Welcome to Speed Hillclimbing at Gurston Down

The 2014 Gurston Finale – Purcell and Cannell feel the pressure!

Date: Sunday September 7th
Times: Practice from 0830, competition from approx. 1300
Admission: £10, accompanied under 15s free, free paddock entry, free parking.

In brief
Just like the cars on the track, the season at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb is rushing by, and preparations are well in hand for the exciting finale on Sunday September 7th, just a fortnight after the August Bank Holiday British Hillclimb Championship event.

It promises to be a real nail-biting finish to the season too as both the Gates of Brockenhurst Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship and the BARC (SW) Top Ten Challenge are finely poised with both titles still up for grabs. With the best four from five scores to count, ‘dropped scores’ come into play so the drivers will be all out to improve their standings in this final round! It will lead to even more exciting on-track action than usual!

In the Championship, in which scores are based on positions and times within the classes, Simon Purcell tops the table in his 1.4 litre supercharged Lotus Exige with a tough to beat total of 86.00 points. Ritchie Gatt (2.0 Westfield SEi) on 85.50 points could beat or equal Purcell’s score, in which case it could come down to a tie break, depending on Purcell’s own performance on the day. And in third place is Mike Rudge in his 2.3 Westfield SEi on 83.50 points, who could take the title if he wins his class and breaks his class record! It’s his own record and he is always close to it, so it’s not an impossible outcome by any means! But he also needs Simon Purcell to falter…

Can Simon Purcell hang onto his Championship lead? Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Can Simon Purcell hang onto his Championship lead? Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

The Top Ten Challenge sees points awarded at each Gurston Championship event to the fastest 10 registered contenders, 10 points for the fastest down to one for the tenth fastest. This series is currently led by Chris Cannell in his twin-engined Force SR8 on 32 points ahead of Keith Diggle (2.1 WEV HCS) on 27 points and Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates (1.3 supercharged Force LM) on 26 points. But Gates has amassed his score in just three events so he will add all the points he scores in the finale to his total and is thus in a strong position to overhaul the top two and snatch that title!

Can Chris Cannell maintain his grasp on the Top Ten Challenge? Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Can Chris Cannell maintain his grasp on the Top Ten Challenge? Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

It’s all to play for, and there will be battles throughout the entry as the class champions are decided too.

In addition to all the action in the Championship and Challenge there will also be special invitation classes for Austin Healeys, Triumph TRs, Reliant Scimitars and historic 500cc racing cars.

With first class catering and additional food and drink outlets on site there’s everything you need for an exciting, great value day of motorsport in superb surroundings!

The Details

The meeting will open with the invitation class for TR Cars and we should expect the Weedons, John and Jonathon to put their rapid TR5 at the front.

In the ‘Big Healey’ class Pat Cooper has been the quickest at Gurston recently in his 100/6 and he could be on for the win again. And among the Sprites local driver Murray Wakeham will be at the forefront.

Onto the Gurston Championship classes, and a well-supported roadgoing series production class up to 2000cc sees Adam Greenen go in his rapid Honda Civic Type ‘R’, and although this is Adam’s debut season he has established himself not only as the man to beat in this class but also great entertainment value, as witnessed at the recent August National meeting! Battling hard to keep up will be, among others, Peugeot tuning guru Miles Horne in his 2.0 Peugeot 306 GTi and Ian Redding in his similar machine, both attempting to overhaul class Championship leader Paul Hearne (2.0 Renault Clio 172 Cup).

The clash for the class Championship in the over 2000cc roadgoing series production cars is closer than in any other class, with Stephen Moore (2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6) just two hundredths of a point ahead of Simon Neve in his 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6. So this one is virtually down to who wins on the day, except that Neve would need a minimum winning margin of a three hundredths of a second!

The roadgoing specialist production class sees some rapid cars and drivers competing, and Piers Thynne starts as favourite for the win in his turbocharged 1.3 Westfield Megabusa. Piers has already won the class Championship but Martin Watson, who currently lies fourth in class in his 2.0 Westfield SEiW, will be hoping to move up the order and Adrian Lewis (1.3 Westfield Megabusa) and Clive Skipper (2.0 Caterham 7 HPC) will be aiming to hang on to their top three spots!

The marque sports car class up to 2000cc sees the aforementioned Simon Purcell run in his self-developed supercharged 1.4 Lotus Exige, and providing he repeats the form he has shown all year he is the probable favourite to win the overall 2014 Gurston Championship title. Should he slip up or encounter gremlins that prevent him running, his Championship rivals still have a lot to do to overhaul his current table-topping score. Gurston treasurer Dee Stapley and daughter Steph Limb do battle again in Molly the MGF.

There will be a good battle in the over 2000cc marque sports car class too as Graham Beale, already the class Championship winner, pits his turbocharged 2 litre Ginetta G33 against the shared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Andy Fraser and Tim Painter. There won’t be much between these three, and they are joined by the lovely Jaguar ‘E’ Type of Paul Slade.

It’s Minis all the way in the up to 1400cc modified series production class, and the winner here in the August British Championship event was Neil Turner whose expertly driven Mini Cooper ‘S’ will be tough to beat. Phil Eaton and former Gurston Champion Derek Mullis will push the pedal to the metal to try and keep up!

Former double Gurston Champion and current competition secretary Paul Webster runs his trusty (for sale…) 1.9 Mazda MX5 in the class for modified series production cars up to 2000cc, and he is joined by regular Mini entrant Jim White from Southampton, accompanied by son Steve, this time in a 1.8 Peugeot 306, following mechanical maladies with their Mini in the August Bank Holiday event.

Some extremely potent machinery will run in the over 2000cc modified series production saloon class, with another former Gurston Champion Roy Barker going in his turbocharged 2.3 Mitsubishi Evo 5. He will be up against Adrian and David Flagg, son and father, in their 2.0t Subaru Impreza STi and the spectacular 2.1t Audi Quattro of Tim Clarke and Andy Trayner.

Fastest of all the production-based machines are the modified specialist production cars, and here we have the two drivers who could threaten Simon Purcell’s Championship hopes. Ritchie Gatt goes in his 2.0 Westfield SEiW and either needs to win his class and break his class record to overtake Purcell’s current score, or he could match Purcell’s total if he wins and gets within half a second of his record. In the latter case he would need Purcell to score less than 21.00 points to win on a tie breaker!

Ritchie Gatt is one of two drivers who could snatch the title from the current leader. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Ritchie Gatt is one of two drivers who could snatch the title from the current leader. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Also running in the combined modified specialist production class but scoring points in the over 2000cc division is another former Gurston Champion Mike Rudge whose spirited driving of his 2.3 Westfield SEi always entertains! Mike also has a chance at the title but he needs to break his class record and rely on Simon Purcell scoring less than 20.00 points to win on the tie break rules. So the odds are stacked in Simon Purcell’s favour, but it’s not over until it’s over!

Mike Rudge could also grab the Championship at the last gasp, but it's a tall order. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Mike Rudge could also grab the Championship at the last gasp, but it’s a tall order. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

The Historically Interesting class brings out a mix of lovely single seater racing cars and sports cars this time around. Hugh Kemp looks like the favourite for the class win in his 1.6 Palliser WDF3, and Hugh could potentially challenge for a top three position in the Gurston Championship with a good score in this final round.

In a season where the sports libre cars are heading the Top Ten Challenge, it’s great to see Gurston’s long-time sponsor Jonathan Gates in with a tilt at the Challenge title. The supercharged 1.3 litre Force LM he shares with Peter Sexton has been the fastest car in the up to 2000cc sports libre class this year and, having missed scoring in April’s opening round when an engine malady intervened, the duo will be adding all the points they score this weekend to their totals. Jonathan Gates, currently third overall, will win the Challenge if he finishes in the top four and beats the present leader, Chris Cannell, who runs in the next class. Gurston’s Hon. Sec. Tim Pitfield will again field his recently acquired 1.3 DJ Firecat in this class, and Tim has picked up two third places since his July debut in the car.

Long-time Gurston Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates finds himself in with a chance at the Top Ten Challenge title. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Long-time Gurston Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates finds himself in with a chance at the Top Ten Challenge title. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

The over 2000cc sports libre class should be the domain of Chris Cannell in the twin-engined 2.6 litre Force SR8 he shares with Sue Hayes. Chris is currently heading the Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge, a title he has won before in a Pilbeam MP58, and he would be thrilled to win it again in the sports libre car he has been running for the past decade before moving on in 2015 to the new car he recently purchased. To retain his Challenge lead he needs to finish in the top five and beat Jonathan Gates’s time in the previous class. Also running in Cannell’s class is Keith Diggle in his 2.1 WEV HCS, and Keith, currently second overall, will be hoping to hold onto a top three spot in the Challenge.

Keith Diggle is currently second in the Challenge; can he hang onto a top three place? Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Keith Diggle is currently second in the Challenge; can he hang onto a top three place? Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

The single seater racing cars will take to the hill next and there’s a healthy class of historic cars from the 500 Owners Association entered. Andrew Forsyth should do well here in the Alfa Dana, and John Dent (Cooper Mk 8) will be right up there too.

It looks like being very competitive in the up to 1100cc racing car class, with James Moore leading the class Championship in his 1.1 OMS 2000M and, having just been the quickest in this group over the course of the season, is the narrow favourite to win again this weekend. There is some good opposition in the class though from Bradley Hobday (1.0 Jedi Mk 4), Euan and Calum Kemp (1.1 OMS PR), John Oxborrow (1.0 OX7 and Steve Loadsman (1.1 OMS).

The Formula Ford class gets more interesting by the event, and this weekend Andrew Abbey is joined by a new co-driver, Chris Burley as the pair strike up a new car sharing arrangement in the 1.6 Jamun M91 formerly owned by Roger Labbett. Andrew Abbey is another driver who will be adding all the Championship points he scores to his current total, and he too could challenge for a top three spot if he wins the class and gets close to the class record (he was only a second away last time out).

Gurston stalwarts and now regular supporters of the pre-1986 racing car class, father and son Brian and Adrian Moody run their 1.6 Ralt RT3 once again, and there are only 0.35 points between them for the class Championship title, so look out for some family fun here!

In the up to 1600cc racing car class Peter D. Smith and Richard Gaylard share their very quick 1.6 Force again and will be in the hunt for Best Time of the Day. Indeed Peter D. scored ‘double BTD’ at Gurston’s April opening weekend events, and although neither he nor his co-driver can win the Top Ten Challenge, having missed out on scoring in rounds 2 and 3 in June, they could influence the overall outcome…

Peter D. Smith scored double BTD in April, and could be on for BTD again at this meeting. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Peter D. Smith scored double BTD in April, and could be on for BTD again at this meeting. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

The final class of the event is for racing cars up to 2000cc, and what an interesting class it is. Andrew Dinner shares his 2.0 Pilbeam MP82 with Gurston committee member John Forsyth. Running his slightly older 2.0 Pilbeam MP54 will be Gurston’s friendly builder Roger Cock. And making their competition debut with a new car, the Marsh brothers, Simon and Peter share Simon’s new supercharged 1.3 DJ Firehawk, a car which is sure to be competitive once fully sorted. Can the sons of the late Gurston co-designer and multiple British Hillclimb Champion Tony Marsh achieve success first time out with the new car, though?

This and many other questions will be settled in this exciting final event of the season at Gurston Down on Sunday September 7th. Don’t miss it!

Loughborough Uni Formula Student at Gurston

Making its second visit to Gurston Down over the BHC event weekend was the Loughborough University Formula Student Team, sponsored, along with Huddersfield Uni, by Gurston. This time it was possible to provide some running on the hill during the lunch break amid Saturday practice, and here are a few photos of the team’s smart presentation set up, preparations for the run and the launch off the start.

Loughborough University's smart presentation display. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Loughborough University’s smart presentation display. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

 

In the assembly area. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

In the assembly area. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

 

The car may have run untimed, but it was staged in the usual way. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

The car may have run untimed, but it was staged in the usual way. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

 

Away from the start. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Away from the start. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

August National – The Details

In brief

Conditions were ideal over the August Bank Holiday weekend for fast times at Gurston, and a big crowd witness some superb action against the clock.

The Avon Tyres/TTC Group British Hillclimb Championship contingent put on an impressive display of high speed precision driving on the narrow confines of the fast Wiltshire speed hillclimb course, and four drivers dipped into the 25-second bracket during Sunday’s competition runs. The times were very close in the first Championship Run Off and Moran won by just 12 hundredths of a second from Will Hall in his 3.5 Force V6 and 2012 Champion Trevor Willis in his 3.2 OMS 28, who set exactly the same times to tie for equal second place! Moran’s margin was slightly bigger in the second Run Off as he beat Jos Goodyear in the 1.3 supercharged GWR Raptor by 0.48seconds with Will Hall a further quarter of a second adrift in third place. Goodyear’s miniscule Raptor had earlier reset the class record in the up to 2000cc racing car class, qualified fastest for the second Run Off and was consistently the fastest car across the finish line with a best speed of 155mph!

The detail

The meeting opened with the up to 2000cc roadgoing series production class which was won by Steve Harris in the 1.8 Vauxhall Corsa with the only sub-40 second times in the class in his 1.8 Vauxhall Corsa ahead of the duelling duo of Hannah Wiltshire (2.0 Renault Clio 172 Cup) in second place and Mark Alley (1.3 Mazda RX8) who finished just a third of second adrift in third.

The over 2000cc roadgoing series production class saw the big guns setting fast times, and Tony Bunker’s potent Nissan GT-R got the verdict here by 0.35 seconds from Simon Neve in his 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6.

A terrific three-way battle entertained in the roadgoing series production class with Piers Thynne asserting a narrow lead at half time with a tidy run in his turbocharged 1.3t Westfield Megabusa from Allan Warburton (2.5 Caterham) and Simon Jenks (1.6 Caterham Supersport). All three drivers improved second time up with Warburton improving the most with a fine sub-32 second climb (just 18 hundredths from the class record) to win from Thynne and Jenks.

Allan Warburton came from behind to win the roadgoing specialist class with a sub32s time. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Allan Warburton came from behind to win the roadgoing specialist class with a sub-32s time. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Neil Turner took an excellent win in his 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’ in the up to 1400cc modified series production class as pre-event favourite Jim White faded with problems on both runs in his highly stressed 1.4 Austin Mini Clubman. Andy Russell (1.1 Ginetta G15) set an identical time to White’s only run and therefore took second place on aggregate from the Mini pilot in the process.

Keith Murray made a rare visit to Gurston in his well-developed 1.4t Audi 80 Quattro but was rewarded with a win in the up to 2000cc modified series production class ahead of current Gurston Hillclimb Championship leader Simon Purcell in his 1.4t Lotus Exige.

The over 2000cc modified series production saloon belonged very much to Stephen Moore as he closed to within a second of the class record in his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 with a press-on approach.

The over 2000cc modified series production sports car class was a Porsche benefit, and Andy Fraser emerged in front in his 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car with Peter Turnbull just 18 hundredths behind in his similar car.

The amalgamated specialist production class saw Mike Rudge on great form (when isn’t he?) as he closed to within eight hundredths of his own class record in the rapid 2.3 Westfield to win from Neal Masters in the ex-Jonathan Gates Gurston Championship-winning 2 litre Westfield.

And the aforementioned former champion and long-time Gurston Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates took just one run to win the up to 2000cc sports libre class from co-driver Peter Sexton in their 1.3 supercharged Force LM. Behind these two, Gurston’s Hon. Sec. Tim Pitfield was third again in his recently acquired 1.3 DJ Firecat despite wrestling with gear selection problems.

Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes debuted their brand new 1.3 supercharged Empire Evo in the up to 2000cc sports libre class too, and their times during practice were progressing well but ‘new car gremlins’ unfortunately prevented them from taking part in the competition runs. We shall see a lot more of the stunning-looking machine at Gurston in 2015.

Nic Mann was on fine form in his astonishing 1.7 litre turbocharged, four-wheel drive Mannic Beattie, taking the over 2000cc sports libre class win but also carving a quarter of a second off his own class record. Joint BHC sponsor Graham Wynn went well in his rapid turbocharged Force LM but finished two thirds of a second adrift of the top Mann!

 

Nic Mann broke his own record in the amazing Mannic Beattie. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Nic Mann broke his own record in the amazing Mannic Beattie. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

BARC (SW) committee member John Forsyth was in a class of his own in the 500cc Alfa Dana but enjoyed himself on Sunday with two press-on (or should that be ‘hang on’) 42-second climbs.

It was very tight in the 1100cc racing car class with the top three all improving second time up, but the first run leader Rob Capper (1.0 Force PT) hung on for the win by the smallest possible margin, just one hundredth ahead of the 1.0 Empire Wraith of Phil Cooke. Liam Cooper leapfrogged ahead of wife Olivia to snatch third in the family 1.0 Force PT.

Brian Moody took his almost customary win in the pre-1986 racing car class in his1.6 Ralt RT3 ahead of his son Adrian.

The pace was hot in the up to 1600cc racing car class too, with the top three all going sub-29 seconds. Impressively it was 2013 Gurston Top Ten Challenge winner Ed Hollier who won by a third of a second on the debut of his new 1.6 Empire on its sole run. Steve Owen was next up in the ‘works’ 1.6 OMS 28 with local expert Peter D. Smith third in his 1.6 Force a further quarter of a second behind. A very unfortunate ‘off’ at Hollow Bend befell Richard Spedding on his first timed run in the Leaders Championship topping 1.6 Force PC, but thankfully after checks at hospital Richard was back at the venue in the afternoon, albeit looking rather sore. Hopefully the Force will be back with him very soon.

If the pace was hot among the 1600s it was astonishing in the up to 2000cc racing car class as Jos Goodyear carved another hefty chunk off his class record set back in May in the 1.3s GWR Raptor before skimming another hundredth off in the afternoon runs to qualify top for the second Run Off. Consider the progress: Trevor Willis set a 28.08 second record in May 2005; Alex Summers took that to 27.23s in May 2012 and then to 27.09s in August 2013; May 2014 saw Jos Goodyear set 26.35s but this weekend saw him reduce it to 25.91 seconds…

Jos Goodyear has the Raptor flying again. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Jos Goodyear has the Raptor flying again. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

In the unlimited racing car class Scott Moran went sub-26 seconds on both runs but was the only driver to do so in the class runs as he headed off Will Hall and Trevor Willis for the gold medal.

The Historically Interesting class produced , as usual, a lovely mix of cars to gaze upon and the action was great too as Amanda George headed off father Richard in their superb 2.0 Chevron B19 by a couple of tenths, with Alan Goodwin’s lovely Aldon AL3 in third.

Pete Hammock grabbed his first Gurston trophy in his debut season with the win in a very mixed BARC (SW Centre) Members National B licence holders class in his 1.6 OMS CF04, despite a badly slipping clutch, with Martin Watson only a quarter of a second behind in his 2.0 Westfield SEiW.

The third class record of the day fell in the SBD HSA Speed Championship Saloon and Sports Car class as Colin Satchell bagged (apologies to J. Sturman…) another win in the rapid 2.0 Peugeot and carved half a second off his own mark. Dean Gammon couldn’t quite save the bacon in his rapid 1.6 Peugeot 106 Rallye but it wasn’t for the want of trying.

Colin Satchell carved half a second off his HSA class record. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Colin Satchell carved half a second off his HSA class record. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Finally John Opie took the win in the HSA sports racing and racing cars class in his 2.0 Ralt RT3, half a second clear of co-driver John Burton.

The Run Offs – and Scott Moran’s outright hill record – brought the meeting to a thrilling climax, and the large crowd enjoyed showing their appreciation with applause and cheers as the drivers returned down the hill back to the paddock.

The 2014 season at Gurston Down reaches its conclusion with what promises to be a nail-biting Championship finale on Sunday September 7th. There are lots of scores to be settled, so this will not be a meeting to miss!

Scott Moran at Karousel. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Scott Moran at Karousel. Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

New hill record for Scott Moran

Highlights of an exciting BHC event, August 23/24

  • Double BHC Run Off wins for Scott Moran, with a new outright hill record in the second Run Off
  • Trevor Willis and Will Hall equal second in first Run Off
  • Jos Goodyear fastest qualifier for second Run Off but can’t quite match Moran’s record charge and takes second place ahead of Hall
  • New class records for Jos Goodyear, Nic Mann and Colin Satchell
Scott Moran shaved five hundredths off Martin Groves 7 year old hill record with a run, he said afterwards, 'that just came together.' Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

Scott Moran shaved five hundredths off Martin Groves 7 year old hill record with a run, he said afterwards, ‘that just came together.’ Copyright: Simon McBeath / everleyphotography.co.uk

The Top 12 Run Off results were:

Run Off 1
1     Scott Moran, 25.81
2=  Will Hall, 25.93
2=   Trevor Willis, 25.93
4    Jos Goodyear, 26.02
5    Alex Summers, 26.23
6    John Bradburn, 26.59
7    Wallace Menzies, 26.60
8    Tom New, 26.69
9    Alistair Crawford 26.92
10  Roger Moran, 27.38
11   Dave Uren, 27.44
12   Paul Haimes, 34.22

Run Off 2
1    Scott Moran, 25.37 (new outright hill record)2   Jos Goodyear, 25.83
3   Will Hall, 26.09
4   Trevor Willis, 26.18
5   Alex Summers, 26.19
6   Alistair Crawford, 26.66
7   Tom New, 26.95
8   Wallace Menzies, 27.04
9   John Bradburn, 27.13
10  Dave Uren, 27.45
11   Roger Moran, 27.52
12   Steve Owen, 28.43

Summary results of all the classes can be found by clicking here, fully detailed results can be found here. And the up to date British Hillclimb Championship table can be found here.

Scott Moran receives the Hendy Lennox Trophy for BTD from Gurston's owner Robert Hitchings

Scott Moran receives the Hendy Lennox Trophy for BTD from Gurston’s owner Robert Hitchings

Full report to follow.

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