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BRITISH HILLCLIMB REPORTS

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FORCE MAJEURE


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


REPEAT PERFORMANCE


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)


MENZIES MOTORS!


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)


GOULD RUSH


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)


SPEDDING'S SHELSLEY


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)


TREVOR'S TITLE


Event 17 at Loton Park on 23/09/2018

In a last-minute bid to stay in the British Championship hunt at a wet Loton Park, Will Hall skated straight on at Triangle Bend in the opening run-off and handed the 2018 title to Trevor Willis, whose fourth place finish was enough to secure a second successive British crown, the third of his career, with a round in hand. Conditions improved later, and in afternoon sunshine Wallace Menzies, second in the opening run-off and already assured of third overall in the title chase, took the final win of the year with FTD, just three hundredths ahead of Willis, for his best combined result of 2018.

'I had to go for it', said Hall, who had a similar problem in the closing shoot-out when he slid straight on at Fallow, ending the day with no score after falling victim to a gear selection problem when his Force-AER became stuck in fifth at the end of Cedar Straight. Clearly disappointed with the season's outcome, he was philosophical in defeat. 'If someone had offered me a Championship second place at the start of the season I'd have taken it' he said. 'It's been a good, competitive year,' said new champion Willis. 'Will pushed me hard all the way.'

Having taken the opening run-off win in his supercharged GWR Raptor-Suzuki, third place later on moved Richard Spedding up to a final fifth overall on the Championship table as Jason Mourant was pushed down a place for the second weekend running, the unfortunate Jerseyman failing to score yet again with the same transmission problems that had afflicted his Gould-Judd at Prescott earlier in the month. Despite a couple of mid-field finishes in his Gould-NME, Dave Uren maintained a best ever Championship finish with fourth overall. On his local hill, Scott Moran's third and fifth places were enough to secure the six-times champion a coveted 'number' for 2019 after only five run-off appearances. With the unfortunate Paul Haimes twice failing to make the cut, Moran denied the driver of the turbocharged GR59 the Championship top 10 placing that he'd held throughout the season.

After replacing the broken driveshaft that had ruled him outqualifying for the opening run-off, Alex Summers bounced back for fourth place in the closer, bringing his DJ Firestorm V6 home in an unchallenged seventh overall at the end of a season begun in the smaller bike-engined Firehawk. Joined by Debbie Dunbar in that same Firehawk in the opening run-off, Adam Greenan was the top 1100cc performer, bringing his Empire Evo 2 home in a fine fifth place in the decidedly wet morning bout and finishing eighth in much drier afternoon conditions. Of the 1600cc contenders, after a superb second place morning qualifier Dave Warburton ended in the Loggerheads outfield in the run-off itself, eventual light contact with a tree breaking the front wing mounting and putting the ex.works GR59 out of further contention. Matthew Ryder had his best weekend of the year with two ninth place finishes in his Empire Evo 2, while Zach Zammit was the most consistent 1600 runner, sixth and eighth places earning him the Moran Motorhomes Midland Man of the Meeting award. Les Mutch brought his GWR Raptor home in the points each time, the jovial Scot ending his year with ninth place on the table to the delight of constructor Graeme Wight Jr, three of whose cars finished in the Championship top ten even though the eighth placed Robert Kenrick failed to make either cut on this occasion. The Welshman did, however, end a brilliant year in his Raptor-BMW as not only the top 1100 racer in the British Championship, but also by taking both the Leaders and Midland Hillclimb titles.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 48.09s

Championship run-off, round 33: 1 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 51.45s; 2 Menzies 52.08s; 3 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 52.18; 4 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 52.42s; 5 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 52.75s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 52.94s; 7 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 53.13s; 8 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 54.02s; 9 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 54.42s; 10 Debbie Dunbar (1.1 DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 54.70s; Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) DNF; David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 34: 1 Menzies 48.09s; 2 Willis 48.12s; 3 Spedding 48.70s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 50.26s; 5 Moran 50.44s; 6 Zammit 50.47s; 7 Uren 50.57s; 8 Greenan 51.36s; 9 Ryder 52.40s; 10 Mutch 53.58s; Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) DNF; Hall DNF.

Final Championship positions: 1 Willis 236pts; 2 Hall 226; 3 Menzies 203; 4 Uren 171; 5 Spedding 161; 6 Jason Mourant 157; 7 Summers 115; 8 Robert Kenrick 55; 9 Mutch 48; 10 Moran 38; etc


Titile rivals Will Hall and Trevor Willis congratulate each other after a hard fought year (Steve Wilkinson)


Third overall in the Championship, Wallace Menzies ended the season with his best combined result (Steve Wilkinson)


Richard Spedding took his second win of the year, the first in the supercharged Raptor (Steve Wilkinson)


Scott Moran made the Championship top ten after only five run-off appearances (Steve Wilkinson)


DOUNEMEISTER HALL


Event 16 at Doune on 16/09/2018

Will Hall kept his British Championship hopes alive into Loton Park's series finale with two straight wins and FTD at a damp Doune, showing his mastery of track conditions which were changing throughout the day. With only eighth and seventh place finishes, Trevor Willis failed to increase his score and Hall closed to within seven points with just two rounds remaining to turn the tables on the season-long series leader. 'The car's really working well now', said Hall. 'If only we'd had this sort of reliability throughout the season we could have given Trevor a better run for his money'. As it is, he still has a chance of snatching the title but Willis is still in the driving seat going to Loton. 'I thought I was in the barriers on that first run-off,' said Trevor after a dramatic moment in the Tunnel. And after the second shoot-out he admitted to just not going fast enough in the changing track conditions.

After qualifying second, Wallace Menzies was on top form early on, hurling the spectacular Gould-XB to the top for a second place finish early on amid a percussive fusillade from the exhaust, running just a tenth behind Hall. 'We've done a lot of work on the car this year and it's beginning to pay off,' he said. In the unpredictable conditions he qualified, and finished, only sixth in the afternoon, although still only a second away from the winner. Richard Spedding had a fine day in the now superbly performing supercharged Raptor, finishing third and second and maintaining a now unchallengeable sixth place on the series table and with an outside chance of catching the fifth placed Jason Mourant. The Jerseyman had another disappointing weekend, his Gould-Judd finishing out of the points each time. His fifth zero score in a row meant that the hard-charging Dave Uren, with seventh place followed by a strong fourth in the closing shoot-out, grabbed the fourth place on the Championship table that Mourant had held on to for so long.

Champion driver turned constructor Graeme Wight Jr was on superb form in customer Les Mutch's 1600cc Raptor. After the car's owner had brought it home fourth in the opening run-off for his best result of the year, Wight Jr showed that he was still no mean performer behind the wheel with a fine third place in the closing bout, finishing just a quarter of a second behind Spedding in the supercharged 'company flagship'. Smooth runs by former champion Alex Summers secured mid-field finishes in the DJ Firestorm V6, but an on-form Dave Warburton sneaked the ex.works GR59 past by three hundredths in the opening shoot-out.

Paul Haimes, like many others throughout the day on Doune's slippery track, survived a tap with the ever-present barriers to finish ninth in the first run-off. Tenth place later on maintained his relatively safe tenth spot on the series table. Johnathen Varley, in the now modified Predator chassis with which Wight Jr had previously won at Doune with Arrows V10 power, made the cut each time with Cosworth BDG urge, bagging the single point first time up. Olivia Cooper also made the opening run-off, albeit without score but delighted to make the cut for the second time this year in her Force TA.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Doune

FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.62s

Championship run-off, round 31: 1 Hall 38.53s; 2 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 38.65s; 3 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 39.29s; 4 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 39.84s; 5 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 39.89s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 39.92s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 40.65s; 8 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 40.67s; 9 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 41.25s; 10 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 42.35s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 42.79s; 12 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 43.10s.

Championship run-off, round 32: 1 Hall 36.62s; 2 Spedding 37.11s; 3 Graeme Wight Jr (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 37.36s; 4 Uren 37.39s; 5 Summers 37.56s; 6 Menzies 37.64s; 7 Willis 37.94s; 8 Warburton 38.00s; 9 Mutch 38.99s; 10 Haimes 39.15s; 11 Mourant 39.52s; 12 Varley 40.70s.

Championship positions after round 32: 1 Willis 233pts; 2 Hall 226; 3 Menzies 194; 4 Uren 166; 5Jason Mourant 157; 6 Spedding 143; 7 Summers 108; 8 Robert Kenrick 55; 9 Mutch 43; 10 Haimes 34; etc


Will Hall maintained his Championship challenge with two straight wins (John Crae)


Richard Spedding's Raptor displayed meteoric pace (John Crae)


A decade and a half on, Graeme Wight Jr showed just why he was a past champion (John Crae)


Wallace Menzies was on form in the Indycar powered Gould (John Crae)


WILLIS v HALL AT PRESCOTT


Event 15 at Prescott on 02/09/2018

With time running out to prevent Trevor Willis taking a third British title, Will Hall needed a good result at Prescott. His two second places were enough to keep the Force-AER driver in the hunt, but with Willis finishing third in the opening run-off and winning the closing bout with FTD, which set the outright pace for the day, with just four rounds to go the cards are still heavily stacked in Trevor's favour.

'I was pleased with that', said Willis after a rocket launch saw him clock a day's best 35.95 to win the meeting and the closing run-off. 'It was my first ever sub-36 at Prescott'. This was despite running wide at Pardon hairpin, which he made up for by astounding pace elsewhere in the OMS-RPE V8 in a performance that would also earn him the Moran Motorhomes Man of the Meeting award. It made up for his third place in an opening shoot-out so nearly won by Hall, who was a mere hundredth behind returnee Scott Moran, the six-times champion showing that he was still the 'guv'nor' despite this being only his second run-off appearance of the year. But even he had to settle for third place later on as the battle between the two championship aspirants gained momentum, kick-started by Hall's class record breaking top qualifier. But for Hall's time-wasting tailslide at Ettores, though, the outcome could have been different ...

Fourth each time, Dave Uren closed to within two points of Jason Mourant's fifth place on the Championship table after a disastrous weekend for the Jerseyman. A transmission breakage during practice saw many of his fellow competitors working until late Saturday evening to repair the damage, only for a similar failure to occur on Sunday, leaving Mourant unable to compete in either run-off. Having arrived at Prescott at 2.00am on Saturday morning after working all week on Robert Kenrick's GWR Raptor, damaged during practice for the previous weekend's abortive Gurston Down event, constructor Graeme Wight Jr's efforts were repayed as the Welshman ran at successive record pace on every run, including an incredible sub-37 during the opening run-off. Fifthon each of the shoot-outs in the 1-litre machine, he even demoted Wallace Menzies' Indycar-engined Gould to sixth each time.

Running a new dry sump system on his supercharged Raptor, Richard Spedding could only finish seventh each time despite qualifying second for the closing run-off, when he led home Les Mutch, whose own Raptor (effectively Spedding's 2017 car) he had driven for much of the season. However, Wight Jr was understandably delighted at the likely prospect of having three of his cars in the BHC top ten. Paul Haimes, too, was in line for a 'number' at the end of the season, having taken sole charge of the number ten spot following an eighth place finish in the opening run-off. He might have finished even higher had he not withdrawn the turbocharged Gould at lunchtime following dire noises from the car's transmission. Chasing him home at arms' length before lunch was 1600 racing class winner Zach Zammit, although his Empire failed to make the second cut after an accident during qualifying. His classmate David Warburton brought his GR59 home ninth in the second shootout, behind Mutch but ahead of Matthew Ryder as 1600s filled the final three points scoring places. Just out of the points was Steve Marr's 1100cc PCD Saxon, while Simon Moyse's supercharged GR59 failed to start the second shoot-out following an electrical wiring glitch. Even more unlucky was Alex Summers. Having qualified the Firestorm V6 top for the opening shoot-out, he failed to make it to the finish after hitting the barrier in the Esses, sidelining the car for the day.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott

FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 35.95s

Championship run-off, round 29: 1 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 36.38s; 2 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.39s; 3 Willis 36.66s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 36.91s; 5 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 36.96s; 6 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 37.10s; 7 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 37.27s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 37.64s; 9 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 38.21s; 10 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.45s; 11 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 39.10s; Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) DNF

Championship run-off, round 30: 1 Willis 35.95s; 2 Hall 36.22s; 3 Moran 36.44s; 4 Uren 36.75s; 5 Kenrick 37.12s; 6 Menzies 37.91s; 7 Spedding 38.02s; 8 Mutch 38.28s; 9 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.66s; 10 Ryder 39.57s; 11 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 39.62s; Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNS

Championship positions after round 30: 1 Willis 233pts; 2 Hall 209; 3 Menzies 184; 4 Jason Mourant 157; 5 Uren 155; 6 Spedding 126; 7 Summers 97; 8 Kenrick 55; 9 Mutch 34; 10 Haimes 31; etc.


Trevor Willis set the day's outright pace in the second run-off (Ian Beard)


Scott Moran returned to Prescott on winning form (Ian Beard)


A class record breaking Will Hall kept his Force in the title hunt (Ian Beard)


Robert Kenrick was on record form all day, taking fifth place in succesive run-offs (Ian Beard)


RAIN CURTAILS GURSTON EVENT


Event 14 at Gurston Down on 26/08/2018

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

Threequarters of the way through the first set of class runs, the event was abandoned due heavy rain which made track conditions unsafe. Therefore rounds 27 and 28 did not take place.


HALL'S SHELSLEY DOUBLE


Event 13 at Shelsley Walsh on 12/08/2018

In a virtual re-run of their June Shelsley duel, Will Hall and Dave Uren took the first two places in the opening run-off, split by hundredths to set first and second FTD on a wet track. But whereas Hall went on to repeat his success in the second shoot-out, Uren failed to make the cut after an accident during the class runs in an afternoon which saw numerous incidents on a track where grip, despite the tarmac drying in occasional sunshine, seemed hard to find. Uren hit the left-hand bank after Crossing, damaging the Gould’s front corner. Just two cars later, BHC returnee Scott Moran survived a huge ‘tank-slapper’ just after the Kink that only the six-times champion could have saved. Moments later, Jason Mourant did the same thing only he was not so lucky, clouting the bank and going on to hit the Bottom S barrier.

This succession of incidents prompted a track inspection by the clerk of the course, accompanied by the remaining Championship runners, Hall, Wallace Menzies and Trevor Willis, who saw no reason not to continue and duly qualified. So the second run-off took place without two key runners - and almost without Hall, too, who had just scraped into the line-up after an air pipe linked to the gearshift system became detached, restricting the Force-AER to a single gear. With the pipe replaced he went on to win from Menzies, who had chased the two leaders home in the opening shoot-out before scoring his best result in the GR59 since his win at Loton in June. After levelling with Mourant for fourth place in the morning, Willis had to be content with third later on, although he still holds a healthy 32-point advantage over Hall on the series table.

Back aboard the supercharged Raptor 2, Richard Spedding followed Willis home each time ahead of first Alex Summers’ Firestorm and then Scott Moran, making a welcome return to British hillclimbing in the all-conquering Gould GR61X. Despite that huge moment in qualifying he had still qualified a strong fifth after missing the morning cut. ‘I just didn’t drive fast enough’ was his honest assessment.

In the morning run-off, 1600 and 1100cc cars made up the remaining qualifiers. After his astounding performance at Shelsley in June, it was disappointing that Robert Kenrick’s Raptor-BMW was missing after a launch control glitch had scuppered his start in Q1. The ever-present Darren Gumbley was the only scorer from the 1100s in the Force TA, as the unfortunate Adam Greenan’s Empire Evo 2 had broken a gearbox output shaft coming to the line. Les Mutch led home the 1600s in eighth place from Matthew Ryder, whose own Evo 2 had been sidelined for much of Saturday’s practice day after a chain breakage had caused additional damage. The remaining 1600cc runner in the morning was Olivia Cooper in her Force TA, delighted to make a British run-off for the first time.

In the afternoon, Zach Zammit was hard on the heels of Summers’ Firestorm in his own 1600cc Empire, five hundredths clear of Kenrick, who had made no mistake at the start this time to set the pace among the 1100cc entry. Even Mutch’s Raptor was over half a second adrift of the flying Welshman, while Kelvin Broad’s Pilbeam-Suzuki, the only forced induction 2-litre class runner in the line-up, just managed to keep Ryder and Johnathen Varley’s Predator-BDG out of the points.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh

FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 25.13s

Championship run-off, round 25: 1 Hall 25.13s; 2 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 25.16s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 25.50s; 4= Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 26.06s; 4= Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.06s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 26.29s; 7 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 26.77s; 8 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 27.11s; 9 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 27.80s; 10 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 28.56s; 11 Olivia Cooper (1.6 Force-Suzuki TA) 28.73s; 12 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) DNS.

Championship run-off, round 26: 1 Hall 25.80s; 2 Menzies 26.20s; 3 Willis 26.37s; 4 Spedding 26.46s; 5 Scott Moran (3.5 Gould-NME GR61X) 26.75s; 6 Summers 27.10s; 7 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 27.39s; 8 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 27.44s; 9 Mutch 28.00s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 28.79s; 11 Ryder 28.99s; 12 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 30.11s.

British Championship positions after round 26: 1 Willis 223; 2 Hall 191; 3 Menzies 174; 4 Mourant 157; 5 Dave Uren 141; 6 Spedding 118; 7 Summers 97; 8 Robert Kenrick 43; 9 Mutch 30; 10= Darren Warwick and Paul Haimes 28; etc.


Will Hall maintained his challenge to series leader Trevor Willis with a double win (Ian Beard)


Dave Urenwas Hall's strongest challenger until an accident sidelined his Gould (Ian Beard)


Wallace Menzies scored his best result since Loton in June (Ian Beard)


Scott Moran made his first BHC appearance of the season (Ian Beard)


WATERLOGGED WISCOMBE


Event 12 at Wiscombe Park on 29/07/2018

At a wet and windy Wiscombe Park, the tight, wooded confines of which tended to suit the more nimble, small capacity machines, Jason Mourant qualified top for the second run-off before splashing through the murk to set the outright pace in the biggest and oldest car in top-level hillclimbing. The Jerseyman stormed to the third British run-off win of his career in the ex.Roy Lane, 4-litre Gould-Judd GR55, beating Richard Spedding's 1.6-litre GWR Raptor-Suzuki to FTD by three tenths of a second on the last run of the day. Having finished second to Championship leader Trevor Willis in the opening run-off, with Wallace Menzies in third place, Mourant closed to within just seven points of Menzies, the Scot's hold on third place on the series table looking increasingly tenuous after his GR59 had taken an unscheduled trip up the Martini Hairpin escape road, just yards from the fnish, in the second shoot-out. The car was fortunately undamaged, but in his efforts to maintain his Championship status after going twelve rounds without a win, Menzies' over-optimistic braking manoeuvre at the end of the fast Castle Straight proved a step too far.

After his win in the opening round, Willis was content to finish third in the closing shoot-out, particularly as his Championship rival Will Hall was having extreme difficulty in getting the turbocharged Force-AER off the line in the wet conditions that had prevailed all weekend. His times suffered as a consequence and he could only finish seventh and eighth, his points deficit to Willis now amounting to 37.

The small capacity single-seaters revelled in the conditions, Ben Stephenson one of the top performers from the 1100cc racing class in his 1-litre Empire Evo 2-Suzuki, finishing a fine fifth in the opening run-off ahead of Dave Uren's Gould V8 and scoring his first points since Prescott's season opener. He almost matched it in the second run-off, but the place was nabbed by the experienced Simon Fidoe in his Empire Wraith, who had earlier been pipped by another Empire driver, Adam Greenan, in the opening shoot-out. All in all it was a good day for Bill Chaplin's Westcountry marque, the only interloper from the 1100cc class being Darren Gumbley, whose Force TA twice made the cut and scored points in the afternoon as he edged out Terry Graves' big Gould-HB to the final point, Sharing his Raptor with Spedding, the much travelled Les Mutch also scored a single point at what for the Scot was, apart from the Channel Islands, his farthest-flung venue.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Wiscombe Park

FTD: Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 40.97s

Championship run-off, round 23: 1 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 41.46s; 2 Mourant 41.58s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD G59) 41.97s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 42.57s; 5 Ben Stephenson (1.0 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 43.28s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 43.34s; 7 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 43.35s; 8 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 43.52s; 9 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 43.79s; 10 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 43.86s; 11 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 43.96s; 12 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 44.85s.

Championship run-off, round 24: 1 Mourant 40.97s; 2 Spedding 41.27s; 3 Willis 41.41s; 4 Uren 41.70s; 5 Fidoe 42.34s; 6 Stephenson 42.47s; 7 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 42.98s; 8 Hall 43.15s; 9 Gumbley 43.31s; 10 Graves 43.44s; 11 Mutch 45.58s; 12 Menzies DNF.

British Championship positions after round 24: 1 Willis 208; 2 Hall 171; 3 Menzies 157; 4 Mourant 150; 5 Dave Uren 132; 6 Spedding 106; 7 Summers 88; 8 Robert Kenrick 40; 9= Warwick and Paul Haimes 28; etc.



Jason Mourant took the third run-off win of his BHC career (Nigel Cole)


Trevor Willis strengthened his chances of a third title with his eleventh win of the year (Nigel Cole)


Richard Spedding continued to rack up points in the normally aspirated Raptor (Nigel Cole)


Ben Stephenson moved up the Championship table after two good finishes in his Empire Evo 2 (Nigel Cole)


WARWICK'S WINNER


Event 11 at Le Val Des Terres on 21/07/2018

Guernsey airport firefighter Darren Warwick outran British hillclimbing's big guns to take the opening run-off win, the third BHC win of his career, and set the outright pace on his home hill, Le Val des Terres. And the Dallara-Vauxhall driver might even have made it a double win: 'I made a mistake at Terres House' he said, 'dabbing the throttle with my toe when I should have hit the brake. It threw me wide.' The mistake left him in fourth place, less than half a second behind the run-off winner, Will Hall. The indefatigable Ian Dayson had repaired the Force-AER's gearbox, broken at Bouley Bay the Wednesday before, and after missing out on a possible 20 points Hall was back in the Championship hunt with his first ever Terres win in that second shoot-out, which followed up his third place in the opener. In the Championship, Trevor Willis still leads the way from Hall by 26 points, despite finishing in mediocre fifth and seventh places. He's previously admitted that Le Val des Terres never seems to suit his OMS-RPE, and it remains the only hillclimb in the British Championship which he's never won.

Squeezing his Firestorm V6 in between Warwick and Hall in the first run-off was Alex Summers, delighted with his best ever finish at the Terres. In the second stanza he had to settle for third place, eased out by a determined Richard Spedding. The Raptor driver had missed out in the first qualifying runs after breaking a driveshaft, effecting a repair and taking a last-minute re-run with a time that would have qualified top for the first run-off. Unfortunately, as the run had been taken so late relative to his correct running order that it was disallowed. Second place in the final shoot-out was small consolation for the driver that had won both Guernsey run-offs in the car the previous year. Two fourth places for Wallace Menzies widened the gap on the series table between the Scot and Jason Mourant, who had to settle for seventh and eighth on a hill which is, for the Jerseyman, relatively unfamiliar territory. Two midfield placings for David Uren kept the Gould-NME driver in a comfortable fifth place on the series table. Sharing his car with Ray Rowan, the 1989 champion's Pilbeam having been sidelined after Bouley Bay with crank sensor problems, Darren Gumbley brought the 1-litre Force TA home for a five point total for the third time this year, which moved him up the table to a place just outside the top ten. Andy Bougourd, on his local hill, chased him home each time in the 1600cc Force PT. Another local, Guernsey's top lady driver Jackie Le Cheminant, twice followed Bougourd home in her 2-litre OMS-Vauxhall. Her first run-off shot shaded out Harry Pick's OMS 3000M and she scored her first ever British point. Pick closed to within two hundredths of Le Cheminant in the second shoot-out although both were left out of the points.

Hard luck story of the weekend must involve Guernseyman Nick Saunders. After a trip to hospital to repair a damaged thumb during a paddock accident at Bouley Bay while working on his Reynick-Suzuki, he bounced back at Le Val des Terres and qualified for the opening run-off - only for the car to be immediately sidelined with front end damage after spinning into the bank just over the finish line.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Le Val des Terres

FTD: Darren Warwick (2.0 Dallara-Vauxhall F399) 27.59s

Championship run-off, round 21: 1 Warwick 27.59s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 27.79s; 3 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 27.87s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 28.19s; 5 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 28.54s; 6 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 29.34s; 7 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 29.48s; 8 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 29.62s; 9 Andy Bougourd (1.6 Force-Suzuki PT) 30.28s; 10 Jackie Le Cheminant (2.0 OMS-Vauxhall CF04) 30.75s; 11 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 30.87s; 12 Nick Saunders (1.6 Reynick-Suzuki) DNS.

Championship run-off, round 22: 1 Hall 27.78s; 2 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 27.87s; 3 Summers 28.17s; 4 Menzies 28.18s; 5 Warwick 28.23s; 6 Uren 28.39s; 7 Willis 28.40s; 8 Mourant 28.64s; 9 Gumbley 30.04s; 10 Bougourd 30.47s; 11 Le Cheminant 30.81s; 12 Pick 30.83s.

British Championship positions after round 22: 1 Willis 190; 2 Hall 164; 3 Menzies 149; 4 Mourant 131; 5 Dave Uren 120; 6 Spedding 90; 7 Summers 88; 8 Robert Kenrick 40; 9= Warwick and Paul Haimes 28; etc.


Darren Warwick set the outright pace at Le Val des Terres (Andrew Le Poidevin)


Will Hall and the Force-AER were back on winning form after a gearbox issue on Jersey (Andrew Le Poidevin)


Alex Summers produced his best ever result on Guernsey (Andrew Le Poidevin)


After a difficult day, Richard Spedding finally got a good result (Andrew Le Poidevin)


WILLIS AT THE BAY


Event 10 at Bouley Bay on 18/07/2018

Trevor Willis left Bouley Bay with his tenth run-off win of the year in the bag and his third event 'double', to strengthen his grip on this year's British Championship with a healthy 34-point lead. His chief series rival Will Hall was unable to respond as a gearbox breakage on the startline before the opening shoot-out had sidelined the Force-AER for the rest of the day. Jason Mourant enjoyed a successful day on his home hill, the Gould-Judd driver finishing second each time as he narrowly held off first Guernseyman Darren Warwick, formidable as ever on the first of his two annual British hillclimb appearances at the wheel of the Dallara-Vauxhall, then Wallace Menzies, fourth and then third in his Gould-Cosworth and maintaining his third place cushion on the Championship table ahead of Mourant.

Richard Spedding, once again driving the normally aspirated GWR Raptor-Suzuki, swapped fifth and sixth places with Dave Uren. Steve Marr shared the car and qualified for a Bouley run-off for the first time, but without scoring. Driving the V6 Firestorm alongside his father Richard, Alex Summers failed by just three hundredths to get on terms with Uren, but made up for it in the second shoot-out, leapfrogging the Gould-NME V8 to chase home the leading trio. Warwick qualified fourth for the second bout, but despite finding more time he couldn't quite match his earlier placing and wound up seventh ahead of Darren Gumbley. In the opening shoot-out, Gumbley had finished ninth behind Andy Bougourd, who was delighted to be in the points for the first time in his comeback year with the 1600cc Force-Suzuki PT. But the 1-litre Force TA driver, who has been quietly racking up points all year, now lay thirteenth on the overall series table. Hot on the heels of the three drivers ahead of him, none of whom had made the Channel Islands trip, he had every prospect of improving on that position in a few days time when the 'circus' moved to Guernsey.

Another of the three 1100cc runners to make the cut, Harry Pick scored his first points of the year with two tenth places in his OMS 3000M. Edged out by Gumbley in the first run-off, it was Guernseyman Nick Saunders who confined him to the single point later on in his Reynick-Suzuki, but each time it was classmate Simon Fidoe who finished out of the points.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Bouley Bay

FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 37.42s

Championship run-off, round 19: Willis 37.42s; Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 37.54s; Darren Warwick (2.0 Dallara-Vauxhall F399) 37.78s; Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 37.97s; Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.03s; Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 38.60s; Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 38.67s; Andy Bougourd (1.6 Force-Suzuki PT) 40.50s; Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 40.92s; Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 41.79s; Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 42.97s; Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) DNS

Championship run-off, round 20: Willis 37.69s; Mourant 38.00s; Menzies 38.22s; Summers 38.29s; Uren 38.47s; Spedding 38.60s; Warwick 38.90s; Gumbley 39.42s; Nick Saunders (1.6 Reynick-Suzuki) 41.26s; Pick 41.48s; Fidoe 42.08s; Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 43.74s.

British Championship positions after round 20: 1 Willis 180; 2 Hall 146; 3 Menzies 135; 4 Mourant 124; 5 Dave Uren 110; 6 Spedding 81; 7 Summers 71; 8 Robert Kenrick 40; 9 Paul Haimes 28; 10 Les Mutch 24; etc.


Trevor Willis took another double win to boost his bid for a third title (Andrew Le Poidevin)


Jason Mourant took two second places on his home hill (Andrew Le Poidevin)


Still not back in the winners' circle, Wallace Menzies hung on to third place on the series table (Andrew Le Poidevin)


Darren Gumbley continues to work his way up the Championship table (Andrew Le Poidevin)


RECORD ROUT AT HAREWOOD


Event 9 at Harewood on 08/07/2018

At a newly resurfaced Harewood, Trevor Willis ended the hottest weekend of the year on a high note with the first official hill record of the season, strengthening his grip on the 2018 Championship. Official, because he wasn't the first to do it on the day. In an astounding second qualifying run in Les Mutch's GWR Raptor, local ace Richard Spedding, who had already qualified top for the opening run-off and gone on to win it by a hundredth of a second from the potent Force-AER turbo of Will Hall, drew another roar from the sun-baked crowd as he became the first driver to break Scott Moran's 2016 hill record. It was a history-making feat. Not for more than half a century, in the days when British motorcycle engines ruled the hillclimb championship, has an outright BHC hill record been broken by a normally aspirated, bike-engined single-seater. Having finished a distant third in the opening run-off after a big tail-slide at Clark's, this spurred Willis to even greater heights. Having qualified second for the final shoot-out with a new class record with a time inside the old hill standard, a typically determined final shot carved another three tenths off Spedding's new record to take the win from Hall by over half a second. 'I didn't want to be beaten by a bike engine!' he grinned afterwards.

'I made a complete mess of the start,' said Spedding after finishing in fourth place behind a resurgent Wallace Menzies, who had run fifth early on. ' I knew the run was gone, but I had full confidence in Les's car as it was the same tub that I ran last year. We were also running my old engine, now on methanol, which I borrowed back from the new owner to replace Les's Suzuki unit which blew at Doune.' So effectively, this was the same combination with which the Yorkshireman had finished third overall in last year's championship.

Alex Summers, who had been driving the Firehawk 1100 at the previous day's Harewood 'clubbie', reverted to the V6 Firestorm, shared with his father Richard, for the British rounds and chased Willis home in the opening run-off, although dropping a place later on despite setting his best time of the day, such was the pace of the closing run-off. Just behind him in sixth place was Robert Kenrick, who had suffered a temporary glitch in his customary record-breaking set of runs when the Raptor-BMW stuck in second gear during the first shoot-out. He toured steadfastly to the top to get a time and it paid off, as with Jason Mourant slowing to a crawl when his Gould-Judd's oil pressure light came on and David Warburton spinning the GR59 at Farmhouse, he still got a point for his 77sec run! Warburton recovered for seventh place at the close, ahead of a slightly cautious Mourant whose oil pressure problem hadn't been as drastic as was first thought. Aboard the record-breaking Raptor, the car's owner Les Mutch retrieved his Championship tenth overall with sixth place in the opening shoot-out, but failed to capitalise after a spin at the Esses in round 18. Johnathen Varley enjoyed his best British result of the year with seventh and tenth in the svelte Predator-BDG, his first run-off shot edging out Oliver Tomlin following the Pilbeam-Judd driver's grass-cutting antics after Clark's. His second confined Steve Marr's PCD Saxon to a non-scoring position. Darren Gumbley continued to rack up the points in his Force TA, making it four ninth places in two days, worth eight points, aboard the 1-litre car. It consolidated his position as the second top-scoring 1100cc driver in the Championship, holding joint thirteenth place. Unfortunately, Dave Uren's Harewood jinx struck again during his first qualifying run when a driveshaft broke and damaged the rear suspension, sidelining him yet again from the remainder of the competition.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood

FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 48.29s (outright hill record)

Championship run-off, round 17:1 Richard Spedding (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 49.04s;

2Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 49.05s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 49.80s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 49.92s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 50.49s;6 Les Mutch(1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 51.42s;7 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 52.11s; 8 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 52.34s;9 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 52.63s; 10 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 77.70s; 11 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 79.81s; 12 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF

Championship run-off, round 18:1 Willis 48.29s; 2 Hall 48.84s; 3 Menzies 48.94s; 4 Spedding 48.99s; 5 Summers 49.24s; 6 Kenrick 49.51s; 7 Warburton 50.09s; 8 Mourant 51.08s; Gumbley 51.64s; 10 Varley 52.20s; 11 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 53.50s; 12 Mutch 81.90s.

British Championship positions after round 18: 1 Willis 160; 2 Hall 146; 3 Menzies 120; 4 Mourant 106; 5 Dave Uren 99; 6 Spedding70; 7 Summers 60; 8 Robert Kenrick 40; 9 Paul Haimes 28; 10 Mutch 24; etc.


Trevor Willis left Harewood holding the first hill record of the season (Steve Wilkinson)


Richard Spedding was the first hill record breakar after a superb drive in Les Mutch's Raptor (Steve Wilkinson)


Will Hall took his fourth runner-up placing of the weekend (Steve Wilkinson)


Wallace Menzies was back in the top three for the first time in seven rounds (Steve Wilkinson)


TWO MORE FOR WILLIS


Event 8 at Barbon Manor on 07/07/2018

In unaccustomed hot weather at Barbon's annual British Championship meeting, Trevor Willis and his OMS-RPE scored their second double run-off win in the space of a fortnight. On a day which saw class records fall like ninepins in the sunshine, the outright hill record remained intact although Willis's chief rival Will Hall qualified fastest for the opening run-off in with a class record breaking time that would stand as FTD. Neither Willis nor Hall could get close to this in the opening run-off, where Willis had to work hard to beat the Force-AER driver by just nine hundredths although his winning margin over Hall in the second run-off was a more comfortable half a second. Midway through the season, such is the progress of the leading duo that while it might be a bit early to say that the Championship is now a two-horse race, it's certainly beginning to look that way.

Jason Mourant, who had levelled with Willis in qualifying early on, maintained his strong 2018 challenge with third place in the opening run-off although fading to fifth later on. But the margins are narrow on the fast and picturesque Cumbrian hill, one of the shortest in the Championship, and the Jerseyman still ran within a second of Willis's winning time. Dave Uren's bid to get back into contention after the loss of the two early Harewood rounds gained momentum and after a strong opening foray to run within a hundredth of Mourant, he qualified the ex.Groves Gould-NME on 'pole' for the second shootout, going on to finish a mere two hundredths behind Hall. Once again, handling problems left Wallace Menzies struggling to get amongst the front runners and he could only manage fifth and fourth places, despite matching Hall and Uren's 129mph charge into Lafone Hairpin in the second run-off. Despite being eleven mph slower, Robert Kenrick was devastatingly quick everywhere else and another string of record-breaking times earned the 1-litre Raptor-BMW driver a couple of sixth place finishes.

Seventh place for Terry Graves in the opening shoot-out got the Gould-HB back into a 'number 10' spot on the series table, although the extreme heat meant that he struck trouble during the second qualifiers after hitting a stretch of patched up melted tarmac on the approach to Richmond. He gathered up the ensuing slide and, convinced he'd had a puncture, toured to the top. His fears were groundless, but they cost him a possible qualifying spot. Kelvin Broad levelled the supercharged Pilbeam-Suzuki with Nicola Menzies' Gould-NME in first qualifying, going on to chase home Graves in the first run-off and finish seventh in the second, followed at arm's length by Nicola, now well in the points after finishing just out of them in the first run-off. The final points scoring positions early on had been taken by the other two 1100 racers in the lineup, Darren Gumbley's Force TA and Simon Fidoe's Empire Wraith, ninth and tenth each time. In the second shoot-out they were joined by a fourth, Harry Pick, who gave the new OMS 3000M its British run-off debut. He finished out of the points, as did Andy Bougourd, but the Guernsey garage owner was nonetheless delighted to qualify twice for a British run-offafter seven years away from the sport.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Barbon Manor

FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 20.37s

Championship run-off, round 15:1 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 20.77s; 2 Hall 20.86s; 3 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 21.00s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 21.01s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 21.11s; 6 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 22.14s; 7 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 22.76s; 8 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 22.92s; 9 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 23.20s; 10 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 23.41s; 11 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 23.49s; 12 Andy Bougourd (1.6 Force-Suzuki PT) 23.84s.

Championship run-off, round 16:1 Willis 20.45s; 2 Hall 20.95s; 3 Uren 20.97s; 4 Wallace Menzies 21.17s; 5 Mourant 21.41s; 6 Kenrick 22.15s; 7 Broad 22.58s; 8 Nicola Menzies 23.11s; 9 Gumbley 23.12s; 10 Fidoe 23.36s; 11 Harry Pick (1.0 OMS-Suzuki 3000M) 23.44s;12 Bougourd 24.42s.

British Championship positions after round 16: 1 Willis 141; 2 Hall 128; 3 Menzies 106; 4 Mourant 103; 5 Uren 99; 6 Spedding 53; 7 Summers 47; 8 Robert Kenrick 34; 9 Paul Haimes 28; 10 Graves 20; etc.



Trevor Willis scored his fourth successive win at Barbon (whitedogphotography.co.uk)


Will Hall pushed Willis hard all day (whitedogphotography.co.uk)


Dave Uren rounds Lafone Hairpin as he chases the leading duo (whitedogphotography.co.uk)


Another record rout by Robert Kenrick kept the Raptor-BMW firmly in the top eight (whitedogphotography.co.uk)


WILLIS'S DOUNE DOUBLE


Event 7 at Doune on 24/06/2018

Trevor Willis consolidated his position at the top of the Championship table as, in glorious sunshine, Doune celebrated its 50th anniversary. Sir Nick Williamson's 48.84s FTD in 1968 was bettered by just over 13 seconds as Willis recorded two times within a hundredth of each other with the only sub-36sec runs of the day.

Second quickest on the day was Alex Summers in the new Firestorm. After running second in the opening run-off he'd matched Willis's Q-time for the closing shoot-out but fell to third place after a mistake at the first corner. Will Hall was the only one of Willis’s challengers to hang on to his coat-tails with a fourth and a second, compromised by a moment crossing the Meadow as he made the last run of a long, hot day.

Wallace Menzies and Jason Mourant both had difficult days and slipped further behind the leading duo. After a fifth place early on, Menzies was fortunate to qualify for the second run-off after set-up changes for the afternoon class run relegated him to tenth qualifying position. He recovered to a lowly seventh after a lock-up at the last part of the Esses. A relative newcomer to Doune, Mourant had to settle for two eighth places, which reflected his pace throughout the day. Both drivers were pushed back, not just by the form of Alex Summers, but also by an outstanding effort by Graeme Wight Jr in Les Mutch’s Raptor in the first run-off. After qualifying within half a second of Sean Gould’s class record, he blasted up his home hill in 36.01, which would have shattered the record and was only a hundredth behind Summers' second place time. Unfortunately, Graeme went off at the top of East Brae in Q2, fortunately without any damage so that Les Mutch was able to qualify the car comfortably run-off when, sadly, his engine expired between Oak Tree and Garden Gate.

Richard Spedding, despite competing with what he described as the bad parts of an engine and the bad parts of a supercharger, still managed to break Dave Uren’s forced induction 2-litre record on both class runs. In the first run-off he ran sub-37 for sixth place, while even a much slower second run-off time was still good enough for fifth.

After watching co-driver Nicola Menzies set a new Ladies’ record for the hill on 41.03, Dave Uren qualified mid-field for the opening run off, then equalled his qualifying time to finish a modest seventh. As the track changed later in the day, a slower run-off time was still good enough for fourth.

Even a PB by Lee Griffiths, lost out narrowly to Johnathen Varley, who reset his own class record in the GWR Predator. But Varley's day in the sun ended during the first run-off when he went off at East Brae and bent a steering arm which was irreplaceable on site. Griffiths then qualified for the second run-off and went on to finish tenth. Another personal best at Doune was set by Paul Haimes in the second run-off, to end a weekend which had seen him back on the hills for the first time since blowing his engine at Shelsley Walsh three weeks previously. After scraping into the points in the morning, it all came together in the afternoon for sixth place and that PB.

Sensational form by the last two qualifiers, both from the 1100cc class, saw Steve Marr consistently sub-40 all weekend, culminating in a 38.48 closing run-off shot just six hundredths slower than Alex Summers’ class record for a ninth place finish. Last but not least, Jack Cottrill delighted not only his family but the whole paddock by qualifying for his first ever British Championship run off on his first visit to Doune.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Doune

FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 35.75s

Championship run-off, round 13: 1 Willis 35.75s; 2 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 36.00s; 3 Graeme Wight Jr (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 36.01s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 36.08s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 36.70s; 6 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 36.94s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 37.06s; 8 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 37.87s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 38.20s; 10 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 38.29s; 11 Steve Marr (1.1 PCD Saxon-Suzuki) 38.72s; 12 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 14: 1 Willis 35.76s; 2 Hall 36.21s; 3 Summers 36.44s; 4 Uren 37.15s; 5 Spedding 37,29s; 6 Haimes 37.42s; 7 Menzies 37.59s; 8 Mourant 37.91s; 9 Marr 38.48s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 39.72s; 11 Jack Cottrill (1.1 Force-Suzuki PT) 40.68s; 12 Mutch DNF.

Championship positions after round 14: 1 Willis 121; 2 Hall 110; 3 Menzies 93; 4 Mourant 89; 5 Uren 84; 6 Spedding 53; 7 Summers 47; 8 Haimes 28; 9 Robert Kenrick 24; 10 Mutch 19; etc.



Trevor Willis strengthened his grip on the Championship with a double win (John Crae)


Alex Summers enjoyed his best result yet with the new Firestorm (John Crae)


Graeme Wight Jr on the edge at East Brae! (John Crae)


Jack Cottrill made the run-off cut in his 1-litre Force on his Doune debut (John Crae)


WIN AND SPIN


Event 6 at Loton Park on 10/06/2018

On a day of mixed fortunes for the Championship leaders Wallace Menzies took his third win of the year, beating Championship leader Trevor Willis by 17 hundredths in Loton Park's opening run-off and taking FTD. But a spin during afternoon qualifying relegated the disappointed Scot to the sidelines for the closing bout. 'No reason,' he admitted ruefully,'I just ran out of talent!' Even Willis himself suffered in the closing shoot-out after a mistake at the first left-hander, Hall Bend, cost valuable time and left him down the order in seventh place. 'I almost came to a standstill,' he said after finishing a second and a quarter down on the winning time.

Having closed to within a point of Willis at Shelsley the previous weekend, Will Hall found his deficit substantially widened after the opening run-off. The Force-AER slowed dramatically towards the finish when a turbo boost control pipe connector snapped and the car stuttered over the line, out of the points. The offending item was replaced in the afternoon, but a big slide out of Triangle cost Hall valuable hundredths, leaving him fourth behind Dave Uren. The GR55B driver was making up time in the afternoon after an indifferent seventh place opener - which followed only a single practice run due to alternative commitments on Saturday. So after chasing the two leaders home in the morning, it was a delighted Jason Mourant that took advantage of their later misfortune, taking his Gould-Judd to his first win of the season and the second of his British hillclimb career. As a result, Hall is now seven points adrift of Willis, with Mourant and Menzies tied for third place on the series table in one of the most competitive BHC contests for years.

Alex Summers continued to keep in touch with the front runners, finishing fourth and fifth in his new DJ Firestorm V6. He was chased hard each time by Richard Spedding who, after missing the last four rounds, returned with the Raptor, its supercharged Hayabusa engine now up to top spec (of around 500bhp!).The Yorkshireman was, however, pessimistic about his title hopes having used up his six available dropped scores in 'non-starts' this year. A tenth of a second behind Spedding in the opening run-off, Robert Kenrick and his 1-litre Raptor-BMW were again on top form. But as at Shelsley Walsh a week earlier, it was in the second run-off that this amazing combination produced the real fireworks. Having already lowered his own class record in qualifying for the opening shoot-out, he then carved off a further eight tenths for a superb second place finish, a tenth shy of winner Mourant.

Two more qualifications, making five in a row in his first season in the ex.works GR59, led to a couple of eighth place finishes by Dave Warburton as he edged out Oliver Tomlin's 4-litre Gould-Judd each time. Having broken the normally aspirated class record in first qualifying, Johnathen Varley finished the opening shoot-out with his first ever British point for tenth place. He went on to break his new class record again in the afternoon, but in the run-off he left the Predator-BDG's braking a fraction late into Triangle and spun. In the first shoot-out, Les Mutch hadn't even got as far as that, his fine sequence of run-off finishes coming to an end with a lurid spin on to the grass exiting the fast but tricky Loggerheads bend. When Zach Zammit spun out of contention in his Force Empire, the final point in the afternoon fell to Matthew Ryder, after qualifying for his first British run-off in his new Force Empire Evo 2.

It was a day for records at Loton, as besides Kenrick and Varley breaking their respective class records, Tim Barber joined them in his 996 GT3 in the first of two Porsche Speed Championship classes, as did Andy Griffiths, the Caterham-Hayabusa driver thereby relieving Les Mutch of top spot in the Hillclimb Leaders Championship. Finally, Olivia Cooper became the new Loton Ladies' record-holder in her Force TA, beating Tina Hawkes' target by over half a second.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Loton Park

FTD: Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 44.15s

Championship run-off, round 11: 1 Menzies 44.15s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 44.32s; 3 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 44.71s; 4 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 44.91s; 5 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 45.24s; 6 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 45.34s; 7 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 45.64s; 8 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 46.31s; 9 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 47.05s; 10 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 47.41s; 11 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 51.17s; Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) DNF .

Championship run-off, round 12: 1 Mourant 44.23s; 2 Kenrick 44.32s; 3 Uren 44.82s; 4 Hall; 44.99s; 5 Summers 45.02s; 6 Spedding 45.33s; 7 Willis 45.52s; 8 Warburton 46.15s; 9 Tomlin 47.79s; 10 Matthew Ryder (1.6 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 49.39s; Varley DNF; Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) DNF.

Championship positions after round 12: 1 Willis 101; 2 Hall 94; 3= Menzies and Mourant 83; 5 Uren 73; 6 Spedding 42; 7 Summers 30; 8 Kenrick 24; 9 Paul Haimes 22; 10= Mutch and Tomlin 17; etc.


After winning the opening run-off with FTD, Wallace Menzies pushed a shade to hard in Q2 (John Hallett)


Jason Mourant scored his first win of the year to level with Menzies on the series table (John Hallett)


Another record-breaking performance by Robert Kenrick netted second overall in the afternoon run-off (John Hallett)


Olivia Cooper set a new Loton Ladies' record in her Force TA (John Hallett)


DUEL IN THE SUN


Event 5 at Shelsley Walsh on 03/06/2018

Dave Uren set the outright pace at a sun-baked Shelsley Walsh, narrowly beating Will Hall to the opening run-off win in his ex.Groves Gould-NME, the car that has held the outright course record for ten years, and going on to lose out to Hall by the smallest possible margin in the closing shoot-out. 'I don't handle pressure!' said Uren, who had led throughout Saturday's practice. You wouldn't have thought so after an intensely competitive opening run-off in which he was last to run after qualifying top. As he came to the startline, the pressure mounted as he watched the bar being raised on each successive run. Penultimate runner Will Hall's 23.60, FTD so far, was Uren's target and a superb on the limit shot snatched the win by just seven hundredths to set what would ultimately be the day's best time. 'Sean (Gould) has made a lot of suspension adjustments after Gurston last weekend and the set-up was ideal for Shelsley,' said Dave.

The situation was similar in the final shoot-out where once again Hall's time was the one to beat. Once again the final runner, another maximum effort by Uren on a track now marginally slowed by an earlier blow-up and hence with a liberal coating of cement dust, he failed to beat the flying Force turbo by a mere hundredth of a second. Hall was equally delighted with his win, particularly as during the day he had again been dogged by the intermittent, but elusive gearshift boost spikes that had caused a momentary misfire since Harewood. Still, a fourth victory has made him the year's most prolific winner so far and, more importantly, moved him to within a single point of series leader Trevor Willis. Always on the back foot at Shelsley power-wise, the defending champion was unable to make the most of the twisty Esses section, particularly on the dusty afternoon track, and had to be content with third and fourth as he swapped places with the fast finishing Gould Cosworth of Wallace Menzies.

The only one of the championship top five not to have won a round this year, Jason Mourant kept his ex.Lane Gould-Judd in the frame with two fifth place finishes while sixth each time, former champ Alex Summers showed that he could still rejoin the title hunt. Having already scored points at Prescott in the family DJ Firehawk, this was the first competition outing for his brand new DJ Firestorm, its V6 Cosworth being one of the few parts salvageable from the 2017 accident.

Sensation of the run-off, each time, was Robert Kenrick. Having qualified his tiny 1-litre Raptor-BMW for the opening shoot-out with a time four tenths inside his month-old class record, he snicked off a further five hundredths for a seventh place finish. Then in the closing run-off, after carrying phenomenal speed into Bottom S, he ran even faster to set Shelsley's first ever sub-25sec run by an 1100cc single-seater. His 24.96, which drew spontaneous cheers from the spectator banks, would have been on a par with Graeme Wight Jr's hill record pace in the Gould V6 a decade and a half ago. It was certainly enough to subdue Terry Graves' 650bhp Gould-Cosworth to eighth each time, ahead of a see-saw duel between 1600cc protagonists Les Mutch and Dave Warburton. Also from the 1600cc class, Maltese hillclimb champion Zach Zammit made a British run-off lineup for the first time in the afternoon aboard his Empire Evo although finishing, like Tony Hunt, earlier on, out of the points. From the 2-litre forced induction class, Kelvin Broad replaced a driveshaft, broken during morning qualifying, to get his Pilbeam 101 into the afternoon shootout. Less lucky was Paul Haimes, who qualified his Gould GR59 turbo for the morning run-off with a class winning run, only to suffer engine failure during the run-off itself.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh

FTD: Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 23.53s

Championship run-off, round 9: 1 Uren 23.53s; 2 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 23.60s; 3 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 23.71s; 4 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 23.76s; 5 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 24.29s; 6 Alex Summers (2.5 DJ Firestorm-Cosworth/Opel KF) 24.37s; 7 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 25.03s; 8 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 25.39s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 25.62s; 10 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 25.91s; 11 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 25.94s; Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 10: 1 Hall 23.83s; 2 Uren 23.84s; 3 Menzies 23.91s; 4 Willis 24.09s; 5 Mourant 24.13s; 6 Summers 24.40s; 7 Kenrick 24.96s; 8 Graves 25.12s; 9 Warburton 25.75s; 10 Mutch 25.92s; 11 Zach Zammit (1.6 Empire Evo-Suzuki) 26.13s; 12 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 27.24s.

Championship positions after round 10: 1 Willis 88pts; 2 Hall 87; 3 Menzies 73; 4 Mourant 65; 5 Uren 61; 6 Richard Spedding 31; 7 Haimes 22; 8= Mutch and Summers 17; 10 Graves 16; etc.


Dave Uren so nearly achieved a clean sweep at Shelsley (Ian Beard)


Will Hall closed to within a point of Championship leader Trevor Willis (Ian Beard)


Robert Kenrick showed phenomenal pace in the 1-litre Raptor (Ian Beard)


Alex Summers' new Firestorm made an impressive debut (Ian Beard)


HEAD TO HEAD AT GURSTON


Event 4 at Gurston Down on 27/05/2018

A day-long head to head battle between Will Hall and Trevor Willis at Gurston saw Hall emerge on top with the closing run-off win and FTD on the very last run of the day after the dynamic duo had tied for the win in the opening shoot-out. 'I'm delighted with today's result' said Hall after scoring his third maximum of the year to equal Willis's tally. 'We'd tested at Curborough in the week in an effort to cure the boost spikes we'd had at Harewood,' he said. 'We thought we'd solved the problem but it returned in practice yesterday, but after a few more tweaks the car was perfect today.' This was borne out by finish line passes of 152mph in each run-off and the result moved the Force-AER driver up to second on the Championship table behind Willis, although the defending champion increased his series lead to five points.

Pushed down to third on the table, Wallace Menzies had a character-building day after spinning into the outfield just before the finish on his first qualifying run and damaging the underside of the Gould-Cosworth. Sterling work by the team, led by Tom New (in between driving the new Norma-Honda sports libre car shared with Duncan Barnes) and by Sean Gould (who dashed back to Newbury for new bodywork parts) got the car running again in the afternoon and Menzies grabbed a courageous fifth place in the final shoot-out after a 142mph charge into Hollow Bend and a day's best 153 over the finish. But for a violent tailslide out of Karousel he may well have finished higher up the order.

The on-form Jason Mourant chased home the leaders each time in his Gould-Judd, maintaining his fourth place on the series table, while two fourth places for Dave Uren, his ex.Groves Gould-NME now repaired after the Harewood gearbox problems a fortnight earlier, made up for his two lost rounds in Yorkshire as he moved up to fifth on the table at the expense of Richard Spedding, a non-starter this weekend with engine problems following his fine Harewood showing. In a see-saw duel with Oliver Tomlin's Pilbeam-Judd, fifth and seventh run-off placings represented a best-ever result for Terry Graves, the Cornwall-based driver delighted after finding a large chunk of missing power from his Gould's Cosworth HB ex.F1 unit over the winter. His driving partner Tony Hunt also made the cut in the afternoon, finishing just out of the points. 2-litre forced induction class winner Paul Haimes chased Tomlin and Graves home each time in his GR59, backed up initially by class rival Lee Griffiths, but problems for the OMS driver saw him fail to make the afternoon cut and it was former Scottish champion Les Mutch who harried Haimes' turbocar with his normally aspirated 1600 Raptor later on, after electrical problems had stymied his opening run-off shot.

Kelvin Broad got his first British points of 2018 on the board with tenth place each time in his supercharged Pilbeam-Suzuki, edged down to the final point in the morning shoot-out by Nicola Menzies, whose third scoring shot of the season in the Gould-NME left her in tenth place on the table, a point clear of Graves. Sundry mechanical problems during the day confined Simon Moyse to eleventh place on his single run-off shot in the morning in the supercharged GR59, while in the afternoon David Warburton made the cut in his normally aspirated ex.works version for the first time, finishing twelfth.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 26.39s

Championship run-off, round 7: 1= Hall and Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 26.65s; 3 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 26.70s; 4 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 27.35s; 5 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 28.19s; 6 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 28.23s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 28.78s; 8 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 29.04s; 9 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 29.27s; 10 Kelvin Broad (1.3s Pilbeam-Suzuki MP101) 30.01s; 11 Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould-Suzuki GR59) 30.88s; Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) DNF.

Championship run-off, round 8: 1 Hall 26.39s; 2 Willis 26.76s; 3 Mourant 26.83s; 4 Uren 27.32s; 5 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 27.87s; 6 Tomlin 28.18s; 7 Graves 28.47s; 8 Haimes 28.74s; 9 Mutch 28.98s; 10 Broad 29.15s; 11 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 30.09s; 12 David Warburton (1.6 Gould-Suzuki GR59) 30.18s.

Championship positions after round 8: 1 Willis 73pts; 2 Hall 68; 3 Wallace Menzies 58; 4 Mourant 53; 5 Uren 42; 6 Richard Spedding 31; 7 Haimes 22; 8 Mutch 14; 9 Tomlin 13; 10 Nicola Menzies 11; etc.

For full results click here: http://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=sprint/2018/182184.pdf


Will Hall set the outright pace after tying with Trevor Willis for the opening win (Ian Beard)


Trevor Willis left Gurston having extended his Championship lead (Ian Beard)


Wallace Menzies bounced back into the points after a big 'off' near the finish line (Ian Beard)


Terry Graves scored his best ever run-off result (Ian Beard)


WILLIS OUT FRONT


Event 3 at Harewood on 13/05/2018

The battle at the sharp end on the British hills remains as frantic as ever but after two more rounds at a sunny Harewood, Trevor Willis became the first driver this season to leave a venue in sole charge of the Championship lead. Top qualifier for the opening shoot-out, Willis lined up only fifth fastest for the closing stanza but in the run-off itself his 50.03sec run remained out of reach of the remaining four runners. Among them, Richard Spedding was determined to make up for the loss of two rounds at Craigantlet the previous weekend and with both he and his supercharged Raptor now back in full attack mode, he closed to within eight hundredths of the winner to take not only the runner-up spot but second FTD on his home hill.

With the top four covered by less than half a second, opening run-off winner Wallace Menzies took the Championship lead at lunchtime after heading Willis and becoming the first driver to take two wins this season. 'It was my first Harewood win, too!' grinned the Scot. But after being edged out to fourth by six hundredths in the afternoon at the hands of Will Hall, he had to relinquish his brief series lead to the defending champion. While still one of the top contenders, Hall was not entirely happy with the way the Force-AER turbo was performing: 'I'm getting boost spikes on gearshifting', he said,'it's dumping air out of the wastegate and I'm losing power up Quarry Straight.' But despite that, fourth and third places kept him well in touch with the two leaders, albeit a few points adrift. Sadly, this year's fourth winner so far was to play no part in the Harewood action, Dave Uren being forced to retire his ex.Groves Gould-NME during Saturday's practice with a broken gearbox. What with his accident in the paddock at this meeting last year, the May Harewood must be fast becoming Dave's least favourite event. Into the breach stepped Jason Mourant. While unable to quite match his fine second and first place qualifying form, despite being marginally quicker, so competitive were the run-offs that the Gould-Judd driver had to settle for two fifth places, still enough to bump the absent Uren off fourth spot on the overall table.

Former Scottish hillclimb champion Les Mutch was beaming from ear to ear after two sixth places in his ex.Spedding Raptor chassis moved him up to eighth on the table, three points behind Paul Haimes who followed him home each time in the Gould turbo. Adam Greenan followed up his maiden British run-off appearance in the morning, when he finished just out of the points, with three in the bag for his afternoon's efforts in the Empire Evo 2 when he led home three more 1100cc runners. This always ultra-competitive and heavily populated class had effectively been won before lunch by Robert Kenrick, initially from Simon Fidoe but eventually from Greenan, the Welshman's Raptor-BMW setting a time good enough to line up sixth for the opening shoot-out, However bearing problems intervened and the team headed home leaving Simon Fidoe, Steve Owen and Greenan to complete the strong class representation as they trailed the eighth placed Oliver Tomlin on his first 2018 appearance in the big Pilbeam-Judd. In the afternoon, Darren Gumbley in his Force TA replaced Kenrick, scoring the final point ahead of Owen and Tony Hunt's Gould-Cosworth V8.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Harewood

FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 50.03s

Championship run-off, round 5: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 50.38s; 2 Willis 50.43s; 3 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 50.89s; 4 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 50.94s; 5 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 51.10s; 6 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 52.10s; 7 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 52.19s; 8 Oliver Tomlin (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd EV MP97) 52.46s; 9 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 53.25s; 10 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 53.51s; 11 Adam Greenan (1.1 Empire Evo 2-Suzuki) 54.28s; Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) DNS

Championship run-off, round 6: 1 Willis 50.03s; 2 Spedding 50.11s; 3 Hall 50.54s; 4 Menzies 50.60s; 5 Mourant 50.72s; 6 Mutch 51.69s; 7 Haimes 52.25s; 8 Greenan 52.65s; 9 Fidoe 52.86s; 10 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 53.92s; 11 Owen 53.99s; 12 Tony Hunt (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 54.62s.

Championship positions after round 6: 1 Willis 54pts; 2 Menzies 52; 3 Hall 48; 4 Mourant 37; 5 Spedding 31; 6 Dave Uren 28; 7 Haimes 15; 8 Mutch 12; 9= Fidoe, Nicola Menzies and Ray Rowan 9; etc.


Trevor Willis took sole charge of the Championship lead (Steve Wilkinson)


Having also won two rounds, Wallace Menzies is chasing Willis on the series table (Steve Wilkinson)


Richard Spedding almost matched the winner's FTD pace (Steve Wilkinson)


Jason Mourant is now chasing the three series leaders (Steve Wilkinson)


CRACKING CRAIGANTLET


Event 2 at Craigantlet on 05/05/2018

Wallace Menzies and Will Hall had left Prescott's BHC opener with a win apiece as the Championship top three levelled on points. But third man Trevor Willis redressed the balance at Craigantlet, taking the closing run-off win and FTD in a time just a quarter of a second shy of the outright record for the rapid Belfast road course. This left Menzies and Willis still tied on points while Hall, whose second run-off shot had been stymied by a gear selection glitch which restricted him to fifth place, now lies just two points behind. 'I was delighted with that win!' said defending champ Willis, 'but it's going to be a tight season.'

It certainly looks that way with the top three so close and all having scored wins in the first four rounds. But the opening run-off had seen even more drama, when all three were edged out by Dave Uren as his Gould-NME pipped Hall's fire-breathing Force-AER turbocar for the win by just two hundredths. Menzies' rapid Gould-Cosworth GR59 ran a further three hundredths adrift and ahead of Willis's OMS-RPE. It was a superb comeback for Uren and the man who'd had such an unfortunate 2017 season now lies fourth overall on the Championship table, well in touch with the leaders. One of last season's most improved drivers, Jerseyman Jason Mourant, headed Uren and Hall home for third place in the final shoot-out.

Richard Spedding, fourth on the table after Prescott, dropped down the order behind Mourant after a severe oil leak and subsequent fire on his second practice run sidelined his new supercharged Raptor for the day's competition. It was particularly galling as his ex.Jos Goodyear 1300cc supercharged Suzuki unit was reputedly producing some 495bhp following engine modifications during the week.

Seventeen drivers, a healthy number for Craigantlet, were attempting to qualify for the BHC run-offs. A number of possible contenders had opted for the Midland Championship meeting at Shelsley so seven of the twelve making the cut for the opening run-off had still to get points on the board. Driving his relatively 'old school' Pilbeam-Hart sports libre, 1989 British champion Ray Rowan showed he'd lost none of his guile as he swapped 6th and 7th places with Uren's co-driver Nicola Menzies. 1100cc racers Darren Gumbley and Simon Fidoe swapped eighth and ninth places in Force TA and Empire Wraith respectively while ending his Ulster holiday, which had taken in Drumhorc hillclimb the previous weekend, their classmate Keith Weeks' first visit to Craigantlet resulted in his first ever British run-off appearance, scoring a point for his homely Formula Ford based Image Suzuki. Lee Griffiths and his OMS turbo took the single point in the opening run-off, but gear selection problems brought his turbocharged OMS-Suzuki to a halt in the second. John Mackenzie made the cut each time in his GWR Dax Rush V6, while with rocket sub 2sec starts, better than anyone else on the day, Allan McDonald finished just out of the points in the opening shoot-out aboard his amazing 4WD Mini Evo.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Craigantlet

FTD: Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 39.36s

Championship run-off, round 3: 1 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 40.17s; 2 Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 40.19s; 3 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 40.22s; 4 Willis 40.31s; 5 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 41.17s; 6 Nicola Menzies (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 45.37s; 7 Ray Rowan (2.7 Pilbeam-Hart MP43) 45.39s; 8 Simon Fidoe (1.0 Empire Wraith-Suzuki) 45.84s; 9 Darren Gumbley (1.0 Force-Kawasaki TA) 45.87s; 10 Lee Griffiths (1.3t OMS-Suzuki 25) 47.52s; 11 Allan McDonald (2.4t Mini Evo) 47.54s; 12 John Mackenzie (2.5 Dax Rush-Rover) 50.71s.

Championship run-off, round 4: 1 Willis 39.36s; 2 Wallace Menzies 40.25s; 3 Mourant 40.43s; 4 Uren 40.56s; 5 Hall 40.64s; 6 Rowan 44.37s; 7 Nicola Menzies 44.74s; 8 Gumbley 45.15s; 9 Fidoe 45.27s; 10 Keith Weeks (1.0 Image-Suzuki FF5) 50.84s; 11 Mackenzie 51.12s; Griffiths DNF.

Championship positions after round 4: 1= Wallace Menzies and Willis 35pts; 3 Hall 33; 4 Uren 28; 5 Mourant 25; 6 Richard Spedding 14; 7= Rowan and Nicola Menzies 9; 9= Alex Summers and Paul Haimes 7; etc.


Trevor Willis negotiates the Mays' Cross chicane on his way to FTD (Tom Maxwell)


Dave Uren won a hard-fought opening run-off (Tom Maxwell)


Wallace Menzies is still tied in the Championship lead with Willis (Tom Maxwell)


Will Hall slides the Force-AER out of Hadley (Tom Maxwell)


TRIO AT THE TOP


Event 1 at Prescott on 29/04/2018

A superbly competitive opening to the 2018 British Hillclimb Championship saw three drivers tied for the series lead after a cold and damp weekend at Prescott. Flashing his red Gould-Cosworth through the gloom on a still damp track, Wallace Menzies snicked the opening round win by six hundredths from Trevor Willis as Will Hall chased them home. In drier conditions at the end of the day top qualifier Hall, his turbocharged Force AER now showing the reliability it had previously lacked, took the second run-off win and set the meeting's outright pace with 38.04 on the last run of the day. With defending champion Willis half a second adrift in his OMS-RPE and early winner Menzies having to settle for a close run third place, all three left the Cotswold venue on equal points.

Fourth each time after a promising debut in his new, supercharged GWR Raptor-Suzuki, Richard Spedding began his season with a Championship fourth place while Jason Mourant and Dave Uren swapped fifth and sixth run-off places in their Gould V8s to leave the venue tied in fifth place. Alex Summers had set the pace during Saturday's miserably wet practice not in his DJ Firestorm V6, which is expected to reappear in a few weeks time after its rebuild following last year's Gurston accident, but in the family DJ Firehawk. After leading a 25-strong class of 1100cc racers after the first class runs, the 2015 champion finished the opening run-off in seventh place during a day-long duel with Paul Haimes, whose turbocharged Gould-Suzuki is now showing consistent pace after the installation of a new oil system. They swapped places in the closing bout, Haimes seizing a six hundredths advantage to leave the pair tied for seventh on the table.

After edging out Summers to snatch the class win in the afternoon, rapid Welshman Robert Kenrick made the second run-off cut in his 1-litre Raptor-BMW but failed to match his strong fifth place qualifier, bagging the two points for ninth place. Les Mutch had occupied that slot in the opening shoot-out aboard his own Raptor, which was Spedding's old chassis fitted with the Scotsman's Suzuki unit which is now running on methanol. The car cut out in the second run-off leaving him out of the points, but he left Prescott tied in ninth place on the table with Kenrick.

One of four 1100cc cars to make the cut for the afternoon shootout, delighted Empire Evo driver Ben Stephenson bagged a point for tenth place on his British run-off debut to demote classmate Steve Owen, tenth in the morning, to eleventh place, Just out of the points in the morning, Terry Graves' Gould-HB V8 headed 2-litre class leader Johnathen Varley who, although eventually pipped to the post in a strong class by Tim Davies, had made the run-off cut on the first outing for his ex.Graeme Wight Jr Predator chassis, fitted with the now fuel injected Cosworth BDG from his venerable March 772P. This fine debut earned Varley the Moran Motorhomes Midland Man of the Meeting award.

Avon Tyres/Wynn Developments MSA British Hillclimb Championship, Prescott

FTD: Will Hall (2.0t Force-AER WH) 38.04s

Championship run-off, round 1: 1 Wallace Menzies (3.3 Gould-Cosworth XD GR59) 38.74s; 2 Trevor Willis (3.2 OMS-RPE 28) 38.80s; 3 Hall 38.99s; 4 Richard Spedding (1.3s GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 39.71s; 5 Dave Uren (3.5 Gould-NME GR55B) 40.25s; 6 Jason Mourant (4.0 Gould-Judd EV GR55) 40.49s; 7 Alex Summers (1.1 DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 40.77s; 8 Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould-Suzuki GR59) 41.23s; 9 Les Mutch (1.6 GWR Raptor-Suzuki) 41.43s; 10 Steve Owen (1.1 OMS-Suzuki 28) 41.46s; 11 Terry Graves (3.5 Gould-Cosworth HB GR55) 41.89s; 12 Johnathen Varley (2.0 GWR Predator-BDG) 41.95s.

Championship run-off, round 2: 1 Hall 38.04s; 2 Willis 38.52s; 3 Menzies 38.89s; 4 Spedding 39.25s; 5 Mourant 39.74s; 6 Uren 40.03s; 7 Haimes 40.42s; 8 Summers 40.48s; 9 Robert Kenrick (1.0 GWR Raptor-BMW) 40.54s;10 Ben Stephenson (1.0 Empire-Suzuki Evo2) 41.31s; 11 Owen 42.29s; 12 Mutch DNF.

Championship positions after round 2: 1= Menzies, Willis and Hall 18pts; 4 Spedding 14; 5= Uren and Mourant 11; 7= Summers and Haimes 7; 9= Mutch and Kenrick 2; etc.


Will Hall set the outright pace at Prescott's British season opener (Ian Beard)


Wallace Menzies took the opening round win of the season (Ian Beard)


Johnathen Varley made the opening run-off cut and took the Man of the Meeting award with his Predator-BDG (Ian Beard)


Richard Spedding chased the leading trio home each time with his new, supercharged Raptor (Ian Beard)


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