BRITISH HILLCLIMB REPORTS
Current Reports Report Archive
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 39.95s; 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 third, 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)
MORAN WINS AND SPINS
Event 17 at Loton Park on 24/09/2017
Having missed the last six rounds, Scott Moran returned for Loton's British Championship finale on top form with an opening run-off win, followed by FTD in qualifying for the second shoot-out just one hundredth of a second away from his own hill record. It marked a triumphant return for the outgoing champion who, after a self-confessed 'laid-back' year, had missed half the season's events. Even so, with just one round to go he lay sixth on the championship table needing only a top three finish to deny Jason Mourant, the most improved driver of 2017, fifth place overall. Third in the opening run-off and determined to maintain his championship position, the Jerseyman had qualified a fine second for the final shoot-out of the year. Then at Museum, the very last bend of the season, a 180º spin left him convinced that, with Moran still to run, he'd thrown away the chance of a top five placing. But moments after Scott had launched the Gould-NME into the final championship run of 2017, there was a prolonged squeal of tyres and a gasp from the crowd. The unthinkable had happened - the six-times champion had spun in the fast left-hander at Loggerheads!
'It was just starting to drizzle,' said Moran. 'The back end stepped out and the car just got away from me.' He was not the first driver that weekend to have had problems in damp conditions on Loton's resurfaced track, particularly during Saturday morning's practice session. Fortunately the rain held off for most of Sunday and, as has been the case since the June resurfacing, several class records were broken. However, Wallace Menzies' spin at Fletcher's during Q1 ruled him out of the opening run-off, although he made up for it in the afternoon to finish second behind new champion Trevor Willis, who had run half a second behind Moran in the opening shoot-out.
Former British champion-turned-constructor Graeme Wight Jr was beaming from ear to ear after his Raptor cars had followed each other home in the top five each time. Richard Spedding (fourth and third) was equally delighted to secure third overall on the Championship table, one better than last year and a superb performance for a 1600cc Suzuki engined car, while Robert Kenrick (fifth and fourth), after a record-breaking second half of the season in his 1-litre BMW powered machine, shows tremendous potential for next year. The possible threat to Spedding's top three placing, from Will Hall, failed to materialise when yet again the Force's AER turbo misfired towards the end of the opening run-off and seventh place spelt the end of the challenge. A disappointed Hall withdrew from the afternoon's competition. Paul Haimes, on the other hand, was delighted that his Gould-Suzuki turbo was again running well. After taking sixth place before lunch he qualified third in the afternoon when, despite a time wasting sideways moment out of Triangle during the second shoot-out, the defection of Mourant and Moran promoted him to his third fifth place finish in the space of two weekends.
After suffering a wrist injury sustained in the Pilbeam-Judd during Saturday practice, the unfortunate Sandra Tomlin withdrew from Sunday's competition. But her son Oliver, with the car now sporting a replacement front wing suitably adorned with Welsh dragons (the border is less than a mile down the road) on loan from Bill Morris and Tim Davies, made the cut each time with a top six finish in the afternoon. Steve Owen finished a fine season bringing the 'works' OMS-Suzuki 1100 home in the points each time, well clear of the tenth placed supercharged Pilbeam of Kelvin Broad in the morning, while in the afternoon it was Harry Pick, making his fourth run-off appearance of the year in the ex.Willis OMS 1100, who ran ninth ahead of final finisher Graham Wynn's Gould-HB, which halfway into his run mysteriously cut out and restarted. The similarly mounted Terry Graves/John Hunt pairing took turns at making the cut, Graves with his third three-pointer of the season while Hunt, on his sixth run-off appearance to end his best season yet with the car, finished just out of the points before lunch in a duel with Wynn, pipping the Championship co-sponsor by four hundredths.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park
FTD: Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 43.53s
Championship run-off, round 33: 1 Moran 43.60s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 44.10s; 3 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 44.69s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 45.19s; 5 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 45.85s; 6 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 46.02s; 7 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 46.21s; 8 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 46.64s; 9 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 47.06s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 48.20s; 11 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 49.11s; 12 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 49.15s.
Championship run-off, round 34: 1 Willis 44.16s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 44.65s; 3 Spedding 44.92s; 4 Kenrick 45.36s; 5 Haimes 45.68s; 6 Tomlin 46.49s; 7 Owen 47.76s; 8 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 48.37s; 9 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 2000V) 48.45s; 10 Wynn 53.27s; Mourant DNF; Moran DNF.
Final British Championship positions: 1 Willis 232; 2 Menzies 205; 3 Spedding 180; 4 Hall 166; 5 Mourant 139; 6 Moran 132; etc.
Scott Moran ran a hundredth of a second outside his own hill record (John Hallett)
Trevor Willis ended his Championship season with a win (John Hallett)
Richard Spedding finished a fine third overall in the Championship (John Hallett)
'End-of-term' photo with eight of the BHC top 10 (Tim Wilson)
MENZIES' HOME RUN
Event 16 at Doune on 17/09/2017
Wallace Menzies twice repelled the challenge from British champion elect Trevor Willis to score both run-off wins on his home hill at Doune. In a last-minute bid to beat the flying Gould-Cosworth, Willis's late charge nearly ended in the barriers at Junction as the OMS V8 snapped sideways under braking. He held on, but the run was blown and Menzies went on to carve over half a second off his winning time for the opening run-off to again set the outright pace on the day and secure the runner-up spot in the 2017 Championship, his best ever finish. After breaking a driveshaft during Sunday morning practice, Will Hall, although still plagued by his elusive intermittent misfire problem, brought home the Force-AER turbocar in the remaining podium spot each time. Having clinched the 2017 Hillclimb Leaders title with yet another 1600cc class win, Richard Spedding followed in the wheeltracks of the leading trio for two fourth place finishes in the Raptor.
Sean Gould had arrived at Doune at 3.00am on Saturday after a sterling effort to repair his 1600cc Gould-Suzuki after his Prescott shunt. But the car just wouldn't run properly during Saturday's practice, so he withdrew it and shared Paul Haimes' turbocharged version for the event proper. Gould qualified just behind his benefactor for the opening run-off, when he spun off on to the uneven infield at the notorious East Brae, removing a section of the car's floor. The pair had to continue without it but, undaunted, Haimes' sped to fifth place in each run-off, his best combined result in the car, while Gould recovered well to chase him home in the second shoot-out.
A fine run from Steve Marr, back in his own 1100cc PCD Saxon following an engine rebuild, rounded off the top six before lunch to hold off Jason Mourants's Gould-Judd. The Jerseyman got his own back in the afternoon as he edged the Scotsman out of seventh place, in the process moving up the Championship table to fifth place, a point clear of the absent Alex Summers. Eighth in the opening run-off after qualifying with his first ever sub-40sec ascent of Doune, Lee Griffiths and the OMS turbo dropped a place in the afternoon after Gould's recovery, but John Munro's qualification for the opening run-off had ensured that no less than five OMS cars were in the line-up. Unfortunately a technical glitch meant that Munro failed to make the startline, but both Harry Pick and Steve Owen, sharing Pick's ex.Willis 2000V, made the cut each time with Owen chasing his co-driver home for tenth place early on. It was Pick's turn to take the final point in the afternoon as Owen headed Kelvin Broad's Pilbeam MP101 for the last two placings.
Although Richard Spedding clinched the 2017 title at Doune, the next five placings in the parallel Hillclimb Leaders series are closely fought. Having only begun to score points at the July Harewood, with yet another class record in the remarkable Subaru Wagon, Steve Darley moved up from eighth place to second overall after Doune. Darley now narrowly leads Tim Elmer, Sean Gould, Allan McDonald and Eric Morrey, with the chasing quartet covered by just two points. The final outcome will be decided at next weekend's season finale at Loton Park.Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Doune
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 36.05s
Championship run-off, round 31: 1 Menzies 36.57s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 36.90s; 3 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 37.53s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 37.69s; 5 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.41s; 6 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 39.83s; 7 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 40.42s; 8 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 40.47s; 9 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 2000V) 40.74s; 10 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 41.50s; Sean Gould (1.6t Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF; John Munro (1.6 OMS-Suzuki CF04) DNS.
Championship run-off round 32: 1 Menzies 36.05s; 2 Willis 36.81s; 3 Hall 37.10s; 4 Spedding 37.12s; 5 Haimes 37.77s; 6 Gould 38.17s; 7 Mourant 39.17s; 8 Marr 39.45s; 9 Griffiths 40.18s; 10 Pick 40.35s; 11 Owen 41.30s; 12 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 41.94s.
Championship positions after round 32: 1 Willis 226; 2 Menzies 199; 3 Spedding 172; 4 Hall 162; 5 Mourant 131; 6 Alex Summers 130; etc.
Wallace Menzies scored a double win with FTD on his home hill (John Crae)
Champion elect Trevor Willis could not match Menzies' pace (John Crae)
Richard Spedding launches the Raptor towards the Hillclimb Leaders title (John Crae)
Paul Haimes enjoyed his best weekend yet with the GR59 turbo (John Crae)
Event 15 at Prescott on 03/09/2017
Five years after his first title and with four rounds in hand, Trevor Willis finally regained the British Hillclimb Championship crown at Prescott. But it was Richard Spedding that set the outright pace on a wet and slippery day, winning both run-offs with, quite remarkably, identical times. Trevor's task was made a little easier when title rival Wallace Menzies' Gould-Cosworth spun to a halt at Pardon Hairpin during the morning run-off . As Spedding's tiny Raptor splashed through the spray to demote classmate Sean Gould to second place, Willis chased them home for third. 'I knew I could take the title in the afternoon by just finishing fifth, even if Wallace won,' said Trevor, 'so I had to make sure of it and drive accordingly. That was difficult as it's not my usual style!' In the end, Menzies finished second as Spedding charged to a second successive win, his fifth of the year, so fifth place for Willis was enough and it was mission accomplished.
'It's been a perfect season for me - I never expected five wins', said Spedding, whose first ever run-off victory had come only seven weeks earlier at Le Val des Terres. He also looks on course for his first Hillclimb Leaders title, particularly as main rival Sean Gould, after chasing him home in the opening run-off, crashed in qualifying for the second run-off. Sean escaped unhurt, but the Gould GR59 will need extensive repairs before the next round at Doune in a fortnight. Another first time winner in the Channel Islands in July, Jason Mourant has also gone from strength to strength since then. Fourth and third place run-off finishes at Prescott earned him the Moran Motorhomes Man of the Meeting award. Former Midland champion Robert Kenrick, following a tremendous spell of FTDs and class records in his 1-litre Raptor-BMW, registered late in the season, made his first British run-off appearance since 2008 and shadowed Mourant in each run-off and at the head of Q2. Another driver not seen in a British run-off for many years was Ray Rowan. As well as winning the big sports libre class, the 1989 hillclimb champion made the cut and twice finished in the points aboard his ex.Fidoe/Clifford Pilbeam-Hart MP43.
It was good to see Alex Summers walking through the paddock after his huge accident at Gurston the previous weekend and his spirits must have been buoyed to see his partner, Debbie Dunbar, not only make her British run-off debut by qualifying for both run-offs but amass six points in the Summers family's DJ Firehawk-Suzuki. In total four drivers from the ultra-competitive 1100cc racing class made the cut each time, Simon Fidoe scoring his first points of the year with two sixth places in the svelte Empire Wraith and Steve Owen adding five points to the two already earned at Loton and Shelsley in the works OMS-Suzuki.
With Gould out, in came Tina Hawkes for the second run-off. She finished just out of the points ahead of Paul Haimes who, courtesy of Menzies' spin, had earlier only just managed to squeeze the occasionally troublesome turbocharged GR59 on to the scoreboard, 'Purely down to the driver this time', he said, but in the afternoon he pushed that bit too hard, only to emulate Menzies' spin. Will Hall, too, had a difficult day with his Force-AER turbocar. He finished out of the points in the morning before just scraping into the second shoot-out and ending up with seventh place, all of which allowed the victorious Spedding to leapfrog him on the Championship table and regain his third place overall.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott
FTD: Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 43.80s
Championship run-off, round 29: 1 Spedding 43.80s; 2 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 44.33s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 44.70; 4 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 45.35s; 5 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 45.62s; 6 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 45.65s; 7 Debbie Dunbar (1.1 DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 46.26s; 8 Ray Rowan (2.8 Pilbeam-Hart MP43) 46.29s; 9 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 47.22s; 10 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 47.34s; 11 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 47.84s; Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 30: 1 Spedding 43.80s; 2 Menzies 44.11; 3 Mourant 44.75s; 4 Kenrick 44.92s; 5 Willis 45.18s; 6 Fidoe 45.57s; 7 Hall 46.12s; 8 Owen 46.16s; 9 Dunbar 46.25s; 10 Rowan 46.69s; 11 Tina Hawkes (1.6 Force-Suzuki PC) 47.84s; Haimes DNF.
British Championship positions after round 30: 1 Willis 217pts; 2 Menzies 179; 3 Spedding 158; 4 Hall 146; 5 Alex Summers 130; 6 Mourant 123; etc.
Trevor Willis slides through Pardon Hairpin on his way to a second British title (John Hallett)
A superb performance by Richard Spedding netted his second double win of the season (John Hallett)
Top qualifier Jason Mourant was again on form with third and fourth place finishes (John Hallett)
Robert Kenrick shadowed Mourant each time on his return to British run-offs (John Hallett)
ANOTHER WIN FOR HALL
Event 14 at Gurston Down on 27/08/2017
In winning the opening run-off at Gurston Down, Will Hall took a second successive FTD and his fourth win of the season. 'I should have won the second one, too,' said the disappointed Midlander after an intermittent misfire had stemmed his pace through the ultra-fast Hollow Bend below the downhill start chute. The Force-AER turbo's engine picked up again and he was even able to match his earlier 150mph finish speed and salvage fourth place. Even quicker over the finish line was Wallace Menzies, clocking 160mph in successive run-offs aboard the GR59-Cosworth and winning the second one in a time just six hundredths outside Hall's FTD.
The top four placings were exactly reversed in successive run-offs, which meant that each of the quartet scored 17 points. Trevor Willis, with second and third placings respectively, thus maintained his 35-point advantage over Wallace Menzies at the top of the Championship table, but with dropped scores coming into play over the remaining six rounds the Scot could close in. In fact the series leader nearly threw his eight points away during the second run-off after a wild sideways moment in the middle of Karousel. 'I thought I saw something in the road coming into Hollow (at around 130mph) which put me off a bit,' said Trevor. 'Then I realised it was just a ball of grass and while I was kicking myself I went too fast into Karousel and nearly lost it!' The fourth driver to score 17 points was Jason Mourant. On a roll after his maiden win at Bouley Bay a month earlier, the Jerseyman had already set the overall fastest practice time before chasing Willis home for third place in the opening shoot-out. A fine second place in the closing one, half a second behind Menzies, moved his overall score into three figures. Seventh place overall on the Championship on his second season in the big Gould-Judd now looks secure.
It was 6.30pm before Menzies made his final bid for glory on the last run of the day, the late finish due mainly to delays following a huge accident when the unfortunate Alex Summers lost control of the Firestorm V6 exiting Hollow Bend and the car cart-wheeled up the right-hand bank at high speed. Sterling work by the marshals and rescue teams later drew applause from the shocked crowd, as did the sight of Alex walking, with assistance, to the ambulance. Injuries including a broken collarbone kept the 2015 British champion in hospital overnight but he was hoping to be released the following day.
A fine duel between Oliver Tomlin and Paul Haimes saw them swap fifth and sixth places in successive run-offs. Despite having scored in only eight run-offs this year Tomlin, eleventh on the BHC table in his big Pilbeam-Judd, is within sight of a coveted 'number' if he scores well in the remaining six rounds. Haimes was delighted with one of his best combined results in five years of campaining the often recalcitrant Gould-Suzuki turbocar, following the installation of a new clutch after Shelsley. Driving the only 1600cc bike-engined cars to make the cut, Sean Gould and Richard Spedding exchanged seventh and eleventh places in successive run-offs, Spedding's disappointment at being demoted to fourth place on the series table by Hall compounded as Gould had reversed the Raptor driver's early class lead to snatch victory by a hundredth!
After scoring his first British point at Shelsley after several years of trying, Tony Hunt scored two more with ninth place in the opening run-off. His Gould-Cosworth V8 co-driver Terry Graves got on the British scoreboard for the first time this season by finishing five hundredths ahead of him, going on to double his score by tying for eighth place with Kelvin Broad's supercharged Pilbeam-Suzuki. After dropping his own Gould-Cosworth off the cam at Karousel during qualifying and missing the cut, Championship co-sponsor Graham Wynn watched the run-off from the commentary box 'to pick up a few pointers!' before returning to the fray to bag the single point in the second bout.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 26.01s
Championship run-off, round 27: 1 Hall 26.01s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.45s; 3 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 26.67s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 26.73s; 5 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 27.62s; 6 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 28.14s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 28.83s; 8 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 28.91s; 9 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 28.96s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 28.97s; 11 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 29.05s; 12 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 38.63s.
Championship run-off, round 28: 1 Menzies 26.07s; 2 Mourant 26.62s; 3 Willis 26.63s; 4 Hall 27.07s; 5 Tomlin 27.61s; 6 Haimes 27.87s; 7 Gould 28.38s; 8= Broad and Graves 28.45s; 10 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 28.50s; 11 Spedding 28.60s; 12 Hunt 29.38s.
British Championship positions after round 28: 1 Willis 205pts; 2 Menzies 170; 3 Hall 142; 4 Spedding 138; 5 Alex Summers 130; 6 Scott Moran 122; etc.
...and the latest on Alex Summers...
Back at home on the day following his accident, Alex sent out the following message:
'I just wanted to check in to say that I'm really grateful for all the support after my accident at Gurston Down. I'm feeling pretty lucky, all things considered, considering the speed. I've got a few broken/fractured bones, some cuts and some cracking bruises. Sorry if I don't respond to every message just yet!
I would like to thank everyone at Gurston for looking after me so well. It's nice to know we have such good marshals and crews on the hills for when things go wrong.
Big thanks, too, to the guys at DJ Racecars for building such a strong car. I am now home with my amazing family, who are keeping me positive and chirpy.'
Will Hall took a second successive FTD (Ian Beard)
Wallace Menzies maintained his Championship challenge with another run-off win (Ian Beard)
Another fine performance from Jason Mourant moved his score into three figures (Ian Beard)
Trevor Willis was well in touch during the Gurston power play (Ian Beard)
HALL SETS THE PACE
Event 13 at Shelsley Walsh on 13/08/2017
As Shelsley''s BHC 70th anniversary weekend moved into its second day, Saturday''s double winner Wallace Menzies narrowly failed to make it four wins in a row as Scott Moran snatched victory from the Scot by just two hundredths of a second. But in the second run-off, even the six-times champion had to accept defeat as Will Hall, after a problematic two days in the Force-AER turbo, finally set the best time of the weekend to beat him by over a quarter of a second and take his third win of the season. ''We had a few gearbox issues today,'' said Will, but it all came good in the end as we qualified top and took the win. I''m delighted!'' Menzies had to settle for third place in the afternoon. ''I suspect the engine was a bit flat,'' he said, a suspicion confirmed by onlookers.
Once again, a hard-trying Trevor Willis brought the OMS V8 home with third and fourth places behind the more powerful machinery, but even with Menzies closing the gap to 35 points, which could well narrow still further with the fast Gurston Down next on the agenda, with eight rounds still to run the 2012 champion is still on course for a second title.
Fifth each time in the V6 Firestorm, Alex Summers closed in on Richard Spedding on the points table. The Raptor driver inevitably dropped down the order during the Shelsley power play and may well suffer at Gurston in a fortnight for the same reason, but as his father Haydn said, to hold second overall for several rounds of the British Championship in a 1600cc bike-engined car was still quite an achievement. Classmate Sean Gould had the edge over Spedding throughout most of the Shelsley run-offs, although they swapped class wins over the two days with Gould now moving up to second overall in the parallel Hillclimb Leaders Championship, in which Spedding has a substantial lead. Gould kept his GR59 a couple of tenths clear of Spedding in the opening run-off, but after setting an identical time to the man who had led them both home in the morning, Jason Mourant in his Gould V8, Spedding eased his rival down to eighth place in the afternoon.
Ninth each time, Oliver Tomlin completed his seventh run-off appearance of the year in the 4-litre Pilbeam-Judd. Paul Haimes, still not entirely happy with the latest version of a modified oil tank in his turbocharged GR59-Suzuki, netted the single point for tenth before lunch, but lost out in the afternoon to Championship co-sponsor Graham Wynn.
Outside the main British Championship action, Robert Kenrick bagged yet another 1100cc class record in his Raptor-BMW, but the stand-out performance in the class runs came from Shelsley newcomer Steve Darley. Driving his potent Subaru Impreza Estate, the Harewood expert lowered the Roadgoing production car record on each one of his four competition runs over the weekend, leaving it at an impressive 29.68 - almost two seconds inside Mark Spencer''s previous record.
Off-track, the 70th anniversary celebrations were marked by the presence of 14 former British hillclimb champions, who took part in a cavalcade of iconic machinery during the lunch break.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh (Sunday)
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 23.21s
Championship run-off, round 25: 1 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 23.42s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 23.44s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 23.55s;4 Hall 23.86s; 5 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 23.99s; 6 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 24.43s; 7 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.79s; 8 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 24.97s; 9 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 25.47s;10 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 25.50s; 11 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 26.45s; 12 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 26.78s.
Championship run-off, round 26: 1 Hall 23.21s; 2 Moran 23.50s; 3 Menzies 23.66s; 4 Willis 23.72s; 5 Summers 24.04s; 6= Spedding and Mourant 24.47s; 8 Gould 24.59s; 9 Tomlin 25.13s;10 Wynn 25.72s; 11 Haimes 26.48s; 12 Hunt 26.51s.
British Championship positions after round 26: 1 Willis 188pts; 2 Menzies 153; 3 Spedding 134; 4 Summers 130; 5 Hall 125; 6 Moran 122; etc.
Will Hall saved his best until the last run of the day (Paul Lawrence)
Scott Moran took career win no.156 in the morning run-off (Ian Beard)
Steve Darley lowered his class record on four consecutive runs (Paul Lawrence)
Lineup of 14 champions (Paul Lawrence)
HAT-TRICK FOR MENZIES
Event 12 at Shelsley Walsh on 12/08/2017
Crossing the finish line at a record 158mph, Wallace Menzies' GR59-Cosworth stormed Shelsley Walsh in a blast of sound and fury to secure both run-off wins and FTD on the first day of the classic hill's celebration of British hillclimbing's 70th anniversary. It marked a hat-trick of run-off wins for Menzies, the 17th win of his career and this season's second consecutive hat-trick, immediately following Richard Spedding's similar feat in the tiny, bike-powered GWR Raptor. Needing no warm-up period after missing the previous six rounds, Scott Moran finished just over a tenth behind the Scot in a typically immaculate display in his all-conquering GR61-X NME during the opening bout. Moran was edged out of the runner-up spot in the afternoon by Will Hall, whereupon the Force-AER's silencer packing promptly caught fire in the top paddock! That was still a better outcome than on his first run, when his front wing detached and he ran over it just before the finish line. Despite crossing the line at just 78mph, Hall still finished fifth behind an on-the limit Sean Gould, who kept his right foot buried despite clouting the bank hard between Kennel and Crossing. His fine fourth place turned out to be the best run-off performance of the weekend by a 1600cc car.
In amongst all this action, Championship leader Trevor Willis, knowing that he was on the back foot power-wise at Shelsley, put in a couple of characteristically stirring drives for third and fourth placings, enough to keep his points tally ticking over. Alex Summers failed to complete the first run-off after a circlip in a Tri-lobe driveshaft joint broke and he lost drive, but all was well in the afternoon and he edged out the flying Gould for fifth place. Resigned to losing his Championship runner-up spot to Menzies on Shelsley's power slopes, Richard Spedding gave it everything as ever but had to settle for seventh place behind Jason Mourant in the morning. He turned the tables later on, the little Raptor demoting the Jerseyman's Gould V8 by a tenth later on although with Summers back in the mix he still had to settle for seventh.
A fine drive by Tina Hawkes secured eighth place in the opening shoot-out, the Force-Suzuki driver exactly equalling the time set by Graham Wynn's Cosworth V8 powered Gould. Shelsley run-offs are not normally the domain of 1100cc cars, nevertheless Steve Owen took the final point in the opening shoot-out aboard his OMS-Suzuki 28. He was joined in the second run-off by Martin Jones' Force PT, although both finished out of the points. One wondered what the outcome would have been had Robert Kenrick been registered for the BHC, for his new class record in the 1-litre Raptor-Suzuki - which he would go on to lower the following day - would have qualified in eighth place ...
There can be few things more memorable in a hillclimb career than to secure your first ever British Championship points at Shelsley Walsh, and Tony Hunt did just that with tenth place in the opening shoot-out, having just failed to catch Graham Wynn for ninth and double his score.
Unfortunately, Kelvin Broad failed to score in the opening bout after his Pilbeam-Suzuki hit the bank at Top S, while British Top 10 runner Ed Hollier failed even to make the cut after a big accident at Crossing on the first timed runs. Fortunately Ed was unhurt, although his Empire Evo was badly damaged.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh (Saturday)
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 23.69s
Championship run-off, round 23: 1 Menzies 23.69s; 2 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 23.80s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 24.03s; 4 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.78s;5 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 24.81s; 6 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 24.89s;7 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 25.19s; 8= Tina Hawkes (1.6 Force-Suzuki PC) and Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 27.03s; 10 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 27.23s; Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) DNF; Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 24: 1 Menzies 23.77s; 2 Hall 23.83s; 3 Moran 24.01s; 4 Willis 24.22s; 5 Summers 24.51s; 6 Gould 24.87s; 7 Spedding 24.92s; 8 Mourant 25.02s; 9 Wynn 26.32s; 10 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 26.81s; 11= Martin Jones (1.1 Force-Suzuki PT) and Owen 27.14s.
British Championship positions after round 24: 1 Willis 173pts; 2 Menzies 136; 3 Spedding 126; 4 Summers 118; 5 Hall 108; 6 Moran 103; etc.
Two wins for Wallace Menzies made it three in a row for the GR59 Cosworth (Ian Beard)
Sean Gould's GR59-Suzuki was the top scoring 1600cc car in the run-offs (Paul Lawrence)
Championship leader Trevor Willis kept his points score ticking over (Paul Lawrence)
Robert Kenrick took the first of two weekend records for his Raptor-Suzuki (Paul Lawrence)
Event 11 at Wiscombe Park on 30/07/2017
On the penultimate run of the day, a delighted Wallace Menzies took FTD at Wiscombe Park and scored the first British championship victory for his Gould-Cosworth XD. Many had previously thought the car not perhaps ideal for the tortuous, tree-lined Devon hill and with the Scot only tying for fifth place with rapidly improving Jerseyman Jason Mourant in the opening run-off, had tipped joint record-holder Trevor Willis for the afternoon win. But the writing had been on the wall since Menzies had run second fastest to Willis in practice and Wallace finally backed up his earlier form, producing a superlative drive when it mattered on a road still slightly damp up in the woods after the previous day's rain. So after losing out to runner-up Alex Summers in the opening run-off by just two hundredths, Willis had to be content to run a couple of tenths behind the potent GR59 V8 for second place in the closing shoot-out. His championship lead, however, remains at a commanding 40 points.
In the first run-off it was Richard Spedding, the man chasing Willis on the championship table, who completed an amazing hat-trick of run-off victories, starting with his first ever win at Le Val des Terres a fortnight earlier and following it up with a second win the same day. So the Yorkshireman was on a roll and in the afternoon was on course for four in a row, having twice qualified his bike-engined Raptor in the top three at Wiscombe. But a paddleshift glitch coming into Sawbench in the second shoot-out left him momentarily without gears and he understeered into the bank on the exit, to the detriment of the car's nose and front wing. His earlier winning time proved good enough for second FTD, Spedding's zero score left him just two points ahead of Menzies on the championship table and with four rounds at the 'double-header' weekend on Shelsley's power slopes next on the agenda, the Gould driver will have his sights set on eliminating the deficit in the Teme Valley.
Joint Wiscombe hill record-holder with Willis, Will Hall completed a top four covered by a mere quarter-second before lunch. Pleased with the way his rebuilt AER turbo engine was performing since the car's reappearance at the July Harewood, his hundredth of a second improvement was enough to grab third place from Summers' Firehawk V6 in the final shoot-out while continuing to set unbeaten launch times in the Force. Spedding aside, Sean Gould was top 1600cc driver in the morning with seventh place, chased by local man Ed Hollier who had slid wide at Wis Corner just after the start. But the GR59's spin at Martini in the afternoon let the local driver's Empire-Suzuki through for sixth place ahead of Paul Haimes who enjoyed, for once, a trouble-free weekend in his often recalcitrant Gould-Suzuki turbocar and came away with a six point bonus!
Kelvin Broad doubled his number of BHC run-off appearances this year in his supercharged Pilbeam-Suzuki and exactly matched his Gurston result with tenth and eighth places each time. The only 1100cc runner to make the cut, Darren Gumbley finished just out of the points in the morning but added to his BHC total later with ninth place in the Force TA ahead of final scorer Lee Griffiths' OMS turbo, while Terry Graves qualified the big Gould-HB for his first run-off shot of the season although he failed to get his name on the scoresheets.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Wiscombe Park
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 34.50s
Championship run-off, round 21: 1 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 34.66; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 34.79s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 34.81s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 34.92s; 5= Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) and Menzies 35.56s; 7 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 36.54s; 8 Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 37.23s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.39s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 37.82s; 11 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) 38.01s; 12 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 38.25s.
Championship run-off, round 22: 1 Menzies 34.50s; 2 Willis 34.71s; 3 Hall 34.91s; Summers 35.13s; 5 Mourant 35.66s; 6 Hollier 36.48s; 7 Haimes 36.56s; 8 Broad 37.48s; 9 Gumbley 37.50s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 38.71s; Gould DNF; Spedding DNF.
British Championship positions after round 22: 1 Willis 158pts; 2 Spedding 118; 3 Menzies 116; 4 Summers 112; 5 Hall 93; 6 Scott Moran 86; etc.
Wallace Menzies scored the GR59 V8's first victory
Richard Spedding made it a hat-trick of run-off wins at Wiscombe
Record-holder Trevor Willis was outgunned on one of his favourite hills
Will Hall is now getting consistent results in the re-engined Force-AER
MAIDEN WINS FOR MOURANT AND SPEDDING
Event 10 at Le Val Des Terres on 15/07/2017
The British Hillclimb Championship saw not one, but two first-time winners during this year's annual foray to the Channel Islands. Chased hard by Richard Spedding, Jason Mourant won the opening run-off at Bouley Bay in his ex.Lane Gould-Judd and nearly won the closing one too, denied a second win by a hundredth of a second at the hands of Will Hall in his Force-AER. Three days later, Mourant gave Le Val des Terres a miss and Spedding at last took that long-awaited outright win in his bike-engined GWR Raptor, going on to score an impressive double in the car as he held off local drivers Darren Warwick and Nick Saunders each time.
After finishing a best-ever third on his local hill last year, behind Trevor Willis and Scott Moran, Mourant was delighted to set FTD and become the first Jersey resident to win at Bouley since Tico Martini in 1962, saying 'I'm quite shocked, really, to win outright against this sort of opposition.' After trying for so long and coming close so many times in his Raptor, Spedding was equally elated with his wins on Guersey. 'It's a bit like buses,' he said. 'You wait so long for one and then two come along at once!' After fifth place in the opening Bouley round, Will Hall's problems with the troublesome Force-AER looked to be over when he took his second win of the season in the afternoon, but after consistently strong opposition at the Terres left him with sixth place early on, the car's gremlins struck again in Q2 when the engine cut and he coasted to a halt.
Hill record-holder Trevor Willis maintained his strong championship advantage with two third places on Jersey, and even after an indifferent showing at the Terres, the only BHC hill on which he's never won, he still has a healthy lead over Spedding - although after the Yorkshireman's fine performance on the more northerly island it was cut from 44 to 32 points.
Guernseymen Warwick and Saunders were no strangers to Channel Islands run-offs, in fact Warwick has won there twice before in his ex.Haimes Dallara-Vauxhall, but it was Saunders' first podium - and a double at that - in his Reynard-based Reynick-Suzuki and for occasional BHC contenders they did superbly well to head home the 'establishment' each time at the Terres. Apart from a poor finish out of the points in the opening Bouley run-off, Wallace Menzies duelled with Alex Summers throughout the two days. After swapping places in the top five on Guernsey they are still in contention in the championship top four, separated by just four points. Dave Uren ran fourth in the opening Bouley shoot-out then dropped to sixth, but a big accident on his first practice run at the Terres left the Gould-NME severely damaged although fortunately its driver escaped uninjured. In their on-going duel in the works GR59, Eynon Price got the better of Sean Gould each time in Jersey, but the tables were turned in Guernsey after the Welshman nudged the bank in qualifying for the first run-off. He recovered to qualify in the afternoon, closing to within 14 hundredths of his co-driver in the run-off.
Martin Jones and Darren Gumbley made the cut each time at the Terres with their Force TA, Jones just in the points each time and tying with his co-driver in the second shoot-out as they led home local driver Jackie Le Cheminant, the third member of the Guille family to compete in Guernsey run-offs, the others being her father Geoff and brother Chris, a former winner on the Island. The Guernsey-based Messurier brothers also made the run-off first time up in their self built Lemtech but failed to make the second one after an off by Paul in Q2.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Bouley Bay
FTD: Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 38.08s
Championship run-off, round 17: 1 Mourant 38.08s; 2 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.23s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 38.55s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 38.99s; 5 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 39.15s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 39.30s; 7 Eynon Price (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 39.91s; 8 Darren Warwick (2.0 Dallara-Vauxhall F399) 40.33s; 9 Nick Saunders (1.6 Reynick-Suzuki) 40.39s; 10 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 40.44s; 11 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 40.77s; 12 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 41.18s.
Championship run-off, round 18: 1 Hall 38.45s; 2 Mourant 38.46s; 3 Willis 38.67s; 4 Spedding 38.72s; 5 Summers 38.75s; 6 Menzies 39.30s; 7 Uren 39.59s; 8 Warwick 39.60s; 9 Price 39.75s;10 Saunders 39.93s; 11 Gould 40.57s; 12 Wynn 41.10s.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Le Val des Terres
FTD: Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 27.28s
Championship run-off, round 19: 1 Spedding 27.43s; 2 Warwick 27.66s; 3 Saunders (27.85s; 4 Menzies 27.89s; 5 Summers 28.00s; 6 Hall 28.20s; 7 Willis 28.41s; 8 Gould 28.91s; 9 Paul Le Messurier (1.4 Lemtech-Suzuki) 29.59s; 10 Martin Jones (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) 29.77s; 11 Ian Le Messurier (1.4 Lemtech-Suzuki) 29.85s; 12 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) 29.97s.
Championship run-off, round 20: 1 Spedding 27.28s; 2 Warwick 27.71s; 3 Saunders 28.08s; 4 Summers 28.25s; 5 Menzies 28.42s; 6 Willis 28.55s; 7 Gould 28.64s; 8 Eynon Price (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.78s; 9 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 30.31s; 10= Jones and Gumbley 30.56s; 12 Jackie Le Cheminant (2.0 OMS Vauxhall CF04) 30.81s.
British Championship positions after round 20: 1 Willis 141pts; 2 Spedding 108; 3 Menzies 100; 4 Summers 96; 5 Moran 86; 6 Hall 78; etc.
Jason Mourant's maiden win was the first at Bouley by a Jersey resident for 55 years (Andrew Le Poidevin/ www.guernseymotorsport.com)
Will Hall took his second 2017 win by a hundredth of a second (Andrew Le Poidevin/ www.guernseymotorsport.com)
Richard Spedding broke his BHC duck with a double victory on Guernsey (Andrew Le Poidevin/ www.guernseymotorsport.com)
Second each time, Darren Warwick was once again Guernsey's top competitor (Andrew Le Poidevin/ www.guernseymotorsport.com)
WILLIS AND MORAN WIN BUT SPEDDING STARS
Event 8 at Harewood on 02/07/2017
The leading quartet were covered by less than half a second each time as Trevor Willis and Scott Moran traded run-off wins at Harewood. But the star of the show, on his home hill, was Richard Spedding. Again driving Les Mutch's Raptor (his own version had ingested a stray bolt to the detriment of its Suzuki engine), the Barnsley man not only qualified top for each of the two run-offs, but in the process set FTD in a time within four tenths of the outright hill record. 'To do that in a borrowed car, particularly as Les's Raptor, unlike mine, doesn't have launch control, is more than I could have hoped for', said Spedding.
Despite the closeness of the competition, both Willis and Moran were surprised that they couldn't find more time on a hill in which five class records were broken during the day. But although Moran moved back up into second place overall in the championship ahead of Wallace Menzies, whose 'off' in practice presaged a somewhat mediocre day for the Gould-Cosworth driver with just two mid-field finishes, this will only be temporary as Scott will miss the next six rounds in the Channel Islands and at Wiscombe Park. Meanwhile Trevor Willis, the hill record holder at both Bouley Bay and Wiscombe, continues to rack up the points. Moving into the second half of the season, his healthy championship lead over somewhat inconsistent opposition can only strengthen his bid for a second British title.
Alex Summers looks to be an increasing prospect for a good championship placing, but his challenge in the V6 Firestorm was blunted at Harewood when a fourth place finish in the opening shoot-out was followed by a suspension breakage in round two. Now ten points behind Menzies, he's tied for fourth place on the table with the ever-present Spedding.
Will Hall was back out at Harewood, the Force fitted with his spare AER engine, its cracked block suffered in his Shelsley accident in 2015 now repaired. An inexplicable intermittent power loss blighted his first run-off shot and he struggled home for tenth, but all was well later as he qualified top in Q2, level with Spedding, before finishing fifth, well in touch with the leaders. With the Gould's former owner Martin Groves on hand to dispense advice, Dave Uren's fourth and fifth places kept him in the championship top six ahead of Hall.
Apart from Spedding, and his co-driver Mutch in the second run-off, the only other 1600cc bike engined representative in the shoot-outs was Ed Hollier, eighth and tenth in an Empire reverted to 2016 spec as regards engine and suspension. The Gould/Price duo had been eliminated in practice after Sean had put the GR59 into the armco on the exit of Farmhouse.
Jason Mourant and Oliver Tomlin shared the advantage in their 4-litre V8 machines, the Jerseyman with the better time overall after a sixth place in the opening run-off. Still looking for his first British point, John Chacksfield was just out of luck in the opening shoot-out but in the afternoon bout, his time was disallowed after putting a wheel off limits over the finish line. Lee Griffiths qualified before lunch, but his OMS-Suzuki turbo objected to having to do it on a re-run and promptly boiled over, eliminating him from the run-off itself.
Although not a BHC contender, mention must be made of Robert Kenrick. Having set FTD at Saturday's Harewood Championship event, on Sunday the rapid Welshman obliterated Simon Fidoe's 1100cc racing record by over a second and a half, his 51.11 a time that would have qualified his 1-litre GWR Raptor-BMW mid-field for both run-offs, had he been registered.
(Rounds 13 and 14, scheduled for Barbon Manor the previous day, were cancelled due to a waterlogged paddock following recent heavy rain)
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood
FTD: Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 49.19s
Championship run-off, round 15: 1 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 49.54s; 2 Spedding 49.74s; 3 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 49.82s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 50.00s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 50.46s; 6 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 50.70s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 51.12s; 8 Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 51.22s; 9 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 51.53s; 10 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 52.23s; 11 John Chacksfield (1.3s OMS-Suzuki 28) 53.96s; Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) DNS.
Championship run-off, round 16: 1 Moran 49.88s; 2 Spedding 50.01s; 3 Willis 50.05s; 4 Uren 50.17s; 5 Hall 50.54s; 6 Menzies 51.03s; 7 Tomlin 51.19s; 8 Mourant 51.35s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 52.14s; 10 Hollier 52.27s; Summers DNF; Chacksfield run disallowed.
Championship positions after round 16: 1 Willis 116pts; 2 Moran 86; 3 Menzies 82; 4= Spedding and Summers 72; 6 Uren 66; etc.
Driving Les Mutch's Raptor, Richard Spedding set the outright pace at Harewood (Jerry Sturman)
Trevor Willis extended his championship lead with another run-off win (Jerry Sturman)
'Occasional driver' Scott Moran added another win to his tally (Jerry Sturman)
Saturday winner Robert Kenrick blitzed the 1100cc record in his Raptor (Jerry Sturman)
THE GAME'S AFOOT
Event 6 at Doune on 18/06/2017
Just six weeks after breaking his foot in the Harewood paddock, Dave Uren was back on top form with FTD and the second British run-off victory of his hillclimb career at the Championship's most daunting venue, Doune. ' His bad foot meant he couldn't fully lift off!' joked his Tillicoultry Quarries team-mate Wallace Menzies. Nevertheless it was a fine weekend for the Redditch man who, with third place in the afternoon run-off, continued his move back into contention in a championship in which he lay second overall before his injury. Also moving up the series table is Alex Summers, who bagged two second place finishes in his increasingly effective and superbly handling DJ Firestorm-Cosworth V6. Just three points behind defending champ Scott Moran, who is giving the Doune rounds a miss in his abbreviated 2017 season, the man who took the 2015 title in Moran's Gould is emerging as a major contender this year.
With third place in the opening shoot-out and a win in the second one, Trevor Willis is still firmly in charge of this year's series. The challenge from his closest rival, Wallace Menzies, slightly lost momentum after a fifth place finish in the morning bout was followed by a harmless spin at the notorious East Bray in the afternoon, but as expected, the local hero moved past the absent Moran and into second overall on the championship table. Edging out Menzies in the pre-lunch run-off was last September's Doune winner Sean Gould, whose works GR59 was fastest of all in practice and had qualified second for the first run-off. But a crank sensor failure later sidelined the car for and neither Gould nor co-driver Eynon Price, ninth in the morning shoot-out, were able to qualify for round 12.
Richard Spedding's electrical problems returned and the Raptor-Suzuki driver shared Les Mutch's version for the third time this year. But even the Aberdonian's car was not immune to the odd electronic glitch and Spedding non-started round 11 due to a simple connector failure. The problem was fixed in time for Mutch to finish seventh, then in the afternoon a charged up Spedding bounced back for a competitive fourth place, just ahead of his benefactor. With double British sprint champion Stewart Robb wheeling out his faithful Pilbeam-Judd MP88 for a brace of sixth places, the strong Scottish presence in the run-offs continued as Ross Napier brought the ex.Uren Force-Suzuki turbo home eighth on his BHC debut in the car, although failing to complete his afternoon run. John Munro's OMS-Suzuki made up for a no-score in the morning by pipping Steve Marr's 1-litre PCD Saxon-Suzuki for ninth place in the afternoon.
After taking his Empire Evo-Suzuki to the final point before lunch, Ed Hollier pulled out over a second on Championship co-sponsor Graham Wynn's Gould V8 for seventh place in the closing run-off. Unfortunately Will Hall was missing after the Force-AER's engine failure at Loton and with long lead times on parts and rebuild, the May Harewood winner's reappearance looks like being seriously delayed. However the icing on the cake in the Uren camp was that Dave's co-driver Nicola Menzies took the Gould-NME to a new Doune Ladies' record.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Doune
FTD: Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 35.67s
Championship run-off, round 11: 1 Uren 35.67s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 35.74s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 35.96s; 4 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 36.20s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 36.33s; 6 Stewart Robb Sr (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP88) 37.80s; 7 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 37.82s; 8 Ross Napier (1.3t Force-Suzuki PC) 38.04s; 9 Eynon Price (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.35s; 10 Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 38.45s; 11 John Munro (1.6 OMS-Suzuki CF04) 39.96s; Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) DNS.
Championship run-off, round 12: 1 Willis 35.96s; 2 Summers 36.36s; 3 Uren 37.09s; 4 Spedding 37.42s; 5 Mutch 37.77s; 6 Robb 37.82s; 7 Hollier 37.91s; 8 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 38.09s; 9 Munro 39.42s; 10 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 42.65s; Menzies DNF; Napier DNS.
Championship positions after round 12: 1 Willis 98pts; 2 Menzies 71; 3 Scott Moran 68; 4 Summers 65; 5 Uren 55; 6 Spedding 54; etc.
Dave Uren bounced back after injury to take a second career win and FTD (John Crae)
Trevor Willis's run-off win kept him firmly in charge of the Championship (John Crae)
Alex Summers strengthened his bid with two second place finishes (John Crae)
Sprint ace Stewart Robb returned to his local hill scoring two mid-field placings (John Crae)
A GAME OF TWO HALVES
Event 5 at Loton Park on 11/06/2017
In a game of two distinct halves at Loton Park, the anticipated duel between Scott Moran and Trevor Willis in the opening run-off ended in favour of the six-time champion. When his long-time rival got the OMS V8 out of shape at the Shropshire hill's sting in the tail, Museum Bend. Moran swept to a half-second win and FTD. Alex Summers once again demonstrated the potential of his deft handling Firestorm V6 to take third place, just five hundredths behind Willis while a further three tenths behind, Wallace Menzies took a strong fourth in the Gould-Cosworth XD.
Richard Spedding, his Raptor now back on song following the electrical issues that dogged it at Harewood and Gurston, held off Jason Mourant's big Gould for fifth. Oliver Tomlin managed to keep the bike-engined Gould of Sean Gould and Eynon Price at bay to take seventh place, while 1100cc racing class winner Steve Owen brought his Suzuki powered works 28 home for the final point.
Under ominously darkening skies before the afternoon shoot-out, Graham Wynn was keen to beat the weather with his opening shot, but the Gould-HB's engine died on the run to the finish and in the long delay to push the big car up the hill and round the corner to the holding paddock, the drizzle began and the form book would be turned on its ear. Some measure of the subsequent track conditions can be gained from the fact that despite crossing the line with a dead engine, Wynn's time would still be good enough for third place...
Next up, Sean Gould was on a mission. 'I nearly threw it all away at Fallow,' said Sean. 'But the car's downforce is so good that despite the fact that it was wet from there to the finish I still managed a 48.' Two seconds quicker than Wynn's V8, the time would remain unbeaten and a delighted Sean would take the third win of his career. With the drizzle becoming heavier, Ed Hollier gave it everything in his Empire Evo, which had suffered wiring loom problems causing a retirement in the opening run-off, but he just failed to match Wynn's time. Successive big hitters followed, but none of them, not even Willis - who ended up a tardy ninth - could get on terms as track conditions became more unpredictable. Then with two cars to run, the sun came out and the dampness began to evaporate. Startline grip must have been good as both Moran and Menzies launched in 1.9sec, but even Moran could only manage a sub-50 for fifth place. Last to run, Menzies produced what was arguably the run of the day, hurling the Gould V8 up the still damp track in a 47, within a second of the time set by his car's constructor to snatch a fine second place from Wynn.
One driver who must have been pleased with sixth place in the afternoon was Dave Uren, returning in the Gould-NME after breaking his foot in the Harewood paddock five weeks earlier. Despite failing to qualify before lunch, finishing well in the points later on augurs well for the return to form of the man who, before his accident, lay second overall in the Championship.
At the other end of the scale, Harewood winner Will Hall continued his chequered year by skating off on his own oil at (ironically) Hall Bend after his Force's AER engine seized. A spare engine is, we understand, available but the team is faced with a lot of work in the four days before making the long trip to Doune next weekend.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park
FTD: Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 44.43s
Championship run-off, round 9: 1 Moran 44.43s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 44.98s; 3 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 45.03s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 45.31s; 5 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 45.79s; 6 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 46.36s; 7 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 47.21s; 8 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 47.39s; 9 Eynon Price (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 47.64s;10 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 48.45s; 11 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 50.29s; Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 10: 1 Gould 46.30s; 2 Menzies 47.16s; 3 Wynn 48.48s; 4 Hollier 48.80s; 5 Moran 49.52s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 52.31s; 7 Spedding 53.04s; 8 Summers 53.56s; 9 Willis 53.64s; 10 Mourant 53.86s; 11 Tomlin 64.23s; Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) DNS.
Championship positions after round 10: 1 Willis 80pts; 2 Moran 68; 3 Menzies 65; 4 Will Hall 50; 5= Spedding and Summers 47; etc.
Scott Moran set the outright pace on his home hill
Sean Gould took a third career win in a drizzle affected closing run-off
Wallace Menzies and the Gould-XD were on top form on the day's final run
Dave Uren made a brave comeback in the Gould-NME
WILLIS AND MORAN ON TOP AT GURSTON
Event 4 at Gurston Down on 28/05/2017
Trevor Willis stretched his lead on the British Championship table with another fine performance at Gurston Down, despite the fast Wiltshire hill not being regarded as ideal territory for the oft-quoted power deficiency of his nimble OMS-RPE compared to hillclimbing's 'big guns'. They certainly used all their ammunition in the opening shoot-out as the bigger V8s, joined by Alex Summers' increasingly rapid Firestorm V6, all chased hard, the top six finishers all running in the 26sec bracket and covered by just over six tenths of a second. But Willis found that extra nine hundredths to shade out perennial rival Scott Moran and set what would be the day's best time.
Still insistent that he would not be trying for a record seventh title and that in this, for him, abbreviated season he would be happy just to finish with a 'number' (currently second overall on the table, he could well achieve that with ease!), Moran displayed all his legendary skill to beat Willis by almost half a second in the closing run-off. The two drivers, this time the only ones in the 26sec bracket following a slight deterioration in track conditions due to earlier light rain, again led the way.
Chasing them home each time, his Gould-Cosworth XD clocking fastest-ever 150mph plus speeds through both Hollow Bend and over the finish, Wallace Menzies continued to demonstrate the potential of his new car as he narrowly held off the challenge from Will Hall's Force-AER turbo, The Midlander had a trouble-free weekend this time with two fourth places, narrowly hanging on to third place on the Championship table with a single point advantage over his Scots rival. Fifth and sixth each time, Summers and Jason Mourant in the ex.Lane Gould-Judd were chased in the morning by Oliver Tomlin's similarly powered Pilbeam MP97 and Graham Wynn's Gould HB, both of which failed to qualify in the afternoon's tricky qualifying conditions,.
Hard luck story of the weekend belonged to Richard Spedding who, after failing to complete a practice run on Saturday with a recurrence of his Raptor's electronic problems experienced at Harewood, once again borrowed Les Mutch's car to run the following day. But after finishing out of the points in the first run-off and failing to qualify for the second, the Yorkshireman slumped from second place to fifth on the series table. Scottish hillclimb champion Mutch qualified for the second shoot-outbut finished out of the points. Gurston expert and class winner Ed Hollier was the top 1600 performer in the run-offs, edging out Kelvin Broad's supercharged Pilbeam MP101 each time. Fewer V8s in the second stanza allowed classmates Sean Gould and Eynon Price a shot for points, with Price bagging the final one for tenth at the expense of Tina Hawkes in her Force PC. Sadly, Paul Haimes' first 2017 outing in the GR59 turbo was blighted with problems yet again, the engine cutting out on the exit of Karousel during the first run-off and again during qualifying for the second.
For full results, click here
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.22s
Championship run-off, round 7: 1 Willis 26.22s; 2 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 26.31s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 26.48; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 26.72; 5 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 26.74s; 6 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 26.88; 7 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 27.80s; 8 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 28.03s; 9 Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 28.22s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 28.38s; 11 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 28.52s; Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 8: 1 Moran 26.42s; 2 Willis 26.84s; 3 Menzies 27.03s; 4 Hall 27.19s; 5 Summers 27.54s; 6 Mourant 27.81s; 7 Hollier 28.59s; 8 Broad 28.84s; 9 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 29.12s; 10 Eynon Price (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 29.15s; 11 Tina Hawkes (1.6 Force-Suzuki PC) 29.58s; 12 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki)29.91s.
Championship positions after round 8: 1 Willis 69pts; 2 Moran 52; 3 Hall 50; 4 Menzies 49; 5 Spedding 37; 6 Summers 36; etc.
Trevor Willis took his sixth British run-off win of the season (Eddie Walder)
Scott Moran moved into second place overall on the Championship table (Eddie Walder)
Wallace Menzies' Gould set the fastest ever Gurston trap speeds (Eddie Walder)
Will Hall hung on to third place on the series table (Eddie Walder)
Event 3 at Harewood on 07/05/2017
Championship leader Trevor Willis's unbeaten run ended at a bitterly cold Harewood. During qualifying for the opening run-off, he failed to make the cut when his OMS-RPE skated straight on under braking at Farmhouse Bend and ended up in the gravel trap. A delighted Will Hall took his place on the top step of the podium, ending a 2-year drought of wins in his turbocharged Force-AER. Fortunes were reversed in the even colder afternoon shootout. Willis made no mistakes to take his fifth win of the year and retain his healthy lead at the top of the Championship table while Hall, whose time for that opening win remained the fastest of the day, struggled with a turbo overboost for a lowly eighth place as well as collecting a plastic course marker in a frantic bid to make up for lost time at the Esses
'It was so cold I just couldn't keep any heat in the tyres' said Willis after his win. Indeed few matched their earlier times with the odd exception, notably Richard Spedding. The writing was on the wall when the Yorkshireman had qualified in second place early on, ahead of another 1600cc bike engined charger, southwesterner Ed Hollier. But in a tremendous second run-off charge Spedding finished second to Willis which, combined with his earlier fifth place, left him second overall on the series table. Even more remarkable was that he was sharing fellow Raptor owner Les Mutch's car after experiencing suspected electrical problems with his own version. His benefactor, the jovial Scottish hillclimb champion, was content to play second fiddle to the local ace on his first visit to Harewood with the car.
After qualifying the Firestorm-Cosworth V6 on top for the opening bout, Alex Summers demonstrated the potential of his new car by finishing third each time. Scott Moran edged out his former co-driver by just three hundredths before lunch, but the tables were turned in the afternoon when Summers pushed the defending champion back to fourth. After a half-spin out at Country corner during the opening shoot-out, Wallace Menzies recovered in the Gould-Cosworth XD to finish fifth in the afternoon, levelling on points with Moran for fourth on the table behind Hall. But in the face of all this poor Dave Uren slumped from a championship second place to sixth in his Gould NME, having been forced to withdraw from the event after a severe foot injury sustained in the paddock on Saturday. After running close in the opening run-off, Hollier and Jason Mourant failed to resume their duel in the afternoon although both left Harewood in a joint championship eighth place.
After a promising fourth place early on, Sean Gould slipped to seventh later, while the 'works' Gould's co-driver Eynon Price, down the order in the morning, failed to make the afternoon cut after spinning at Country in qualifying. Claiming the final point behind Price before lunch was British run-off debutant Harry Pick, in his extensively reworked version of an old Trevor Willis OMS chassis, now with 1100cc Suzuki power. Another British run-off first-timer, former Harewood Top Six champion John Chacksfield, failed to get on the scoreboard after visiting the Orchard gravel trap in his supercharged OMS. Seasoned campaigner Simon Fidoe, who had snatched the 1100 class win from Pick in the afternoon, took his place in the final shoot-out, but finished out of the points behind Graham Wynn's Gould V8.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 50.48s
Championship run-off, round 5: 1 Hall 50.48s; 2 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 50.59s; 3 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 50.62s; 4 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 50.90s; 5 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 51.70s; 6 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 52.16s; 7 Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 52.49s; 8 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 52.80s; 9 Eynon Price (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 52.92s; 10 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 2000V) 55.27s; Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) DNF; John Chacksfield (1.3s OMS-Suzuki 28) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 6: 1 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 50.53s; 2 Spedding 50.77; 3 Summers 51.07s; 4 Moran 51.24s; 5 Menzies 51.51s; 6 Hollier 51.86s; 7 Gould 51.91s; 8 Hall 52.15s; 9 Mutch 52.58s; 10 Mourant 52.88s; 11 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 53.39s; 12 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 53.74s.
Championship positions after round 6: 1 Willis 50pts; 2 Spedding 37; 3 Hall 36; 4= Menzies and Moran 33; 6 Dave Uren 32; etc.
Will Hall took his first British run-off win for two years (Jerry Sturman)
With just one successful run-off bid, Trevor Willis maintained his Championship lead (Jerry Sturman)
Alex Summers scored two third places with the new Firestorm V6 (Jerry Sturman)
Scott Moran returned to the fray at one of his favourite hills (Jerry Sturman)
TWO MORE FOR TREVOR
Event 2 at Craigantlet on 29/04/2017
A front wing breakage on the fast righthander before the finish line failed to deter Trevor Willis during the first run-off at Craigantlet's Belfast road course. The run was still quick enough for the win and FTD, and with a spare wing for the second shoot-out and a time only a hundredth slower, the Championship leader remains unbeaten this season. Now with 60 British run-off wins on his CV, Willis now tops five-times champion David Grace's tally to lie fifth overall on the all-time round winners' table. His nimble OMS V8, plus his superb car control, gave him up to a second advantage on the hill's twisty opening section. The power of Wallace Menzies' rapidly developing Gould-Cosworth told on the faster second half but he still had to settle for second place each time, although a move up to third overall on the series table was a good result after his second British outing in the new car. With Scott Moran giving the Ulster event a miss, up into second overall came this year's 'coming man' Dave Uren after two third place finishes in the Gould-NME. With the top four mirrored in each run-off, Will Hall was delighted with fourth each time in the sometimes recalcitrant Force-AER turbocar. Despite problems getting the sonorous machine to the line amid a fusillade of backfiring, the car was unbeaten on run-off launch times save for the amazing 4WD Mini Evo of the newly registered Allan McDonald. After a fire in the car early on filled the cockpit with smoke, the former Manx GP winner simply cut out the offending floor and carried on, only to be sidelined with engine problems during the second class runs.
After bringing his new Firestorm Cosworth V6 home an encouraging fifth in the opening run-off, a chafed through brake line spelt the end of his afternoon. His position was grabbed in run-off two by Craigantlet newcomer Jason Mourant, the Jerseyman having chased home the two 1600 bike engined cars of Richard Spedding and Ed Hollier to take eighth place in the opening bout. Spedding brought his Raptor into the top six each time, but dropped a place on the series table as Hall elbowed past. Another visiting the fast Ulster hill for the first time was Ed Hollier, the Westcounryman putting in a splendid performancemarred only by a failure to get his Empire Evo to the finish in the closing run-off.
Lee Griffiths' Force-Suzuki turbo closed in on Graham Wynn's big Gould-Cosworth V8 as they moved up the order in round two, when both Hollier and Darren Gumbley in his new 1-litre Force TA failed to finish. Nicola Menzies chased Griffiths home each time, scoring her first points in the Gould-NME shared with regular driving partner Dave Uren. History repeated itself as for the second year running, motoring scribe David Finlay made the British scoreboard at Craigantlet in a roadgoing saloon, hustling his massive 5-litre Lexus RC F press demonstrator to the top for the day's final point.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Craigantlet
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28)
Championship run-off, round 3: 1 Willis 40.37s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 40.77s; 3 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 40.81s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 41.58s; 5 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 42.58s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 42.79s; 7 Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 43.28s; 8 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 43.34s; 9 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 44.07s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 46.26s; 11 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 46.42s; 12 Allan McDonald (2.4t Mini Evo) 49.97s.
Championship run-off, round 4: Willis 40.38s; 2 Wallace Menzies 40.72s; 3 Uren 41.96s; 4 Hall 42.30s; 5 Mourant 42.57s; 6 Spedding 43.06s; 7 Wynn 44.61s; 8 Griffiths 45.20s; 9 Nicola Menzies 47.47s; 10 David Finlay (5.0 Lexus RC F) 59.92s; Hollier DNF; Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) DNF.
Championship positions after round 4: 1 Willis 40pts; 2 Uren 32; 3 Wallace Menzies 27; 4 Hall 23; 5 Spedding 22; 6 Scott Moran 17.
Trevor Willis remains unbeaten in 2017 (Tom Maxwell - Raceline Photography)
Wallace Menzies secured two runner-up placings in the new Gould (Tom Maxwell - Raceline Photography)
With two third places, Dave Uren moved up to second overall on the Championship table (Tom Maxwell - Raceline Photography)
Fourth each time, Will Hall was consistently on the pace with the Force-AER (Tom Maxwell - Raceline Photography)
WILLIS'S OPENING DOUBLE
Event 1 at Prescott on 23/04/2017
Trevor Willis got his 2017 British hillclimb campaign off to a flying start at Prescott with two straight run-off wins and FTD in his well-proven OMS-RPE V8. But the sensation of the year's opening run-off was Dave Uren. In his first British outing in the Gould GR55 that had served 4-times champ Martin Groves so well and which Wallace Menzies took to third place in last year's series, he closed to within seven hundredths of Willis in the opening run-off to shade out Scott Moran's all-conquering GR61X. Six times champion Moran redressed the balance in round two to chase home Willis and end the weekend in second place on the championship table, but Uren's fourth place in the afternoon, behind Will Hall's sonorous Force-AER turbocar, left him third overall after a promising start to the season. 'It's a big step up from my previous car' he admitted, having sold his successful Force turbo to Scot Ross Napier (who won with it at Doune the previous weekend), but this showing demonstrated Uren's potential for featuring at the sharp end of this year's series.
Although shaded out by fellow 1600cc charger Sean Gould during the class runs, Richard Spedding lived up to his fourth place overall on last year's table by ending the day in the same position after this year's season opener in the tiny Raptor-Suzuki. After finishing sixth behind Spedding and his own GR59 co-driver Eynon Price in the opening shoot-out, Gould blotted his copybook with an off in round two, to the detriment of his GR59's hi-tech front wing. 'At least I get the parts at cost!', joked the constructor. His latest model, in the hands of Wallace Menzies and equipped with a potent Cosworth XD V8, was steadily being dialled in by the Scot, who ended with a close-fought fifth place in the afternoon as he pipped Spedding by seven hundredths. With five 1600s in the run-off each time, Westcountryman Ed Hollier was the next highest scorer in his Empire Evo, getting into the points each time, while jovial Scot Les Mutch, who had the previous Saturday vanquished Menzies on their home hill at Doune, got his Raptor into the points in the opening run-off ahead of the Hall's then somewhat recalcitrant Force turbocar.
The other new car in the run-off, 2015 champion Alex Summers'ex.Menzies DJ Firestorm powered by a Cosworth/Opel V6, turned a wheel for the first time during Saturday's practice session. He qualified the car for both run-offs, finally getting on to the scoreboard with ninth place in round 2. He ran a mere eight hundredths behind Jason Mourant's ex.Roy Lane Gould-Judd GR55 as the Jerseyman opened his 2017 account, his first year with a 'number' on the car.
Avon Tyres/TTC Group MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 36.86s
Championship run-off, round 1: 1 Willis 37.01s;2 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 37.08s; 3 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 37.17s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR-Suzuki Raptor) 37.26s; 5 Eynon Price (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.21s; 6 Sean Gould (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.26s; 7 Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire-Suzuki 00 Evo) 38.38s; 8 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 38.47s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor -Suzuki) 38.66s;10 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 38.88s; 11 Graham Wynn (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 38.99s; 12 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm -Cosworth KF) 39.07s.
Championship run-off, round 2: 1 Willis 36.86s; 2 Moran 37.03s; 3 Hall 37.21s; 4 Uren 37.49s;5 Menzies 37.62s; 6 Spedding 37.75s; 7 Price 38.17s; 8 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 38.41s; 9 Summers 38.49s; 10 Hollier 38.72s; 11 Mutch 39.07s; Gould DNF.
Championship positions after round 2: 1 Willis 20pts; 2 Moran 17; 3 Uren 16; 4 Spedding 12; 5 Price 10; 6= Menzies and Hall 9; etc.
Trevor Willis opened his 2017 BHC campaign in the best possible way (Eddie Walder)
Dave Uren had a fine start to his first season in the Gould GR55B (Eddie Walder)
Richard Spedding ended the day with a top four position in his Raptor (Eddie Walder)
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