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SUMMERS STORMS AHEAD


Event 8 at Doune on 19/06/2022
For the second day of the Doune weekend the wind had dropped, the sun came out and with expectations high for another record-breaking day, Alex Summers duly obliged. On the penultimate run of the day he established yet another outright hill standard at 34.21, edging Scott Moran off the top run-off spot for the second time that day. Last to run, Wallace Menzies could not reply and the defending champion had to settle for a second successive third place.
       For the opening run-off, Lee Griffiths had finally persuaded his OMS-Suzuki to run properly and made the cut. But he finished out of the points, joined by David Warburton who, after a great Saturday, was set to endure a bad day when the engine hesitated on the lower reaches.
      After qualifying well down, Matthew Ryder and Stuart Sugden bounced back to finish sixth and seventh respectively. Johnathen Varley had set another class record in the Predator, but even a seven tenths improvement was not enough to lift him above tenth place.
      Richard Spedding and Paul Haimes slipped down the order but in contrast, Dave Uren found a chunk of time overnight and brought the Gould-NME home fifth, while Trevor Willis finally got the OMS into the 35 second bracket for fourth place. Wallace Menzies, on the other hand, needed a 34sec run to take on the on-form Alex Summers. He just failed to do so and Scott Moran was left to throw down the gauntlet by dipping under the old record. But finally came Alex, and in sure enough it was another new record. A tenth shaved off the one set the previous day and 11 more points for the driver of the all-conquering Firestorm.
      In contrast to the previous day, it was not yet 4.00pm when Lee Griffiths led off the runners for the second time. There would only be 11 starters as a trail of fluid from Dave Warburton’s car told a tale of overheating and his weekend, which had started off so well, finished in a pool of water. There were nearly just ten after Stuart Sugden broke a chain warming his tyres, but with a new one rapidly fitted, Stuart took his run, lowered his personal best and finished seventh!
      Spedding progressed to sixth place, his best of the weekend and then Varley, who had reduced his class record by a further second, tagged the inside wall at Garden Gate and departed the scene with a deranged corner before Ryder ran wide at East Brae and dropped to ninth.
      Willis had qualified sixth, but found enough to get ahead of Spedding while Haimes went the other way and a superb fifth place qualifier translated into eighth at the end. Uren finished with a weekend best fourth on a good day for the team, in which his driving partner Nicola Menzies  had set yet another Ladies’ record in their Gould-NME, taking a tenth of a second off Olivia Cooper’s old mark. Now we were back to the ‘big three’ and first to go, Moran was just outside the old record. Summers made a storming start and his form continued progressively until the clocks stopped on yet another hill record. But after qualifying top, a relatively slow run for Menzies left him over a second behind Summers and he dropped to third.
      With the season now just past the halfway mark, a new championship pattern is evolving after Doune. Alex Summers has now increased his initial two point Championship lead over Wallace Menzies to double figures, while Scott Moran is waiting in the wings a further four points adrift.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Doune

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 34.21s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 15: 1 Summers 34.28s; 2 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 34.61s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 35.01s; 4 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 35.82s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 35.97s; 6 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 36.85s; 7 Stuart Sugden (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 36.87s; 8 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 37.03s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.13s; 10 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 37.29s; 11 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.32s; 12 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 38.49s.

Championship run-off, round 16: 1 Summers 34.21s; 2 Moran 34.82s; 3 Menzies 35.29s; 4 Uren 35.78s; 5 Willis 35.94s; 6 Spedding 36.69s; 7 Sugden 36.83s; 8 Haimes 37.05s; 9 Ryder 38.36s; 10 Griffiths 38.45s; Varley DNF; Warburton DNS.

British Championship positions after round 16: 1 Summers 155pts; 2 Menzies 144; 3 Moran 140; 4 Willis 96; 5 Ryder 95; 6 Uren 81; 7 Spedding 44; 8 Haimes 31; 9 Warburton 27; 10 Will Hall 26; etc.

 

Fist raised, Alex Summers crosses the line after another record run (David Baxter)


Wallace Menzies had no answer to the onslaught by Summers and Moran (David Baxter)


Trevor Willis found his form and moved up to a Championship fourth place (David Baxter)


Class record breaker Johnathen Varley finally got in the points at Doune (David Baxter)


FIRESTORM FIREWORKS!


Event 7 at Doune on 18/06/2022
The British Hillclimb Tour arrived at a blustery Doune with a distinct chill in the air compared to the heat experienced further South, but the action soon turned red-hot. Inevitably, the hill record came under fire and as at Gurston and Shelsley, it was Alex Summers and the DJ Firestorm that set the pace.
      With four rounds of the Championship run over the two days, early issues could easily cost points so qualifying for Saturday’s opening run-off was relatively conservative compared with what was to follow, with the usual suspects at the top of the pile, joined by local hotshoe Stuart Sugden who qualified fifth in his Raptor.
      Ultimately Stuart finished seventh as Paul Haimes and David Warburton came through from the back to finish in superb fourth and fifth places, repairs on David’s car after its Shelsley damage having only been finished on the Thursday. Their rise up the order was helped by Trevor Willis, who ran wide at the top of East Brae and had to settle for a single point while Richard Spedding’s driveshaft issue at the top of the hill left him out of the points alongside Leslie Mutch, in the car shared by Sugden.
      Johnathen Varley broke his class record in qualifying but failed to repeat the time, but with ninth place was pleased to have broken a run of four zero point finishes, while Dave Uren’s slow start to the weekend improved to eighth place. Adapting to the size of his Gould-Judd on the hill’s confined lower reaches, Matthew Ryder qualified and finished sixth.
      Among the ‘big three’, who dominated proceedings all weekend, Scott Moran qualified and finished third, finding another half second to set a challenging target for Wallace Menzies. The defending champion took it on successfully, just missing the 34sec bracket. But after shaving a couple of hundredths off his own class record in qualifying, Alex Summers was on a charge and set a new outright record of 34.38 in taking his sixth win of the season.  
      Following a number of barrier damaging incidents the meeting ran late and it was nearly 7.00pm before the second run-off got under way – but with no dual driven cars it was over in just 14 minutes! Simon Mackay in the latest Raptor had qualified for his first ever run-off, displacing Les Mutch, and was delighted with his twelfth place finish.
      Qualifying times were slower than before in the cool wind and this, plus the lateness of the hour, was reflected in a relatively uneventful run-off with no new record! As well as Mackay it was Stuart Sugden who failed to score any points, the two Raptors joined in the lower order by their sister car, Varley’s Predator, and a slow starting Haimes who finished ninth. Ryder had qualified fifth but slipped to eighth while Spedding, his drive-train issues sorted, came through to seventh, although overtaken in the run-off by another great run from Warburton who, after his no-score at Shelsley, was delighted to move up the Championship table.
       Uren found another three places and Willis kept it on track this time to make it to fourth place but it was business as usual among the top three, although in a different order. The only driver to get below 36secs in qualifying and having seen both Summers and Menzies running a second off the pace compared to the first run-off, Moran seized the opportunity for his third win of the year ahead of the new hill record breaker.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Doune

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 34.38s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 13: 1 Summers 34.38s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 35.00s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 35.31s; 4 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.29s; 5 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.71s; 6 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 37.99s; 7 Stuart Sugden (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.28s; 8 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 38.31s; 9 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 38.37s; 10 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 38.65s; 11 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor 1-Suzuki) 39.55s; 12 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 40.48s.

Championship run-off, round 14: 1 Moran 35.03s; 2 Summers 35.38s; 3 Menzies 36.10s; 4 Willis 36.54s; 5 Uren 37.46s; 6 Warburton 37.63s; 7 Spedding 37.69s; 8 Ryder 37.84s; 9 Haimes 38.09s; 10 Varley 38.38s; 11 Sugden 38.39s; 12 Simon Mackay (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 40.04s.

British Championship positions after round 14: 1 Summers 133pts; 2 Menzies 128; 3 Moran 121; 4 Ryder 88; 5 Willis 83; 6 Uren 68; 7 Spedding 36; 8 Warburton 27; 9= Will Hall and Haimes 26; etc.

 

Alex Summers hit record form from the start of the weekend (David Baxter)


Scott Moran added a third win to his 2022 tally (David Baxter)


Paul Haimes took a season-best fourth place in the opening run-off (David Baxter)


Simon Mackay and his new Raptor made a debut run-off appearance (David Baxter)


SUMMERS ON TOP AT SHELSLEY


Event 6 at Shelsley Walsh on 05/06/2022
The recent spate of record-breaking in British hillclimbing ended at Shelsley Walsh when overnight rain left the track conditions less than perfect. Further periods of light drizzle left drivers having to tread warily, though slicks remained the tyre of choice for most. In the opening run-off, Dave Uren took his second Shelsley win in the GR55B, four years after his first one, but it was Alex Summers that won the second shoot-out with FTD, maintaining his two point Championship lead over Wallace Menzies, who finished second each time.
      The first set of class runs eliminated two potential qualifiers from the opening run-off. After a mistake at the Esses, Adam Greenen went straight on but stopped his Empire Evo in time to avoid damage to all but the nose cone, which was repaired for the later runs. Allan Warburton was not so lucky, more extensive front end damage after hitting the barrier at Kennel eliminating the Gould for both Allan and son Dave.
      Graham Wynn was first to test the conditions during the opening run-off with a steady run for twelfth place. The smaller engine runners had had the worst of the conditions earlier but despite finding improvements of well over a second, Johnathen Varley finished out of the points with the Predator behind Lee Griffiths’ OMS, while Richard Spedding had to be content with eighth in the Raptor ahead of Jack Cottrill’s DJ Dallara-XD. Paul Haimes, however, was pleased to put a miserable weekend at Gurston behind him with a good run to seventh place.
      The top six were all into the 25 second bracket. Split by just five hundredths in qualifying, Matt Ryder and Trevor Willis both found another second with Trevor edging Matt out for fifth place by seven hundredths. Next up, Menzies set a pace which even Scott Moran could not match, before Uren found seven hundredths more to take the lead. Last to run, a slight mistake by Summers would prove costly. As the only driver not to improve on his qualifying time, he handed the win to Uren.
      Unfortunately that would be the last bit of good news for Dave, for he failed to qualify for the second run-off after hitting the barrier at Kennel. When he first came to the line, his dashboard died. While a new battery was fitted, the following four cars took their runs amid a slight drizzle and with the track a bit damper than he expected, understeer took charge at the left-hander shortly after the start. The conditions would leave Menzies and Summers a little down the qualifying order, to the benefit of earlier runners Haimes and Ryder.
      2-litre class winner Eynon Price gambled on front treaded tyres for the second run-off. It didn’t pay off and he slipped to twelfth behind classmates Varley and Griffiths. Cottrill added another ninth place to his collection while Wynn had a better run for eighth place and Richard Spedding concluded a good weekend with seventh. The clock failed to start for Willis’s run, but after a return to the paddock, followed by a quick re-fuel, he stormed into the lead on his re-run with a time almost a second and a half inside his qualifier. Another solid performance by Haimes netted a top six place and his best result of the year so far, but even before that, Menzies had recorded the first 24sec run of the day.
      Determined to improve on his earlier third place, Summers took the lead from Menzies with a maximum effort. It would be the best run of the day as neither Ryder, despite clocking a day’s best 161mph over the finish, nor Moran could match the two leaders’ times although they tied for third place. So the gap at the head of the pack remains at two points, although Summers now has five wins to the defending champion’s four.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 24.23s

Championship run-off, round 11: 1 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 25.22s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 25.29s; 3 Summers 25.37s; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 25.54s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 25.58s; 6 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 25.65s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 26.73s; 8 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 26.85s; 9 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 27.37s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 27.64s; 11 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 27.77s; 12 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 28.01s.

Championship run-off, round 12: 1 Summers 24.23s; 2 Menzies 24.30s; 3= Ryder and Moran 24.60s; 5 Willis 25.04s; 6 Haimes 26.06s; 7 Spedding 26.21s; 8 Wynn 26.80s; 9 Cottrill 26.95s; 10 Griffiths 27.26s; 11 Varley 27.37s; 12 Eynon Price (1.7 Force-Suzuki TA) 27.87s.

British Championship positions after round 12: 1 Summers 113pts; 2 Menzies 111; 3 Moran 103; 4 Ryder 80; 5 Willis 75; 6 Uren 59; 7 Spedding 32; 8 Will Hall 26; 9 Haimes 17; 10 David Warburton 16; etc.
 

Alex Summers set the outright pace to maintain his 2-point Championship lead (John Hallett)


Dave Uren took the first run-off win but didn't make it to the second (John Hallett)


Paul Haimes took a season-best sixth place in the second run-off (John Hallett)


Jack Cottrill on the startline before an expectant crowd (John Hallett)


SUMMERS' DAY 2


Event 5 at Gurston Down on 29/05/2022
The second day of Gurston’s British Championship double-header brought slightly duller, chillier weather but still the question everyone asked was: with the record now standing at 25.05s, would we see Gurston’s first ever 24sec run? And if we did, with Alex Summers and Wallace Menzies tied on points at the top of the table and both on record form the previous day, which of them would do it? Or could six-time champion Scott Moran, well in touch with the Championship leaders and himself a former Gurston record-holder, turn the tables on the pair of them?
           In the event it would be Summers’ day once again when, after qualifying top for the opening shoot-out, he edged out Menzies and Moran to lower the hill record he’d set only the previous day by just five hundredths of a second, leaving it at a round 25.00s. This despite a last-minute panic after qualifying with a blown exhaust after a lambda sensor boss had broken away. Quick work with a couple of Jubilee clips by DJ’s Andy Smith cured the problem and Summers was back on record pace. But the magic 24sec run would remain elusive. After a second run-off at only slightly reduced pace, it was Moran who grabbed his second win of the year by just seven hundredths from Summers, who left Gurston as the new Championship leader from third place finisher Menzies.
          With the ‘big three’ now pulling away from the opposition, the battle for fourth place on the table, now some 20-odd points down the line, still lies between Matt Ryder and Trevor Willis, with Ryder having the edge following a fourth place finish in the opening run-off. Willis could only finish sixth, and in the second run-off seventh, again two places behind his rival. It was his worst finish of the year, although he still held a strong fifth place on the series table. After missing out on a score following his failed run the previous day, Dave Uren brought the much campaigned Gould-NME back into contention to split the duo early on, but late in the afternoon he closed in on the three leaders to head Ryder and a much happier Will Hall. After finishing three places behind him in the opening run-off, Will had outqualified his young co-driver for the first time in their Gould-Judd and closed to within a quarter of a second of him in the run-off itself.
          Jack Cottrill found more pace than on the previous day in the DJ Dallara and closed in on Hall in the first run-off but Graham Wynn, who had missed the cut early on, edged ahead of him later to grab eighth place by a tenth of a second. Andy Greenen closed in on Cottrill in the first run-off and with both brothers making the cut for the second bout, trailed him by the same margin for tenth, easing Adam out of the points. As he had on Saturday, Johnathan Varley got the Predator into a run-off but without joining the scorers.
          Following her fine performances in the Gould-NME at Shelsley last year and at Harewood just three weeks ago, hopes were high that Nicola Menzies could break Sue Young’s Gurston ladies’ record set way back in 2007. It was not to be, but she did close to within a quarter of a second of it and made the run-off cut each time.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 25.00s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 9: 1 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 25.00s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 25.32s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 25.87s; 4 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 26.15s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 26.30s; 6 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.60s; 7 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 27.64s; 8 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 27.80s; 9 Andrew Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 28.01s; 10 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 28.44s; 11 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 28.47s; 12 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 29.16s.

Championship run-off, round 10: 1 Moran 25.47s; 2 Summers 25.54s; 3 Wallace Menzies 25.92s; 4 Uren 26.31s; 5 Ryder 26.87s; 6 Hall 27.09s; 7 Willis 27.14s; 8 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 27.67s; 9 Cottrill 27.78s; 10 Andrew Greenen 28.04s; 11 Adam Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 28.46s; 12 Nicola Menzies 29.12s.

British Championship positions after round 10: 1 Summers 95pts; 2 Menzies 93; 3 Moran 88; 4 Ryder 67; 5 Willis 63; 6 Uren 49; 7 Hall 26; 8 Spedding 25; 9 Warburton 16; 10 Wynn 11; etc.

 

Alex Summers makes his victory speech after his record breaking FTD (Steve Lister)


Scott Moran took his second run-off win of the year (Steve Lister)


Will Hall brought the GR59-Judd home sixth in the second run-off (Ian Beard)


The Greenen brothers - this is Andy - both made the second run-off in their Empire Evo3 (Steve Lister)


SUMMERS' DAY 1


Event 4 at Gurston Down on 28/05/2022
Close fought action at the sharp end of the British Hillclimb Championship continued at Gurston where it had left off at Harewood as this year’s ‘big three’ battled it out at record pace over the ultra-fast Wiltshire downland track. On the opening day of this championship double-header weekend, Wallace Menzies’ year-old record came under fire first by the holder, then by his current championship rival. Alex Summers’ DJ Firestorm may have lacked the outright speed of his adversary’s Gould, but in the closing run-off he carved three tenths of a second off the championship leader’s new hill record, set moments earlier, to leave the pair level on points at the end of the day’s competition.
          Summers had already laid down a marker in the first run-off, taking the win with a run that equalled the 2021 record. Menzies just failed to match it, Scott Moran chased hard and with all three covered by just fifteen hundredths, the remaining runners were left a second adrift. The pressure cranked up in the second shoot-out with the fastest cars approaching 150mph in the downhill approach to the fast left-hander at Hollow – plus another 10mph over the finish. As penultimate runner in the closing shoot-out Menzies finally hit record pace, shaving two hundredths off his old hill standard. Then on the day’s final run Summers, despite running considerably slower trap speeds, found that further three tenths to leave the record at 25.05s.
          Once again, Scott Moran was well in touch with the two leaders and a second clear of the field led by Trevor Willis and Matt Ryder. Despite his perennial disadvantage in the horsepower stakes over Gurston’s power-sapping Burke’s Rise before the finish, Willis was pleased with his performance – no doubt aided by his beautifully crafted ‘F1-style’ aluminium steering wheel and paddle shift assembly which he’d built as a winter project. He kept Ryder’s Gould-Judd at bay on each run-off and the pair finished the day on equal points for fourth place on the series table. Sixth on the table and with sixth place in the opening run-off, Dave Uren would maintain his position in the standings despite stalling the Gould-NME at the start during the closing shoot-out and incurring a fail, all four wheels having crossed the line. Having finished the opening run-off out of the points in the GR59 shared with Ryder, together with Jack Cottrill’s DJ Dallara-XD, Will Hall stepped in to bag sixth place at the end, equalling his best finish in the car this year.
          Graham Wynn found that his newly fitted pacemaker paid dividends with his times. Bringing home his GR59 for a brace of seventh place finishes he made his mark on the Championship scoreboard for the first time this year. In the opening run-off he headed Richard Spedding who, with the 1600cc racing division now proving to be one of the most competitive classes on the hills this year, had made the switch from the forced induction class for 2022 and led the class in his Raptor after the first runs. Lee Griffiths’ ‘stretched’ OMS-Suzuki split the Yorkshireman from his classmate David Warburton, who brought his GR59-Suzuki home for the final point.
          Griffiths failed to qualify for the second battle for points and it was Adam Greenen who chased Wynn home for eighth place. His new-for-2022 Empire Evo3 had broken a driveshaft on his opening class run, but after a quick fix the car was out in good time for Adam to grab the 1600cc class win from Warburton with a run at qualifying pace. Third in this hotly contested class, Adam’s brother Andy also made the cut and brought the car home ahead of 2-litre class winner Johnathen Varley’s Predator for the final point behind Warburton as both rapid siblings made the 2022 scoreboard for the first time.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 25.05s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 7:
1 Summers 25.34s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 25.40s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 25.49s; 4 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.45s; 5 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 26.56s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 26.98s; 7 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 27.74s; 8 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 28.02s; 9 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 28.40s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.44s; 11 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 28.63s; 12 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 28.77s.

Championship run-off, round 8: 1 Summers 25.05s; 2 Menzies 25.32s; 3 Moran 25.40s; 4 Willis 26.34s; 5 Ryder 26.38s; 6 Hall 27.33s; 7 Wynn 27.54s; 8 Adam Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 27.65s; 9 Warburton 28.13s; 10 Andrew Greenen (1.6 Empire Evo 3-Suzuki) 28.35s; 11 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 28.37s; Uren DNF.

British Championship positions after round 8: 1= Menzies and Summers 75pts; 3 Moran 70; 4= Ryder and Willis 54; 6 Uren 36; 7 Spedding 24; 8 Hall 17; 9 Warburton 16; 10= Paul Haimes and Wynn 8; etc.

 

Alex Summers crests Deer's Leap on the way to a new hill record (Ian Beard)


Wallace Menzies' new record stood for less than a minute! (Steve Lister)


Scott Moran chased hard for third place in both run-offs (Ian Beard)


Trevopr Willis kept in touch with the top three each time (Steve Lister)


RECORD ROUT AT HAREWOOD


Event 3 at Harewood on 08/05/2022
Harewood’s hill record took a battering as never before as defending champion Wallace Menzies fought his way into the British Championship lead for the first time this season. His fourth successive run-off win and a new hill record ended what had been a spectacular day of record breaking by British hillclimbing’s top contenders. The signs were there during practice, when both Menzies and Scott Moran climbed inside the Scotsman’s 2019 hill standard. But when both shaded the mark officially on successive runs during qualifying for the opening run-off, the battle lines were drawn.
            But few could have anticipated the intensity of the competition once British points were at stake. Once Alex Summers and Matt Ryder had joined the fray, all four left the old record for dead in successive run-offs, scoring a total of eight bonus points between them. In the opening shoot-out, relative newcomer Ryder in the ex.works Gould GR59 was the first to go below Menzies’ latest mark. Next to run, Summers couldn’t quite match that. But after Moran had made sure that Ryder ‘s tenure of the record was short-lived, Menzies lowered it yet again by a further five hundredths to win the run-off. The target was now 47.00 sec. Could we see a 46? Speculation was rife and after being covered by just three hundredths in qualifying, Moran, Summers and Ryder came close. But few were surprised when on the last run of the day, the flying Scot produced another masterly display in his red GR59, a 46.86s run bringing to an end perhaps the biggest record bonanza in Harewood’s 60-year history.
          Shrugging off a suspension and nose-cone damaging practice incident, Trevor Willis flew through Harewood’s twistier sections, but the OMS-RPE was inevitably outgunned on the straights and he had to watch the four leaders disappear into the middle distance each time. Will Hall, sharing the GR59 with Ryder, closed in on him in the opening run-off but his so far difficult season with the GR59-Judd continued when he failed to qualify for run-off two, the car getting out of shape at the left-hand kink before Orchard and skating harmlessly into the gravel trap. After running eighth in the opening shoot-out, Dave Uren was the one to chase Willis home later after a see-saw battle with local ace Richard Spedding, the Yorkshireman’s Raptor blisteringly fast on Harewood’s twisty sections, but it was overall a great day for the GR55 team, Uren’s co-driver Nicola Menzies setting a new Harewood Ladies’ record during the first class runs before lowering it again by almost a second later on. Harewood is unique in being the only hillclimb in the BHC at which both the outright and the ladies’ records are held by a husband and wife.
          ‘Team Warby’ was at full strength in the opening run-off and although dad Allan finished out of the points, son David got close to Uren’s V8 and held off Jack Cottrill’s DJ/Dallara-Cosworth for eighth place later on. Both with ‘stretched’ Hayabusa power in the 2-litre racing class, Eynon Price notched up his first point of the year in the opening run-off ahead of classmate Lee Griffiths, who followed up his points haul at Craigantlet the previous weekend with another at Harewood, having qualified each time with successive class records in his OMS 28. Also qualifying at Craigantlet was 1600cc class runner Darren Gumbley, who made the second cut at Harewood too, although edged out of the points by Griffiths.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 46.86s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 5: 1 Menzies 47.00s; 2 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 47.05s; 3 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 47.39s; 4 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 47.62s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 48.63s; 6 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 48.94s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 49.01s; 8 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 49.20s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 49.48s; 10 Eynon Price (1.7 Force-Suzuki TA) 51.12s; 11 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 51.25s; 12 Allan Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 51.84s.

Championship run-off, round 6: 1 Menzies 46.86s; 2 Summers 47.15s; 3 Ryder 47.19s; 4 Moran 47.46s; 5 Willis 48.02s; 6 Uren 48.78s; 7 Spedding 48.98s; 8 David Warburton 50.48s; 9 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 50.63s; 10 Griffiths 50.71s; 11 Darren Gumbley (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 51.66s; 12 Price 51.87s.

British Championship positions after round 6: 1 Menzies 56pts; 2= Moran and Summers 54; 4 Ryder 42; 5 Willis 40; 6 Uren 31; 7 Spedding 21; 8 David Warburton 13; 9 Will Hall 12; 10 Paul Haimes 8; etc.


 

Wallace Menzies topped the record-breakers to gain control of the Championship (Steve Wilkinson)


In only his third BHC event with the Gould, Matt Ryder held (if briefly) a hill record (Steve Wilkinson)


Nicola Menzies reset the Harewood Ladies' record (Steve Wilkinson)


Lee Griffiths qualified twice with successive class records (Steve Wilkinson)


WALLACE 'RAINS' SUPREME


Event 2 at Craigantlet on 30/04/2022
Reigning British Hillclimb Champion Wallace Menzies has a fight on his hands this season. A week earlier, six time title holder Scott Moran and 2015 champion Alex Summers had taken a run-off win apiece at Prescott, and were full of confidence as they prepared to face the Ulster lanes above Belfast. But Wallace fought back, setting FTD and winning both run-offs with a stunning display of bravery and skill in rain that fell throughout the day.
        In the first run-off the red Tillicoultry Gould GR59-M stopped the clock at 43.07s, half a second clear of the DJ Firestorm of Alex Summers. Scott Moran, at the wheel of Graham Wynn’s GRW59J, was a further three tenths adrift, but almost a second up on Dave Uren in the old Gould GR55B. Fifth fastest was Trevor Willis aboard his faithful OMS 28, a further seven tenths down and more than a second ahead of Matt Ryder, who was still coming to terms with Sean Gould’s GR59J, of which the Ryder family now own half. Co-driver Will Hall was less fortunate, failing to qualify when the car went into limp mode after sensing a drop in oil pressure.
Now free of the worry of keeping a supercharged bike engine in one piece week after week, Richard Spedding revelled in the wet conditions with his 1600 Suzuki powered GWR Raptor to hold off class rival David Warburton in his family GR59, and better the sometimes troublesome turbocharged GR59 Suzuki of Paul Haimes, to whom the mantle of blown 1300 warrior now falls. Sadly, his day ended shortly afterwards when the plenum chamber imploded. Lee Griffiths in the 1660cc OMS Suzuki completed the points scorers, with Wynn and Uren’s co-driver Nicola Menzies missing out.
        In the second run-off Menzies upped his pace. In front of an understandably small yet enthusiastic crowd, the 700 bhp projectile scrabbled its way off a soaking uphill startline and scythed through the tight lower course bends, before sending rooster tails of spray high into the air as it blasted along Wharton Straight. A remarkable 42.20s run was just three seconds shy of the outright hill record. Moran led the chase seven tenths behind, with Summers a further half second slower. This time Willis got the better of Uren by five hundredths, with Ryder sixth once again. And in a repeat of his earlier experience, Will Hall had been absolutely on the pace before limp mode cut in once more and he again failed to qualify. Either the sensor or Will’s driving style need to change.
        Spedding and Warburton finished seventh and eighth yet again, this time more than half a second apart, while Griffiths and Nicola Menzies also got into the points. Graham Wynn fell short by a mere hundredth, while Darren Gumbley’s Force non-started.
        The ever enthusiastic Ulster Automobile Club, led by Wilson Carson, ran a slick event in miserable weather, even sacrificing a lunch break in the interests of keeping the meeting on schedule. Considering the weather there were surprisingly few incidents, perhaps as a result of the poor conditions at least remaining consistent.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Craigantlet

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 42.20s

Championship run-off, round 3: 1 Wallace Menzies 43.07s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 43.63s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 43.98s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 44.93s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 45.64s; 6 Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 46.93s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 47.35s; 8 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 47.74s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 48.01s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 48.80s; 11 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 49.22s; 12 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 49.45s.

Championship run-off, round 4: 1 Wallace Menzies 42.20s; 2 Moran 42.96s; 3 Summers 43.45s; 4 Willis 45.47s; 5 Uren 45.52s; 6 Ryder 46.24s; 7 Spedding 47.50s; 8 David Warburton 48.16s; 9 Griffiths 48.36s; 10 Nicola Menzies 48.69s; 11 Wynn 48.70s; Darren Gumbley (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) DNS.

British Championship positions after round 4: 1= Moran and Summers 36pts; 3 Menzies 34; 4 Willis 28; 5 Ryder 24; 6 Uren 23; 7 Spedding 13; 8= Haimes and Warburton 8; 10 Will Hall 10; etc.

 

Wallace Menzies dominated the Belfast byways (Leslie McMullan)


Alex Summers rejoined battle with Scott Moran ... (Leslie McMullan)


...and Moran again shared the series lead with Summers (Leslie McMullan)


Richard Spedding slides the Raptor out of Hadley (Leslie McMullan)


STORMING BRITISH HILLCLIMB OPENER


Event 1 at Prescott on 24/04/2022
In a memorable start to the British Hillclimb Championship’s 75th anniversary year, a mere tenth of a second covered the top five finishers in Prescott’s opening Top 12 shoot-out. Returning for another full season in Graham Wynn’s Gould-Judd GRW59, six times British champion Scott Moran showed he’d lost none of his old form, snatching the win from top qualifier Alex Summers by just three hundredths. Four hundredths behind Summers, Trevor Willis and newcomer to the ‘big car’ class Matt Ryder tied for third place, edging out defending champion Wallace Menzies by a further three hundredths in one of the closest finishes in the history of the Championship.
          Late in the afternoon, after qualifying top for the second run-off, hill record-holder Menzies and his all-conquering GR59-Cosworth were set to follow another close duel between Moran and Summers. But with the battle between the three former champions providing the climax to the meeting, a tail-out moment at the exit of the Esses left Menzies trailing the group. Running first of the three, Moran set the day’s outright pace so far in his Gould-Judd. Then Summers, his previously carbon-black Firestorm-XD now sporting a striking paint scheme, found another two tenths with a typically inch-perfect run, seizing what would become both the run-off win and FTD once final runner Menzies had lost those vital fractions. So having exchanged the leading places in each round, Moran and Summers left Prescott tied in the lead of the Championship.
          After his fine Championship debut aboard the ex.works Gould GR59 in tying with Willis for third place, Ryder nearly missed the second cut when his Judd V8 faltered leaving the line on his qualifying run. He managed to scrape in just hundredths clear of final qualifier Wynn, before bouncing back to trail Willis for fifth place and level with Menzies’ fourth spot on the series table. Another good run from Willis in the afternoon saw the three times champion’s long serving OMS-RPE hot on the tail of the top three.
          Having seen even more service – not to mention success – than Willis’s OMS, Dave Uren’s Gould-NME V8, which first appeared 17 years ago in the hands of Martin Groves, was another car displaying a new paint scheme. Despite a big twitch on the exit of SemiCircle during the second run-off, Uren stayed well on course with two 36sec runs for two sixth place finishes. With eighth and then seventh places in the ex.works GR59, Will Hall was acclimatising himself to the new car which he shares this year with Ryder, having not had quite so much seat time as his co-driver and finding the car’s handling very different to the Force-AER with which he had persevered for so many years. With eighth and then seventh place finishes he ended the day seventh on the Championship table and a point clear of Paul Haimes’ bike-engined GR59 turbo, whose season had opened well with a fine qualifier for the second run-off, just behind the leading trio.
Currently sharing his GWR Raptor 2 with Steve Marr, Richard Spedding had for this year switched his recalcitrant supercharged Suzuki engine for a normally aspirated Hayabusa 1600 unit. He harried Hall each time, trailing him for ninth place in the opening shoot-out, but grabbing eighth place from Haimes in the afternoon run-off. David Warburton twice rounded off the points scorers with similar motive power in the back of his GR59-Suzuki. Ben Stephenson made the morning cut in his Empire Evo 2, but his supercharged Suzuki engine hesitated after leaving the line before picking up again, albeit for an inevitable zero points finish. Next up, Zach Zammit had an even worse start in his his 1600cc Empire Wraith, coming to a complete stop after crossing the startline. The former Maltese hillclimb champion fared better in the afternoon run-off although, together with Graham Wynn, finishing out of the points.
         
Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 35.43s

Championship run-off, round 1: 1 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 35.99s; 2 Summers 36.01s; 3= Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 36.05s; 3= Matthew Ryder (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 36.05s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 36.09s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 36.69s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 36.76s; 8 Will Hall (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 36.83s; 9 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 37.10s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.42s; 11 Ben Stephenson (1.3s Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 43.32s; Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 2: 1 Summers 35.43s; 2 Moran 35.63s; 3 Menzies 36.14s; 4 Willis 36.44s; 5 Ryder 36.76s; 6 Uren 36.81s; 7 Hall 36.82s; 8 Spedding 36.93s; 9 Haimes 37.06s; 10 Warburton 37.34s; 11 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 38.38s; 12 Zammit 38.63s.

British Championship positions after round 2: 1= Moran and Summers 19pts; 3 Willis 15; 4= Ryder and Menzies 14; 6 Uren 10; 7 Hall 7; 8 Haimes 6; 9 Spedding 5; 10 Warburton 2.

 

Alex Summers set the outright pace in a memorable encounter (John Hallett)


Scott Moran won the opening round before tying with Summers for the series lead (John Hallett)


Defending champion Wallace Menzies finished third in the closing shoot-out (John Hallett)


Matt Ryder enjoyed a fine Championship debut with the Gould-Judd (John Hallett)


INTO THE 41s!


Event 14 at Loton Park on 26/09/2021
The British hillclimb season ended in spectacular style in the Loton Park sunshine. On a day that saw no less than 15 runs inside the old hill record, Wallace Menzies signed off his Championship year with a scintillating climb that blitzed the 43.18s target set by Sean Gould in June by almost a second and a half. It was a superb display by the Scot that not only underlined the supremacy of both car and driver in 2021 but secured his third hill record of the year, bringing his current total on British Championship hills to five.
          First to officially break the hill record was Alex Summers with a 42.79 in qualifying for the opening run-off, but having already run almost a second inside the record during practice on Saturday, Menzies went one better in reply with the Shropshire hill's first ever 41sec climb, following it up by winning the opening run-off with a 41.76 which would stand for the rest of the day as the outright hill record.
          Throughout the day, Summers pushed the Firestorm-XD hard and remained the only other driver to break into the 41sec bracket, although in each of the two run-offs the top five drivers were all inside the old record. Scott Moran ran third each time while former record-holder Sean Gould couldn't quite get his GR59-Judd on the frantic pace required to win this weekend and swapped places for fourth, losing out to the ever determined Trevor Willis's hard driven OMS after surviving a lurid sideways moment at Loggerheads in the closing shoot-out. These five have dominated the Championship for most of the year and their overall series placings were decided before Loton. Having missed several rounds due to engine problems Dave Uren remained sixth on the table, reflected as he chased the 'famous five' home in each run-off.
          In a duel between Dave Warburton and Paul Haimes, their GR59s exchanged seventh and eighth places in successive run-offs. Haimes pulled out all the stops to go well clear in the second shoot-out having qualified his turbocharged version by breaking Jos Goodyear's 6-year old class record. The icing on the cake for Haimes was a best ever seventh overall in the Championship as the highest placed non-V8. But losing out to his rival in the second shoot-out was significant for Warburton, as an extra point would have broken his tie with Will Hall and earned him a 'number eight' for 2022. As it was, they finished the year on equal points and Hall got the nod for eighth overall on a tie-break even though he didn't score at Loton. Having missed much of the season following the Gurston accident, Hall's repaired Force-AER was handling badly and although accepting the offer of a drive in Menzies' Gould-XD, he failed to qualify the car.
          Various problems, including a chain breakage in practice, continued to afflict Richard Spedding's supercharged Raptor. He finished ninth each time and out of the final Championship top ten by a single point from the non-scoring Eynon Price, who failed to increase his score as he retired from each qualifying run with mechanical problems. Rounding off the scorers were Matthew Ryder and Graham Wynn respectively.
          Our top hillclimbers had put on a superb display for the final meeting of the season to show that despite all the problems of the last couple of years, British hillclimbing is back with a vengeance!

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 41.76s (Outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 27: 1 Menzies 41.76s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 42.55s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 42.67s; 4 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 42.72s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 42.83s; 6  Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 43.61s; 7 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 44.93s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 44.95s; 9 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 45.28s; 10 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 45.75s; 11 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 46.01s; 12 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 47.34s.

Championship run-off, round 28: 1 Menzies 41.81s; 2 Summers 41.85s; 3 Moran 42.17s; 4 Willis 42.62s; 5 Gould 43.05s; 6 Uren 44.15s; 7 Haimes 44.16s; 8 Warburton 45.06s; 9 Spedding 45.23s; 10 Wynn 45.43s; 11 Ryder 45.65s; 12 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 46.46s.

Final British Championship positions: 1 Menzies 211pts; 2 Summers 197; 3 Gould 175; 4 Moran 159; 5 Willis 125; 6 Uren 98; 7 Haimes 71; 8 Will Hall 49; 9 Warburton 49; 10 Eynon Price 42; etc.

 

Wallace Menzies was on record-breaking form all weekend (John Hallett)


Alex Summers joined Menzies in the 41s (John Hallett)


Sean Gould's old record was blitzed by almost a second and a half (John Hallett)


Paul Haimes will run with a 'number seven' in 2022 (John Hallett)


ULSTER DECIDER


Event 13 at Craigantlet on 11/09/2021
Everyone was pleased to be back at the Northern Irish road course of Craigantlet following an absence of more than two years, and none more so than Wallace Menzies. In a masterly display, the reigning British Champion secured a second consecutive title as he sped to the win in each of the day’s run-offs.
             In the first, on a track still in recovery from a sudden shower, Wallace needed only a single point to secure the title. That he powered the Gould GR59M to within a tenth of the hill record with a 39.22s climb, half a second clear of rival Alex Summers' DJ Firestorm, was more than enough to do it. The sister Tillicoultry Quarries Gould GR55B of joint course record holder Dave Uren was a close third, a further three hundredths adrift. Sean Gould in the ‘works’ GR59 was the only other to dip into the thirty nines, with Scott Moran (the other joint hill record holder) seven tenths behind in Graham Wynn’s GR59. Trevor Willis was almost a second and a half down on Scott with his long serving OMS28 in sixth place.
             Following a troublesome season, Richard Spedding did well to get the supercharged Hyabusa powered Raptor to within two hundredths of Willis, but at some cost to his state of mind due to high speed instability on the fast upper section of the hill. Recent returnee to the fray Will Hall, in a Force-AER that never looked anything other than a handful, David Warburton in the 1600cc Gould GR59 and Paul Haimes who, in his turbocharged GR59, now looks on course for a best-ever seventh place Championship finish, completed the points scorers with the OMS 28 of Lee Griffiths and Force TA of Darren Gumbley failing to make the cut.
             During qualifying for the second run-off, Allan Warburton inconveniently eliminated the family GR59 from further proceedings by impacting with the bank coming out of Hall corner. This meant that, unable to take a second run, his son David had to settle for joint ninth place on the Championship table with the absent Eynon Price, leaving that particular duel to be resolved two weeks later at Loton Park.
             Having by now put the 2021 championship title beyond the reach of all his rivals, Menzies turned his attention to the Craigantlet record in the second run-off, and perhaps only a cooling track saw him fall short by a mere five hundredths. As ever, Alex Summers went for it too, but it was Scott Moran who got closest to the Scot, just over three tenths shy, and four hundredths ahead of Alex. Dave Uren, revelling in the fresh engine in the back of the Gould, was a fine fourth, a remarkable hundredth quicker than Sean Gould in the marque’s latest iteration. Willis was again sixth, with Spedding, Haines and Hall filling the next three places, all covered by less than three quarters of a second. A hugely popular final point scorer was Nicola Menzies in the car shared with Uren, her 42.88s run setting a new Ladies record which was previously held for many years by Jenny Kennedy. Lee Griffiths unfortunately missed out on points again, as did Graham Wynn.
             With just two BHC rounds remaining, at Loton Park in a fortnight’s time, a hugely exciting championship is drawing a to close. Already plans are being made for next year’s contest, both in terms of venues and racing cars, thus confirming the healthy state of the longest running motor sporting championship in the world.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Craigantlet

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 39.16s

Championship run-off, round 25: 1 Menzies 39.22s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 39.72s; 3 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 39.75s; 4 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 39.81s; 5 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 40.53s; 6 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 41.92s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 41.94s; 8 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 42.25s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 42.90s; 10 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 43.15s; 11 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 43.75s; 12 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 45.91s.

Championship run-off, round 26: 1 Menzies 39.16s; 2 Moran 39.49s; 3 Summers 39.53s; 4 Uren 39.97s; 5 Gould 39.98s; 6 Willis 40.26; 7 Spedding 41.34s; 8 Haimes 41.79s; 9 Hall 42.11s;
10 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 42.88s; 11 Griffiths 43.70s; 12 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 44.21s.

British Championship positions after round 26: 1 Menzies 207pts; 2 Summers 193; 3 Gould 172; 4 Moran 153; 5 Willis 113; 6 Uren 88; 7 Haimes 64; 8 Will Hall 49; 9= Warburton and Eynon Price 42; etc.

 

The 2021 champion returns! (Leslie McMullan)


Alex Summers' valiant championship chase ended after the opening run-off (Leslie McMullan)


Scott Moran chased Menzies hard in the first shoot-out (Leslie McMullan)


Dave Uren closed in on the two leaders in the afternoon (Leslie McMullan)


FLYING SCOTSMAN


Event 12 at Prescott on 05/09/2021
With his hopes of a second British title rapidly fading, Alex Summers produced a determined opening run-off shot to try and stay in the hunt and closed to within nine hundredths of the hill record. Championship rival Wallace Menzies' reply fell just nine hundredths short, but in afternoon qualifying the Scot showed his hand with a run almost three tenths of a second inside Sean Gould's 2019 mark. It wasn't over yet. Immediately after penultimate runner Summers' all-out effort in the closing run-off had slipped inside the old mark by a hundredth, Menzies applied the coup de grâs. With a rocket start and the immense torque of his Cosworth XD punching the GR59 out of Prescott's tight corners on an inch-perfect line, Wallace eventually powered out of SemiCircle to stop the Prescott clocks on 34 seconds for the first time. Gould's 2-year old record had been blitzed by over threequarters of a second and with just four rounds to go, Menzies' second consecutive title looked to be all but won.
          There was no way that championship third place man Sean Gould could defend his old record. Struggling on a set of Pirellis that were well past their best, the sport's leading constructor had to settle for a couple of mid-field placings. Edged down to sixth by the perennially hard-trying Trevor Willis in the first run-off, he was handed fifth place in the second shoot-out after Willis tried just that bit too hard to make up his power deficit and spun under braking on the entrance to Pardon hairpin. A needle match between Scott Moran and Dave Uren saw both drivers well into the 35s as the six-times champion edged a couple of third place finishes from the GR55B driver.
          It was good to see Will Hall finally back in action with the extensively rebuilt Force-AER. Following a short test session, the car arrived for its first competition outing since late May but failed to qualify for the opening run-off. It was a different story in the afternoon as after a seventh place qualifier he brought the car home in sixth place and remained on course to salvage a top ten placing by the end of the year. Having also lost much of the season with a myriad of problems afflicting his supercharged Raptor-Suzuki, Richard Spedding lay just outside the overall top ten, but managed to find a couple of seventh places at Prescott as well as finding time to loan his car to Johnathen Varley, who had suffered last-minute oil pressure problems with his Predator.
          After stuttering to a halt and failing to make the first cut in his Gould-Suzuki turbo, Paul Haimes made it into the second run-off and finished eighth, enough to maintain a fairly safe seventh overall on the BHC table. Rapidly coming to terms with his DJ Racecars developed Dallara Cosworth XD, Jack Cottrill followed up his Shelsley double-qualifier with an even better result at Prescott; two ninth places in a see-saw duel with David Warburton. With championship rival Eynon Price neither making the cut at Prescott nor, unlike Warburton, going to Craigantlet in a week's time, 'Warby Jr' could well be swapping his permanent number 10 for a number 9 next year.
          Darren Gumbley squeezed out Simon Moyse for the final point in the opening run-off and Lee Griffiths rounded off the runners, while in the second run-off Charles Hall, after a fine debut hillclimbing season in Bill Chaplin's Empire Wraith, made his third BHC run-off appearance of the year before returning to the circuits at Donington Park in a week's time.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 34.65s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 23: 1 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 35.50s; 2 Menzies 35.54s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 35.84s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 35.88s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 36.17s; 6 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 36.36s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 37.02s; 8 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.07s; 9 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 37.46s; 10 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 37.78s; 11 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.86s; 12 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 38.16s.

Championship run-off, round 24: 1 Menzies 34.65s; 2 Summers 35.40s; 3 Moran 35.75s; 4 Uren 35.89s; 5 Gould 36.45s; 6 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.66s; 7 Spedding 36.96s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.18s; 9 Cottrill 37.58s; 10 Warburton 37.60s; 11 Charles Hall (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 38.25s; Willis DNF.

British Championship positions after round 24: 1 Menzies 204pts; 2 Summers 190; 3 Gould 164; 4 Moran 149; 5 Willis 103; 6 Uren 73; 7 Haimes 60; 8 Will Hall 44; 9 Eynon Price 42; 10 Warburton 40; etc.

 

Wallace Menzies was on record-breaking form again at Prescott (John Hallett)


Alex Summers pushed hard, but couldn't match Menzies' imperious form (John Hallett)


Will Hall and the force-AER were back in action after a three-month absence (John Hallett)


John Cottrill and the Dallara-Cosworth are beginning to make their mark (John Hallett)


SHELSLEY RECORD BLITZED


Event 11 at Shelsley Walsh on 15/08/2021
The tension was palpable at Shelsley as the twelve qualifiers lined up for the first run-off of the day, practice and qualifying times having suggested that Martin Groves’ 13-year-old course record of 22.58s would at last be in serious jeopardy.
          The large crowd were not disappointed. Championship leader Wallace Menzies was the first to set a new mark with an electrifying 22.55s ascent of the historic Teme Valley track in the Tillicoultry Quarries Gould GR59M. Then the ‘works’ GR59JB of Sean Gould came to the line and in a sublime demonstration of controlled aggression, Sean brought the crowd to its feet with a stunning reply in 22.37s. That Groves was there to witness the long-awaited demolition of his record with such an epic display of driving was entirely fitting. Last to run, top qualifier Alex Summers couldn't quite match Gould's time, but slipped inside that of Championship rival Menzies in typically determined style. In a car giving away significant power to the front running Goulds, with a 22.52 he became the third driver to climb Shelsley inside the old record.
          Scott Moran was a close fourth in series sponsor Graham Wynn’s GRW59, just four hundredths quicker than Dave Uren in a rejuvenated GR55B, Groves' old Shelsley record-holding car, following further ministrations to the recently acquired replacement engine by Nicholson McLaren after its predecessor’s Harewood blow-up. Outgunned in such company, Trevor Willis gave his all in the OMS 28 to finish sixth, a second clear of Paul Haimes in a turbocharged 1300cc GR59 that, for a second meeting in succession, was behaving itself. Former Maltese hillclimb champion Zach Zammit was fastest of the 1600 cc runners with his Empire Wraith, followed by young Jack Cottrill in the Dallara-XD who claimed his first BHC points. Dave Warburton completed the scorers in the family 1600cc GR59, with Wynn and Simon Moyse in the blown 1300cc GR59, narrowly missing out.
          As clouds gathered and the odd drop of rain caused umbrellas to be raised, the second run-off was never going to see the outright Shelsley record lowered further, but an early running Nicola Menzies still put in a stunning drive to take Sue Young’s 14-year old ladies' record by three hundredths. So, on a day when the long serving GR55B shared with Dave Uren lost one record to its name, it gained another.
          Scott Moran then turned in the kind of performance that has brought him six British Championships, and in less than ideal conditions posted a stunning 22.68s time to put the shared GRW59 in top place, giving this new for 2021 driver/car combination a first victory - very much a 'Win Wynn' situation. Wallace Menzies pushed hard to unseat Moran, and was on schedule to do so, but a wobble at a dampening Bottom Ess dropped him to second with a six hundredths deficit. Dave Uren continued his fine form with a third place drive, narrowly ahead of Gould and Summers, with Willis once more hanging on grimly for sixth place. To his evident delight and even surprise, Haimes continued to enjoy reliability with his Gould, netting a another strong seventh ahead of final points scorers Wynn, Mrs Menzies and Cottrill, although losing his sixth place on the Championship table to the back-on-form Uren. David Warburton and Simon Moyse were the losers on this occasion.
          This had been a splendid and significant meeting, held at the very epicentre of British hillclimbing, with sensational driving, fallen long-standing records and returning crowds. After a troubled period, the future finally looks promising.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh

FTD: Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 22.37s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 21: 1 Gould 22.37s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 22.52s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 22.55s; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 22.64s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 22.68s; 6 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 23.48s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.43s; 8 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 24.60s; 9 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara Cosworth XD) 24.71s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.86s; 11 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 25.39s; 12 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 25.41s.

Championship run-off, round 22: 1 Moran 22.68s; 2 Menzies 22.74s; 3 Uren 22.98s; 4 Gould 23.02s; 5 Summers 23.24s; 6 Willis 23.52s; 7 Haimes 24.28s; 8 Wynn 24.48s; 9 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 24.70s; 10 Cottrill 24.75s; 11 Warburton 24.99s; 12 Moyse 25.16s.

British Championship positions after round 22: 1 Menzies 200pts; 2 Summers 175; 3 Gould 153; 4 Moran 138; 5 Willis 97; 6 Uren 59; 7 Haimes 57; 8 Price 42; 9 Will Hall 39; 10 Warburton 36; etc.

 

Sean Gould had the final say as Shelsley's age-old record was eclipsed three times (John Hallett)


Scott Moran took the first win for Graham Wynn's GRW59 (John Hallett)


Nicola Menzies joined the record-breakers to set a new Ladies' standard (John Hallett)


Championship leader Wallace Menzies was the first to break Martin Groves' long-standing hill record (John Hallett)


WALLACE STORMS AHEAD


Event 10 at Wiscombe Park on 01/08/2021
As so often in the past, the fickle nature of Wiscombe weather provided much drama as BHC contenders made their annual visit to the challenging Devon parkland venue. With rain beginning to fall as the big single seaters approached the start line for their first class runs it was the earlier, dry running, turbocharged Gould-Suzuki GR59 of Paul Haimes that would set the qualifying pace for the first run-off. As a result of the subsequent downpour, neither Alex Summers nor Trevor Willis made the cut, the latter recovering from a recent crankshaft replacement and a broken engine mounting bolt, discovered early that morning.
          However, with a drying track for the run-off it was the early running, slowest qualifiers who benefitted, Championship leader Wallace Menzies setting the pace with a 34.78s ascent in the Gould GR59 Cosworth. He was the only driver to dip below 35 seconds, Sean Gould chasing hard at the wheel of the ‘works’ Gould-Judd GR59 but running 0.66s adrift, with Scott Moran a further 0.74s behind driving Graham Wynn’s similar car.
          Matthew Ryder’s Empire Wraith, David Warburton in the Gould GR59 and westcountryman Jason Tunnicliffe, making his first British run-off appearance in his Empire Evo 2, upheld 1600cc bike engined single seater honours by taking the next three positions, and Darren Gumbley may well have joined them had he not spun his Force TA. Series sponsor Graham Wynn, another beneficiary of an early run, was a popular seventh in his Gould.
          When Richard Spedding came to the line he sensed an opportunity, and under darkening skies the boy from Barnsley rocketed up Wis Straight and over Bunny’s Leap before disappearing beneath the trees. But Esses Two on the approach to Sawbench hairpin caught the Raptor driver out. He clipped a kerb, lost traction, and spun into a very solid bank suffering suspension damage which would sideline the car for the day. Then the heavens opened and after a lengthy delay while the stricken car was recovered, those yet to run were faced with a treacherous track. So after qualifying at the head of the field Lee Griffiths (OMS), top qualifier Haimes, and Eynon Price (Force), never one to miss the opportunity for some sideways action, were left merely to complete the points scorers.
          By the time the second run-off commenced the sun was out again, yet more rain threatened and a less than perfect track was soon to deteriorate when precipitation arrived. But this was of no consequence to the currently unstoppable Mr Menzies, and with wets up front and slicks at the rear he blasted the fishtailing red Gould up the hill more than a quarter of a second quicker than the equally hard charging Sean Gould. An early running Haimes drove the socks off his frequently troublesome car to score a brilliant third place, a scant eight hundredths ahead of a smooth as ever Moran.
          An opposite locking Price was a close fifth in ever worsening conditions, taking a hundredth off a disappointed Alex Summers and six hundredths off Trevor Willis. Griffiths, Gumbley and local Force TA driver Kelvin Broad completed the points scorers, with Harry Pick (OMS) and David Warburton just missing out.
          So despite the storms, Menzies increased his Championship lead and it is now difficult to see how this ever improving and increasingly confident driver can be beaten when equipped with such a powerful and well developed car. Unfortunately the Tillicoultry Quarries sister Gould was not present, the GR55B shared by Dave Uren and Nicola Menzies still suffering engine problems. However, it is hoped these will be resolved by the next Championship rounds at Shelsley Walsh in two weeks time, when the spectacular and much missed Force WH of Will Hall may also return to the fray.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Wiscombe Park

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 34.78s

Championship run-off, round 19: 1 Menzies 34.78s; 2 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 35.44s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 36.18s; 4 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 36.96s; 5 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.93s; 6 Jason Tunnicliffe (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo 2) 39.12s; 7 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 39.88s; 8 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 43.12s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 43.15s; 10 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 44.24s; Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) DNF; Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 20: 1 Menzies 37.31s; 2 Gould 38.17s; 3 Haimes 38.97s; 4 Moran 39.05s; 5 Price 39.23s; 6 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 39.24s; 7 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 39.29s; 8 Griffiths 40.40s; 9 Gumbley 40.91s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Force-Suzuki TA) 40.95s; 11 Harry Pick (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 41.18s; 12 Warburton 41.33s.

British Championship positions after round 20: 1 Menzies 182pts; 2 Summers 159; 3 Gould 135; 4 Moran 121; 5 Willis 87; 6 Haimes 49; 7 Uren 45; 8 Price 42; 9 Will Hall 39; 10 Warburton 35; etc.


 

With two more decisive wins, Wallace Menzies strengthened his Championship advantage (Nigel Cole)


Paul Haimes qualified top for the opening run-off, then finished a strong third in the closing shoot-out (Nigel Cole)


Jason Tunnicliffe finished sixth on his BHC run-off debut (Nigel Cole)


Matt Ryder chased home three top V8s for fourth place in the opening run-off (Nigel Cole)


MENZIES ON TOP AT PRESCOTT


Event 9 at Prescott on 25/07/2021
Wallace Menzies won each time as British hillclimbing's top trio disputed the final split seconds in two nail-biting Prescott run-offs. Edging clear of Sean Gould by a tenth of a second in the opener, Menzies closed to within five hundredths of Gould's hill record as the pair drew clear of Alex Summers by just over half a second. But in the closing shoot-out a mere quarter of a second covered all three. After a leisurely qualifier (at least by his standards!)  Menzies produced the goods when it mattered and despite a rocket start from Gould, Summers, using every available inch of Prescott's narrow strip of tarmac, fought back to push the hill record-holder down to third place by just six hundredths.
          Three significant contenders were missing from the day's competition. With Will Hall absent from the fray, his Force-AER still not repaired after the Gurston Down accident at the end of May, Trevor Willis and Dave Uren were also unable to run owing to engine problems during practice. Scott Moran and Richard Spedding were left to take up the cudgels against the Championship leaders, Moran closing to within three hundredths of Summers in the opening run-off and keeping Spedding's tiny supercharged Raptor, on only its second BHC appearance of the year, at arms length. But in the final shoot-out it was Spedding's turn to close in on the top three and he squeezed past the six-times champion's big GR59-Judd by seven hundredths to take fourth place.
          Lockdown restrictions had previously confined Zach Zammit to his home country. But on his return to Britain, the former Maltese hillclimb champion produced a superb performance in his normally aspirated Empire Wraith, running just three tenths behind Spedding for a top six placing. His co-driver, former circuit racer Charles Hall, had been impressive at Prescott's Midland Championship meetingin April and continued in the same vein on his first British run-off appearance. In the opening shoot-out he grabbed the final point from Adam Greenen, who had qualified his 1100cc Empire for the sixth time this year, by a hundredth of a second. Hall then went one better in the afternoon when Zammit was edged down a place by Paul Haimes' GR59. After a brake-locking half spin at Pardon in the opening run-off had left him firmly in last place, Haimes fought back up to sixth in the final stanza to level on points with the absent Hall in seventh place on the series table.
          Eynon Price tied with Dave Warburton for seventh place in the opening run-off and both joined a frantic chase in the afternoon which saw six drivers all in the 37sec bracket and covered by six tenths of a second. Haimes and Zammit headed the list, split by three hundredths. The group also included Johnathen Varley. After finally despatching Haimes' 2-litre Prescott record, set an amazing 19 years ago in his Dallara-Vauxhall, Varley proceeded to carve off even more time in successive run-offs aboard his ex.Graeme Wight Jr Predator with its newly installed Yamaha V8 engine, designed and built by Terry Davis in nearby Cheltenham.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 35.46s

Championship run-off, round 17: 1 Menzies 35.46s; 2 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 35.56; 3 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 36.18s; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 36.50; 5 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 37.20s; 6 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 37.50s; 7= Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 37.61s; 7= David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.61s; 9 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 38.13s; 10 Charles Hall (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 38.21s; 11 Adam Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 38.22s; 12 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 40.69s.

Championship run-off, round 18: 1 Menzies 35.75s; 2 Summers 35.94s; 3 Gould 35.99s; 4 Spedding 36.31s; 5 Moran 36.38s; 6 Haimes 37.26s; 7 Zammit 37.29s; 8 Warburton 37.38s; 9 Hall 37.83s; 10 Varley 37.85s; 11 Price 37.89s; 12 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 38.47s.

British Championship positions after round 18: 1 Menzies 162pts; 2 Summers 154; 3 Gould 117; 4 Moran 106; 5 Willis 83; 6 Uren 45; 7= Will Hall and Haimes 39; 9 Price 35; 10 Warburton 29; etc.

 

Wallace Menzies extended his Championship lead with his third double win of the year (John Hallett)


Sean Gould closed in on the series leader and hung on to his hill record by a thread (John Hallett)


Zach Zammit brought his Empire Wraith home sixth in the opening shoot-out (John Hallett)


Class record breaker Johnathen Varley completed a sixth run-off appearance in the Predator-TKD (John Hallett)


MENZIES' DAY AS RAIN STOPS PLAY


Event 8 at Harewood on 04/07/2021
Arriving at Harewood hotfoot from Barbon Manor with the rest of the BHC contingent, Wallace Menzies signalled his intentions right from the start by running a tenth of a second inside his own Harewood hill record on his very first practice run. He went on to dominate the opening run-off by a full  two and a half seconds, the biggest winning margin of the year by far. Sadly, the opposition never got the chance to challenge that initial onslaught as with the second set of competition runs barely under way a second spell of rain, this time torrential, set in to leave the track awash and force the eventual abandonment of the meeting.
          The first of the day's rain began to fall shortly after the start of the first runs and in doing so played havoc with qualifying. A dry start favoured the early running shared car drivers, such as top qualifier Andy Greenen, who just missed the downpour and planted his 1100cc Empire firmly at the top of the qualifying order. It also enabled Damien Bradley to ensure a rare closed car run-off appearance - the first by a Subaru - aboard his 4WD Legacy. Significantly, two top runners failed to make the run-off. Sean Gould just couldn't find the required pace in the wet, while the hapless Dave Uren's smoking Gould-NME had already expired during practice. Having stopped on the exit of Farmhouse, the car was pushed on to the infield to reveal an ominous pool of oil on the track.
          Once the rain had stopped the track miraculously dried out in time for the run-off allowing Menzies, despite running eighth in the lineup, to take that decisive win. Conditions were clearly back to normal as his time was just 18 hundredths outside his hill record. Running just four cars earlier, even Summers failed to get within striking distance of the Championship leader. Into third place came a relieved Richard Spedding. Having sat out the entire season so far, his tiny Raptor's  supercharged Suzuki unit, although not quite au point, was finally on song following its earlier maladies. Certainly on song enough to relegate six-times champion Scott Moran's big Gould V8 to fourth place by seven hundredths of a second.
          After a somewhat wild practice session, Eynon Price tamed the Force TA to snatch fifth place by three tenths from top qualifier Greenen whose eventual top six finish, his best by far in a British run-off, ended a successful day. Even Allan Warburton couldn't catch the flying 1100, despite having for once outqualified his son David in their ex.works GR59. The family pair bracketed Harry Pick who, sharing Lee Griffiths' 1660 OMS-Suzuki after his 3000M had expired at Barbon the previous day, was one of the fortunate few to qualify before rain started. His benefactor was not so lucky ...
          Liam Cooper was also in this group and ended up bagging the final point, his first of the season, in the Force TA which for once his wife Olivia, a victim of the rain, had failed to qualify.   Despite giving it everything in the big Legacy, Bradley was just out of the points. But unluckiest of the twelve was Jack Cottrill. Having at last got his Dallara-XD running properly and not only that, qualified it for a British run-off, he failed to score after spinning the car at Quarry within feet of the finish line.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 47.99s

Championship run-off, round 15: 1 Menzies 47.99s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 50.49s; 3 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 51.21s; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 51.28s; 5 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 52.86s; 6 Andrew Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 53.15s; 7 Allan Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 53.21s; 8 Harry Pick (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 53.64s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 53.76s; 10 Liam Cooper (1.3 Force-Suzuki TA) 55.42s; 11 Damien Bradley (2.3t Subaru Legacy) 61.03s; 12 Jack Cottrill (2.7 Dallara-Cosworth XD) 74.87s.

Championship run-off, round 16:  Not held - meeting abandoned due to adverse weather

British Championship positions after round 15: 1 Menzies 142pts; 2 Summers 137; 3 Gould 100; 4 Moran 93; 5 Willis 83; 6 Uren 45; 7 Will Hall 39; 8 Haimes 34; 9 Price 31; 10 Warburton 22; etc.

 

Having bettered it during practice, Menzies closed in on his hill record during the run-off (Steve Wilkinson)


Richard Spedding opened his 2021 account with third place (Steve Wilkinson)


A rare closed car appearance in a British run-off - Damien Bradley's Subaru Legacy (Steve Wilkinson)


Andy Greenen - top qualifier in an 1100! (Steve Wilkinson)


HONOURS EVEN AT BARBON


Event 7 at Barbon Manor on 03/07/2021
As the BHC circus arrived at the short, fast Cumbrian course above Barbon village, just four points separated reigning champion Wallace Menzies and former champion Alex Summers. With Sean Gould beginning to close in and all three drivers having broken the Doune track record two weeks earlier, there was much to look forward to. Then the clouds closed in and it began to rain.      
           Unfortunately championship regulars Will Hall and Richard Spedding remained absent. Will's Force was still not repaired following his heavy Gurston shunt, while with his recurring engine problems finally rectified, Richard was shaking the Raptor down at Harewood prior to the Yorkshire venue's BHC event the following day.
          When the rain stopped and the sun came out the first competition class runs took place on a drying yet still damp track, which troubled Menzies not one bit as he qualified quickest for the first run-off. Then he nailed it, a 20.72 s charge narrowly holding off a determined Summers by 0.14s, the bark of the mighty Gould’s Cosworth XD echoing off the Barbondale fells and sounding imperious to those gathered around the startline clock.
          A plucky third was Trevor Willis, customary bravery overcoming the power disadvantage of his OMS 28 RPE to pip Sean Gould’s ‘works’ GR59J by just over two tenths of a second for his best finish of the year. Scott Moran continued to come to terms with the brutality of Graham Wynn’s similar 4-litre Judd powered car to place it fifth, a further half second adrift, despite the close attentions of Eynon Price in his nimble 1600cc Force TA. Dave Uren climbed into seventh place in the now elderly Gould GR55 ahead of Paul Haimes, who was for once enjoying a trouble free run in the turbocharged 1300 Suzuki powered GR59.
          The top ten scorers were completed by the 1600cc GR59 of a hard charging Dave Warburton and Lee Griffiths' OMS 28, cunningly enlarged to 1660cc for 2-litre class status, they being separated by a mere hundredth of a second. Olivia Cooper missed scoring with the 1600cc Empire Wraith by a quarter of a second, while Harry Pick’s 1100cc OMS 3000M expired shortly after leaving the line, coughing then dying before exiting the first corner at Crabtree.
          Both Price and Haimes failed to qualify for the second run-off as the Welshman spun at Lafone hairpin, and Haimes’ ill luck returned when his car lunched its differential. Then Summers fought back, a stunning 20.26s ascent taking the DJ Firestorm to within 0.18s of Jos Goodyear’s 2015 course record on a less than perfect day. This was too much even for Menzies, but he maintained his four point championship advantage with a 20.49s run. This time Gould got the better of Willis by over half a second to finish third, despite stalling twice on the line, with Uren just a further tenth behind and Moran next, 0.35s astern. David Warburton continued to harry the V8s with mere 1600 Suzuki power to finish seventh, and Griffiths continued his good form with eighth place. Olivia Cooper and Simon Moyse in his supercharged 1300 GR59-Suzuki completed the top ten, separated by just four hundredths. So honours remained even as the BHC protagonists crossed the Pennines for the following day’s Harewood meeting, with Menzies, Summers and Gould still topping the table, and the gap between the top two remaining the same.
         
Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Barbon Manor

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 20.26s

Championship run-off, round 13: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 20.72s; 2 Summers 20.86s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 21.21s; 4 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 21.45s; 5 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 22.01s; 6 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 22.17s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 22.28s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 22.93s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 23.24s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 23.25s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.3 Force-Suzuki TA) 23.56s; Harry Pick (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 14: 1 Summers 20.26s; 2 Menzies 20.49s; 3 Gould 20.66s; 4 Willis 21.07s; 5 Uren 21.18s; 6 Moran 21.53s; 7 Warburton 21.72s; 8 Griffiths 22.34s; 9 Cooper 22.64s; 10 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 22.68s; 11 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 22.82s; 12 Nicola Menzies 23.54s.

British Championship positions after round 14: 1 Menzies 132pts; 2 Summers 128; 3 Gould 100; 4 Moran 86; 5 Willis 83; 6 Uren 45; 7 Will Hall 39; 8 Haimes 34; 9 Price 25; 10 Warburton 20; etc.

 

Alex Summers prepares for the fray (Keith Thomas)


Wallace Menzies and his team before the start (Keith Thomas)


Trevor Willis claimed his best combined result of the year (Keith Thomas)


The Cooper family roll out Olivia for her sixth run-off appearance in 2021 (Keith Thomas)


RECORD ROUT


Event 6 at Doune on 20/06/2021
With the top three contenders in record-breaking mode, it was once again a pity that there were no spectators or commentary to enliven the most hotly contested day of the British Championship so far this year. On the opening run-off, Alex Summers shaved just two hundredths of a second off Scott Moran's seven year old hill record, only for defending champion Wallace Menzies to lower it still further, this time by a mere hundredth. Sean Gould kept a watching brief in third place, but in the second run-off the GR59-Judd driver really put the hammer down, eclipsing those earlier times by a further six hundredths to leave the record at 34.67s, an average speed from a standing start of over 87mph. This performance means that with three outright records, Gould now equals Menzies as the current most prolific record-holder on British Championship hills.
          Unlike the two series leaders, Gould has failed to qualify for two rounds of this year's series. He is also the only one of the current top five that has not won the British Championship. But once dropped scores come into play his bid to remedy that omission could well gain considerable strength.
          Six-times champion Scott Moran, back in full-time action this year aboard Graham Wynn's GR59-Judd after a quiet couple of seasons, chased the leading trio in each run-off with Trevor Willis extracting the maximum out of his OMS-RPE each time to stay in touch. Even Dave Uren's  NME V8 powered Gould couldn't quite live with the three-times champion and had to settle for two sixth place finishes. Running ever quicker with his newly acquired TKD V8 power, Predator driver Johnathen Varley managed to keep this weekend's Raptor debutant Stuart Sugden at bay by six hundredths for seventh place in the morning run-off as the pair held off Paul Haimes. The turbocharged Gould-Suzuki driver had found more pace than the day before and even more in the afternoon, when he scythed past both Sugden and Varley to take seventh place and become, as he had the previous day, the first non-V8 home.
          Eynon Price twice made the cut this time, bagging the final point each time, while Olivia Cooper and Les Mutch fought out the final two positions in the morning, resolved in Olivia's favour. Any chance of a similar duel in the afternoon run-off was, however, prevented when her Force TA broke a driveshaft on the startline and the jovial Scotsman took the final placing. With Andy Greenen in the points the day before and both Greenen brothers having each made the British run-off cut on three occasions this year, they were hopeful of doing it again. Unfortunately their hopes were dashed during practice after Andy's contact with the unforgiving Doune barriers and their Empire Evo 2 was sidelined for the day.
         
Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Doune

FTD: Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 34.67s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 11: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 34.73s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 34.74s; 3 Gould 35.00s; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 36.12s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 36.70s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 37.03s; 7 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 37.81s; 8 Stuart Sugden (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 37.87s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.33s; 10 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 39.31s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.3 Force-Suzuki TA) 39.44s; 12 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 55.90s.  

Championship run-off, round 12: 1 Gould 34.67s; 2 Summers 34.76s; 3 Menzies 35.24s; 4 Moran 35.82s; 5 Willis 36.17s; 6 Uren 36.70s; 7 Haimes 37.37s; 8 Sugden 38.29s; 9 Varley 38.39s; 10 Price 38.93s; 11 Mutch 39.64s; Cooper DNS.

British Championship positions after round 12: 1 Menzies 113pts; 2 Summers 109; 3 Gould 85; 4 Moran 75; 5 Willis 69; 6 Will Hall 39; 7 Uren 35; 8 Haimes 31; 9 Price 20; 10 Sugden 16; etc.

 

Sean Gould had the final say in Doune's record bonanza (David Baxter)


Even the day's second hill record was not enough to keep the defending champion ahead (David Baxter)


Alex Summers was first to break the hill record (David Baxter)


Doune ladies' record-holder Olivia Cooper qualified her 1600cc Force TA for all four of the weekend's run-offs (David Baxter)


MENZIES UNDER FIRE AT DOUNE


Event 5 at Doune on 19/06/2021
With no spectators or commentary at Doune the atmosphere may have been subdued, but the action on track was as fierce as ever as first Alex Summers and then Sean Gould demoted championship leader Wallace Menzies to second place in consecutive run-offs. With an imperious performance on the daunting Scottish hill, Summers led Menzies home by eight tenths with a run to FTD during the morning shoot-out, while Scott Moran equalled his best finish of the year so far in third place, despite running a second adrift  of the defending champion. Gould missed the first run-off after problems on his qualifying run, but made up for it later with his first win of the year on one of his favourite hills, in a time just seven hundredths shy of Summers' FTD.
          Another to duplicate his best finish of 2021, Trevor Willis took fourth place as he stormed the barrier-lined slopes at 10/10ths in the opening shoot-out in another supreme effort to overcome the increasing power advantage of the series leaders. It didn't work out quite so well for him in the second stanza; after a big moment at the notorious East Brae he had to settle for eighth place and his worst finish of the year. Sensation of the meeting was Stuart Sugden, the former Mini ace putting his local knowledge to good use to finish the opening run-off in a fine fifth place on his single seater debut aboard Les Mutch's 1600cc Raptor-Suzuki, leaving the car's owner to settle for ninth.
          Delighted with the new Terry Davis built 2-litre Yamaha-based V8 in the back of the Predator, recently installed by the car's original constructor Graeme Wight Jr, Johnathen Varley ran a quarter of a second shy of Sugden although both drivers slipped down the order in the afternoon, Varley finishing just out of the points. Paul Haimes, his temperamental Gould-Suzuki turbocar displaying welcome reliability in recent weeks, shadowed Varley first time up. Sixth place in the second shoot-out and the first non-V8 home was his best result of the year so far as he chased Dave Uren, who had missed the morning cut in the ex.Groves Gould-NME.
          Two 1100s made the cut each time, class winner Harry Pick setting their pace in the opening run-off with eighth place in his spaceframe OMS 3000M ahead of Mutch's Raptor and Andy Greenen, the Empire driver finally bagging his first point of the year on his fourth attempt. He would improve his points tally to three later as he demoted Pick to the final point. Doune ladies' record-holder Olivia Cooper made the cut each time, although finishing out of the points in her Force TA while Eynon Price, who had led the 1600cc class to qualify after the first runs, was edged out of the second run-off by Olivia as she eventually took the class win.
         
Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Doune

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 35.12s

Championship run-off, round 9: 1 Summers 35.12s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 35.92s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 37.04s; 4 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 37.17s; 5 Stuart Sugden (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.92s; 6 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-TKD YV8) 39.15s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 39.21; 8 Harry Pick (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 39.53s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 39.62s; 10 Andy Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 39.96s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.3 Force-Suzuki TA) 40.58s; 12 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 41.22s.

Championship run-off, round 10: 1 Gould 35.19s; 2 Menzies 35.62s; 3 Summers 35.66s; 4 Moran 36.91s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 38.22s; 6 Haimes 38.41s; 7 Sugden 38.98s; 8 Willis 39.90s; 9 Greenen 39.98s; 10 Pick 40.07s; 11 Varley 40.19s; 12 Cooper 40.22s.

British Championship positions after round 10: 1 Menzies 94pts; 2 Summers 90; 3 Gould 66; 4 Moran 61; 5 Willis 56; 6 Will Hall 39; 7= Uren and Haimes 25; 9 Price 18; 10= David Warburton and Graham Wynn 14; etc.




 

Alex Summers took a decisive win in the openng run-off (David Baxter)


Sensation of the meeting was Stuart Sugden who ran fifth on his BHC debut in the 1600cc Raptor (David Baxter)


Scott Moran took a season best third place in the Gould-Judd (David Baxter)


Johnathen Varley had a successful weekend with newly acquired TKD YV8 power (David Baxter)


SUMMERS' DAY


Event 4 at Shelsley Walsh on 06/06/2021
Alex Summers' DJ Firestorm might have lacked the ultimate power and speed of the Gould GR59s of Wallace Menzies and Sean Gould, but rocket starts and pin-sharp handling gave him the edge over his two main rivals during an intensely competitive encounter at Shelsley Walsh.
          With 22sec runs becoming almost commonplace during 2020's truncated season, ideal conditions for Saturday's practice runs promised much as the magic figure was approached again. But on Sunday, a spectating Martin Groves breathed a sigh of relief as morning rain had left the Teme Valley hill slippery and his 2008 record of 22.58s, the oldest one in the BHC books, looked in little danger. Top Ess in particular caught out several drivers during the class runs, but in drying, though still not ideal, conditions for the pre-lunch run-off Summers took full advantage. He pulled out almost half a second on practice leader Gould for the win, with Menzies six hundredths adrift in third place.
          In the best conditions of the day the closing shoot-out was a frantic affair, with the top six drivers in both qualifying and the run-off all covered by just over half a second. With both drivers storming the finish beam at 150mph it was Menzies' turn to edge ahead of Gould, by five hundredths, But neither could catch Summers as the 2015 champion, despite being 12mph slower over the line, took his second win of the day. With one of the best starts of the day and an Ess approach speed that, at 136mph, was 10mph up on his rival, he shaded out Menzies by a mere two hundredths of a second to set FTD and close to within four points of the Championship leader.
          Although Will Hall was missing from the fray, his Force-AER still not ready after his Gurston accident the previous weekend, the next three runners mirrored their standings on the Championship table. Scott Moran, Trevor Willis and Dave Uren (who had missed the four rounds at Gurston with engine problems) maintained station for each run-off. Still dialling into his new mount for this year, the GR59-Judd, Moran was in closest touch with the three leaders, while the ever-committed Willis lost no opportunity of making the most of where the steep slopes of Shelsley Walsh deviated from the straight and narrow to edge out Uren's Gould-NME, the record-holding car in Groves' hands, by a hundredth in the closing bout.
          Behind the top six Paul Haimes, revelling in the new-found reliability of his turbocharged GR59-Suzuki, matched Willis's 135mph over the line for seventh place each time, twice heading off Dave Warburton's normally aspirated version by three tenths and closing to within two points of Eynon Price to take over ninth place on the series table. Price himself made the cut each time, in the opening bout bringing his 1600cc Force TA home clear of Graham Wynn, final points scorer each time in the Gould-Judd, although Price finished just out of the points in the afternoon. Matt Ryder was another 1600 driver who made the cut before lunch, eventually rounding off the runners in his Empire Wraith. The Greenen brothers put in a great performance in their 1100cc Empire Evo, Adam making the line-up before lunch and both he and Andy joining the elite twelve for the closing shoot-out, Adam finishing in the points with ninth place.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh

FTD: Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 23.15s

Championship run-off, round 7: 1 Summers 24.07s; 2 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 24.51s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59M) 24.57s; 4 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 24.74s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 24.93s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 25.09s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 25.56s; 8 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 25.91s; 9 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 26.77s; 10 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 26.90s; 11 Adam Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 26.91s; 12 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 27.15s.

Championship run-off, round 8: 1 Summers 23.15s; 2 Menzies 23.17s; 3 Gould 23.22s; 4 Moran 23.36s; 5 Willis 23.75s; 6 Uren 23.76s; 7 Haimes 24.76s; 8 Warburton 25.09s; 9 Adam Greenen 25.34s; 10 Wynn 25.41s; 11 Price 25.63s; 12 Andy Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 25.86s.

British Championship positions after round 8: 1 Menzies 76pts; 2 Summers 72; 3 Gould 56; 4= Moran and Willis 46; 6 Will Hall 39; 7 Uren 19; 8 Price 18; 9 Haimes 16; 10= Warburton and Wynn 14; etc.









 

Alex Summers was on top form taking both run-off wins and FTD (John Hallett)


Wallace Menzies had to give best to Summers by just two hundredths in the closing run-off (John Hallett)


Dave Uren was back in the fray after missing four rounds at Gurston (John Hallett)


With both Greenen brothers in the closing run-off, Adam was well in the Shelsley points with his 1100cc Empire (John Hallett)


MENZIES' RECORD GURSTON


Event 3 at Gurston Down on 30/05/2021

Moments of high drama punctuated the second day of Gurston Down's British Championship double-header. During the run-offs not only was a new hill record was established, but later Will Hall's Force-AER was involved in a high speed roll before the finish line from which, happily, Will emerged none the worse for wear. It was a successful day all round for Wallace Menzies, who not only added two more wins to his tally (he's now won five out of six run-offs) but shaved three hundredths of a second off Scott Moran's 2014 hill record on the way to the first of them. 'It's quite helpful that we have two full days of running here in really good weather' he said afterwards. 'A hill record is a fantastic bonus but nothing more than that. The main thing is to do as well as you can in each run-off.'  In what in F1 used to be called the 'tyre war', two different companies are now involved in top level hillclimbing. Will Hall's win the previous day had been on Avons, while Wallace's record was set on Pirellis.
          Almost matching Menzies' consistency up front has been that of his pursuer Alex Summers. Just a tenth behind the Scot's record run in the morning, the Firestorm driver secured his fourth runner-up spot of the year before being edged out in the afternoon by Sean Gould, who stormed the Hollow trap at 145mph to run just six hundredths behind the winner. Earlier, Will Hall had run a half-second adrift of Gould for fourth place in the morning ahead of Scott Moran, but with his unfortunate exit in the afternoon it was left to Trevor Willis to pick up the place.
          After finishing seventh before lunch, Simon Moyse was delighted with his best ever BHC run-off finish with fifth place in the rejuvenated GR59-Suzuki. His opposite number in the turbocharged version, Paul Haimes, was dealt yet another cruel blow before the opening runoff. Having qualified seventh during what would remain an unbeaten sequence of class wins this year, a leaking plenum sidelined him from the run-off and any further participation. In what turned out to be a day of retirements across the board as the weekend's hectic schedule took its toll, Scott Moran failed to come to the line for his second qualifying run with starter motor problems. Reluctant to push-start the Gould, not only did Graham Wynn fail to take up his sixth place in the running order, but Moran didn't even get a chance to qualify.
          Eventually only nine drivers scored in the afternoon shoot-out. Dave Warburton was happy to retrieve sixth place after being out of the points before lunch, with Alan Warburton split from his son by the redoubtable Eynon Price to take his first British points of the year. Steve Owen was just in the points today, while after lunch his place was taken by Lee Griffiths, who also got his first 2021 points on the board in the 1661cc OMS 28-Suzuki. Andy Greenen once again drove the wheels off the Empire-Suzuki to make the afternoon cut and had he finished the run he'd have been in the points, but sadly the engine cut out at Ashes.
         
Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 25.34s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 5: 1 Menzies 25.34s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 25.44s; 3  Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 25.54s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 26.18s; 5 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 26.28s; 6 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.34s; 7  Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.07s; 8 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59)  28.09s; 9 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 28.40s; 10 Steve Owen (2.7 OMS-RPE 28) 28.42s; 11 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.49s; Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNS

Championship run-off, round 6: 1 Menzies 25.61s; 2 Gould 25.67s; 3 Summers 25.82s; 4 Willis 26.42s; 5 Moyse 28.08s; 6 David Warburton 28.13s; 7 Price 28.41s; 8 Allan Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 29.18s; 9 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 29.30s; Andy Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) DNF; Hall DNF; Wynn DNS.

British Championship positions after round 6: 1 Menzies 59pts; 2 Summers 52; 3= Gould and Hall 39; 5 Willis 34; 6 Moran 32; 7 Price 16; 8 Wynn 12; 9 Moyse 10; 10 Dave Uren 9; etc.

 

Wallace Menzies reset the outright Gurston record (Steve Lister)


Alex Summers is once again proving to be Menzies' strongest opposition (Steve Lister)


Scott Moran's challenge faltered with a non-start in afternoon (Steve Lister)


Simon Moyse scored a best-ever fifth place in the closing run-off (Steve Lister)


HALL AND MENZIES WIN AS GURSTON REOPENS


Event 2 at Gurston Down on 29/05/2021

Hillclimbing returned to Gurston Down on the traditional May Bank holiday date, but this year the weekend took on a different aspect. Over a busy two days in the sunshine, for the first time the BARC Southwest Centre organisers managed, and with great efficiency, to fit in two entirely separate British Championship meetings at their fast hill amid the rolling Wiltshire downland.
          On the first of Saturday's two British Championship run-offs, defending champion Wallace Menzies was knocking on the door of Scott Moran's 2014 hill record as he set the day's outright pace to maintain his series lead. But despite having clocked an eye-watering 160mph through the finish beam on each run, the Gould-Cosworth driver had to settle for third place in the afternoon as Will Hall finally blew the cobwebs out of his Force-AER turbo to head Alex Summers' Firestorm-Cosworth home for the win by just two hundredths of a second. With four rounds gone and Summers yet to win but with three second places in the bag, these three drivers were beginning to establish a grip on the leading Championship places.
          Top qualifier each time, Sean Gould chased home Hall for fourth place in the morning, but with Scott Moran clocking a day's best 147mph on the downhill chute into Hollow in each run-off, the duel between the two GR59 drivers finished in his favour in the afternoon as he edged the cars' constructor down to fifth. A fine effort by Trevor Willis had edged out the 6-times champion to sixth place before lunch but in the afternoon, as he'd come to expect at Gurston, he succumbed to the inevitable. Despite being a match for the front runners to the tricky Karousel complex, his RPE powered OMS was no match for the power play on the climb over Burke's Rise to the finish and Trevor was destined to round off the top six.
          Paul Haimes reigned supreme over the (only slightly) less hectic half of the field, a trouble-free day in the turbocharged GR59-Suzuki netting seventh each time ahead of Graham Wynn in the Gould-Judd V8 shared with Moran. In a day-long duel, Dave Warburton and the ebullient Eynon Price swapped ninth and tenth places in their respective 1600s. In a fine performance aboard his diminutive Empire-Suzuki, Andy Greenen had made the cut each time - no mean feat at Gurston for an 1100cc car. Unlike his brother Adam at Loton a fortnight earlier, he just failed to get into the points, but headed off Steve Owen in the 'works' OMS-RPE V8 in the afternoon. A disappointed Simon Moyse had to settle for last place in the morning, when the supercharged Suzuki in his GR59 developed a misfire leaving the startline.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 25.55s

Championship run-off, round 3: 1 Menzies 25.55s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 25.88s; 3 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 25.97s; 4 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 26.05s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.60s; 6 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 26.67s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 27.37s; 8 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 28.13s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.26s; 10 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 28.66s; 11 Andy Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 29.15s; 12 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 39.87s.

Championship run-off, round 4: 1 Hall 26.00s; 2 Summers 26.02s; 3 Menzies 26.20s; 4 Moran 26.48s; 5 Gould 26.58s; 6 Willis 26.79s; 7 Haimes 27.65; 8 Wynn 27.87s; 9 Price 28.73; 10 Warburton 28.92s; 11 Greenen 29.01s; 12 Steve Owen (2.7 OMS-RPE 28) 29.27s.

British Championship positions after round 4: 1 Menzies 38pts; 2 Summers 35; 3 Hall 32; 4 Moran 26; 5= Gould and Willis 22; 7 Price 10; 8= Wynn and Dave Uren 9; 10 Haimes 8; etc.


 

Will Hall crests Deer's Leap on his way to a run-off win (Steve Lister)


Sean Gould topped the Q-sheets each time (Steve Lister)


Paul Haimes bagged a pair of seventh places in his GR59 turbo (Steve Lister)


Andy Greenen twice made the cut in his 1100cc Empire (Steve Lister)


CHAMPION'S DOUBLE


Event 1 at Loton Park on 16/05/2021

Wallace Menzies began his British Hillclimb title defence in the best possible way with a double run-off win as the Championship season opened at Loton Park. On a hill that saw numerous incidents during the day as it was not only 'green', having not seen competition for almost eighteen months, but also damp for much of the day, his second run-off shot in the Gould-Cosworth GR59 was a mere quarter second shy of Sean Gould's hill record set in September 2019, the last time a British Championship meeting was held. Gould himself spun out of the opening qualifying runs at Keepers, but fought back in the works GR59-Judd to chase Menzies home in the second shoot-out and displace Alex Summers, who had brought home his DJ Firestorm, equipped with a 2.7-litre Cosworth XD since 2020, behind the leader in the morning run-off.
          After a couple of Midland Championship shakedowns in the GR59-Judd shared with Graham Wynn, Scott Moran marked his full-time return to the Championship in a car quite different to the all-conquering GR61X in which he had taken six BHC titles. He held off Will Hall for a podium finish in the first stanza but succumbed to the fast-starting Force-AER turbo in the second. Behind them, Trevor Willis held off Dave Uren each time, both returning in the familiar OMS-RPE and Gould-NME GR55B respectively. It might have been different had not Uren's second run-off challenge been blunted when he ran wide at Fallow. Out again in his 1.6-litre Force-Suzuki TA, Eynon Price, whose rocket starts in the bike-engined machine eclipsed even Hall's, displayed astonishing commitment to twice make the cut in less than ideal conditions. Outpacing most of the field to the halfway split at Triangle on each run-off, he went on to shadow Uren's big V8 each time.
          Graham Wynn opened his BHC campaign alongside Moran with three points for eighth place in the morning, but missed the afternoon cut by a couple of seconds. Chasing Price this time was Ben Stephenson in the supercharged 1.3-litre Empire Wraith, who converted a strong ninth place qualifier into ninth at the end. With everybody pushed down a place after Gould's strong finish in the afternoon, Andy Coley brought the V6 Gould home tenth after a ninth place before lunch. The final point in the morning after a slightly 'bogged' start went to the smallest car in the run-off, the 1100cc Empire Evo-Suzuki of Adam Greenen. He made the afternoon cut too, but finished just out of the points. Steve Owen had also missed out earlier and failed to make the second cut in the works OMS 28, now equipped with 2.7-litre RPE V8 power.
          Having qualified ahead of Owen in the morning, Matthew Ryder fairly flew the bike-engined Empire Wraith during the opening run-off but unfortunately the car coasted to a halt after Triangle. Paul Haimes had qualified eighth for the second shoot-out, but the turbocharged Gould-Suzuki GR59 failed to come to the line.
          Richard Spedding's Raptor-Suzuki, tipped to challenge the front-runners in '21, was a notable absentee on Sunday after engine problems in practice the previous day. The Raptor marque was nevertheless represented by Richard Matossian, having his maiden outing in the familiar blue BMW powered version previously campaigned by Robert Kenrick.

Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 43.55s

Championship run-off, round 1: 1 Menzies 44.11s; 2 Alex Summers (2.7 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth XD) 44.55s; 3 Scott Moran (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 45.17s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 45.41s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 45.62s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 45.95s; 7 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 46.57s; 8 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GRW59) 48.75s; 9 Andy Coley (2.5 Gould-Cosworth KF GR55) 49.81s; 10 Adam Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 49.83s; 11 Steve Owen (2.7 OMS-RPE 28) 50.25s; Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 2: 1 Menzies 43.55s; 2 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59BJ) 44.27s; 3 Summers 44.32s; 4 Hall 44.54s; 5 Moran 45.09s; 6 Willis 45.49s; 7 Uren 45.64s; 8 Price 47.13s; 9 Ben Stephenson (1.3s Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 48.58s; 10 Coley 49.22s; 11 Greenen 49.60s; Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNS.

British Championship positions after round 2: 1 Menzies 20pts; 2 Summers 17; 3= Hall and Moran 14; 5 Willis 11; 6= Gould and Uren 9; 8 Price 7; 9= Coley and Wynn 3; etc.


 

Wallace Menzies began a promising title defence with two wins (John Hallett)


After a shaky start, Sean Gould bounced back for a strong second place in the second run-off (John Hallett)


Will Hall brought the Force-AER home fourth each time (John Hallett)


Trevor Willis held off Dave Uren in each run-off (John Hallett)


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