BRITISH HILLCLIMB REPORTS
Current Reports Report Archive
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Event 17 at Loton Park on 29/09/2019
After an unpromising start it was a game of two halves at Loton Park's British hillclimb finale when the event, and the season, ended in the best possible way. Following an opening run-off on a wet track in which nobody broke the 50-second barrier, on a dry track for the second shoot-out Scott Moran's 7-year-old hill record tumbled on the very last run of the 2019 Championship. Sean Gould was the man in charge, and this after spinning on the wet track in the morning and failing to qualify for the opening run-off. 'My own fault - I was just pushing too hard in the rain,' he admitted. It was the second hill record in three meetings for the delighted Gould-Judd GR59J driver/constructor and his sixth win of the year. Only new champion Wallace Menzies has won more.
Menzies himself took the win in the wet opening run-off after a heroic qualifying effort to top the Q-sheets ahead of the flying Zach Zammit, who had qualified his 1600cc Empire Wraith in slightly drier conditions in the unpredictable morning weather. The Maltese airline pilot ended up fifth behind classmate Eynon Price, a man renowned for his wet weather prowess, but spun out with rear wing damage and failed to score in the afternoon. After a fraught moment on the brakes at Triangle in qualifying for the second shoot-out, Menzies salvaged a place in the elite twelve but had to settle for third place, edged out by a tenth as 6-times champion Scott Moran, back on his home hill, set second FTD behind Gould.
Richard Spedding's slim hopes of wresting a third place championship finish from Dave Uren were boosted when the Gould-NME driver failed to qualify for the opening run-off, but he was dropping points and needed high scores. Sixth in the morning was not enough and despite a fine effort in the supercharged Raptor to qualify second equal with Scott Moran in the afternoon, even a fourth place finish was not sufficient and Spedding fell five points short of his target, even with Uren, who was also dropping points, finishing a lowly eighth and failing to increase his score. Having chased home the morning winner to leave Will Hall's far more powerful - but somewhat less well handling, particularly in the wet! - Force AER well over a second adrift, Alex Summers was outgunned in the dry shoot-out and the Firestorm driver finished his final season with V6 power just behind Hall in sixth place and ahead of Price, the top 1600 driver in the afternoon.
Trevor Willis had another indifferent day to end a 2019 season that he'd probably rather forget, finishing seventh before lunch in conditions in which he would normally excel, then skating straight on at Fallow during afternoon qualifying and missing the cut. Dave Warburton's GR59-Suzuki was another 1600cc car to make the cut, tying for the final points with Matt Ryder's Empire Wraith for the final point in the opening run-off but pulling out of the second one before the start with the car's Suzuki engine sounding distinctly rough. Pieces of valve head were recovered from the exhaust manifold the following day ... It was the first outing for Ryder's ex.Fidoe Wraith chassis, with the engine from the family's Evo but it, too, had a fraught afternoon and the car retired during the second class runs, its Suzuki smoking heavily. The busiest driver of the day, Matt was also sharing the Gould-Judd GR51B with his godmother, Sue Young, but perhaps fortunately the question of what would happen if he'd qualified both cars for the same run-off never arose! Only one 1100cc car made the cut, Jack Cottrill making his 2019 run-off debut in the Force PT after leading a typically competitive class after the wet opening runs.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park
FTD: Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 43.27s (hill record)
Championship run-off, round 33: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 50.17s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF)(1.1 DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 51.01s; 3 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 52.18s; 4 Eynon Price (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 52.38s; 5 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 52.40s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 52.61s; 7 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 52.70s; 8 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 52.87s; 9 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd GRW59) (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 52.98s; 10= Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 54.19s and David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 54.19s; 12 Jack Cottrill (1.1 Force-Suzuki PT) 54.81s.
Championship run-off, round 34: 1 Gould 43.27s; 2 Moran 43.94s; 3 Menzies 44.05s; 4 Spedding 44.38s; 5 Hall 44.73s; 6 Summers 44.88s; 7 Price 46.14s; 8 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 46.21s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 47.09s; 10 Wynn 48.69s; 11 Zammit DNF; 12 Warburton DNS.
Final British Championship positions: 1 Menzies 264pts; 2 Summers 220; 3 Uren 195; 4 Spedding 191; 5 Willis 166; 6 Hall 157; 7 Gould 138; 8 Scott Moran 114; 9 Kenrick 61; 10 Warburton 45; etc.
Sean Gould closed the championship in style with a new hill record (John Hallett)
Former Lotonmeister Scott Moran returned to take second FTD (John Hallett)
Matt Ryder made the run-off on his first appearance in the Empire Wraith (John Hallett)
The championship top ten line up for their traditional 'end-of-term' photo (John Hallett)
Event 16 at Doune on 15/09/2019
Returning to Doune as the new British champion, Wallace Menzies celebrated in style by taking both run-off wins and setting FTD in front of a jubilant home crowd. But he didn't have it all his own way as championship rival Alex Summers shared the opening run-off win with the local hero, setting an identical time to score his first run-off win of 2019 in a tense opening shoot-out. Incredibly, British hillclimbing's two top contenders upped the pace in the afternoon, Menzies setting a 35.63 FTD which top qualifier Summers failed to match by a tenth of a second.
Surprise top qualifier in the opening run-off was David Warburton with the only sub-37sec run. Now assured of a 'number 10' for 2020 in the 1600cc GR59, he ran fifth while his father Allan scored his first point of the year for tenth place. Sadly, gearshift issues intervened to prevent Dave from taking his place in the closing run-off. More drama came during the opening class runs as practice leader Sean Gould bounced the GR59J off the barriers before Oak Tree, damaging the car's suspension and removing the front wing. Undaunted, Sean repaired the car and qualified fourth for the afternoon run-off, going on to set the first 35 sec run of the day in the shoot-out itself. It looked unbeatable - until Menzies and Summers resumed their duel ...
Just behind the action at the front of the field, Dave Uren's smoothly conducted Gould-NME notched up third and fourth places respectively, strengthening Dave's position in third place overall on the championship table. Closest rival Richard Spedding's weekend was plagued with electrical problems and although he ran Uren close during the morning run-off, he was pushed back a place to sixth in the afternoon by Trevor Willis, who had spun the OMS V8 at the notorious East Brae during the opening run-off. 'I was just too ambitious!' admitted the outgoing champion.
With his sights set on Alex Summers' 2016 class record, Robert Kenrick's weekend started badly when he clanged the 1-litre Raptor-BMW's front wheel against the barriers at Junction during Saturday practice. Playing himself back in by qualifying seventh for Sunday's morning run-off, he finished seventh behind former Scottish champion Les Mutch's 1600cc Raptor with a time inside the record, then after resetting it officially during the afternoon class runs, it was almost inevitable that he would go even quicker in the run-off, again for seventh place. This time Mutch was unable to respond, having broken a chain coming to the line. Chasing Kenrick home each time was Johnathen Varley, the delighted Predator-BDG driver not only breaking his own Doune listed record for normally aspirated 2-litre racing cars during first qualifying, but finally getting inside Ben Butterfield's even faster 2003 record, set before the class was split between normally aspirated and forced induction cars.
Steve Marr was another of the three 1100cc cars to make the opening cut, bringing home the PCD Saxon-Suzuki in ninth place, while the remaining 1-litre, Harry Pick's spaceframe OMS 3000M, shared with hillclimb returnee Mark Lawrence, finished just out of the points. Steve Owen's traditional 'guest drive' for Doune was Simon Andrew''s Suzuki V8 powered OMS 28, which he brought home for the final point in the afternoon. But the broadest smile in the paddock belonged to Olivia Cooper. Having qualified the Force TA inside Nicola Menzies' Doune ladies' record, she lowered the time still further in the aftrnoon run-off to leave it at 40.19s.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Doune
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 35.63s
Championship run-off, round 31: 1= Menzies and Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 36.08s; 3 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 36.38s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 36.54s; 5 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 36.82s; 6 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.28s; 7 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor 2-BMW) 38.29s; 8 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 38.82s; 9 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 39.42s; 10 Allan Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 40.36s; 11 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 41.59s; 12 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 32: 1 Menzies 35.63s; 2 Summers 35.73s; 3 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 35.97s; 4 Uren 36.18s; 5 Willis 37.20s; 6 Spedding 37.44s; 7 Kenrick 37.64s; 8 Varley 38.73s; 9 Olivia Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 40.19s; 10 Steve Owen (2.6 OMS-TKD SV8 28) 42.32s; 11 David Warburton DNS; 12 Mutch DNS.
British Championship positions after round 32: 1 Menzies 261pts; 2 Summers 216; 3 Uren 201; 4 Spedding 186; 5 Willis 162; 6 Hall 143; 7 Gould 127; 8 Scott Moran 102; 9 Kenrick 61; 10 Warburton 44; etc.
Wallace Menzies delighted his home crowd with two wins and FTD (David Baxter)
Alex Summers scored his first win of the year in a tie with Menzies (David Baxter)
Sean Gould recovered from a first run accident to join the front runners in the afternoon (David Baxter)
Assured of a number 10 for 2020, Dave Warburton set the pace in first qualifying (David Baxter)
HILL RECORD FOR GOULD
Event 15 at Prescott on 08/09/2019
The writing was on the wall when Sean Gould ran inside the class record for big single seaters during Saturday afternoon practice. In Sunday's opening run-off, Gould took a second consecutive win - his fifth of the year - and finally dispatched Jos Goodyear's 5-year old Prescott hill record to the history books. In ideal hillclimbing weather, competition was close with just over a second covering the top eight runners in each run-off. Dave Uren, who shadowed runner-up Wallace Menzies before lunch, was on top form again in the afternoon to take his third run-off win of the year while things went slightly awry for the new champion after Pardon Hairpin and he slumped to ninth place, although running not much more than a second behind the winner. After qualifying seventh and finishing seventh before lunch Richard Spedding, seeing his championship third place slipping away, hit the top qualifying spot with a new class record in the afternoon. But such was the heat of the competition that although running just 0.32sec shy of the winner, the Yorkshireman could only muster sixth place in the run-off. Uren's fine combined performance was enough to demote the hard charging Raptor driver, by a clear nine points, to third place on the table.
Alex Summers remains a strong second overall in the standings but of the top eight drivers he is still, amazingly, the only one without a run-off win. As ever, he was 'on it' all weekend in a bid to make up for his Firestorm V6's relative lack of power. He ran fourth in the opening stanza and closed to within seven hundredths of Uren after lunch, edging Gould out of the runner-up spot by a similar margin for his eighth 'nine-pointer' of the year. Scott Moran, playing himself in earlier with sixth place after just one practice run on Sunday morning, closed to within a hundredth of Gould to head off Trevor Willis by a tenth in the afternoon, but both Willis and Will Hall, despite running in the competitive 36sec bracket, were exploring the outer limits of their cars' handling and neither rose above fifth place.
Well into three figures through the speed trap into Orchard, ten mph quicker than his 1100cc class opposition and on a par with many of the big single-seaters, Robert Kenrick's bid to make the opening run-off cut ended in the Ettore's gravel trap. But he made up for it later with a new class record in qualifying and then, true to form, he found even more time in the run-off. Such was the pace of the front runners that even that time was only good enough for eighth place. Three 1600s made the cut before lunch, Eynon Price getting in to edge Zach Zammit down to the final point by half a second which left Dave Warburton, now virtually assured of a 'number' for 2019, out of the points by a similar amount. Price was out of luck in the afternoon when Zammit once again bagged the last point in his Empire Wraith. Paul Haimes, who had pulled out of the opening shoot-out, led home Warburton by three hundredths to complete the twelve.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott
FTD: Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 35.41s (hill record)
Championship run-off, round 29: 1 Gould 35.41s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 35.89s; 3 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 35.97s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 36.12s; 5 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.22s; 6 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 36.32s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 36.38s; 8 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 36.66s; 9 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 37.43s; 10 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 37.93s; 11 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.90s; 12 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNS.
Championship run-off, round 30: 1 Uren 35.88s; 2 Summers 35.95s; 3 Gould 36.01s; 4 Moran 36.02s; 5 Willis 36.12s; 6 Spedding 36.14s; 7 Hall 36.20s; 8 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor 2-BMW) 36.93s; 9 Menzies 37.04s; 10 Zammit 37.74s; 11 Haimes 38.52s; 12 Warburton 38.55s.
British Championship positions after round 30: 1 Menzies 254pts; 2 Summers 207; 3 Uren 186; 4 Spedding 177; 5 Willis 156; 6 Hall 143; 7 Gould 119; 8 Moran 102; 9 Kenrick 53; 10 Warburton 38; etc.
Sean Gould reset Prescott's 5-year old hill record (John Hallett)
Dave Uren won the second run-off and moved into a championship third place (John Hallett)
Still without a win, Alex Summers took his eighth runner-up spot of the season (John Hallett)
'Part-timer' Scott Moran showed he hadn't lost his touch (John Hallett)
MENZIES IS CHAMPION!
Event 14 at Gurston Down on 25/08/2019
Championship leader Wallace Menzies got the upper hand in a head-to-head with top qualifier Sean Gould at Gurston, taking the opening run-off win to set FTD in a time just 17 hundredths short of the hill record. It was his tenth run-off win of the season and the most significant, as it secured the Scot's first British hillclimb title. His season-long adversary Alex Summers finished fifth, one place short of keeping the championship alive, if temporarily, as a 15 point total on the day, a score he's only once failed to achieve this season, would also have settled the issue in Wallace's favour. And the new champion's reaction? 'Relief and great joy, in that order! But I couldn't have done it without a great team, headed by Tom New. Now I can relax and enjoy the remainder of the season with the pressure off''. Not that there was much relaxation in the closing run-off when he fought it out with Gould once again, this time losing out as Sean's flying GR59J took the win in a time just eight hundredths shy of Menzies' FTD. In each run-off, on a day of hot weather that saw numerous class records, both drivers hurtled into the daunting Hollow Bend at a staggering 148 mph, crossing the finish line in the (very) high 150s.
Having spun on to the Karousel infield and failed to qualify for the morning run-off, Will Hall wound up the Force-AER to good effect in the afternoon to qualify top. He finished third, with the last of only three runs in the 25sec bracket. In Hall's absence, Dave Uren had done the same in the opening shoot-out before conceding the place to his fellow Midlander later on. Despite running nowhere near the finish line speed of his major adversaries, it was Trevor Willis that edged Summers out of that crucial fourth place in the morning bout. As ever at Gurston, it was Burke's Rise that sapped the limited power of the OMS's RPE V8, although the outgoing champion was typically quick, not to say flamboyant, through the tight Karousel section. Also with limited power from his Cosworth V6, Summers finished behind Willis each time and must be looking forward to the greatly increased output of his new engine for 2020.
Plagued with an off-song engine all weekend, Richard Spedding's Raptor stayed uncharacteristically down the order. Over a second behind Summers in the morning, Spedding was edged out by four hundredths in the afternoon by Paul Haimes, who had earlier beaten him to the class win in his turbocharged GR59-Suzuki. Before lunch Robert Kenrick had split the pair, but even the after the Welshman's accustomed flurry of successive class records, plus an even quicker time in the opening run-off with a remarkable 27-sec run in his 1-litre Raptor-BMW, he had to follow them home in the afternoon. Embroiled in a day-long battle with Eynon Price, who would eventually beat him to a narrow class win, Dave Warburton continued his quest for a potential 'number' for 2020, bringing his Gould-Suzuki home for ninth place before lunch ahead of Graham Wynn's Gould-Judd to leave Price out of the points. Debbie Dunbar qualified for her first run-off aboard the Firestorm V6, with a time perilously close (within three hundredths) to Sue Young's Gurston Ladies' record. It would turn out to be her best of the day but she still managed to bag tenth, and a place on the scoreboard, as she eased Simon Moyse's supercharged GR59-Suzuki out of the points in the afternoon.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 25.54s
Championship run-off, round 27: 1 Menzies 25.54s; 2 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 25.81; 3 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 25.89; 4 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.34s; 5 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 26.68s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 27.86s; 7 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 27.89; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.22s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.35s; 10 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd GRW59) 28.45s; 11 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 28.61s; 12 Debbie Dunbar (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 29.05s.
Championship run-off, round 28: 1 Gould 25.62s; 2 Menzies 25.78s; 3 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 25.96s; 4 Uren 26.29s; 5 Willis 26.43s; 6 Summers 27.74s; 7 Haimes 28.08s; 8 Spedding 28.12s; 9 Kenrick 28.37s; 10 Dunbar 28.40s; 11 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.58s; 12 Wynn 29.59s.
British Championship positions after round 28: 1 Menzies 252pts; 2 Summers 199; 3= Spedding and Uren 168; 5 Willis 147; 6 Hall 133; 7 Gould 100; 8 Scott Moran 90; 9 Kenrick 50; 10 38; etc.
Wallace Menzies secured his first British title at Gurston (Ian Beard)
Sean Gould matched Menzies blistering pace (Ian Beard)
Will Hall made the second run-off after a first run spin (Ian Beard)
Robert Kenrick's opening run-off pace blitzed both his new class records (Ian Beard)
Event 13 at Shelsley Walsh on 11/08/2019
In one of the closest fought and most competitive British Championship encounters for some time, certainly of the current season, Will Hall managed to secure both run-off wins at Shelsley Walsh despite fighting his Force-AER's somewhat wayward handling. Sliding wide out of Top Ess and almost nudging the outside bank each time, he stayed clear of a chasing pack so closely matched that in the opening run-off even 6-times champion Scott Moran, making a return to the Championship after a couple of month's break, could only finish seventh despite running within half a second of Hall's winning time, which would stand as FTD. In the closing shoot-out, the top six finishers were again all in the 23-second bracket. This time Moran finished third behind championship leader and top qualifier Wallace Menzies who, after his earlier third place, remained firmly in charge of the 2019 series as he extended his lead to 45 points.
For the opening run-off Sean Gould, as he had at the previous round at Wiscombe Park, had qualified top. This time he didn't go on to win, but his Judd powered GR59 was still flying and he finished third, within a couple of tenths of Hall's FTD and just two hundredths behind Richard Spedding's giant-killing Raptor-Suzuki, which had won the last round to be held at Shelsley back in June. So intense was the level of competition that only a very slight mistake in the Esses dropped Spedding to seventh place in the closing shoot-out. But Gould never made it that far. Heavy contact with the outside bank at the Kink during the afternoon class runs put the GR59 well out of shape and despite a masterly save, a cautious tour to the finish resulted in a time well off qualifying pace.
Dave Uren edged out Menzies' chief opposition Alex Summers by a hundredth in the opening shoot-out and increased his advantage by over a tenth second time up, but both finished inside the ultra-competitive top half-dozen each time. In contrast to his superb Wiscombe form, Trevor Willis and the OMS V8 were off the pace at Shelsley. But despite trailing the leading contenders each time, the defending champion maintained his fifth place on the series table, nine points clear of Hall despite the latter's double win.
Having qualified inside his class record set in May, Robert Kenrick found another hundredth of a second for ninth place in the opening run-off, before exactly matching the time in second qualifying to post yet another official 1100cc record with an amazing 24.63sec. In Gould's absence, even a slightly slower time was enough to gain a place in the afternoon run-off, the Raptor-BMW driver having held off David Warburton's 1.6-litre Gould-Suzuki in successive encounters. Out of the points in the morning and ahead of Zach Zammit's 1600cc Empire Wraith each time, Paul Haimes moved up to tenth place later on in his turbocharged GR59, while Gould's non-appearance in the afternoon also allowed Simon Moyse's supercharged sister car into the elite 12 for the third time this season.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 23.18s
Championship run-off, round 25: 1 Hall 23.18s; 2 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 23.33s; 3 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 23.35s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 23.39s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 23.54s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 23.55s; 7 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 23.63s; 8 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 24.30s; 9 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 24.63s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.84s; 11 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 24.85s; 12 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 25.27s.
Championship run-off, round 26: 1 Hall 23.20s; 2 Menzies 23.33s; 3 Moran 23.54s; 4 Uren 23.64s; 5 Summers 23.78s; 6 Willis 23.94s; 7 Spedding 24.09s; 8 Kenrick 24.74s; 9 Warburton 25.11s; 10 Haimes 25.45s; 11 Zammit 25.94s; 12 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 26.14s.
British Championship positions after round 26: 1 Menzies 233pts; 2 Summers 188; 3 Spedding 160; 4 Uren 153; 5 Willis 134; 6 Hall 125; 7 Moran 90; 8 Gould 81; 9 Kenrick 44; 10 David Warburton 36; etc.
Will Hall was the class of an ultra-competitive Shelsley field (John Hallett)
Scott Moran returned for a top three finish (John Hallett)
Another fine performance by Sean Gould was blunted by an accident in second qualifying (John Hallett)
Yet another record-breaking performance kept Robert Kenrick on qualifying pace (John Hallett)
WISCOMBE'S RECORD ROUT
Event 12 at Wiscombe Park on 28/07/2019
In glorious summer weather, one of the biggest crowds ever seen at Wiscombe Park watched no less than seven runs that were faster than the 5-year-old hill record set jointly by Trevor Willis and Will Hall. Chased by a revitalised Willis, Wallace Menzies was the first to rewrite the books when he qualified top for the opening run-off. In the shoot-out itself, penultimate runner Willis shaved off another four hundredths, only for Menzies to reply less than a minute later with a storming 33.13. It would be the third and final new hill record with all, amazingly, set before lunch! Over six tenths inside the original 2014 record, Menzies' time would stand as the best of the day.
While no more new outright records were set, the drama continued after the lunch break during which Sean Gould, an encouraging third in the opening run-off, dialled out incipient understeer with a few suspension adjustments to his Gould-Judd. They paid off as he topped the afternoon Q-sheets ahead of Menzies. Both ran inside the original hill record, which was also the class record, so that accolade now fell to Gould. Both drivers found even more time in the second run-off and their tremendous closing duel, split by three hundredths, went the way of a delighted Gould as Willis chased them home.
Menzies now has a 40 point championship lead and is seemingly cruising towards his first British title, but would this result indicate a long-awaited return to form for defending champion Willis? 'We went testing mid-week and got the car miles better', said Trevor, so if the improvement continues, with ten rounds remaining after a season in the relative doldrums even a top three finish may not be out of reach.
Away from the headline action, Dave Uren's fuel vaporisation problems seemed to have been solved and he ran a close fourth each time, to first Gould and then to Willis. He closed the gap on the series table to the third placed Richard Spedding, who had a difficult day with the supercharged Raptor-Suzuki. After running seventh in the opening shoot-out he pulled out of the afternoon runs, unwilling to risk the engine further after dire noises on start-up. This left Alex Summers in an even more comfortable championship second place. But despite setting Wiscombe PBs each time, such was the pace up front that Summers had to settle for the tail end of the leading group each time with sixth and fifth places. After being demoted to ninth place in the opening run-off by a hard charging Eynon Price, now with the ex.Steve Day 1600cc Hayabusa in his Force TA, Paul Haimes wound up the GR59 turbocar for fifth place in the afternoon and his best BHC result of a late-starting year.
Fifth in the opening run-off and in touch with the leaders was as far as it went for Will Hall. During frantic wheel twirling out of Sawbench Hairpin on Q2, he somehow managed to pull the remote kill switch cable out of the dash. The Force-AER's engine stopped and he failed to qualify for the afternoon run-off.
Despite the absence this weekend of Robert Kenrick, three other 1100cc class qualifiers made the cut including the Greenen brothers, Andrew and Adam qualifying for a run-off apiece with the latter bagging the final point in the afternoon in their Empire. Darren Gumbley made it into the points for the seventh time this year, although Price's Wiscombe form now put the former rallyman level with his fellow Force TA driver on the series table. Among the 1600s, Matt Ryder got his Empire Evo2 into the run-off each time, easing out new classmate Price to take seventh place in the afternoon. Even a new Wiscombe ladies' record was not enough to get Olivia Cooper into the morning run-off with her Force TA but ironically, a time three hundredths slower did make the second cut. She finished just out of the points, but ahead of Lee Griffiths' OMS 25 which staggered over the line with gearbox problems.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Wiscombe Park
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 33.13s (outright hill record)
Championship run-off, round 23: 1 Menzies 33.13s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 33.55s; 3 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 34.02s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 34.07s; 5 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 34.12s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 34.35s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 35.01s; 8 Eynon Price (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 35.57s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 36.25s; 10 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 36.73s; 11 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 37.46; 12 Andrew Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 37.53s.
Championship run-off, round 24: 1 Gould 33.46s; 2 Menzies 33.49s; 3 Willis 34.03s; 4 Uren 34.13s; 5 Summers 34.31; 6 Haimes 35.42s; 7 Ryder 35.79s; 8 Price 36.23s; 9 Gumbley 36.38s; 10 Adam Greenen (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 36.97s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 37.74s; 12 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 44.46s.
British Championship positions after round 24: 1 Menzies 217pts; 2 Summers 177; 3 Spedding 147; 4 Uren 140; 5 Willis 126; 6 Hall 105; 7 Scott Moran 78; 8 Gould 73; 9 Robert Kenrick 39; 10 David Warburton and Jason Mourant 33; etc.
Wallace Menzies' hill record was his second of the season
A back on form Trevor Willis and the OMS-RPE joined in the record rout
Sean Gould took his third run-off win of the year
Dave Uren was in touch with the record breakers all day
Event 11 at Le Val Des Terres on 20/07/2019
In a repeat of Bouley Bay four days earlier, Richard Spedding and Wallace Menzies swapped run-off wins, the championship leader in his Gould-Cosworth chasing home Spedding's diminutive Raptor in the first stanza before going on to take FTD in the second, on the last run of the day. He extended his series lead over Alex Summers to a round 30 points. Third each time, so still without a win on his slate, Summers twice ran third, split from Menzies in the second run-off by local ace Darren Warwick, whose faithful Dallara-Vauxhall hadn't turned a wheel since last year's FIA Masters at Gubbio.
With the top three covered by a tenth of a second, Spedding's opening round win came in dramatic fashion with a spin over the finish line - a not uncommon occurrence at the Terres. But the ten points for the win would be his final score of the day as a stall just off the startline during second qualifying kept him out of the closing run-off. After he'd qualified top for the opening shoot-out and finished an encouraging fourth ahead of Warwick, a similar fate befell Will Hall and he too missed the second shoot-out for which no less than three drivers, Warwick, Trevor Willis and Dave Warburton, had qualified in third place, just two hundredths behind Summers. There had also been a tie for the final qualifying place between Allan Warburton and Steve Marr in the little Saxon-Suzuki, and with thirteen runners in the shoot-out they rounded off the field without points.
Trevor Willis was still unable to get in amongst the front runners, just managing to scrape eight place, two hundredths clear of David Warburton, in the opening run-off. Positions were reversed later on after the pair had levelled in qualifying, Warburton getting ahead by a tenth for sixth place. Although missing the first cut, Darren Gumbley scored for the fifth time this year and matched his Bouley placing with ninth place in the closing shoot-out.
Once again the locals made hay at the Terres. Warwick, as usual, was top scorer but as at Bouley, Nick Saunders shone on what was now his home hill, chasing Warwick home for sixth in the opening bout ahead of Dave Uren and Willis and finishing a rousing fourth at the close, within half a second of winner Menzies' FTD. Tim Tulie, just in the points first time up, chased Willis home for a hard charging seventh place later on after negotiating the notorious final corner in his early model 1-litre Empire-Suzuki without lifting! Paul Le Messurier made the cut for round 21 in his Suzuki powered, Mallock-based Lemtech DB03, but with no subsequent score. However in round 22 he bagged the final point ahead of fellow 'Dangerous Brother' Ian. After his double win at Doune, Sean Gould's fine season in the new GR59-Judd seems to have faltered, firstly at Barbon and now on Guernsey, where the car qualified in a tardy eleventh place before cutting out and failing to finish the first run-off, after which it retired.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Le Val des Terres
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 27.48s
Championship run-off, round 21: 1 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 27.63s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 27.70s; 3 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 27.73s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 28.08s; 5 Darren Warwick (2.0 Dallara-Vauxhall F399) 28.32s; 6 Nick Saunders (1.3 Reynard-Suzuki F3) 28.68s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 28.92s; 8 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 29.02s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 29.04s; 10 Tim Tulie (1.0 Empire-Suzuki 00) 29.28s; 11 Paul Le Messurier (1.3 Lemtech-Suzuki DB03) 30.55s; Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) DNF.Championship run-off, round 22: 1 Menzies 27.48s; 2 Warwick 27.70s; 3 Summers 27.83s; 4 Saunders 27.96s; 5 David Warburton 28.36s; 6 Willis 28.46s; 7 Tulie 28.54s; 8 Uren 28.71s; 9 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 29.75s; 10 Paul Le Messurier 30.40s; 11 Ian Le Messurier (1.3 Lemtech-Suzuki DB03) 30.69s; 12 Allan Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 30.88s; 13 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 31.14s.
British Championship positions after round 22: 1 Menzies 196pts; 2 Summers 166; 3 Spedding 143; 4 Uren 126; 5 Willis 108; 6 Hall 99; 7 Scott Moran 78; 8 Gould 54; 9 Robert Kenrick 39; 10 David Warburton and Jason Mourant 33; etc.
Wallace Menzies uses all the available tarmac on his way to FTD (Andrew Le Poidevin|www.guernseymotorsport.com)
Richard Spedding took an edgy round win (Andrew Le Poidevin|guernseymotorsport.com)
Darren Warwick produced his usual Guernsey form (Andrew Le Poidevin|guernseymotorsport.com)
Nick Saunders was another local driver on top form (Andrew Le Poidevin|guernseymotorsport.com)
MENZIES KEEPS THEM AT BAY
Event 10 at Bouley Bay on 17/07/2019
In a tight opening run-off battle at Bouley Bay, top qualifier Richard Spedding stormed to his third run-off win of the season in the supercharged Raptor-Suzuki as British hillclimbers began their annual foray to the Channel Islands. Consistent as ever on the hairpin-strewn Les Charrières du Boulay, Alex Summers chased him home to hold off championship leader Wallace Menzies by three hundredths of a second as Dave Uren, a further three tenths behind, completed a top four covered by just half a second. With both drivers still striving to climb up the table, Will Hall and Trevor Willis rounded off the top six, but the second run-off told a different story.
A mistake at the notorious opening left-hander at Café compromised Spedding's progress on the early part of the public road course to leave him down in fifth place and a second off the pace. In setting the outright pace for the day, once again it was Menzies that took the win, his seventh of the year, with the ever present Summers half a second adrift. This time it was Willis that edged out Hall for third place, the defending champion displaying an all too rare display of 2019 form. But the pattern of this year's season remains unchanged with the dominant Menzies' series lead over his rival Summers now approaching 30 points, and the duo chased by Spedding.
Uren maintained a comfortable fourth place on the table, despite his second run-off shot being aborted due to a fuel vapourisation problem which, in a repeat of his problem at Harewood, prevented the Gould's NME V8 from starting. Sean Gould notched up two mid-feld placings with the Judd powered GR59J and, as he had at Craigantlet earlier this year, Darren Gumbley got his 1-litre Force TA into the points each time. With fewer mainlanders making the trip, the door was open for the locals to get their first British points of the year on the board. At Bouley, it was Guernseyman Nick Saunders that made the biggest impression, taking eighth place early on in his 1.3-litre Suzuki powered Reynard before tying for seventh with David Warburton's bigger Gould-Suzuki in the closing shoot-out. On his first BHC appearance of the year another Guernseyman, Andy Bougourd, grabbed the final point in the opener aboard his Force-Suzuki PT, while the rare-sounding 6.2-litre Chevy in the back of his elderly Gould GR37 chassis powered local driver Jeremy Phillips into last place in round 19, then into the final points scoring position in round 20.
Although just knocked out of the points, Allan Warburton was delighted to qualify each time on his first appearance in a British run-off since 2004!
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Bouley Bay
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 37.23s
Championship run-off, round 19: 1 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 37.34s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 37.51s; 3 Menzies 37.54s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 37.84s; 5 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 38.17s; 6 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 38.34s; 7 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 39.07s; 8 Nick Saunders (1.3 Reynard-Suzuki F3) 39.47s; 9 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 39.92s; 10 Andy Bougourd (1.6 Force-Suzuki PT) 41.50s; 11 Allan Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 42.15s; 12 Jeremy Phillips (6.2 Gould-Chevrolet GR37) 42.34s.
Championship run-off, round 20: 1 Menzies 37.23s; 2 Summers 37.77s; 3 Willis 37.97s; 4 Hall 38.19s; 5 Spedding 38.30s; 6 Gould 39.14s; 7= Saunders and David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 40.27s; 9 Gumbley 40.80s; 10 Phillips 42.60s; 11 Allan Warburton 42.74s; 12 Uren DNS.
British Championship positions after round 20: 1 Menzies 177pts; 2 Summers 150; 3 Spedding 133; 4 Uren 119; 5 Willis 100; 6 Hall 92; 7 Scott Moran 78; 8 Sean Gould 54; 9 Robert Kenrick 39; 10 Jason Mourant 33; etc.
Richard Spedding took his third win of the season at the Bay (Tim Wilson)
Alex Summers kept his championship challenge on the boil with two second places (Tim Wilson)
Wallace Menzies set the outright pace with another win (Tim Wilson)
Biggest Gould ever! Jeremy Phillips launches his 6.2-litre GR37-Chevy (Tim Wilson)
Event 9 at Harewood on 07/07/2019
Hot-foot from Barbon the previous day, the British Championship circus rolled up at Harewood with championship front-runner Wallace Menzies determined to consolidate his substantial series lead as the 34-round contest reached the halfway mark. He did exactly that, and in some style, breaking defending champion Trevor Willis's year-old hill record in first qualifying and lowering it still further in the opening run-off with Harewood's first sub-48 sec climb. He went on to run inside the old hill mark in the closing bout, bringing his day's points tally to a maximum possible 22 and increasing his lead over season-long rival Alex Summers to a healthy 27 points. Despite seeing yet another event go by without a win on his slate in 2019, as opposed to his rival's six, Summers kept up the pressure, chasing Menzies home in the opening shoot-out before being edged out to third place later by Willis, who in a welcome return to form had shadowed the Firestorm driver first time up.
Inside his own class record on both qualifying runs, Harewood ace Richard Spedding strove hard to keep the supercharged Raptor 2 in touch in the run-offs, but the 1-litre BMW powered version of the dynamic Robert Kenrick almost proved to be his nemesis throughout. It's become almost commonplace for the Welshman to break his own class record on successive qualifying runs and he matched Spedding's feat by doing it yet again. In the opening shoot-out, the clocks showed a time good enough for fourth place ahead of his rival, but he'd pushed that fraction too hard at the notorious Quarry Corner just before the finish line. The Raptor's wheels crossed the line marking the track limits on the tarmac run-off area, and the run was discounted. But he soon made up for that. Qualifying top (in a 1-litre car, mind) for the closing shoot-out, he then beat Spedding to take fourth place officially, closing to within one hundredth of a second of the third placed Summers.
Next up, Barbon battlers Dave Uren and Will Hall fared less well than they had the previous day. Uren was a little off the pace of the leaders and despite qualifying second for the closing shoot-out, had difficulty in starting the Gould-NME, which eventually had to be push started after a long delay. Behind him in each run-off, Hall had an anti-roll bar link break during successive run-offs, possibly because each time he'd run wide at the tricky Clark's right-hander after the start. Eighth in the second run-off ahead of Johnathen Varley, Paul Haimes was pleased with his first points in what has so far proved to be another difficult season with the turbocharged GR59-Suzuki - and particularly so as Varley and his Predator-BDG had just relieved the former Dallara driver of his 2-litre normally aspirated class record that had stood for no less than nine years!
Having got the Empire running again after his Barbon starter motor problems, Matt Ryder made the cut each time, chasing Les Mutch home for eighth place in the opening shoot-out to head off the now ever-present James Baxter and final points scorer Eynon Price. The order was the same in the late afternoon, only this time it was Ryder that bagged the final point.
Although just off run-off pace, Nicola Menzies ended a successful weekend in the Gould-NME by setting a new Harewood ladies' record, her 53.03 sec run almost half a second quicker than previous holder Sue Young's time set in 2014.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 47.81s (hill record)
Championship run-off, round 17: 1 Menzies 47.81s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 48.37s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 48.59s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 48.80s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 49.24s; 6 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 50.26s; 7 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 51.18s; 8 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 51.71s; 9 James Baxter (2.5 Gould-Cosworth/Opel KF GR55) 52.06s; 10 Eynon Price (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) 52.98s; 11 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 55.72s; Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) Fail.
Championship run-off, round 18: 1 Menzies 48.07s; 2 Willis 48.83s; 3 Summers 49.05s; 4 Kenrick 49.06s; 5 Spedding 49.15s; 6 Uren 49.64s; 7 Hall 50.73s; 8 Haimes 50.89s; 9 Varley 51.29s; 19 Ryder 51.73s; 11 Baxter 52.36s; 12 Price 52.65s.
Championship positions after round 18: 1 Wallace Menzies 159pts; 2 Summers 132; 3 Spedding 117; 4 Uren 112; 5 Willis 87; 6 Hall 79; 7 Scott Moran 78; 8 Sean Gould 45; 9 Kenrick 39; 10 Jason Mourant 33; etc.
Wallace Menzies was on top form at Harewood (AMM-Photography)
Trevor Willis enjoyed a welcome return to form (AMM-Photography)
Robert Kenrick harried the big single seaters all day (AMM-Photography)
Even Harewood ace Richard Spedding eventually had to give best to the flying Kenrick (AMM-Photography)
HALL ON TOP AT BARBON
Event 8 at Barbon Manor on 06/07/2019
In re-run of his comeback success in the car at Gurston in May, Will Hall stormed the Force-AER to a run-off win and FTD when the BHC circus travelled to Barbon for the start of the busiest weekend of the season. His winning shot came at the end of the closing shoot-out, following an epic opening run-off duel with Dave Uren that echoed their June Shelsley battle last year. This time the result went in Uren's favour as he snatched the win in his Gould-NME by that same hundredth of a second margin. Wallace Menzies kept a watching brief in third place, shadowed by his 2019 rival Alex Summers. But in the final shoot-out the tables were turned as Summers, despite the Firestorm V6's slight power disadvantage on the short, sharp Cumbrian blast, edged Menzies down to third ahead of Uren to run just eight hundredths shy of Hall's FTD. So once again, with most of the opposition scrapping for the minor placings it was Menzies and Summers that retained a firm hold on the championship.
The expected challenge from Sean Gould ended during first practice, when a sudden tyre deflation due to a cracked wheel rim sent the GR59 skating off after Crabtree where it sustained enough damage to sideline the car for the weekend.
Richard Spedding, driving a later version of the car in which Jos Goodyear set the hill record four years ago, headed the chasing pack with fifth place each time in his supercharged Raptor 2 to maintain a narrow third place advantage over the flying Uren on the series table. He was chased home each time by Robert Kenrick who, true to form, qualified each time with successive class records, but this time narrowly failing to match them in the run-off itself. Next up in the opening shoot-out, seventh place was only the start of another dire day for Trevor Willis after he found neutral at Lafone Hairpin. He got no farther than Crabtree in the second stanza, spinning the OMS V8 out of the points altogether. His place behind Kenrick was taken by Nicola Menzies, delighted to have scored in both run-offs with the Gould-NME for her best combined result of the year.
Edging in front of Nicola by three hundredths in round 15, James Baxter continued his successful season in the ex.Marsh/Wiltshire Gould V6 with his fourth scoring shot of the year. Lee Griffiths got his now normally aspirated, but larger engined OMS-Suzuki into the points for the first time this season with eighth place at the end ahead of Steve Marr, who was sharing Spedding's Raptor for the weekend. The final points scorer was Kelvin Broad, tenth each time as he, too, got his first 2019 points on the board in the Force TA. Non-scorers in the opening shoot-out were Dave Warburton and Eynon Price, while Matt Ryder qualified the Empire Evo2 for the second run-off but withdrew with starter motor problems.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Barbon Manor
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 20.71s
Championship run-off, round 15: 1 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 20.84s; 2 Hall 20.85s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 21.20s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 21.23s; 5 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 21.51s; 6 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 22.13s; 7 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 22.58s; 8 James Baxter (2.5 Gould-Cosworth/Opel KF GR55) 22.68s; 9 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 22.71s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Force-Suzuki TA) 22.95s; 11 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 23.21s; 12 Eynon Price (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) 23.35s.
Championship run-off, round 16: 1 Hall 20.71s; 2 Summers 20.79s; 3 Wallace Menzies 21.02s; 4 Uren 21.13s; 5 Spedding 21.31s; 6 Kenrick 21.95s; 7 Nicola Menzies 22.67s; 8 Lee Griffiths (1.7 OMS-Suzuki 25) 23.32s; 9 Steve Marr (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 23.49s; 10 Broad 24.55s; Willis DNF; Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) DNS.
Championship positions after round 16: 1 Wallace Menzies 137pts; 2 Summers 115; 3 Spedding 104; 4 Uren 101; 5 Scott Moran 78; 6= Hall and Willis 70; 8 Sean Gould 45; 9 Jason Mourant 33; 10 Kenrick 32; etc.
Will Hall and the Force-AER were back on top form at Barbon (whitedogmotorsportphotography.co.uk)
Alex Summers harried the front runners to consolidate his second place on the series table (whitedogmotorsportphotography.co.uk)
Dave Uren took his second run-off win of the season (whitedogmotorsportphotography.co.uk)
James Baxter was in the points again with the V6 Gould (whitedogmotorsportsphotography.co.uk)
Event 7 at Doune on 16/06/2019
With two straight run-off wins in changeable conditions at Doune. Sean Gould demonstrated the potential of his new Judd V8 powered GR59J. Running slicks on a damp track, he''d qualified only sixth for the opening run-off, but as conditions dried he laid down what would remain as best time of the day in the shoot-out itself. His 35.56 was the fastest winning run-off time at Doune for three years. A top qualifying shot for the final shoot-out played into his hands as the final runner on a rapidly drying track, following a heavy shower just before the twelve runners emerged. This favoured the faster qualifiers, including championship leader Wallace Menzies. After his sixth place finish earlier on, the Scot set a time four tenths shy of the eventual winner to take second place. His series rival Alex Summers, despite having closed to within two tenths of the winning time in the opening shoot-out, ''just didn''t drive the hill well'' in the final bout. A lowly seventh place finish for the Firestorm V6 driver meant that Menzies stretched his series lead to a commanding 22 points.
His Force-AER back on song after the problems at Shelsley, Will Hall had qualified second for the first run-off, but running wide at Junction and East Brae in the shoot-out itself cost him vital tenths. Richard Spedding took full advantage and slipped past into third place with a 35.81 that was over a second faster than his class record - and could have been even quicker if his supercharged Raptor-Suzuki had not clipped the verge at the last left-hander. After breaking his record officially in Q2 Spedding took another third place in the closing run-off, just eight hundredths behind Menzies, which moved the Shelsley Walsh winner up to third overall in the championship standings. A poor qualifier for Hall had left him facing the wetter conditions and he had to be content with fifth place in the final shoot-out.
Trevor Willis also ran wide at Junction in the first run-off and finished sixth, but he took advantage of a fourth place qualifier in the afternoon and in the drying conditions, matched the position in the run-off. The defending champion''s total score, though, is still only just over half that of the championship leader ...
With what he described as a ''scary'' 37.46, David Warburton set a new personal best in the opener just ahead of Dave Uren, who was off the front-running pace all weekend. Pleased that he still had four wheels attached at the end, Uren settled for two eighth places. Warburton failed to match his earlier pace in the later damp conditions, but still improved to sixth place to not only score his best combined result of the year, but to ensure that three Gould GR59s finished in the top six in round 14. Also having his best weekend of the year with two ninth place finishes in the Predator-BDG, Johnathen Varley ran nearly a second below his class record pace in the drier opening run-off before officially lowering the mark on his second qualifying run.
The sensation of first qualifying was a new ladies’ hill record for Olivia Cooper, who took it below 41 seconds for the first time. In the run-off itself, she lost out to the previous record holder Nicola Menzies as both ran unofficially inside the old record. However both just missed the final point as Harry Pick, who scored for the first time this year in the 1-litre OMS 3000M.
Qualifying for the second run off, on a (temporarily) dry track was highlighted by Nicola regaining her record, lowering Olivia''s mark by another 0.18 secs to 40.70s. Gear selection problems towards the end of her run left Olivia unable to respond. In the heavy shower before the second run-off, early runners Nicola Menzies and Steve Marr had the worst of the conditions and failed to score while Les Mutch, who had knocked off the Raptor''s master switch in first qualifying, picked up the final point.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Doune
FTD: Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 35.56s
Championship run-off, round 13: 1 Gould 35.56s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 35.76s; 3 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 35.81s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.21s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 36.40s; 6 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 37.23s; 7 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.46s; 8 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 37.50s; 9 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 38.39s; 10 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 40.73s; 11 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 40.93s; 12 Olivia Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 40.95s.
Championship run-off, round 14: 1 Gould 37.41s; 2 Wallace Menzies 37.80s; 3 Spedding 37.88s; 4 Willis 38.32s; 5 Hall 38.79s; 6 Warburton 39.52s; 7 Summers 39.68s; 8 Uren 42.17s; 9 Varley 42.83s; 10 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 44.04s; 11 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 47.34s; 12 Nicola Menzies 49.41s.
Championship positions after round 14: 1 Wallace Menzies 121pts; 2 Summers 99; 3 Spedding 92; 4 Uren 84; 5 Scott Moran 78; 6 Willis 66; 7 Hall 51; 8 Gould 45; 9 Jason Mourant 33; 10 Robert Kenrick 22; etc.
Sean Gould dominated the Doune weekend in his new Gould-Judd (David Baxter)
Class record breaker Richard Spedding moved into a championship third place with two podium run-off finishes (David Baxter)
Wallace Menzies chased the winner home in the second run-off to extend his championship lead (David Baxter)
In a battle with Olivia Cooper, Nicola Menzies lost, then regained, her Doune ladies' record (David Baxter)
Event 6 at Shelsley Walsh on 02/06/2019
Just six hundredths of a second stood between Alex Summers and his first win of the year as the British Championship leaders slugged it out during the opening run-off. On a Shelsley track still wet after a midday rain shower, series leader Wallace Menzies put the power of his Gould-Cosworth down on the blast to the finish to snatch the win, and when the power deficit of Summers' Firestorm V6 on a dry track in the final shoot-out left him fighting for fifth place, two hundredths clear of Trevor Willis, a mere podium finish for Menzies was enough to stretch his series lead over the 2015 champion to 20 points.
The big V8s, traditionally dominant at Shelsley, were given a wake-up call when Richard Spedding qualified the bike-engined Raptor top of the pile for the second run-off. After a determined charge into the Esses the Yorkshireman kept up the momentum to grab FTD, beating Dave Uren for victory by the same microscopic winning margin that we'd seen in the opening run-off. With four different cars involved, it served to demonstrate the high level of competition in this year's championship. Uren's ex.Groves Gould-NME, still the holder of the Shelsley record set eleven years ago, had enjoyed mixed fortunes over the weekend. Dave had set the pace in Saturday's dry practice before ending up over the Esses banking in Sunday morning's session in the wet. Then a loose wheel scuppered co-driver Nicola Menzies' opening class run. But she made it into the second run-off while two podium places for Uren moved him up to third overall in the championship. He'd levelled with Scott Moran after two mid-field finishes by the 6-times champion, who is unlikely to be seen again until the August Shelsley, which will leave Uren and Spedding very much in the championship chase.
Defending champ Trevor Willis had another indifferent result; despite wringing the neck of his OMS V8 in spectacular fashion, with only fifth and sixth places he still has a lot of ground to make up. Poor Will Hall, who after being runner-up last year had every hope of challenging for this year's title, fared much worse. After a promising return in his Force-AER the previous weekend, engine management problems drastically slowed the Gurston outright winner not only on his first run-off shot but on his second qualifier. The result - no points. 'I can't win it now', said a despondent Hall, who now has a fortnight to try and rectify the problem before the next rounds at Doune. Another significant retirement was Sean Gould, who also failed to increase his points score after the Gould-Judd retired with driveshaft problems during the opening run-off.
It was a much better day for James Baxter, the ERA driver getting his ex.Marsh/Wiltshire Gould V6 into the points each time having only driven it at Shelsley once before, in 2018. Zach Zammit, too, had a good weekend in the 1600cc Empire Wraith, also scoring points each time after winning his class and bagging the Midland Championship Man of the Meeting award for the second time this year. Having lost out to Zammit on aggregate for the class win, Dave Warburton redressed the balance in the second run-off by edging him out of eighth place in the closing run-off, where the only 1-litre car was, perhaps inevitably, the Raptor-BMW of Robert Kenrick, who finished seventh in the closing run-off.
Margins were tight throughout the field at Shelsley, John Chalmers in his turbocharged Ralt confining Johnathen Varley's Predator-BDG to tenth place in the first run-off by four hundredths, Varley finally sorting early season problems to score his first British point of the year. After a late entry into the championship, Terry Graves also made the cut in round 12 aboard his 'spare' car, the now almost vintage Gould-DFR GR37.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh
FTD: Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 23.88s
Championship run-off, round 11: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 25.02s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 25.07s; 3 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 25.20s; 4 Spedding 25.32s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 25.74s; 6 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 26.49s; 7 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 26.72s; 8 James Baxter (2.5 Gould-Cosworth/Opel KF GR55) 27.98s; 9 John Chalmers (1.4t Ralt-Suzuki F302) 28.17s; 10 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 28.21s; 11 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 33.91s; 12 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 45.44s.
Championship run-off, round 12: 1 Spedding 23.88s; 2 Uren 23.93s; 3 Wallace Menzies 24.07s; 4 Moran 24.34s; 5 Summers 24.49s; 6 Willis 24.51s; 7 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 25.31s; 8 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 25.65s; 9 Zammit 25.89s; 10 Baxter 26.07s; 11 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 26.34s; 12 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth DFR GR37) 26.53s.
Championship positions after round 12: 1 Menzies 106pts; 2 Summers 86; 3= Moran and Uren 78; 5 Spedding 76; 6 Willis 54; 7 Hall 38; 8 Jason Mourant 33; 9 Gould 25; 10 Kenrick 22; etc.
Richard Spedding set the outright pace on the last run of the day (John Hallett)
With his fourth run-off win of the year, Wallace Menzies remains firmly in charge of the championship (John Hallett)
Yet to win a 2019 run-off, Alex Summers hangs on to his series second place (John Hallett)
Dave Uren is moving inexorably up the championship table (John Hallett)
HALL WINS AND SPINS
Event 5 at Gurston Down on 26/05/2019
In an impressive 2019 debut for his re-engined Force-AER, Will Hall won the opening British run-off at the championship's first visit of the season to Gurston Down. Then, with the fastest run of the day, he qualified top for the afternoon shoot-out. But on his final bid for points, with light drizzle making things awkward for the later runners, a spin in the middle of Karousel put paid to his chances of a run-off double. 'I was annoyed with myself,' he said, 'I knew track conditions were tricky.' Even run-off winner Scott Moran admitted that he 'nearly threw it all away' at one point, but with times only slightly slower than the morning run-off, held in perfect conditions, the finale was still a mightily close run affair as less than half a second covered the top seven runners. In fact a mere three hundredths blanketed Moran's chasing trio; series leader Wallace Menzies, his main rival Alex Summers and Sean Gould in his increasingly competitive new GR59-Judd.
Runner-up each time, Menzies stretched his championship lead over the consistent Summers' Firestorm V6 to 17 points, the Scot's potent Gould-Cosworth V8 maintaining its reputation for raw speed at Gurston with repeated attacks on Hollow Bend at over 140mph and 150-plus passes through the finish beam. Gould's GR59, with its 670bhp Judd DB4 V8, was even quicker, even a lurid high-speed moment under braking for Karousel during the opening shoot-out failing to prevent a pair of fourth place finishes for the car's constructor. Down on power at this high speed venue compared to the big V8s, neither Summers nor Trevor Willis could match the leaders' speed trap figures, the defending champion's two midfield placings blunting his efforts to recover from his poor start to the season. Richard Spedding fared even worse, the Harewood run-off winner finding himself bumped from third to fifth place on the table as 'part-timer' Moran and the ever-present Dave Uren elbowed past.
Having unofficially dispatched Rob Barksfield's 15-year-old 1100cc racing class record during practice, Robert Kenrick and the 1-litre Raptor-BMW then made it official during the opening class runs to become the sole class representative in the opening run-off, True to his scintillating 2018 form, he then carved another couple of tenths off his record time in the closing shoot-out to keep himself in the championship top ten. With two points scoring finishes during the day, Gould-NME driver Nicola Menzies levelled with David Warburton on a championship eleventh place, although Warburton's chances of scoring on the day were scuppered when his GR59-Suzuki's gearbox failed on the startline during the morning run-off. Seconds earlier, Graham Wynn's points bid in his V8 version had come to naught when, with launch control engaged, the car stalled off the line. He relied on a 'manual' start in the afternoon but failed to make the cut.
Both Simon Andrews and Bernie Kevill made the closing run-off in their OMS-TKD SV8, making it a British run-off first for Terry Davis's bike-based V8 engines. Hall's last run spin let Andrews into the points, although Kevill just missed out.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down
FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 26.03s
Championship run-off, round 9: 1 Hall 26.44s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 26.73s; 3 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 26.90s; 4 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 27.03s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 27.13s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 27.26s; 7 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 27.27s; 8 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 27.30s; 9 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 28.53s; 10 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 28.94s; 11 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd GRW59) DNF; David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNS.
Championship run-off, round 10: 1 Moran 27.07s; 2 Wallace Menzies 27.15s; 3 Summers 27.17s; 4 Gould 27.18s; 5 Willis 27.32s; 6 Spedding 27.48s; 7 Uren 27.52; 8 Kenrick 28.15s; 9 Nicola Menzies 28.40s; 10 Simon Andrews (2.6 OMS-TKD SV8 28) 29.43s; 11 Bernard Kevill (2.6 OMS-TKD SV8 28) 30.02s; Hall DNF.British Championship positions after round 10: 1 Wallace Menzies 88pts; 2 Summers 71; 3 Moran 66; 4 Uren 61; 5 Spedding 59; 6 Willis 43; 7 Hall 38; 8 Jason Mourant 33; 9 Gould 25; 10 Kenrick 18; etc
Will Hall's re-engined Force-AER flew in an impressive 2019 debut (Ian Beard)
'Part-timer' Scott Moran continued to harry the championship front-runners (Ian Beard)
Wallace Menzies maintained his high speed Gurston form (Ian Beard)
The new GR59-Judd of Sean Gould is becoming increasingly competitive (Ian Beard)
WILLIS BACK ON TOP
Event 4 at Harewood on 12/05/2019
Trevor Willis was right back on form at Harewood, winning the opening run-off in a time just four hundredths away from his own hill record, snatched away from Richard Spedding during their epic duel last July. Local hero Spedding exacted partial revenge in the second run-off, a near perfect launch propelling the supercharged Raptor into a lead which he held to the end to demote Willis to second place, although neither had matched their earlier times. It was enough to move the Yorkshireman up to third overall in the series, but after a poor start to the season which included four rounds without a score, Willis, now 37 points behind championship leader Wallace Menzies, still has quite a hill to climb with almost a quarter of the championship already run.
Menzies himself still has a clear series lead, despite a relatively indifferent showing at Harewood. Top qualifier for each of the two shoot-outs, he negated his advantage on the first as the mighty Gould-Cosworth's wheels spun furiously on launch. Slow out of the blocks on the second, this too was not the best of runs but despite two fourth places he maintained his 12-point series cushion over Alex Summers. Third in the opening run-off, six hundredths behind Scott Moran, the Firestorm V6 slipped to fifth in the closing bout. Moran, too, had mixed fortunes for after trailing the winner early on, his pace seemed to slacken out of Willow in the afternoon and he had to settle for sixth in a nonetheless competitive second shoot-out, in which just threequarters of a second covered the top half-dozen.
Craigantlet ace Dave Uren's fifth place in the opening bout improved to third place later, but even with this recovery, he found himself sharing his third place on the series table with Spedding after another stunning Harewood display by the Yorkshireman. Jason Mourant was seventh each time in the Gould-Judd, chased in the opening shoot-out by Robert Kenrick and David Warburton's Gould-Suzuki, which subsequently retired after a leak which was spraying oil on to a rear tyre. Almost inevitably, Kenrick then upped his pace to qualify third fastest for round eight with a new class record, but in the run-off a slide at Country in his 1-litre Raptor lost time before a desperate lunge at the left-hand swerve before Orchard led to a brief off-course moment that ended his challenge. After electronic problems in practice, Sean Gould made the second cut in the GR59-Judd to close in on Mourant, eighth place giving him enough points to keep the new car in the championship top ten. Almost a second adrift, Les Mutch followed Gould home in his sole run-off appearance of the day while rounding off the scorers was Huddersfield's self-styled 'vintage car fettler' James Baxter, the sometime ERA driver delighted to score his first British point in the ex.Marsh/Wiltshire Gould-Cosworth V6.
Another first-time scorer was Andy Greenan, who joined his brother Adam in their Empire Evo 2 to contest the opening run-off and edged him out of the final point, Adam finishing just three hundredths clear of 1100cc classmate Eynon Price. A spin at Quarry in second qualifying kept Adam out of the second shoot-out, but Andy was back, although not in the points. And of the big hitters, Will Hall was conspicuous by his absence following suspected engine management problems during Saturday's practice in Graham Wynn's Gould-Cosworth HB. With a reappearance of his Force-AER at Gurston in a fortnight now looking unlikely, fingers are crossed that the GR55's ex.F1 V8 can be sorted in time.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood
FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 48.33s
Championship run-off, round 7: 1 Willis 48.33s; 2 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 48.98s; 3 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 49.14s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 49.50s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 49.64s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 50.09s; 7 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 50.14s; 8 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 51.01s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 51.40s; 10 Andrew Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 52.00s; 11 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 52.20s; 12 Eynon Price (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) 52.23s.
Championship run-off, round 8: 1 Spedding 48.73s; 2 Willis 48.99s; 3 Uren 49.10s; 4 Menzies 49.14s; 5 Summers 49.32s; 6 Moran 49.51s; 7 Mourant 50.55s; 8 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 50.86s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 51.70s; 10 James Baxter (2.5 Gould-Cosworth/Opel KF GR55) 52.21s; 11 Andrew Greenan 54.06s; 12 Kenrick 59.86s.
British Championship positions after round 8: 1 Menzies 70pts; 2 Summers 58; 3= Spedding and Uren 51; 5 Moran 48; 6= Mourant and Willis 33; 8 Will Hall 28; 9 Kenrick 14; 10 Gould 11; etc.
Trevor Willis was back on form with another Harewood FTD (Steve Wilkinson)
Scott Moran chased Willis home in the opening shoot-out (Steve Wilkinson)
Robert Kenrick was back among the big hitters after another new class record (Steve Wilkinson)
Vintage car racer James Baxter made his British run-off debut (Steve Wilkinson)
MENZIES LEADS, BUT UREN SETS THE PACE
Event 3 at Craigantlet on 04/05/2019
Wallace Menzies stretched his lead in the British Hillclimb Championship to twelve points after a run-off second place and a win, his third of the year, at Craigantlet. Dave Uren pushed him hardest on the Belfast road course, snatching the fifth win of his BHC career to beat Menzies by nine hundredths in the opening run-off. He edged out the Scot to qualify fastest each time, his second qualifier matching the absent Scott Moran's 2016 hill record to set the outright pace for the day. He'd equalled the time, but not managed to beat it: 'Scottie haunts you even when he's not here!' he joked afterwards. Uren had to give best to the championship leader in the second shoot-out, by just over three tenths, but with his best combined performance of the year so far he moved up to third place on the series table. Six-time champion Moran's absence from the fray proved costly as he slumped from second place to fifth in the overall standings. Also not making the Ulster trip, following his problems at Prescott the previous weekend, was Trevor Willis. The defending champion is now back in eighth place in a series which, so far at least, cannot be counted among his best.
On a day when a record 19 out of 22 British Championship entrants (an all-time record for Craigantlet) made the trip, two podium finishes in the V6 Firestorm, shared in Ireland with his mother Lindsay, moved Alex Summers up to a firm second place on the series table. Behind the 2015 champion in each run-off, Richard Spedding and Jason Mourant exchanged fourth place finishes to confine Will Hall, still at the wheel of Graham Wynn's Gould-Cosworth, to sixth each time. After much work on his new cars amid a hectic run of four British Championship events on consecutive weekends, Sean Gould chased Hall home on both runs. He was delighted to see both his, and Graham Wynn's, Gould-Judd GR59s finally make the cut for a British run-off on the cars' third appearance, particularly as Sean had not been to Craigantlet for around thirty years. Back then, he'd driven the first of the line, his father David's ground-breaking Gould-Hart 84G. Behind Gould in the opening shoot-out, Wynn brought the sister car home eighth although he was edged out of the place by five hundredths in the second bout by Nicola Menzies, one of six drivers who had begun the opening run-off without a point on the scoreboard.
Darren Gumbley opened his 2019 account with two tenth places in the 1-litre Force-Suzuki TA and of the non-scorers, Les Mutch finished just out of the points each time in his Raptor and Liam Cooper made his British run-off debut in the 1600cc Force TA in the opening shoot-out, although he was bumped out of the second one by Steve Marr, at the wheel of Richard Spedding's supercharged Raptor. With Harewood coming up on the agenda next weekend, championship contenders then get a well earned break before Gurston a fortnight later.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Craigantlet
FTD: Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 39.12s
Championship run-off, round 5: 1 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 39.43s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 39.52s; 3 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 40.00; 4 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 40.24s; 5 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 40.32s; 6 Will Hall (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55)) 40.38s; 7 Sean Gould (4.0 Gould-Judd DB4 GR59J) 42.24s; 8 Graham Wynn (4.0 Gould-Judd GRW59) 43.76s; 9 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 44.54s; 10 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 45.39s; 11 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 45.60s; 12 Liam Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 47.64s.
Championship run-off, round 6: 1 Wallace Menzies 39.19s; 2 Uren 39.52s; 3 Summers 39.84s; 4 Spedding 40.03s; 5 Mourant 40.42s; 6 Hall 40.69s; 7 Gould 41.46s; 8 Nicola Menzies 44.36s; 9 Wynn 44.41s; 10 Gumbley 44.66s; 11 Mutch 45.66s; 12 Steve Marr (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 46.66s.
British Championship positions after round 6: 1 Menzies 56pts; 2 Summers 44; 3 Uren 37; 4 Spedding 36; 5 Scott Moran 34; 6 Hall 28; 7 Mourant 25; 8 Trevor Willis 14; 9 Robert Kenrick 11; 10 Gould 8; etc.
Wallace Menzies extended his championship lead (Tim Wilson)
Dave Uren equalled Scott Moran's hill record (Sam Baird)
Alex Summers took over second place on the series table (Sam Baird)
Sean Gould scored the first British points for his new GR59-Judd (Tim Wilson)
MENZIES MAINTAINS MOMENTUM
Event 2 at Prescott on 28/04/2019
Wallace Menzies increased his British Championship lead to three points, taking FTD and the second run-off win in a day of hot competition at a bitterly cold Prescott. 'I've never known such a competitive weekend,' said Wallace after two run-offs which had each seen the top six finishers - half the field - covered by half a second. But dramatically, defending champion Trevor Willis failed to figure in either after skating into the barrier at Pardon Hairpin during the opening run-off and damaging the OMS-RPE's front suspension. 'The car just pushed straight on when I put the power on out of the corner' he said. 'There was nothing I could do. Unfortunately I didn't have any spares with me.'
Menzies had brought his Gould-Cosworth home third in the opening bout, a tenth of a second behind winner Scott Moran, who in turn was pushed hard by Richard Spedding, determined to make up for his problems at Loton Park the previous weekend. The Yorkshireman closed his nimble, bike-engined GWR Raptor to within four hundredths of the 6-times champion's V8 Gould. But in a frantic closing shoot-out that saw the top three covered by just six hundredths of a second, Spedding bumped Moran to fourth by a couple of tenths as Dave Uren, equally determined to make up for missing a run-off at Loton, edged the Raptor down to third place - and third FTD - by a hundredth of a second in his ex.Groves GR55B. In championship terms, the battle up front is still between Menzies and Moran, but with Scott not contemplating a full season, how long will it continue?
Waiting in the wings is Alex Summers, in third place overall but six points adrift of Moran on the series table in his V6 Firestorm after running fourth in the opening shoot-out. After running just three hundredths behind the 2015 champion in a hard fought opening bout, Robert Kenrick, back on top form in the devastatingly quick 1-litre Raptor after breaking his own class record in qualifying, edged Summers out of the top six in an equally hard fought closing shoot-out. His record would be the only one of the day, putting the rapid Welshman in the frame for a second successive Prescott Gold Cup award.
Will Hall continued his early season campaign at the wheel of Graham Wynn's Gould HB V8, maintaining his fifth place on the table after joining the fleet top half-dozen in round four. Jason Mourant gained a place on the series table with eighth and seventh in the Gould-Judd. He was pursued by Zach Zammit in round four, the former Maltese hillclimb champion having improved his placing on each of three successive run-off appearances in his new Empire Wraith-Suzuki, and the 1600cc class winner earned the Moran Motorhomes Man of the Meeting award for his day's work. In the points each time with the only 1-litre car apart from Kenrick's, Eynon Price swapped places with Zammit in his Force TA, edging Matthew Ryder's 1600cc Empire-Suzuki out of the points in the final shoot-out, where Simon Moyse's challenge came to nought when his supercharged Gould-Suzuki slowed dramatically with an electronic glitch that had dogged the car all weekend. Dave Warburton's off at SemiCircle during the opening run-off proved costly. Despite sterling efforts to repair the ex-works Gould-Suzuki, he was unable to make the afternoon runs and dropped four places to tenth on the series table.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott
FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 36.86s
Championship run-off, round 3: 1 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 37.14s; 2 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 37.18s; 3 Menzies 37.24s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 37.45s; 5 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 37.48s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 37.57s; 7 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 38.50s; 8 Will Hall (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 39.16s; 9 Eynon Price (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) 39.20s; 10 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 39.53s; David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF; Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 4: 1 Menzies 36.86s; 2 Uren 36.91s; 3 Spedding 36.92s; 4 Moran 37.13s; 5 Hall 37.23s; 6 Kenrick 37.39s; 7 Summers 37.45s; 8 Mourant 37.86s; 9 Zammit 38.64s; 10 Price 39.48s; 11 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 39.91s; 12 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 77.90s.
Championship positions after round 4: 1 Menzies 37pts; 2 Moran 34; 3 Summers 28; 4 Spedding 23; 5= Hall and Uren 18; 7 Willis 14; 8 Mourant 12; 9 Kenrick 11; 10 Warburton 7; etc.
Fastest overall on the day, Wallace Menzies stretched his cjampionship lead with another run-off win (John Hallett)
Richard Spedding was back in contention with second and third run-off placings (John Hallett)
Dave Uren pushed winner Menzies hard in the second run-off (John Hallett)
Robert Kenrick was back on form with a class record and two mid-field run-off placings (John Hallett)
MORAN SETS THE PACE - MENZIES LEADS THE WAY
Event 1 at Loton Park on 21/04/2019
Chased by Wallace Menzies, Scott Moran set FTD on his home hill to win the opening Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments British Hillclimb run-off of the year at Loton Park. Menzies ran within half a second of the six-times champion's low 44, storming his Gould-Cosworth GR59 to the second run-off win to leave Loton Park with a two point championship lead. Moran, denying any intention of a serious 2019 campaign aboard his all-conquering GR61X, left the Shropshire venue with joint second place on the table, a slight mistake on the lower reaches leaving him fourth in a closing shoot-out that saw the top four all in the 44 second bracket.
After third and second place finishes in his DJ Firestorm V6, Alex Summers ended the day tied with Moran on the championship table. He was running the new Pirelli tyres which, in a promising hillclimb debut having already had success in British sprinting, were also being used by defending BHC champion Trevor Willis. The defending champion was shaking down a new Sadev gearbox on his V8 OMS 28-RPE and adapting to the car's consequent different handling characteristics. He improved from fifth place in the opening run-off to a hard-worked third at the end, netting a top four championship place as a result.
Following a blow-up in testing at Curborough, the rebuilt AER turbo in Will Hall's Force is not expected to be ready before Gurston at the end of May, So for the first four BHC events, last year's championship runner-up is driving Graham Wynn's Gould-HB GR55 while the championship co-sponsor concentrates on his new Gould-Judd GR59. Hall was finding the big V8 a totally different proposition to his own car, yet managed to haul it into fourth place in the opening run-off. Despite a somewhat tardier ninth place later on, he kept his all-important score on the boil to leave Loton in a championship fifth place.
Sixth on the table and top 1600cc contender was Dave Warburton in his GR59-Suzuki. In a day-long battle with Matthew Ryder's Empire-Suzuki, the rocket starting Evo 2 launching in 1.77sec on a day when 1.8s were commonplace in the warm conditions, both made the run-off cut each time with Warburton grabbing a one point advantage by the end of the day. Tied with Ryder on the table after a weekend of mixed fortunes was Richard Spedding. The Yorkshireman had set the outright pace in practice, only to skate straight on at Fallow with brake problems and miss the cut for the opening run-off. He qualified the supercharged Raptor-Suzuki second for the closing run-off, in which he set a time good enough for second place only to fall foul of a new Loton Park regulation stating that any competitor hitting a plastic marker post and causing a red flag to be shown would incur a one second penalty. After mowing down a post on the apex of Keepers, Spedding's subsequent penalty converted his second place to fifth.
Another hard luck story befel Robert Kenrick who, after running the 1-litre Raptor-BMW sixth overall in practice, went straight on at Museum in the opening shoot-out to the detriment of the car's nose and front wing. A spare unit borrowed from Les Mutch got him out later on, but despite an all-out effort the Welshman finished out of the points. Jason Mourant's run-off opener was aborted when the Gould's Judd V8 lost oil pressure due to surge, but the Jerseyman was out in the afternoon and salvaged sixth place. Dave Uren recovered from a spin at Fletcher's during morning qualifying to bring the Gould-NME home seventh on his sole run-off shot, while in the opening run-off, forced induction class rivals Simon Moyse and John Chalmers scrapped over eighth place with Moyse's GR59 getting the edge while later, Zach Zammit survived a practice upset in his new Empire Wraith to make the second cut, although finishing out of the points.
Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park
Championship run-off, round 1: 1 Moran 44.36s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 44.75s; 3 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 45.05s; 4 Will Hall (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 46.15s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 46.24s; 6 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 46.36s; 7 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 47.10s; 8 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 47.55s; 9 John Chalmers (1.4t Ralt-Suzuki F302) 47.87s; 10 Eynon Price (1.0 Force-Suzuki TA) 48.54s; 11 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) DNF; 12 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) DNF.
Championship run-off, round 2: 1 Menzies 44.43s; 2 Summers 44.83s; 3 Willis 44.97s; 4 Moran 44.99s; 5 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor 2-Suzuki) 45.59s; 6 Mourant 45.87s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 45.92s; 8 Warburton 46.45s; 9 Hall 46.91s; 10 Ryder 46.94s; 11 Kenrick 48.11s; 12 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 48.59s.Championship positions after round 2: 1 Menzies 19pts; 2= Moran and Summers 17; 4 Willis 14; 5 Hall 9; 6 Warburton 7; 7= Ryder and Spedding 6; 9 Mourant 5; 10 Uren 4; etc.
'Lotonmeister' Scott Moran set the outright pace (John Hallett)
Wallace Menzies leads the championship after rounds one and two (John Hallett)
Alex Summers gave the new Pirelli tyres a successful hillclimb debut (John Hallett)
Rocket starts propelled Matthew Ryder into both run-offs (John Hallett)
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