BRITISH HILL CLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP - REPORT ARCHIVE
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Event 17 at Loton Park on 23/09/2018
In a last-minute bid to stay in the British Championship hunt at a wet Loton Park, Will Hall skated straight on at Triangle Bend in the opening run-off and handed the 2018 title to Trevor Willis, whose fourth place finish was enough to secure a second successive British crown, the third of his career, with a round in hand. Conditions improved later, and in afternoon sunshine Wallace Menzies, second in the opening run-off and already assured of third overall in the title chase, took the final win of the year with FTD, just three hundredths ahead of Willis, for his best combined result of 2018.
'I had to go for it', said Hall, who had a similar problem in the closing shoot-out when he slid straight on at Fallow, ending the day with no score after falling victim to a gear selection problem when his Force-AER became stuck in fifth at the end of Cedar Straight. Clearly disappointed with the season's outcome, he was philosophical in defeat. 'If someone had offered me a Championship second place at the start of the season I'd have taken it' he said. 'It's been a good, competitive year,' said new champion Willis. 'Will pushed me hard all the way.'
Having taken the opening run-off win in his supercharged GWR Raptor-Suzuki, third place later on moved Richard Spedding up to a final fifth overall on the Championship table as Jason Mourant was pushed down a place for the second weekend running, the unfortunate Jerseyman failing to score yet again with the same transmission problems that had afflicted his Gould-Judd at Prescott earlier in the month. Despite a couple of mid-field finishes in his Gould-NME, Dave Uren maintained a best ever Championship finish with fourth overall. On his local hill, Scott Moran's third and fifth places were enough to secure the six-times champion a coveted 'number' for 2019 after only five run-off appearances. With the unfortunate Paul Haimes twice failing to make the cut, Moran denied the driver of the turbocharged GR59 the Championship top 10 placing that he'd held throughout the season.
After replacing the broken driveshaft that had ruled him outqualifying for the opening run-off, Alex Summers bounced back for fourth place in the closer, bringing his DJ Firestorm V6 home in an unchallenged seventh overall at the end of a season begun in the smaller bike-engined Firehawk. Joined by Debbie Dunbar in that same Firehawk in the opening run-off, Adam Greenan was the top 1100cc performer, bringing his Empire Evo 2 home in a fine fifth place in the decidedly wet morning bout and finishing eighth in much drier afternoon conditions. Of the 1600cc contenders, after a superb second place morning qualifier Dave Warburton ended in the Loggerheads outfield in the run-off itself, eventual light contact with a tree breaking the front wing mounting and putting the ex.works GR59 out of further contention. Matthew Ryder had his best weekend of the year with two ninth place finishes in his Empire Evo 2, while Zach Zammit was the most consistent 1600 runner, sixth and eighth places earning him the Moran Motorhomes Midland Man of the Meeting award. Les Mutch brought his GWR Raptor home in the points each time, the jovial Scot ending his year with ninth place on the table to the delight of constructor Graeme Wight Jr, three of whose cars finished in the Championship top ten even though the eighth placed Robert Kenrick failed to make either cut on this occasion. The Welshman did, however, end a brilliant year in his Raptor-BMW as not only the top 1100 racer in the British Championship, but also by taking both the Leaders and Midland Hillclimb titles.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 48.09s
Championship run-off, round 33: 1 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 51.45s; 2 Menzies 52.08s; 3 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 52.18; 4 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 52.42s; 5 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 52.75s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 52.94s; 7 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 53.13s; 8 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 54.02s; 9 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 54.42s; 10 Debbie Dunbar (1.1 DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 54.70s; Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) DNF; David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 34: 1 Menzies 48.09s; 2 Willis 48.12s; 3 Spedding 48.70s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 50.26s; 5 Moran 50.44s; 6 Zammit 50.47s; 7 Uren 50.57s; 8 Greenan 51.36s; 9 Ryder 52.40s; 10 Mutch 53.58s; Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) DNF; Hall DNF.
Final Championship positions: 1 Willis 236pts; 2 Hall 226; 3 Menzies 203; 4 Uren 171; 5 Spedding 161; 6 Jason Mourant 157; 7 Summers 115; 8 Robert Kenrick 55; 9 Mutch 48; 10 Moran 38; etc
Titile rivals Will Hall and Trevor Willis congratulate each other after a hard fought year (Steve Wilkinson)
Third overall in the Championship, Wallace Menzies ended the season with his best combined result (Steve Wilkinson)
Richard Spedding took his second win of the year, the first in the supercharged Raptor (Steve Wilkinson)
Scott Moran made the Championship top ten after only five run-off appearances (Steve Wilkinson)
Event 16 at Doune on 16/09/2018
Will Hall kept his British Championship hopes alive into Loton Park's series finale with two straight wins and FTD at a damp Doune, showing his mastery of track conditions which were changing throughout the day. With only eighth and seventh place finishes, Trevor Willis failed to increase his score and Hall closed to within seven points with just two rounds remaining to turn the tables on the season-long series leader. 'The car's really working well now', said Hall. 'If only we'd had this sort of reliability throughout the season we could have given Trevor a better run for his money'. As it is, he still has a chance of snatching the title but Willis is still in the driving seat going to Loton. 'I thought I was in the barriers on that first run-off,' said Trevor after a dramatic moment in the Tunnel. And after the second shoot-out he admitted to just not going fast enough in the changing track conditions.
After qualifying second, Wallace Menzies was on top form early on, hurling the spectacular Gould-XB to the top for a second place finish early on amid a percussive fusillade from the exhaust, running just a tenth behind Hall. 'We've done a lot of work on the car this year and it's beginning to pay off,' he said. In the unpredictable conditions he qualified, and finished, only sixth in the afternoon, although still only a second away from the winner. Richard Spedding had a fine day in the now superbly performing supercharged Raptor, finishing third and second and maintaining a now unchallengeable sixth place on the series table and with an outside chance of catching the fifth placed Jason Mourant. The Jerseyman had another disappointing weekend, his Gould-Judd finishing out of the points each time. His fifth zero score in a row meant that the hard-charging Dave Uren, with seventh place followed by a strong fourth in the closing shoot-out, grabbed the fourth place on the Championship table that Mourant had held on to for so long.
Champion driver turned constructor Graeme Wight Jr was on superb form in customer Les Mutch's 1600cc Raptor. After the car's owner had brought it home fourth in the opening run-off for his best result of the year, Wight Jr showed that he was still no mean performer behind the wheel with a fine third place in the closing bout, finishing just a quarter of a second behind Spedding in the supercharged 'company flagship'. Smooth runs by former champion Alex Summers secured mid-field finishes in the DJ Firestorm V6, but an on-form Dave Warburton sneaked the ex.works GR59 past by three hundredths in the opening shoot-out.
Paul Haimes, like many others throughout the day on Doune's slippery track, survived a tap with the ever-present barriers to finish ninth in the first run-off. Tenth place later on maintained his relatively safe tenth spot on the series table. Johnathen Varley, in the now modified Predator chassis with which Wight Jr had previously won at Doune with Arrows V10 power, made the cut each time with Cosworth BDG urge, bagging the single point first time up. Olivia Cooper also made the opening run-off, albeit without score but delighted to make the cut for the second time this year in her Force TA.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Doune
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.62s
Championship run-off, round 31: 1 Hall 38.53s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 38.65s; 3 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 39.29s; 4 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 39.84s; 5 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 39.89s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 39.92s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 40.65s; 8 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 40.67s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 41.25s; 10 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 42.35s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 42.79s; 12 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 43.10s.
Championship run-off, round 32: 1 Hall 36.62s; 2 Spedding 37.11s; 3 Graeme Wight Jr (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 37.36s; 4 Uren 37.39s; 5 Summers 37.56s; 6 Menzies 37.64s; 7 Willis 37.94s; 8 Warburton 38.00s; 9 Mutch 38.99s; 10 Haimes 39.15s; 11 Mourant 39.52s; 12 Varley 40.70s.
Championship positions after round 32: 1 Willis 233pts; 2 Hall 226; 3 Menzies 194; 4 Uren 166; 5Jason Mourant 157; 6 Spedding 143; 7 Summers 108; 8 Robert Kenrick 55; 9 Mutch 43; 10 Haimes 34; etc
Will Hall maintained his Championship challenge with two straight wins (John Crae)
Richard Spedding's Raptor displayed meteoric pace (John Crae)
A decade and a half on, Graeme Wight Jr showed just why he was a past champion (John Crae)
Wallace Menzies was on form in the Indycar powered Gould (John Crae)
WILLIS v HALL AT PRESCOTT
Event 15 at Prescott on 02/09/2018
With time running out to prevent Trevor Willis taking a third British title, Will Hall needed a good result at Prescott. His two second places were enough to keep the Force-AER driver in the hunt, but with Willis finishing third in the opening run-off and winning the closing bout with FTD, which set the outright pace for the day, with just four rounds to go the cards are still heavily stacked in Trevor's favour.
'I was pleased with that', said Willis after a rocket launch saw him clock a day's best 35.95 to win the meeting and the closing run-off. 'It was my first ever sub-36 at Prescott'. This was despite running wide at Pardon hairpin, which he made up for by astounding pace elsewhere in the OMS-RPE V8 in a performance that would also earn him the Moran Motorhomes Man of the Meeting award. It made up for his third place in an opening shoot-out so nearly won by Hall, who was a mere hundredth behind returnee Scott Moran, the six-times champion showing that he was still the 'guv'nor' despite this being only his second run-off appearance of the year. But even he had to settle for third place later on as the battle between the two championship aspirants gained momentum, kick-started by Hall's class record breaking top qualifier. But for Hall's time-wasting tailslide at Ettores, though, the outcome could have been different ...
Fourth each time, Dave Uren closed to within two points of Jason Mourant's fifth place on the Championship table after a disastrous weekend for the Jerseyman. A transmission breakage during practice saw many of his fellow competitors working until late Saturday evening to repair the damage, only for a similar failure to occur on Sunday, leaving Mourant unable to compete in either run-off. Having arrived at Prescott at 2.00am on Saturday morning after working all week on Robert Kenrick's GWR Raptor, damaged during practice for the previous weekend's abortive Gurston Down event, constructor Graeme Wight Jr's efforts were repayed as the Welshman ran at successive record pace on every run, including an incredible sub-37 during the opening run-off. Fifthon each of the shoot-outs in the 1-litre machine, he even demoted Wallace Menzies' Indycar-engined Gould to sixth each time.
Running a new dry sump system on his supercharged Raptor, Richard Spedding could only finish seventh each time despite qualifying second for the closing run-off, when he led home Les Mutch, whose own Raptor (effectively Spedding's 2017 car) he had driven for much of the season. However, Wight Jr was understandably delighted at the likely prospect of having three of his cars in the BHC top ten. Paul Haimes, too, was in line for a 'number' at the end of the season, having taken sole charge of the number ten spot following an eighth place finish in the opening run-off. He might have finished even higher had he not withdrawn the turbocharged Gould at lunchtime following dire noises from the car's transmission. Chasing him home at arms' length before lunch was 1600 racing class winner Zach Zammit, although his Empire failed to make the second cut after an accident during qualifying. His classmate David Warburton brought his GR59 home ninth in the second shootout, behind Mutch but ahead of Matthew Ryder as 1600s filled the final three points scoring places. Just out of the points was Steve Marr's 1100cc PCD Saxon, while Simon Moyse's supercharged GR59 failed to start the second shoot-out following an electrical wiring glitch. Even more unlucky was Alex Summers. Having qualified the Firestorm V6 top for the opening shoot-out, he failed to make it to the finish after hitting the barrier in the Esses, sidelining the car for the day.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 35.95s
Championship run-off, round 29: 1 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 36.38s; 2 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.39s; 3 Willis 36.66s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 36.91s; 5 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 36.96s; 6 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 37.10s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 37.27s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.64s; 9 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 38.21s; 10 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.45s; 11 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 39.10s; Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) DNF
Championship run-off, round 30: 1 Willis 35.95s; 2 Hall 36.22s; 3 Moran 36.44s; 4 Uren 36.75s; 5 Kenrick 37.12s; 6 Menzies 37.91s; 7 Spedding 38.02s; 8 Mutch 38.28s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.66s; 10 Ryder 39.57s; 11 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 39.62s; Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNS
Championship positions after round 30: 1 Willis 233pts; 2 Hall 209; 3 Menzies 184; 4 Jason Mourant 157; 5 Uren 155; 6 Spedding 126; 7 Summers 97; 8 Kenrick 55; 9 Mutch 34; 10 Haimes 31; etc.
Trevor Willis set the day's outright pace in the second run-off (Ian Beard)
Scott Moran returned to Prescott on winning form (Ian Beard)
A class record breaking Will Hall kept his Force in the title hunt (Ian Beard)
Robert Kenrick was on record form all day, taking fifth place in succesive run-offs (Ian Beard)
RAIN CURTAILS GURSTON EVENT
Event 14 at Gurston Down on 26/08/2018
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down
Threequarters of the way through the first set of class runs, the event was abandoned due heavy rain which made track conditions unsafe. Therefore rounds 27 and 28 did not take place.
HALL'S SHELSLEY DOUBLE
Event 13 at Shelsley Walsh on 12/08/2018
In a virtual re-run of their June Shelsley duel, Will Hall and Dave Uren took the first two places in the opening run-off, split by hundredths to set first and second FTD on a wet track. But whereas Hall went on to repeat his success in the second shoot-out, Uren failed to make the cut after an accident during the class runs in an afternoon which saw numerous incidents on a track where grip, despite the tarmac drying in occasional sunshine, seemed hard to find. Uren hit the left-hand bank after Crossing, damaging the Gould’s front corner. Just two cars later, BHC returnee Scott Moran survived a huge ‘tank-slapper’ just after the Kink that only the six-times champion could have saved. Moments later, Jason Mourant did the same thing only he was not so lucky, clouting the bank and going on to hit the Bottom S barrier.
This succession of incidents prompted a track inspection by the clerk of the course, accompanied by the remaining Championship runners, Hall, Wallace Menzies and Trevor Willis, who saw no reason not to continue and duly qualified. So the second run-off took place without two key runners - and almost without Hall, too, who had just scraped into the line-up after an air pipe linked to the gearshift system became detached, restricting the Force-AER to a single gear. With the pipe replaced he went on to win from Menzies, who had chased the two leaders home in the opening shoot-out before scoring his best result in the GR59 since his win at Loton in June. After levelling with Mourant for fourth place in the morning, Willis had to be content with third later on, although he still holds a healthy 32-point advantage over Hall on the series table.
Back aboard the supercharged Raptor 2, Richard Spedding followed Willis home each time ahead of first Alex Summers’ Firestorm and then Scott Moran, making a welcome return to British hillclimbing in the all-conquering Gould GR61X. Despite that huge moment in qualifying he had still qualified a strong fifth after missing the morning cut. ‘I just didn’t drive fast enough’ was his honest assessment.
In the morning run-off, 1600 and 1100cc cars made up the remaining qualifiers. After his astounding performance at Shelsley in June, it was disappointing that Robert Kenrick’s Raptor-BMW was missing after a launch control glitch had scuppered his start in Q1. The ever-present Darren Gumbley was the only scorer from the 1100s in the Force TA, as the unfortunate Adam Greenan’s Empire Evo 2 had broken a gearbox output shaft coming to the line. Les Mutch led home the 1600s in eighth place from Matthew Ryder, whose own Evo 2 had been sidelined for much of Saturday’s practice day after a chain breakage had caused additional damage. The remaining 1600cc runner in the morning was Olivia Cooper in her Force TA, delighted to make a British run-off for the first time.
In the afternoon, Zach Zammit was hard on the heels of Summers’ Firestorm in his own 1600cc Empire, five hundredths clear of Kenrick, who had made no mistake at the start this time to set the pace among the 1100cc entry. Even Mutch’s Raptor was over half a second adrift of the flying Welshman, while Kelvin Broad’s Pilbeam-Suzuki, the only forced induction 2-litre class runner in the line-up, just managed to keep Ryder and Johnathen Varley’s Predator-BDG out of the points.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 25.13s
Championship run-off, round 25: 1 Hall 25.13s; 2 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 25.16s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 25.50s; 4= Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 26.06s; 4= Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.06s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 26.29s; 7 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 26.77s; 8 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 27.11s; 9 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 27.80s; 10 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 28.56s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 28.73s; 12 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) DNS.
Championship run-off, round 26: 1 Hall 25.80s; 2 Menzies 26.20s; 3 Willis 26.37s; 4 Spedding 26.46s; 5 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 26.75s; 6 Summers 27.10s; 7 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 27.39s; 8 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 27.44s; 9 Mutch 28.00s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 28.79s; 11 Ryder 28.99s; 12 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 30.11s.
British Championship positions after round 26: 1 Willis 223; 2 Hall 191; 3 Menzies 174; 4 Mourant 157; 5 Dave Uren 141; 6 Spedding 118; 7 Summers 97; 8 Robert Kenrick 43; 9 Mutch 30; 10= Darren Warwick and Paul Haimes 28; etc.
Will Hall maintained his challenge to series leader Trevor Willis with a double win (Ian Beard)
Dave Urenwas Hall's strongest challenger until an accident sidelined his Gould (Ian Beard)
Wallace Menzies scored his best result since Loton in June (Ian Beard)
Scott Moran made his first BHC appearance of the season (Ian Beard)
Event 12 at Wiscombe Park on 29/07/2018
At a wet and windy Wiscombe Park, the tight, wooded confines of which tended to suit the more nimble, small capacity machines, Jason Mourant qualified top for the second run-off before splashing through the murk to set the outright pace in the biggest and oldest car in top-level hillclimbing. The Jerseyman stormed to the third British run-off win of his career in the ex.Roy Lane, 4-litre Gould-Judd GR55, beating Richard Spedding's 1.6-litre GWR Raptor-Suzuki to FTD by three tenths of a second on the last run of the day. Having finished second to Championship leader Trevor Willis in the opening run-off, with Wallace Menzies in third place, Mourant closed to within just seven points of Menzies, the Scot's hold on third place on the series table looking increasingly tenuous after his GR59 had taken an unscheduled trip up the Martini Hairpin escape road, just yards from the fnish, in the second shoot-out. The car was fortunately undamaged, but in his efforts to maintain his Championship status after going twelve rounds without a win, Menzies' over-optimistic braking manoeuvre at the end of the fast Castle Straight proved a step too far.
After his win in the opening round, Willis was content to finish third in the closing shoot-out, particularly as his Championship rival Will Hall was having extreme difficulty in getting the turbocharged Force-AER off the line in the wet conditions that had prevailed all weekend. His times suffered as a consequence and he could only finish seventh and eighth, his points deficit to Willis now amounting to 37.
The small capacity single-seaters revelled in the conditions, Ben Stephenson one of the top performers from the 1100cc racing class in his 1-litre Empire Evo 2-Suzuki, finishing a fine fifth in the opening run-off ahead of Dave Uren's Gould V8 and scoring his first points since Prescott's season opener. He almost matched it in the second run-off, but the place was nabbed by the experienced Simon Fidoe in his Empire Wraith, who had earlier been pipped by another Empire driver, Adam Greenan, in the opening shoot-out. All in all it was a good day for Bill Chaplin's Westcountry marque, the only interloper from the 1100cc class being Darren Gumbley, whose Force TA twice made the cut and scored points in the afternoon as he edged out Terry Graves' big Gould-HB to the final point, Sharing his Raptor with Spedding, the much travelled Les Mutch also scored a single point at what for the Scot was, apart from the Channel Islands, his farthest-flung venue.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Wiscombe Park
FTD: Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 40.97s
Championship run-off, round 23: 1 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 41.46s; 2 Mourant 41.58s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD G59) 41.97s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 42.57s; 5 Ben Stephenson (1.0 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 43.28s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 43.34s; 7 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 43.35s; 8 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 43.52s; 9 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 43.79s; 10 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 43.86s; 11 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 43.96s; 12 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 44.85s.
Championship run-off, round 24: 1 Mourant 40.97s; 2 Spedding 41.27s; 3 Willis 41.41s; 4 Uren 41.70s; 5 Fidoe 42.34s; 6 Stephenson 42.47s; 7 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 42.98s; 8 Hall 43.15s; 9 Gumbley 43.31s; 10 Graves 43.44s; 11 Mutch 45.58s; 12 Menzies DNF.
British Championship positions after round 24: 1 Willis 208; 2 Hall 171; 3 Menzies 157; 4 Mourant 150; 5 Dave Uren 132; 6 Spedding 106; 7 Summers 88; 8 Robert Kenrick 40; 9= Warwick and Paul Haimes 28; etc.
Jason Mourant took the third run-off win of his BHC career (Nigel Cole)
Trevor Willis strengthened his chances of a third title with his eleventh win of the year (Nigel Cole)
Richard Spedding continued to rack up points in the normally aspirated Raptor (Nigel Cole)
Ben Stephenson moved up the Championship table after two good finishes in his Empire Evo 2 (Nigel Cole)
Event 11 at Le Val Des Terres on 21/07/2018
Guernsey airport firefighter Darren Warwick outran British hillclimbing's big guns to take the opening run-off win, the third BHC win of his career, and set the outright pace on his home hill, Le Val des Terres. And the Dallara-Vauxhall driver might even have made it a double win: 'I made a mistake at Terres House' he said, 'dabbing the throttle with my toe when I should have hit the brake. It threw me wide.' The mistake left him in fourth place, less than half a second behind the run-off winner, Will Hall. The indefatigable Ian Dayson had repaired the Force-AER's gearbox, broken at Bouley Bay the Wednesday before, and after missing out on a possible 20 points Hall was back in the Championship hunt with his first ever Terres win in that second shoot-out, which followed up his third place in the opener. In the Championship, Trevor Willis still leads the way from Hall by 26 points, despite finishing in mediocre fifth and seventh places. He's previously admitted that Le Val des Terres never seems to suit his OMS-RPE, and it remains the only hillclimb in the British Championship which he's never won.
Squeezing his Firestorm V6 in between Warwick and Hall in the first run-off was Alex Summers, delighted with his best ever finish at the Terres. In the second stanza he had to settle for third place, eased out by a determined Richard Spedding. The Raptor driver had missed out in the first qualifying runs after breaking a driveshaft, effecting a repair and taking a last-minute re-run with a time that would have qualified top for the first run-off. Unfortunately, as the run had been taken so late relative to his correct running order that it was disallowed. Second place in the final shoot-out was small consolation for the driver that had won both Guernsey run-offs in the car the previous year. Two fourth places for Wallace Menzies widened the gap on the series table between the Scot and Jason Mourant, who had to settle for seventh and eighth on a hill which is, for the Jerseyman, relatively unfamiliar territory. Two midfield placings for David Uren kept the Gould-NME driver in a comfortable fifth place on the series table. Sharing his car with Ray Rowan, the 1989 champion's Pilbeam having been sidelined after Bouley Bay with crank sensor problems, Darren Gumbley brought the 1-litre Force TA home for a five point total for the third time this year, which moved him up the table to a place just outside the top ten. Andy Bougourd, on his local hill, chased him home each time in the 1600cc Force PT. Another local, Guernsey's top lady driver Jackie Le Cheminant, twice followed Bougourd home in her 2-litre OMS-Vauxhall. Her first run-off shot shaded out Harry Pick's OMS 3000M and she scored her first ever British point. Pick closed to within two hundredths of Le Cheminant in the second shoot-out although both were left out of the points.
Hard luck story of the weekend must involve Guernseyman Nick Saunders. After a trip to hospital to repair a damaged thumb during a paddock accident at Bouley Bay while working on his Reynick-Suzuki, he bounced back at Le Val des Terres and qualified for the opening run-off - only for the car to be immediately sidelined with front end damage after spinning into the bank just over the finish line.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Le Val des Terres
FTD: Darren Warwick (2.0 Dallara-Vauxhall F399) 27.59s
Championship run-off, round 21: 1 Warwick 27.59s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 27.79s; 3 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 27.87s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 28.19s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 28.54s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 29.34s; 7 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 29.48s; 8 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 29.62s; 9 Andy Bougourd (1.6 Force-Suzuki PT) 30.28s; 10 Jackie Le Cheminant (2.0 OMS-Vauxhall CF04) 30.75s; 11 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 30.87s; 12 Nick Saunders (1.6 Reynick-Suzuki) DNS.
Championship run-off, round 22: 1 Hall 27.78s; 2 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 27.87s; 3 Summers 28.17s; 4 Menzies 28.18s; 5 Warwick 28.23s; 6 Uren 28.39s; 7 Willis 28.40s; 8 Mourant 28.64s; 9 Gumbley 30.04s; 10 Bougourd 30.47s; 11 Le Cheminant 30.81s; 12 Pick 30.83s.
British Championship positions after round 22: 1 Willis 190; 2 Hall 164; 3 Menzies 149; 4 Mourant 131; 5 Dave Uren 120; 6 Spedding 90; 7 Summers 88; 8 Robert Kenrick 40; 9= Warwick and Paul Haimes 28; etc.
Darren Warwick set the outright pace at Le Val des Terres (Andrew Le Poidevin)
Will Hall and the Force-AER were back on winning form after a gearbox issue on Jersey (Andrew Le Poidevin)
Alex Summers produced his best ever result on Guernsey (Andrew Le Poidevin)
After a difficult day, Richard Spedding finally got a good result (Andrew Le Poidevin)
WILLIS AT THE BAY
Event 10 at Bouley Bay on 18/07/2018
Trevor Willis left Bouley Bay with his tenth run-off win of the year in the bag and his third event 'double', to strengthen his grip on this year's British Championship with a healthy 34-point lead. His chief series rival Will Hall was unable to respond as a gearbox breakage on the startline before the opening shoot-out had sidelined the Force-AER for the rest of the day. Jason Mourant enjoyed a successful day on his home hill, the Gould-Judd driver finishing second each time as he narrowly held off first Guernseyman Darren Warwick, formidable as ever on the first of his two annual British hillclimb appearances at the wheel of the Dallara-Vauxhall, then Wallace Menzies, fourth and then third in his Gould-Cosworth and maintaining his third place cushion on the Championship table ahead of Mourant.
Richard Spedding, once again driving the normally aspirated GWR Raptor-Suzuki, swapped fifth and sixth places with Dave Uren. Steve Marr shared the car and qualified for a Bouley run-off for the first time, but without scoring. Driving the V6 Firestorm alongside his father Richard, Alex Summers failed by just three hundredths to get on terms with Uren, but made up for it in the second shoot-out, leapfrogging the Gould-NME V8 to chase home the leading trio. Warwick qualified fourth for the second bout, but despite finding more time he couldn't quite match his earlier placing and wound up seventh ahead of Darren Gumbley. In the opening shoot-out, Gumbley had finished ninth behind Andy Bougourd, who was delighted to be in the points for the first time in his comeback year with the 1600cc Force-Suzuki PT. But the 1-litre Force TA driver, who has been quietly racking up points all year, now lay thirteenth on the overall series table. Hot on the heels of the three drivers ahead of him, none of whom had made the Channel Islands trip, he had every prospect of improving on that position in a few days time when the 'circus' moved to Guernsey.
Another of the three 1100cc runners to make the cut, Harry Pick scored his first points of the year with two tenth places in his OMS 3000M. Edged out by Gumbley in the first run-off, it was Guernseyman Nick Saunders who confined him to the single point later on in his Reynick-Suzuki, but each time it was classmate Simon Fidoe who finished out of the points.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Bouley Bay
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 37.42s
Championship run-off, round 19: Willis 37.42s; Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 37.54s; Darren Warwick (2.0 Dallara-Vauxhall F399) 37.78s; Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 37.97s; Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.03s; Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 38.60s; Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 38.67s; Andy Bougourd (1.6 Force-Suzuki PT) 40.50s; Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 40.92s; Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 41.79s; Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 42.97s; Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) DNS
Championship run-off, round 20: Willis 37.69s; Mourant 38.00s; Menzies 38.22s; Summers 38.29s; Uren 38.47s; Spedding 38.60s; Warwick 38.90s; Gumbley 39.42s; Nick Saunders (1.6 Reynick-Suzuki) 41.26s; Pick 41.48s; Fidoe 42.08s; Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 43.74s.
British Championship positions after round 20: 1 Willis 180; 2 Hall 146; 3 Menzies 135; 4 Mourant 124; 5 Dave Uren 110; 6 Spedding 81; 7 Summers 71; 8 Robert Kenrick 40; 9 Paul Haimes 28; 10 Les Mutch 24; etc.
Trevor Willis took another double win to boost his bid for a third title (Andrew Le Poidevin)
Jason Mourant took two second places on his home hill (Andrew Le Poidevin)
Still not back in the winners' circle, Wallace Menzies hung on to third place on the series table (Andrew Le Poidevin)
Darren Gumbley continues to work his way up the Championship table (Andrew Le Poidevin)
RECORD ROUT AT HAREWOOD
Event 9 at Harewood on 08/07/2018
At a newly resurfaced Harewood, Trevor Willis ended the hottest weekend of the year on a high note with the first official hill record of the season, strengthening his grip on the 2018 Championship. Official, because he wasn't the first to do it on the day. In an astounding second qualifying run in Les Mutch's GWR Raptor, local ace Richard Spedding, who had already qualified top for the opening run-off and gone on to win it by a hundredth of a second from the potent Force-AER turbo of Will Hall, drew another roar from the sun-baked crowd as he became the first driver to break Scott Moran's 2016 hill record. It was a history-making feat. Not for more than half a century, in the days when British motorcycle engines ruled the hillclimb championship, has an outright BHC hill record been broken by a normally aspirated, bike-engined single-seater. Having finished a distant third in the opening run-off after a big tail-slide at Clark's, this spurred Willis to even greater heights. Having qualified second for the final shoot-out with a new class record with a time inside the old hill standard, a typically determined final shot carved another three tenths off Spedding's new record to take the win from Hall by over half a second. 'I didn't want to be beaten by a bike engine!' he grinned afterwards.
'I made a complete mess of the start,' said Spedding after finishing in fourth place behind a resurgent Wallace Menzies, who had run fifth early on. ' I knew the run was gone, but I had full confidence in Les's car as it was the same tub that I ran last year. We were also running my old engine, now on methanol, which I borrowed back from the new owner to replace Les's Suzuki unit which blew at Doune.' So effectively, this was the same combination with which the Yorkshireman had finished third overall in last year's championship.
Alex Summers, who had been driving the Firehawk 1100 at the previous day's Harewood 'clubbie', reverted to the V6 Firestorm, shared with his father Richard, for the British rounds and chased Willis home in the opening run-off, although dropping a place later on despite setting his best time of the day, such was the pace of the closing run-off. Just behind him in sixth place was Robert Kenrick, who had suffered a temporary glitch in his customary record-breaking set of runs when the Raptor-BMW stuck in second gear during the first shoot-out. He toured steadfastly to the top to get a time and it paid off, as with Jason Mourant slowing to a crawl when his Gould-Judd's oil pressure light came on and David Warburton spinning the GR59 at Farmhouse, he still got a point for his 77sec run! Warburton recovered for seventh place at the close, ahead of a slightly cautious Mourant whose oil pressure problem hadn't been as drastic as was first thought. Aboard the record-breaking Raptor, the car's owner Les Mutch retrieved his Championship tenth overall with sixth place in the opening shoot-out, but failed to capitalise after a spin at the Esses in round 18. Johnathen Varley enjoyed his best British result of the year with seventh and tenth in the svelte Predator-BDG, his first run-off shot edging out Oliver Tomlin following the Pilbeam-Judd driver's grass-cutting antics after Clark's. His second confined Steve Marr's PCD Saxon to a non-scoring position. Darren Gumbley continued to rack up the points in his Force TA, making it four ninth places in two days, worth eight points, aboard the 1-litre car. It consolidated his position as the second top-scoring 1100cc driver in the Championship, holding joint thirteenth place. Unfortunately, Dave Uren's Harewood jinx struck again during his first qualifying run when a driveshaft broke and damaged the rear suspension, sidelining him yet again from the remainder of the competition.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 48.29s (outright hill record)
Championship run-off, round 17:1 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 49.04s;
2Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 49.05s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 49.80s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 49.92s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 50.49s;6 Les Mutch(1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 51.42s;7 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 52.11s; 8 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 52.34s;9 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 52.63s; 10 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 77.70s; 11 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 79.81s; 12 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF
Championship run-off, round 18:1 Willis 48.29s; 2 Hall 48.84s; 3 Menzies 48.94s; 4 Spedding 48.99s; 5 Summers 49.24s; 6 Kenrick 49.51s; 7 Warburton 50.09s; 8 Mourant 51.08s; Gumbley 51.64s; 10 Varley 52.20s; 11 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 53.50s; 12 Mutch 81.90s.
British Championship positions after round 18: 1 Willis 160; 2 Hall 146; 3 Menzies 120; 4 Mourant 106; 5 Dave Uren 99; 6 Spedding70; 7 Summers 60; 8 Robert Kenrick 40; 9 Paul Haimes 28; 10 Mutch 24; etc.
Trevor Willis left Harewood holding the first hill record of the season (Steve Wilkinson)
Richard Spedding was the first hill record breakar after a superb drive in Les Mutch's Raptor (Steve Wilkinson)
Will Hall took his fourth runner-up placing of the weekend (Steve Wilkinson)
Wallace Menzies was back in the top three for the first time in seven rounds (Steve Wilkinson)
TWO MORE FOR WILLIS
Event 8 at Barbon Manor on 07/07/2018
In unaccustomed hot weather at Barbon's annual British Championship meeting, Trevor Willis and his OMS-RPE scored their second double run-off win in the space of a fortnight. On a day which saw class records fall like ninepins in the sunshine, the outright hill record remained intact although Willis's chief rival Will Hall qualified fastest for the opening run-off in with a class record breaking time that would stand as FTD. Neither Willis nor Hall could get close to this in the opening run-off, where Willis had to work hard to beat the Force-AER driver by just nine hundredths although his winning margin over Hall in the second run-off was a more comfortable half a second. Midway through the season, such is the progress of the leading duo that while it might be a bit early to say that the Championship is now a two-horse race, it's certainly beginning to look that way.
Jason Mourant, who had levelled with Willis in qualifying early on, maintained his strong 2018 challenge with third place in the opening run-off although fading to fifth later on. But the margins are narrow on the fast and picturesque Cumbrian hill, one of the shortest in the Championship, and the Jerseyman still ran within a second of Willis's winning time. Dave Uren's bid to get back into contention after the loss of the two early Harewood rounds gained momentum and after a strong opening foray to run within a hundredth of Mourant, he qualified the ex.Groves Gould-NME on 'pole' for the second shootout, going on to finish a mere two hundredths behind Hall. Once again, handling problems left Wallace Menzies struggling to get amongst the front runners and he could only manage fifth and fourth places, despite matching Hall and Uren's 129mph charge into Lafone Hairpin in the second run-off. Despite being eleven mph slower, Robert Kenrick was devastatingly quick everywhere else and another string of record-breaking times earned the 1-litre Raptor-BMW driver a couple of sixth place finishes.
Seventh place for Terry Graves in the opening shoot-out got the Gould-HB back into a 'number 10' spot on the series table, although the extreme heat meant that he struck trouble during the second qualifiers after hitting a stretch of patched up melted tarmac on the approach to Richmond. He gathered up the ensuing slide and, convinced he'd had a puncture, toured to the top. His fears were groundless, but they cost him a possible qualifying spot. Kelvin Broad levelled the supercharged Pilbeam-Suzuki with Nicola Menzies' Gould-NME in first qualifying, going on to chase home Graves in the first run-off and finish seventh in the second, followed at arm's length by Nicola, now well in the points after finishing just out of them in the first run-off. The final points scoring positions early on had been taken by the other two 1100 racers in the lineup, Darren Gumbley's Force TA and Simon Fidoe's Empire Wraith, ninth and tenth each time. In the second shoot-out they were joined by a fourth, Harry Pick, who gave the new OMS 3000M its British run-off debut. He finished out of the points, as did Andy Bougourd, but the Guernsey garage owner was nonetheless delighted to qualify twice for a British run-offafter seven years away from the sport.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Barbon Manor
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 20.37s
Championship run-off, round 15:1 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 20.77s; 2 Hall 20.86s; 3 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 21.00s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 21.01s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 21.11s; 6 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 22.14s; 7 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 22.76s; 8 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 22.92s; 9 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 23.20s; 10 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 23.41s; 11 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 23.49s; 12 Andy Bougourd (1.6 Force-Suzuki PT) 23.84s.
Championship run-off, round 16:1 Willis 20.45s; 2 Hall 20.95s; 3 Uren 20.97s; 4 Wallace Menzies 21.17s; 5 Mourant 21.41s; 6 Kenrick 22.15s; 7 Broad 22.58s; 8 Nicola Menzies 23.11s; 9 Gumbley 23.12s; 10 Fidoe 23.36s; 11 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 23.44s;12 Bougourd 24.42s.
British Championship positions after round 16: 1 Willis 141; 2 Hall 128; 3 Menzies 106; 4 Mourant 103; 5 Uren 99; 6 Spedding 53; 7 Summers 47; 8 Robert Kenrick 34; 9 Paul Haimes 28; 10 Graves 20; etc.
Trevor Willis scored his fourth successive win at Barbon (whitedogphotography.co.uk)
Will Hall pushed Willis hard all day (whitedogphotography.co.uk)
Dave Uren rounds Lafone Hairpin as he chases the leading duo (whitedogphotography.co.uk)
Another record rout by Robert Kenrick kept the Raptor-BMW firmly in the top eight (whitedogphotography.co.uk)
WILLIS'S DOUNE DOUBLE
Event 7 at Doune on 24/06/2018
Trevor Willis consolidated his position at the top of the Championship table as, in glorious sunshine, Doune celebrated its 50th anniversary. Sir Nick Williamson's 48.84s FTD in 1968 was bettered by just over 13 seconds as Willis recorded two times within a hundredth of each other with the only sub-36sec runs of the day.
Second quickest on the day was Alex Summers in the new Firestorm. After running second in the opening run-off he'd matched Willis's Q-time for the closing shoot-out but fell to third place after a mistake at the first corner. Will Hall was the only one of Willis’s challengers to hang on to his coat-tails with a fourth and a second, compromised by a moment crossing the Meadow as he made the last run of a long, hot day.
Wallace Menzies and Jason Mourant both had difficult days and slipped further behind the leading duo. After a fifth place early on, Menzies was fortunate to qualify for the second run-off after set-up changes for the afternoon class run relegated him to tenth qualifying position. He recovered to a lowly seventh after a lock-up at the last part of the Esses. A relative newcomer to Doune, Mourant had to settle for two eighth places, which reflected his pace throughout the day. Both drivers were pushed back, not just by the form of Alex Summers, but also by an outstanding effort by Graeme Wight Jr in Les Mutch’s Raptor in the first run-off. After qualifying within half a second of Sean Gould’s class record, he blasted up his home hill in 36.01, which would have shattered the record and was only a hundredth behind Summers' second place time. Unfortunately, Graeme went off at the top of East Brae in Q2, fortunately without any damage so that Les Mutch was able to qualify the car comfortably run-off when, sadly, his engine expired between Oak Tree and Garden Gate.
Richard Spedding, despite competing with what he described as the bad parts of an engine and the bad parts of a supercharger, still managed to break Dave Uren’s forced induction 2-litre record on both class runs. In the first run-off he ran sub-37 for sixth place, while even a much slower second run-off time was still good enough for fifth.
After watching co-driver Nicola Menzies set a new Ladies’ record for the hill on 41.03, Dave Uren qualified mid-field for the opening run off, then equalled his qualifying time to finish a modest seventh. As the track changed later in the day, a slower run-off time was still good enough for fourth.
Even a PB by Lee Griffiths, lost out narrowly to Johnathen Varley, who reset his own class record in the GWR Predator. But Varley's day in the sun ended during the first run-off when he went off at East Brae and bent a steering arm which was irreplaceable on site. Griffiths then qualified for the second run-off and went on to finish tenth. Another personal best at Doune was set by Paul Haimes in the second run-off, to end a weekend which had seen him back on the hills for the first time since blowing his engine at Shelsley Walsh three weeks previously. After scraping into the points in the morning, it all came together in the afternoon for sixth place and that PB.
Sensational form by the last two qualifiers, both from the 1100cc class, saw Steve Marr consistently sub-40 all weekend, culminating in a 38.48 closing run-off shot just six hundredths slower than Alex Summers’ class record for a ninth place finish. Last but not least, Jack Cottrill delighted not only his family but the whole paddock by qualifying for his first ever British Championship run off on his first visit to Doune.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Doune
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 35.75s
Championship run-off, round 13: 1 Willis 35.75s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 36.00s; 3 Graeme Wight Jr (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 36.01s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.08s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 36.70s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 36.94s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 37.06s; 8 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 37.87s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.20s; 10 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.29s; 11 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 38.72s; 12 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 14: 1 Willis 35.76s; 2 Hall 36.21s; 3 Summers 36.44s; 4 Uren 37.15s; 5 Spedding 37,29s; 6 Haimes 37.42s; 7 Menzies 37.59s; 8 Mourant 37.91s; 9 Marr 38.48s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 39.72s; 11 Jack Cottrill (1.1 Force-Suzuki PT) 40.68s; 12 Mutch DNF.
Championship positions after round 14: 1 Willis 121; 2 Hall 110; 3 Menzies 93; 4 Mourant 89; 5 Uren 84; 6 Spedding 53; 7 Summers 47; 8 Haimes 28; 9 Robert Kenrick 24; 10 Mutch 19; etc.
Trevor Willis strengthened his grip on the Championship with a double win (John Crae)
Alex Summers enjoyed his best result yet with the new Firestorm (John Crae)
Graeme Wight Jr on the edge at East Brae! (John Crae)
Jack Cottrill made the run-off cut in his 1-litre Force on his Doune debut (John Crae)
WIN AND SPIN
Event 6 at Loton Park on 10/06/2018
On a day of mixed fortunes for the Championship leaders Wallace Menzies took his third win of the year, beating Championship leader Trevor Willis by 17 hundredths in Loton Park's opening run-off and taking FTD. But a spin during afternoon qualifying relegated the disappointed Scot to the sidelines for the closing bout. 'No reason,' he admitted ruefully,'I just ran out of talent!' Even Willis himself suffered in the closing shoot-out after a mistake at the first left-hander, Hall Bend, cost valuable time and left him down the order in seventh place. 'I almost came to a standstill,' he said after finishing a second and a quarter down on the winning time.
Having closed to within a point of Willis at Shelsley the previous weekend, Will Hall found his deficit substantially widened after the opening run-off. The Force-AER slowed dramatically towards the finish when a turbo boost control pipe connector snapped and the car stuttered over the line, out of the points. The offending item was replaced in the afternoon, but a big slide out of Triangle cost Hall valuable hundredths, leaving him fourth behind Dave Uren. The GR55B driver was making up time in the afternoon after an indifferent seventh place opener - which followed only a single practice run due to alternative commitments on Saturday. So after chasing the two leaders home in the morning, it was a delighted Jason Mourant that took advantage of their later misfortune, taking his Gould-Judd to his first win of the season and the second of his British hillclimb career. As a result, Hall is now seven points adrift of Willis, with Mourant and Menzies tied for third place on the series table in one of the most competitive BHC contests for years.
Alex Summers continued to keep in touch with the front runners, finishing fourth and fifth in his new DJ Firestorm V6. He was chased hard each time by Richard Spedding who, after missing the last four rounds, returned with the Raptor, its supercharged Hayabusa engine now up to top spec (of around 500bhp!).The Yorkshireman was, however, pessimistic about his title hopes having used up his six available dropped scores in 'non-starts' this year. A tenth of a second behind Spedding in the opening run-off, Robert Kenrick and his 1-litre Raptor-BMW were again on top form. But as at Shelsley Walsh a week earlier, it was in the second run-off that this amazing combination produced the real fireworks. Having already lowered his own class record in qualifying for the opening shoot-out, he then carved off a further eight tenths for a superb second place finish, a tenth shy of winner Mourant.
Two more qualifications, making five in a row in his first season in the ex.works GR59, led to a couple of eighth place finishes by Dave Warburton as he edged out Oliver Tomlin's 4-litre Gould-Judd each time. Having broken the normally aspirated class record in first qualifying, Johnathen Varley finished the opening shoot-out with his first ever British point for tenth place. He went on to break his new class record again in the afternoon, but in the run-off he left the Predator-BDG's braking a fraction late into Triangle and spun. In the first shoot-out, Les Mutch hadn't even got as far as that, his fine sequence of run-off finishes coming to an end with a lurid spin on to the grass exiting the fast but tricky Loggerheads bend. When Zach Zammit spun out of contention in his Force Empire, the final point in the afternoon fell to Matthew Ryder, after qualifying for his first British run-off in his new Force Empire Evo 2.
It was a day for records at Loton, as besides Kenrick and Varley breaking their respective class records, Tim Barber joined them in his 996 GT3 in the first of two Porsche Speed Championship classes, as did Andy Griffiths, the Caterham-Hayabusa driver thereby relieving Les Mutch of top spot in the Hillclimb Leaders Championship. Finally, Olivia Cooper became the new Loton Ladies' record-holder in her Force TA, beating Tina Hawkes' target by over half a second.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 44.15s
Championship run-off, round 11: 1 Menzies 44.15s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 44.32s; 3 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 44.71s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 44.91s; 5 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 45.24s; 6 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 45.34s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 45.64s; 8 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 46.31s; 9 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 47.05s; 10 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 47.41s; 11 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 51.17s; Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) DNF .
Championship run-off, round 12: 1 Mourant 44.23s; 2 Kenrick 44.32s; 3 Uren 44.82s; 4 Hall; 44.99s; 5 Summers 45.02s; 6 Spedding 45.33s; 7 Willis 45.52s; 8 Warburton 46.15s; 9 Tomlin 47.79s; 10 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 49.39s; Varley DNF; Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) DNF.
Championship positions after round 12: 1 Willis 101; 2 Hall 94; 3= Menzies and Mourant 83; 5 Uren 73; 6 Spedding 42; 7 Summers 30; 8 Kenrick 24; 9 Paul Haimes 22; 10= Mutch and Tomlin 17; etc.
After winning the opening run-off with FTD, Wallace Menzies pushed a shade to hard in Q2 (John Hallett)
Jason Mourant scored his first win of the year to level with Menzies on the series table (John Hallett)
Another record-breaking performance by Robert Kenrick netted second overall in the afternoon run-off (John Hallett)
Olivia Cooper set a new Loton Ladies' record in her Force TA (John Hallett)
DUEL IN THE SUN
Event 5 at Shelsley Walsh on 03/06/2018
Dave Uren set the outright pace at a sun-baked Shelsley Walsh, narrowly beating Will Hall to the opening run-off win in his ex.Groves Gould-NME, the car that has held the outright course record for ten years, and going on to lose out to Hall by the smallest possible margin in the closing shoot-out. 'I don't handle pressure!' said Uren, who had led throughout Saturday's practice. You wouldn't have thought so after an intensely competitive opening run-off in which he was last to run after qualifying top. As he came to the startline, the pressure mounted as he watched the bar being raised on each successive run. Penultimate runner Will Hall's 23.60, FTD so far, was Uren's target and a superb on the limit shot snatched the win by just seven hundredths to set what would ultimately be the day's best time. 'Sean (Gould) has made a lot of suspension adjustments after Gurston last weekend and the set-up was ideal for Shelsley,' said Dave.
The situation was similar in the final shoot-out where once again Hall's time was the one to beat. Once again the final runner, another maximum effort by Uren on a track now marginally slowed by an earlier blow-up and hence with a liberal coating of cement dust, he failed to beat the flying Force turbo by a mere hundredth of a second. Hall was equally delighted with his win, particularly as during the day he had again been dogged by the intermittent, but elusive gearshift boost spikes that had caused a momentary misfire since Harewood. Still, a fourth victory has made him the year's most prolific winner so far and, more importantly, moved him to within a single point of series leader Trevor Willis. Always on the back foot at Shelsley power-wise, the defending champion was unable to make the most of the twisty Esses section, particularly on the dusty afternoon track, and had to be content with third and fourth as he swapped places with the fast finishing Gould Cosworth of Wallace Menzies.
The only one of the championship top five not to have won a round this year, Jason Mourant kept his ex.Lane Gould-Judd in the frame with two fifth place finishes while sixth each time, former champ Alex Summers showed that he could still rejoin the title hunt. Having already scored points at Prescott in the family DJ Firehawk, this was the first competition outing for his brand new DJ Firestorm, its V6 Cosworth being one of the few parts salvageable from the 2017 accident.
Sensation of the run-off, each time, was Robert Kenrick. Having qualified his tiny 1-litre Raptor-BMW for the opening shoot-out with a time four tenths inside his month-old class record, he snicked off a further five hundredths for a seventh place finish. Then in the closing run-off, after carrying phenomenal speed into Bottom S, he ran even faster to set Shelsley's first ever sub-25sec run by an 1100cc single-seater. His 24.96, which drew spontaneous cheers from the spectator banks, would have been on a par with Graeme Wight Jr's hill record pace in the Gould V6 a decade and a half ago. It was certainly enough to subdue Terry Graves' 650bhp Gould-Cosworth to eighth each time, ahead of a see-saw duel between 1600cc protagonists Les Mutch and Dave Warburton. Also from the 1600cc class, Maltese hillclimb champion Zach Zammit made a British run-off lineup for the first time in the afternoon aboard his Empire Evo although finishing, like Tony Hunt, earlier on, out of the points. From the 2-litre forced induction class, Kelvin Broad replaced a driveshaft, broken during morning qualifying, to get his Pilbeam 101 into the afternoon shootout. Less lucky was Paul Haimes, who qualified his Gould GR59 turbo for the morning run-off with a class winning run, only to suffer engine failure during the run-off itself.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh
FTD: Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 23.53s
Championship run-off, round 9: 1 Uren 23.53s; 2 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 23.60s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 23.71s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 23.76s; 5 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 24.29s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 24.37s; 7 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 25.03s; 8 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 25.39s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 25.62s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 25.91s; 11 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 25.94s; Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 10: 1 Hall 23.83s; 2 Uren 23.84s; 3 Menzies 23.91s; 4 Willis 24.09s; 5 Mourant 24.13s; 6 Summers 24.40s; 7 Kenrick 24.96s; 8 Graves 25.12s; 9 Warburton 25.75s; 10 Mutch 25.92s; 11 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 26.13s; 12 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 27.24s.
Championship positions after round 10: 1 Willis 88pts; 2 Hall 87; 3 Menzies 73; 4 Mourant 65; 5 Uren 61; 6 Richard Spedding 31; 7 Haimes 22; 8= Mutch and Summers 17; 10 Graves 16; etc.
Dave Uren so nearly achieved a clean sweep at Shelsley (Ian Beard)
Will Hall closed to within a point of Championship leader Trevor Willis (Ian Beard)
Robert Kenrick showed phenomenal pace in the 1-litre Raptor (Ian Beard)
Alex Summers' new Firestorm made an impressive debut (Ian Beard)
HEAD TO HEAD AT GURSTON
Event 4 at Gurston Down on 27/05/2018
A day-long head to head battle between Will Hall and Trevor Willis at Gurston saw Hall emerge on top with the closing run-off win and FTD on the very last run of the day after the dynamic duo had tied for the win in the opening shoot-out. 'I'm delighted with today's result' said Hall after scoring his third maximum of the year to equal Willis's tally. 'We'd tested at Curborough in the week in an effort to cure the boost spikes we'd had at Harewood,' he said. 'We thought we'd solved the problem but it returned in practice yesterday, but after a few more tweaks the car was perfect today.' This was borne out by finish line passes of 152mph in each run-off and the result moved the Force-AER driver up to second on the Championship table behind Willis, although the defending champion increased his series lead to five points.
Pushed down to third on the table, Wallace Menzies had a character-building day after spinning into the outfield just before the finish on his first qualifying run and damaging the underside of the Gould-Cosworth. Sterling work by the team, led by Tom New (in between driving the new Norma-Honda sports libre car shared with Duncan Barnes) and by Sean Gould (who dashed back to Newbury for new bodywork parts) got the car running again in the afternoon and Menzies grabbed a courageous fifth place in the final shoot-out after a 142mph charge into Hollow Bend and a day's best 153 over the finish. But for a violent tailslide out of Karousel he may well have finished higher up the order.
The on-form Jason Mourant chased home the leaders each time in his Gould-Judd, maintaining his fourth place on the series table, while two fourth places for Dave Uren, his ex.Groves Gould-NME now repaired after the Harewood gearbox problems a fortnight earlier, made up for his two lost rounds in Yorkshire as he moved up to fifth on the table at the expense of Richard Spedding, a non-starter this weekend with engine problems following his fine Harewood showing. In a see-saw duel with Oliver Tomlin's Pilbeam-Judd, fifth and seventh run-off placings represented a best-ever result for Terry Graves, the Cornwall-based driver delighted after finding a large chunk of missing power from his Gould's Cosworth HB ex.F1 unit over the winter. His driving partner Tony Hunt also made the cut in the afternoon, finishing just out of the points. 2-litre forced induction class winner Paul Haimes chased Tomlin and Graves home each time in his GR59, backed up initially by class rival Lee Griffiths, but problems for the OMS driver saw him fail to make the afternoon cut and it was former Scottish champion Les Mutch who harried Haimes' turbocar with his normally aspirated 1600 Raptor later on, after electrical problems had stymied his opening run-off shot.
Kelvin Broad got his first British points of 2018 on the board with tenth place each time in his supercharged Pilbeam-Suzuki, edged down to the final point in the morning shoot-out by Nicola Menzies, whose third scoring shot of the season in the Gould-NME left her in tenth place on the table, a point clear of Graves. Sundry mechanical problems during the day confined Simon Moyse to eleventh place on his single run-off shot in the morning in the supercharged GR59, while in the afternoon David Warburton made the cut in his normally aspirated ex.works version for the first time, finishing twelfth.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 26.39s
Championship run-off, round 7: 1= Hall and Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.65s; 3 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 26.70s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 27.35s; 5 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 28.19s; 6 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 28.23s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.78s; 8 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 29.04s; 9 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 29.27s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 30.01s; 11 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 30.88s; Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 8: 1 Hall 26.39s; 2 Willis 26.76s; 3 Mourant 26.83s; 4 Uren 27.32s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 27.87s; 6 Tomlin 28.18s; 7 Graves 28.47s; 8 Haimes 28.74s; 9 Mutch 28.98s; 10 Broad 29.15s; 11 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 30.09s; 12 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 30.18s.
Championship positions after round 8: 1 Willis 73pts; 2 Hall 68; 3 Wallace Menzies 58; 4 Mourant 53; 5 Uren 42; 6 Richard Spedding 31; 7 Haimes 22; 8 Mutch 14; 9 Tomlin 13; 10 Nicola Menzies 11; etc.
For full results click here: http://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=sprint/2018/182184.pdf
Will Hall set the outright pace after tying with Trevor Willis for the opening win (Ian Beard)
Trevor Willis left Gurston having extended his Championship lead (Ian Beard)
Wallace Menzies bounced back into the points after a big 'off' near the finish line (Ian Beard)
Terry Graves scored his best ever run-off result (Ian Beard)
WILLIS OUT FRONT
Event 3 at Harewood on 13/05/2018
The battle at the sharp end on the British hills remains as frantic as ever but after two more rounds at a sunny Harewood, Trevor Willis became the first driver this season to leave a venue in sole charge of the Championship lead. Top qualifier for the opening shoot-out, Willis lined up only fifth fastest for the closing stanza but in the run-off itself his 50.03sec run remained out of reach of the remaining four runners. Among them, Richard Spedding was determined to make up for the loss of two rounds at Craigantlet the previous weekend and with both he and his supercharged Raptor now back in full attack mode, he closed to within eight hundredths of the winner to take not only the runner-up spot but second FTD on his home hill.
With the top four covered by less than half a second, opening run-off winner Wallace Menzies took the Championship lead at lunchtime after heading Willis and becoming the first driver to take two wins this season. 'It was my first Harewood win, too!' grinned the Scot. But after being edged out to fourth by six hundredths in the afternoon at the hands of Will Hall, he had to relinquish his brief series lead to the defending champion. While still one of the top contenders, Hall was not entirely happy with the way the Force-AER turbo was performing: 'I'm getting boost spikes on gearshifting', he said,'it's dumping air out of the wastegate and I'm losing power up Quarry Straight.' But despite that, fourth and third places kept him well in touch with the two leaders, albeit a few points adrift. Sadly, this year's fourth winner so far was to play no part in the Harewood action, Dave Uren being forced to retire his ex.Groves Gould-NME during Saturday's practice with a broken gearbox. What with his accident in the paddock at this meeting last year, the May Harewood must be fast becoming Dave's least favourite event. Into the breach stepped Jason Mourant. While unable to quite match his fine second and first place qualifying form, despite being marginally quicker, so competitive were the run-offs that the Gould-Judd driver had to settle for two fifth places, still enough to bump the absent Uren off fourth spot on the overall table.
Former Scottish hillclimb champion Les Mutch was beaming from ear to ear after two sixth places in his ex.Spedding Raptor chassis moved him up to eighth on the table, three points behind Paul Haimes who followed him home each time in the Gould turbo. Adam Greenan followed up his maiden British run-off appearance in the morning, when he finished just out of the points, with three in the bag for his afternoon's efforts in the Empire Evo 2 when he led home three more 1100cc runners. This always ultra-competitive and heavily populated class had effectively been won before lunch by Robert Kenrick, initially from Simon Fidoe but eventually from Greenan, the Welshman's Raptor-BMW setting a time good enough to line up sixth for the opening shoot-out, However bearing problems intervened and the team headed home leaving Simon Fidoe, Steve Owen and Greenan to complete the strong class representation as they trailed the eighth placed Oliver Tomlin on his first 2018 appearance in the big Pilbeam-Judd. In the afternoon, Darren Gumbley in his Force TA replaced Kenrick, scoring the final point ahead of Owen and Tony Hunt's Gould-Cosworth V8.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 50.03s
Championship run-off, round 5: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 50.38s; 2 Willis 50.43s; 3 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 50.89s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 50.94s; 5 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 51.10s; 6 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 52.10s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 52.19s; 8 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 52.46s; 9 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 53.25s; 10 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 53.51s; 11 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 54.28s; Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) DNS
Championship run-off, round 6: 1 Willis 50.03s; 2 Spedding 50.11s; 3 Hall 50.54s; 4 Menzies 50.60s; 5 Mourant 50.72s; 6 Mutch 51.69s; 7 Haimes 52.25s; 8 Greenan 52.65s; 9 Fidoe 52.86s; 10 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 53.92s; 11 Owen 53.99s; 12 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 54.62s.
Championship positions after round 6: 1 Willis 54pts; 2 Menzies 52; 3 Hall 48; 4 Mourant 37; 5 Spedding 31; 6 Dave Uren 28; 7 Haimes 15; 8 Mutch 12; 9= Fidoe, Nicola Menzies and Ray Rowan 9; etc.
Trevor Willis took sole charge of the Championship lead (Steve Wilkinson)
Having also won two rounds, Wallace Menzies is chasing Willis on the series table (Steve Wilkinson)
Richard Spedding almost matched the winner's FTD pace (Steve Wilkinson)
Jason Mourant is now chasing the three series leaders (Steve Wilkinson)
Event 2 at Craigantlet on 05/05/2018
Wallace Menzies and Will Hall had left Prescott's BHC opener with a win apiece as the Championship top three levelled on points. But third man Trevor Willis redressed the balance at Craigantlet, taking the closing run-off win and FTD in a time just a quarter of a second shy of the outright record for the rapid Belfast road course. This left Menzies and Willis still tied on points while Hall, whose second run-off shot had been stymied by a gear selection glitch which restricted him to fifth place, now lies just two points behind. 'I was delighted with that win!' said defending champ Willis, 'but it's going to be a tight season.'
It certainly looks that way with the top three so close and all having scored wins in the first four rounds. But the opening run-off had seen even more drama, when all three were edged out by Dave Uren as his Gould-NME pipped Hall's fire-breathing Force-AER turbocar for the win by just two hundredths. Menzies' rapid Gould-Cosworth GR59 ran a further three hundredths adrift and ahead of Willis's OMS-RPE. It was a superb comeback for Uren and the man who'd had such an unfortunate 2017 season now lies fourth overall on the Championship table, well in touch with the leaders. One of last season's most improved drivers, Jerseyman Jason Mourant, headed Uren and Hall home for third place in the final shoot-out.
Richard Spedding, fourth on the table after Prescott, dropped down the order behind Mourant after a severe oil leak and subsequent fire on his second practice run sidelined his new supercharged Raptor for the day's competition. It was particularly galling as his ex.Jos Goodyear 1300cc supercharged Suzuki unit was reputedly producing some 495bhp following engine modifications during the week.
Seventeen drivers, a healthy number for Craigantlet, were attempting to qualify for the BHC run-offs. A number of possible contenders had opted for the Midland Championship meeting at Shelsley so seven of the twelve making the cut for the opening run-off had still to get points on the board. Driving his relatively 'old school' Pilbeam-Hart sports libre, 1989 British champion Ray Rowan showed he'd lost none of his guile as he swapped 6th and 7th places with Uren's co-driver Nicola Menzies. 1100cc racers Darren Gumbley and Simon Fidoe swapped eighth and ninth places in Force TA and Empire Wraith respectively while ending his Ulster holiday, which had taken in Drumhorc hillclimb the previous weekend, their classmate Keith Weeks' first visit to Craigantlet resulted in his first ever British run-off appearance, scoring a point for his homely Formula Ford based Image Suzuki. Lee Griffiths and his OMS turbo took the single point in the opening run-off, but gear selection problems brought his turbocharged OMS-Suzuki to a halt in the second. John Mackenzie made the cut each time in his GWR Dax Rush V6, while with rocket sub 2sec starts, better than anyone else on the day, Allan McDonald finished just out of the points in the opening shoot-out aboard his amazing 4WD Mini Evo.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Craigantlet
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 39.36s
Championship run-off, round 3: 1 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 40.17s; 2 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 40.19s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 40.22s; 4 Willis 40.31s; 5 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 41.17s; 6 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 45.37s; 7 Ray Rowan (2.7 Pilbeam-Hart MP43) 45.39s; 8 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 45.84s; 9 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 45.87s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 47.52s; 11 Allan McDonald (2.4t Mini Evo) 47.54s; 12 John Mackenzie (2.5 Dax Rush-Rover) 50.71s.
Championship run-off, round 4: 1 Willis 39.36s; 2 Wallace Menzies 40.25s; 3 Mourant 40.43s; 4 Uren 40.56s; 5 Hall 40.64s; 6 Rowan 44.37s; 7 Nicola Menzies 44.74s; 8 Gumbley 45.15s; 9 Fidoe 45.27s; 10 Keith Weeks (1.0 Image-Suzuki FF5) 50.84s; 11 Mackenzie 51.12s; Griffiths DNF.
Championship positions after round 4: 1= Wallace Menzies and Willis 35pts; 3 Hall 33; 4 Uren 28; 5 Mourant 25; 6 Richard Spedding 14; 7= Rowan and Nicola Menzies 9; 9= Alex Summers and Paul Haimes 7; etc.
Trevor Willis negotiates the Mays' Cross chicane on his way to FTD (Tom Maxwell)
Dave Uren won a hard-fought opening run-off (Tom Maxwell)
Wallace Menzies is still tied in the Championship lead with Willis (Tom Maxwell)
Will Hall slides the Force-AER out of Hadley (Tom Maxwell)
TRIO AT THE TOP
Event 1 at Prescott on 29/04/2018
A superbly competitive opening to the 2018 British Hillclimb Championship saw three drivers tied for the series lead after a cold and damp weekend at Prescott. Flashing his red Gould-Cosworth through the gloom on a still damp track, Wallace Menzies snicked the opening round win by six hundredths from Trevor Willis as Will Hall chased them home. In drier conditions at the end of the day top qualifier Hall, his turbocharged Force AER now showing the reliability it had previously lacked, took the second run-off win and set the meeting's outright pace with 38.04 on the last run of the day. With defending champion Willis half a second adrift in his OMS-RPE and early winner Menzies having to settle for a close run third place, all three left the Cotswold venue on equal points.
Fourth each time after a promising debut in his new, supercharged GWR Raptor-Suzuki, Richard Spedding began his season with a Championship fourth place while Jason Mourant and Dave Uren swapped fifth and sixth run-off places in their Gould V8s to leave the venue tied in fifth place. Alex Summers had set the pace during Saturday's miserably wet practice not in his DJ Firestorm V6, which is expected to reappear in a few weeks time after its rebuild following last year's Gurston accident, but in the family DJ Firehawk. After leading a 25-strong class of 1100cc racers after the first class runs, the 2015 champion finished the opening run-off in seventh place during a day-long duel with Paul Haimes, whose turbocharged Gould-Suzuki is now showing consistent pace after the installation of a new oil system. They swapped places in the closing bout, Haimes seizing a six hundredths advantage to leave the pair tied for seventh on the table.
After edging out Summers to snatch the class win in the afternoon, rapid Welshman Robert Kenrick made the second run-off cut in his 1-litre Raptor-BMW but failed to match his strong fifth place qualifier, bagging the two points for ninth place. Les Mutch had occupied that slot in the opening shoot-out aboard his own Raptor, which was Spedding's old chassis fitted with the Scotsman's Suzuki unit which is now running on methanol. The car cut out in the second run-off leaving him out of the points, but he left Prescott tied in ninth place on the table with Kenrick.
One of four 1100cc cars to make the cut for the afternoon shootout, delighted Empire Evo driver Ben Stephenson bagged a point for tenth place on his British run-off debut to demote classmate Steve Owen, tenth in the morning, to eleventh place, Just out of the points in the morning, Terry Graves' Gould-HB V8 headed 2-litre class leader Johnathen Varley who, although eventually pipped to the post in a strong class by Tim Davies, had made the run-off cut on the first outing for his ex.Graeme Wight Jr Predator chassis, fitted with the now fuel injected Cosworth BDG from his venerable March 772P. This fine debut earned Varley the Moran Motorhomes Midland Man of the Meeting award.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 38.04s
Championship run-off, round 1: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 38.74s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 38.80s; 3 Hall 38.99s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 39.71s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 40.25s; 6 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 40.49s; 7 Alex Summers (1.1 DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 40.77s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 41.23s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 41.43s; 10 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 41.46s; 11 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 41.89s; 12 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 41.95s.
Championship run-off, round 2: 1 Hall 38.04s; 2 Willis 38.52s; 3 Menzies 38.89s; 4 Spedding 39.25s; 5 Mourant 39.74s; 6 Uren 40.03s; 7 Haimes 40.42s; 8 Summers 40.48s; 9 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 40.54s;10 Ben Stephenson (1.0 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 41.31s; 11 Owen 42.29s; 12 Mutch DNF.
Championship positions after round 2: 1= Menzies, Willis and Hall 18pts; 4 Spedding 14; 5= Uren and Mourant 11; 7= Summers and Haimes 7; 9= Mutch and Kenrick 2; etc.
Will Hall set the outright pace at Prescott's British season opener (Ian Beard)
Wallace Menzies took the opening round win of the season (Ian Beard)
Johnathen Varley made the opening run-off cut and took the Man of the Meeting award with his Predator-BDG (Ian Beard)
Richard Spedding chased the leading trio home each time with his new, supercharged Raptor (Ian Beard)
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