; 3 Stuart Sugden (1.6 GWR Raptor 1-Suzuki) 36.76s; 4 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 36.97s; 5 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.41s; 6 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 37.56s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 38.08s; 8 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 38.43s; 9 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 38.97s; 10 David Tatham (1.1 DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 39.75s; 11 Summers 40.55s; 12 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 41.20s.

Championship run-off, round 14: 1 Summers 34.29s; 2 Moran 34.37s; 3 Menzies 34.99s; 4 Ryder 35.15s; 5 Hall 35.58s; 6 Warburton 35.71s; 7 Gould 35.99s; 8 Sugden 36.07s; 9 Spedding 36.64s; 10 Haimes 36.65s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 38.64s; 12 Simon Mackay (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 39.23s.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 14: 1 Menzies 128pts; 2 Moran 102; 3 Ryder 100; 3; 4 Summers 86; 5 Gould 70; 6 Hall 57; 7 Trevor Willis 51; 8 Dave Uren 49; 9= Spedding and Haimes 29; etc.

After the weather had scuppered his run on Saturday, Alex Summers bounced back for Sunday's win at almost record pace (David Baxter)

David Warburton scored a best ever second place qualifier on Saturday (David Baxter)

Despite winning only one of the two rounds, Wallace Menzies extended his Championship lead (David Baxter)

Stuart Sugden opened his 2023 account with a fine third place on Saturday (David Baxter)


Event 6 at Shelsley Walsh on 04/06/2023
In another masterly performance by Wallace Menzies, the defending champion won both run-offs at a dry but dusty Shelsley Walsh, setting the day’s outright pace in the first of them. In terms of outright speed, the second win was the faster as with the late afternoon sun in the drivers’ eyes, his Gould-Judd GR59 clocked 144mph through the Ess approach speed trap and a searing 162 mph over the finish. But the time didn’t quite match his first run winner of 22.33s, the day’s only sub-23sec run. In a strong opening bout challenge by Scott Moran, his own GR59 ran even quicker into Bottom Ess, but clouted the bank with a nearside rear wheel exiting Top Ess leaving Scott to finish third. Nevertheless, he left Shelsley with the runner-up spot in the Championship, albeit 20 points shy of leader Menzies who continues to strengthen his grip on a fourth title bid.
          Both run-offs told a tale of attrition. Coming to Shelsley in second spot on the table, Matt Ryder failed even to qualify for the opening run-off when the GR59-Judd’s engine momentarily cut out with an apparent electronic glitch during Q1. Then when Sean Gould, who had qualified the car earlier, approached the start for his first run-off shot, a driveshaft failure sidelined the car. Both drivers were back in action in the second shoot-out, but even a hard trying Ryder’s fine second place finish, just 13 hundredths behind Menzies’ winning time and with a mere half-second covering the first five cars, was not enough to retrieve the 26-year old’s Championship runner-up spot as Moran leaped into a four point advantage.
          Skidblocks sparking furiously, Will Hall scored one of his best, and certainly most meritorious, results of the year in his new GR59 with second place in the opening run-off, just nine hundredths behind Menzies. But so hot was the pace in the second shoot-out that a time only half a second slower left him in fifth place. Having qualified top for the opening run-off, Alex Summers was in the mix throughout but with two fourth place finishes was still unable to rise above his series fourth place. He did, however, gain huge pleasure from seeing his own new car, the superb AFS P4t V6, performing in the hands of Trevor Willis. Having already had considerable technical input in the new car, Trevor was offered a last-minute drive after the engine in his own OMS-RPE suffered a suspected piston failure on Sunday morning. Alex’s father Richard promptly stood down and offered the seat and Trevor showed just why he was a 3-times champion, running within a second of qualifying pace despite never having driven the car before!
          Richard Spedding was another to suffer problems, his Raptor stalling after the start in the opening run-off due to launch control problems. He got the car sorted for the closing bout to finish ninth. Having got to within a couple of tenths of her own Ladies’ hill record in first qualifying Nicola Menzies, having made the cut with exactly the same time as Jack Cottrill, went on to grab eighth place from Cottrill's DJ Dallara-Cosworth by three hundredths. Unlike Jack, Nicola qualified for the second run-off when unfortunately, the gearbox broke on the startline. This of course ruled out further participation by driving partner Dave Uren, the former Shelsley winner having earlier brought their venerable GR55-NME home in a competitive fifth place, just five hundredths behind Summers.
          There were no such problems for Paul Haimes, his turbocharged GR59-Suzuki running perfectly to enable a first ever 23sec run up Shelsley in Q1, a feat he repeated in the second run-off as he harried the big V8s each time. Dave Warburton upheld the honour of the 1600cc racing class with seventh and eight places in the normally aspirated GR59-Suzuki. His delighted father Allan bagged his first points of the year for tenth place in the opening run-off, while it was Graham Wynn’s turn to take over the place in the closing bout.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 22.93s

Championship run-off, round 11: 1 Wallace Menzies 22.93s; 2 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 23.02s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 23.05s; 4 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosorth XD) 23.20s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 23.25s; 6 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.34s; 7 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.47s; 8 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 24.91s; 9 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 24.94s; 10 Allan Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 25.49s; Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) DNF; Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) DNS.

Championship run-off, round 12: 1 Wallace Menzies 23.04s; 2 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 23.17s; 3 Moran 23.27s; 4 Summers 23.41s; 5 Hall 23.55s; 6 Gould 23.74s; 7 Haimes 23.99s; 8 David Warburton 24.66s; 9 Spedding 24.74s; 10 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 25.42s; Nicola Menzies DNS; Uren DNS.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 12: 1 Menzies 110pts; 2 Moran 90; 3 Ryder 86; 3; 4 Summers 76; 5 Gould 57; 6 Willis 51; 7= Uren and Hall 49; 9 Spedding 23; 10 Haimes 22; etc.


Wallace Menzies extended his Championship lead with a double run-off win (Stuart Wing)

Will Hall ran Menzies close in the opening run-off (Stuart Wing)

Matt Ryder missed the first run-off but bounced back strongly in the second (Stuart Wing)

Trevor Willis gave Alex Summers' new car its Shelsley debut (Stuart Wing)


Event 5 at Gurston Down on 28/05/2023
After missing a round the previous day due to a fuel leak, Scott Moran bounced back on the second day of Gurston Down’s BHC ‘double-header’ to become the first driver to score a double run-off win this year. Chased hard each time by series leader Wallace Menzies, who closed to within four hundredths of a second in the closing shoot-out, Moran’s wins were doubly satisfying after the hard work the team had put in the previous evening.
          A damaged O-ring in the fuel injection system had caused the leak, but as it lay in the vee of the V8 engine, due to the ‘one-piece’ nature of the GR59 tub it was inaccessible without removing the engine. This was clearly not the work of a moment and with the complex reassembly job not finished until 10.00 pm on Saturday night, there were sighs of relief all round when the now fuel-tight Judd V8 was successfully fired up on Sunday morning.
          Clocking mid-140s into Hollow and approaching 160mph over the finish line in each run-off, Moran’s rocket pace was all but matched by Menzies. While still holding third place in the Championship, Scott closed the gap to the series leader. In the process he closed to within three points of series second place man Matt Ryder. Having finished in fifth place in the opening run-off behind a resurgent Dave Uren, so hot was the pace in the closing shoot-out that even a run just three tenths shy of Moran’s winning time was only good enough for Ryder to bag fourth place.
          As ever, competition between the British Championship contenders was not only high speed but close as Alex Summers, although not on winning pace this time, was only a tenth or so away from it and grabbed two third places, both a mere couple of hundredths behind perennial rival Menzies. In contrast to the previous day, Sean Gould now had to give best to a man less than half his age as he followed co-driver Ryder home in each run-off. With two more seventh place finishes, Trevor Willis had Paul Haimes snapping at his heels each time, the bike-engined GR59 turbocar closing to within a tenth of the 3-times champion in the late afternoon sunshine.
          Jack Cottrill again made two run-off appearances in the DJ Dallara XD, edging out Graham Wynn’s GR59 for ninth place each time and ending the weekend just ourside the Championship top ten. Although finishing out of the points, Adam Greenen did a fine job to qualify his 1600cc Empire Evo3-Suzuki Evo 3 twice at Gurston. He withdrew from the second shoot-out after his brother Andy had also qualified the car. Unfortunately for their classmate, regular points score Dave Warburton who had twice qualified the 1600cc Gould-GR59 on Saturday, the car snapped into a 90⁰ spin out of Karousel with suspected gearbox problems and failed to appear again, losing his tenth place on the Championship table to Haimes in his smaller, turbocharged version.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

FTD: Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 25.51s;

Championship run-off, round 9: 1 Moran 25.51s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 25.60s; 3 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 25.62s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 26.22s; 5 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 26.24s; 6 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 26.25s; 7 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.28s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 26.79s; 9 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 27.23s; 10 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 27.70s; 11 Adam Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 28.59s; David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 10: 1 Moran 25.55s; 2 Menzies 25.59s; 3 Summers 25.62s; 4 Ryder 25.87s; 5 Gould 26.36s; 6 Uren 26.49s; 7 Willis 26.77s; 8 Haimes 26.86s; 9 Cottrill 27.96s; 10 Wynn 28.06s; 11 Andrew Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 28.55s; Adam Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) DNS.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 10: 1 Menzies 90pts; 2 Ryder 77; 3 Moran 74; 4 Summers 62; 5 Gould 52; 6 Willis 51; 7 Uren 43; 8 Hall 34; 9 Richard Spedding 21; 10 Haimes 13; etc.


Scott Moran took the first double run-off win of the season (Ian Beard)

Dave Uren scored his best result of the year with a fourth place finish (Ian Beard)

Paul Haimes moved into the Championship top ten (Steve Lister)

Jack Cottrill scored in the DJ Dallara throughout the weekend, ending it just outside the Championship top ten (Ian Beard)


Event 4 at Gurston Down on 27/05/2023
After a dire weekend at Harewood where he’d failed to get into either run-off, Alex Summers and the DJ Firehawk were back on top form at Gurston Down. Electrical problems had blunted the 2015 champion’s challenge for much of this season, but with the fault traced to the car’s master switch, modifications proved effective and after finishing in second place in the opening run-off, just twelve hundredths behind perennial adversary Wallace Menzies, a delighted and relieved Summers took his first win of the year in the second shoot-out.
          Menzies had to settle for third place in the second bout. Boosted by an earlier fifth place, an on-form Sean Gould blasted the GR59 past the defending champion for his best finish of the year so far in his own GR59, but at the end of the first day of the Championship’s only ‘double-header’ weekend of the 2023 season, Menzies still enjoyed an 8-point series lead over Matt Ryder’s GR59 shared with constructor Gould. After five runner-up placings this year Ryder’s Gurston performance was somewhat more subdued, despite running a mere second off the pace each time, in sixth and fourth places respectively.
          It was the third placed man on the Championship table, Scott Moran, that chased home the two leaders early on. But a fuel leak, discovered after co-driver Graham Wynn had taken his second qualifying run, prevented the 6-time champion from coming out for his own qualifier and both drivers were unable to take any further part in proceedings.
         Will Hall was flying in the opening run-off, his new GR59 clocking a day’s best 148mph down the hill into Hollow Bend. Fourth place was encouraging for the Midlander, but his hopes were to be dashed later when the car stuttered to the finish on his second qualifier with an initially untraceable problem, after which he loaded up the car and withdrew from Sunday’s event.
         As expected, Trevor Willis was a trifle outgunned in the power stakes at Gurston, his flamboyant style in the OMS-RPE netting seventh place each time. He managed to eke out a slender three hundredths over Dave Uren in the opening bout, but the driver of the venerable ex.Groves Gould GR55B swept past into fifth place later on, as did Paul Haimes, with a season’s best sixth place in the turbocharged, bike-engined GR59, the car’s early season differential housing problems now solved.
         Heading Haimes early on, Jack Cottrill scored his first points of the year with ninth place, improving to eighth later in his DJ developed Dallara-Cosworth XD as he ran a tenth clear of Johnathen Varley’s svelte 2-litre Predator-TKD SV8. Dave Warburton finished just out of the points in the opening run-off, as did Graham Wynn, but he salvaged a point in the final bout ahead of Nicola Menzies in the GR55, who had closed to within twelve hundredths of Sue Young’s 6-year old Ladies’ record in qualifying.
Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 25.46s

Championship run-off, round 7: 1 Menzies 25.46s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 25.58s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 26.08s; 4 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 26.16s; 5 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 26.39s; 6 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 26.58s; 7 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 27.04s; 8 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 27.07s; 9 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 27.27s; 10 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 27.37s; 11 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.03s; 12 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 28.53s.

Championship run-off, round 8: 1 Summers 25.67s; 2 Gould 26.24s; 3 Wallace Menzies 26.33s;
4 Ryder 26.76s; 5 Uren 26.84s; 6 Haimes 27.14s; 7  Willis 27.37s; 8 Cottrill 28.17s; 9 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 28.28s; 10 Warburton 28.31s; 11 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 28.81s; 12 Wynn DNS.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 8: 1 Menzies 72pts; 2 Ryder 64; 3 Moran 54; 4 Summers 46; 5 Willis 43; 6 Gould 41; 7 Hall 34; 8 Uren 31; 9 Richard Spedding 21; 10 Warburton 9; etc.


A relieved Alex Summers collected his first BHC run-off win of the season (Ian Beard)

Still well in charge of this year's Championship, Wallace Menzies won the opening run-off (Steve Lister)

Sean Gould scored his best result of the year so far with a second place finish (Steve Lister)

Trevor Willis struggled to match the front runners on Gurston's power slopes (Steve Lister)


Event 3 at Harewood on 07/05/2023
In clocking up his 167th British Championship round win at Harewood, the venue where he not only scored his very first BHC round win 20 years ago but also where, ten years later, he first exceeded the 104 round win record of closest rival Martin Groves, another ten years further on Scott Moran set another personal milestone. With a win in the opening run-off at the Stockton Farm venue’s May meeting he became the first driver in the history of the 76-year-old series to score over 4000 British Championship points.
          He did it in style with a 47.71sec FTD, over a quarter of a second clear of young charger Matt Ryder, the pair confining Wallace Menzies to third place to complete a 1/2/3 finish for the Gould company’s GR59s. The defending triple champion fought back in the closing run-off, snatching the win from Ryder by just three hundredths of a second. Into third place came Will Hall, rapidly dialling in his new Gould despite finishing seventh in the opening shoot-out, following a big lock-up into the second part of Harewood’s notorious sting in the tail, the ever-tightening Quarry Corner before the finish line. After qualifying top, Moran had to be content with fourth place, a second behind the leader, but ensuring that this time it was now a quartet of the latest Goulds that led the way. Unfortunately for Alex Summers, he was unable to mount his usual challenge, ongoing electrical issues sidelining the Firestorm-XD after the car had ground to a halt during the opening qualifying runs. A zero points score for the day meant that he dropped back to fifth place on the Championship table and now faces a long haul if he is to challenge Menzies’ bid for a fourth successive title. That challenge now looks set to come from Ryder, who remains within two points of the series leader and six points clear of the third placed Moran.
          Shadowing the leading group in fourth and fifth places respectively was Trevor Willis, as ever giving it everything in the relatively underpowered OMS-RPE V8 and almost collecting a penalty after sliding across the finish line boundary at Quarry on his final run. Behind Willis and split by fifteen hundredths in the opening run-off, Dave Uren and Sean Gould battled mightily in their own Goulds – Dave’s GR55B and Sean’s GR59J built some 14 years apart – reversing their positions in the second run-off. First of the 1600s home in round 5, local man Richard Spedding failed to catch Hall’s tyre-smoking Gould by two hundredths in the opening bout, his eighth placed Raptor-Suzuki chased hard by Johnathen Varley’s 2-litre Predator-YV8 as Spedding’s classmate David Warburton took the final point in his GR59-Suzuki. But a spin at Quarry left Varley out of the points in round 6, while Warburton swept through to demote Spedding to ninth place.
          With a fine performance in his new Firehawk-Suzuki, built up from an unused chassis dating back to 2017, 1100cc class winner David Tatham made the run-off cut each time with the day’s eleventh fastest time overall. A 90º spin at Country Corner in the opening run-off left him with no score, but with a return to form in the closing bout he grabbed the final point. Also making the cut, but finishing out of the points, were 1600cc runners Andy Greenen and Darren Gumbley who replaced each other in successive run-offs, Gumbley joining the long list of drivers to spin over the finish line at Quarry and have their time disallowed for exceeding track limits.  

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood

FTD: Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 47.71s

Championship run-off, round 5: 1 Moran 47.71s; 2 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 48.02s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 48.21s; 4 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 48.65s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 49.05s; 6 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 49.20s; 7 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 49.30s; 8 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 49.32s; 9 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 50.07s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 50.18s; 11 Andrew Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 53.08s; David Tatham (1.1 DJ Firehawk Mk3-Suzuki) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 6: 1 Menzies 48.18s; 2 Ryder 48.21s; 3 Hall 49.14s; 4 Moran 49.18s; 5 Willis 49.28s; 6 Gould 49.68s; 7 Uren 50.17s; 8 Warburton 50.19s; 9 Spedding 50.23s; 10 Tatham 52.69s; 11 Varley 91.68s; 12 Darren Gumbley (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) DNF.
British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 6: 1 Menzies 54pts; 2 Ryder 52; 3 Moran 46; 4 Willis 35; 5= Hall and Alex Summers 27; 7 Gould 26; 8 Uren 22; 9 Spedding 21; 10 Warburton 8; etc.


Scott Moran's BHC points total has now exceeded 4000 (Steve Wilkinson)

Wallace Menzies continues to lead the Championship... (Steve Wilkinson)

Matt Ryder is still mounting a strong challenge (Steve Wilkinson)

Dave Tatham qualified his 1-litre Firehawk for the run-off each time (Steve Wilkinson)


Event 2 at Craigantlet on 29/04/2023
On a murky Ulster Saturday, plagued by fog then rain, with a little brightness in between, battle was rejoined for event two of the British Hillclimb Championship, this time through the country lanes above Belfast. In changeable conditions, with a third place and a win Wallace Menzies left the Province  having pulled out a two point Championship lead over Matt Ryder, thereby taking his customary spot at the head of the table.
             There was drama during Saturday morning’s practice for this one-day meeting. Graham Wynn lost the Gould-Judd on the exit of the fast right-hander out onto the main road, just before the finish, putting the Gould-Judd into the hedge to the detriment of the car’s rear wing. With no spare available co-driver Scott Moran, third in the Championship and with valuable points at stake, took up the offer of a shared drive in Will Hall’s new and still unpainted GR59J.
             It was still dry for the qualifying runs for the opening run-off, when Alex Summers was back on form to book his place at the top of the list with a 39.97s in the Firestorm-XD. This would turn out to be FTD, as rain set in shortly after the start of the run-off itself. This played into the hands of the early runners. Among them was a delighted Hall who, as second car on the hill, would take a popular if unexpected win in his new car on only its second outing, running half a second clear of the following runner, joint Championship leader Matt Ryder in the ‘semi-works’ GR59-Judd shared with constructor Sean Gould..
             But then, as Darren Gumbley brought his little Force to the line, the rain arrived. The Teme Valley driver set a competitive time, despite a steadily dampening road surface, as did fellow 1600cc runner Richard Spedding in the Raptor, but the bigger engined cars that followed were unable to get their power down as conditions worsened and times suffered.
             However a drop of rain failed to concern a determined Wallace Menzies. The penultimate runner promptly set third fastest time against the run of play with a sensational display of controlled aggression. Even top qualifier Summers was unable to match the defending champion’s time, having to settle for fifth place behind Spedding but ahead of fellow top contenders Moran, Gould and Trevor Willis. Paul Haimes rounded off the points scorers in his turbocharged, bike engine GR59 but the worsening conditions left Dave Uren, the joint hill record holder having qualified third fastest in his Gould-NME, and David Warburton’s GR59, out of the points.
             The track was still wet for the second run-off, but now it was the same for everyone. By this time Paul Haimes’ troublesome Gould had retired hurt with differential woes, allowing Nicola Menzies to qualify. Quickest was the unstoppable Wallace Menzies with a 42.01s shot, 0.6s clear of Summers, who was now free of throttle sensor troubles that had plagued him during practice. Moran, rapidly familiarising himself with Hall’s car, was a further second adrift, almost two seconds up on Ryder, while Willis’ freshly painted (a fetching Porsche Oyster Blue, in case you were wondering) OMS was but five hundredths behind. Gould was six tenths further adrift, a bare tenth ahead of Uren, while Hall, Spedding (enduring both a bird strike and a misfire) and Warburton completed the points scorers some distance behind, leaving Gumbley and Mrs Menzies out of the points.
             Despite the conditions, the Ulster Automobile Club had kept the show on the road in typically good humoured style, even forgoing a lunch break, which ensured that, as ever, competitors left Northern Ireland with positive memories.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Craigantlet

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 39.97s

Championship run-off, round 3: 1 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 40.63s; 2 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 41.14s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 43.59s; 4 Darren Gumbley (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 44.63; 5 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 45.07s; 6 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 45.25s; 7 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 45.40s; 8 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 47.51s; 9 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 47.99s; 10 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 48.80s; 11 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 49.33s; 12 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 50.00s.

Championship run-off, round 4: 1 Menzies 42.01s; 2 Summers 42.61s; 3 Moran 43.81s; 4 Ryder 45.62s; 5 Willis 45.67s; 6 Gould 46.35s; 7 Uren 46.45s; 8 Hall 46.86s; 9 Spedding 47.51s; 10 Warburton 48.02s; 11 Gumbley 49.01s; 12 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 49.97s.
British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 4: 1 Menzies 36pts; 2 Ryder 34; 3 Moran 29; 4 Summers 27; 5 Willis 22; 6= Gould and Spedding 16; 8 Hall 15; 9 Uren 12; 10 Gumbley 7; etc.


Wallace Menzies took sole charge of the Championship with another fine performance at Craigantlet (Leslie McMullan)

Aided by the weather, Will Hall took a run-off win on only his second appearance in his new Gould (Leslie McMullan)

With second and fourth place finishes, Matt Ryder is still chasing Menzies' series lead (Leslie McMullan)

Alex Summers set the day's outright pace during qualifying for the opening run-off (Leslie McMullan)


Event 1 at Prescott on 23/04/2023
Any thoughts of this year’s British Championship being a carbon copy of previous years were dispelled at Prescott’s season opener. True to form, in opening his campaign for a fourth successive title Wallace Menzies set the day’s outright pace when he took the opening run-off win, but it was a different story in the afternoon. He had to settle for third place behind a hard trying Scott Moran and the ever impressive Matt Ryder, who left Prescott tied with Menzies at the top of the Championship table.
          Rocket starts and his usual flawless technique gave Menzies the initial edge in his Gould-XD and he qualified top for each run-off, pulling out a half-second win over Ryder in the morning, with Trevor Willis a tenth further behind after a similar sub-2sec start in the ‘evergreen’ OMS-RPE – except that a new coat of blue paint is just one of the off-season improvements to the chassis he’s run for the last twelve years. As with many drivers on the day, Scott Moran’s brief snap of oversteer on the exit of the last Ess may have cost fractions and he just failed to catch Willis. The six-time champion was back in contention for the afternoon run-off, joining a top four qualifying group covered by just 16 hundredths of a second. At the rear of the quartet was Menzies’ perennial rival Alex Summers, who had struggled to keep the Firestorm in touch in the morning run-off, locking a front wheel under braking into Ettores. Summers was never quite on the pace, uncharacteristic 5th and 4th place finishes finally leaving him an unaccustomed fifth on the series table by the end of the meeting. In contrast, Ryder was flying in the ‘semi-works’ Gould, shared with constructor Sean Gould, his joint Championship lead well earned with two runner-up finishes.
          Leaving Prescott just a single point behind the joint leaders, Scott Moran had more than made up for missing the podium in the opening run-off, producing a massive effort on the closing shoot-out. After a day’s best 111mph through the speed trap under the Bridge into Orchard had prompted a lurid twitch on the exit of the fast left-hander, he snatched the win from Ryder’s grasp by two tenths. Last to run, Menzies failed to match either of them.
          Richard Spedding was back on giant-killing form in the normally aspirated 1600cc Raptor-Suzuki, qualifying sixth each time and easing Dave Uren’s Gould-NME V8 down to seventh place in the first shoot-out. The Craigantlet joint record-holder reversed the order in the afternoon by a hundredth, although former Prescott record-holder Gould squeezed in front of both of them. On the first competition appearance of his new Gould-Judd GR59, Will Hall was unfortunate to understeer into Ettores’ Recticel barrier during Sunday morning practice. Damage was slight, confined to the front wing mounting, and Hall was soon back out in the unpainted, carbon-tubbed machine, making the cut each time and bringing the GR59 in the points in the afternoon as he edged Dave Warburton’s 1600cc Suzuki powered version down to tenth. In his inimitable sideways style, Eynon Price had occupied the place before lunch, but the Force with its ‘stretched’ Suzuki unit failed to qualify in the afternoon, giving way to Paul Haimes who, after a fraught Saturday practice with mechanical problems, finally made the cut in his Gould-Suzuki turbocar. Johnathen Varley made the cut each time in the Predator-TKD, but without getting a score on the board.
          With just six days before Northern Ireland’s Craigantlet rounds and Harewood in Yorkshire the following weekend, it’s a hectic start to what looks like being another excitingly close fought British Championship year.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 35.73s

Championship run-off, round 1: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 35.73s; 2 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 36.30s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 36.41s; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 36.58; 5 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 36.91s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 37.26s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 37.29s; 8 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 37.35s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.60s; 10 Eynon Price (1.7 Force-Suzuki TA) 38.49s; 11 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 38.72s; 12 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 38.74s.

Championship run-off, round 2: 1 Moran 35.78s; 2 Ryder 35.99s; 3 Menzies 36.14s; 4 Summers 36.85s; 5 Willis 36.87s; 6 Gould 37.07s; 7 Uren 37.47s; 8 Spedding 37.48s; 9  Hall 37.51s; 10 Warburton 37.56s; 11 Varley 38.49s; 12 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 39.17s.

British Hillclimb Championship positions after round 2: 1= Menzies and Ryder 18pts; 3 Moran 17; 4 Willis 14; 5 Summers 13; 6= Gould, Spedding and Uren 8; 9 Warburton 3; 10 Hall 2; etc.


With two second place run-off finishes, Matt Ryder holds the joint Championship lead (Stuart Wing)

Wallace Menzies took the first run-off with FTD but slipped to third place in the second (Stuart Wing)

With a win in the second run-off Scott Moran is challenging the series leaders (Stuart Wing)

Prescott saw the first outing for Will Hall's new Gould (Stuart Wing)

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