Reigning British Hillclimb Champion Scott Moran and co-driver Alex Summers shared the honours in the first Run Off at Gurston Down on Sunday May 24th with identical times in the Moran Family 3.5 Gould GR61X to also share the Daily Express Peter Collins Trophy for Best Time of the Day (26.25s). In the drizzle-affected second Run Off, with all the drivers showing outstanding commitment on a track becoming increasingly tricky, Alex Summers, running first, almost equalled his first Run Off time but despite a quicker halfway split time and an identical finish line speed close to 145mph, Scott Moran finished 29 hundredths adrift in second spot. Trevor Willis finished third in both Run Offs.
Tom New collected an excellent fourth in the first Run Off but a misting visor in the afternoon drizzle hampered visibility and dropped Tom to 11th. Dave Uren had a superb meeting with equal fifth (with Will Hall in the Force WH) in the morning and eighth (just three hundredths behind Hall in sixth spot!) in the afternoon in the turbocharged 1.3 Force PC. The other outstanding performance was from Ed Hollier who managed to qualify the 1.6 Empire Evo for both Run Offs despite a huge power deficit, although he had to settle for 12th place each time.
In the classes
The meeting opened with a class for BARC (SW) Members with National B licences and Pete Hammock took full advantage of having the only single seater in the class to grab the win and the class record with a personal best time in his 1.6 OMS CF04. Karl Chard brought the family Mazda MX5 into second spot ahead of Shaun Fudge in his 2.0t Subaru Impreza WRX.
The roadgoing series production class up to 2000cc saw the Chard Mazda in action again, this time father Ian taking the win head of Steve Harris in his 1.8 Vauxhall Corsa and Mark Alley in his 1.3 Mazda RX8. The over 2000cc roadgoing series production class saw Mark Spencer win in his lovely 3.6 Porsche 996 Turbo from Tony Bunker’s Nissan GT-R.
The roadgoing specialist production class produced a good battle as Piers Thynne came from behind to win in his 1.3 turbocharged Westfield Megabusa from Allan Warburton in his 2.5 Caterham and Simon Jenks in his 1.6 Caterham Supersport. The Warburton Caterham was forced to retire at half time though.
Neil Turner was always in charge in his 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’ to take the up to 1400cc modified series production class from Andy Russell’s 1.1 Ginetta G15. The up to 2000cc modified series production class wasn’t quite as clear cut, for although Leaders Hillclimb Championship chart topper Colin Satchell was always in front, his co-driver Paul Drowne closed the gap to just 21 hundredths with a second run charge.
The combined over 2000cc modified series production class saw Tim Painter take the win in his gorgeous 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ahead of Mark Walker’s increasingly rapid 3.9 Porsche Cayman S.
Antony Orchard made a welcome return in his 1.3 Westfield ‘Bakerbusa’ (the engine is built by former Morris Minor pilot Martin Baker) and he was straight back to competitive times but being amalgamated with the over 2000cc modified specialist production cars saw him up against Mike Rudge in his 2.3 Westfield Duratec and the latter took the win with a time less than four tenths from his own class record on a less than perfect day.
The Historically Interesting class may have been small but nevertheless did produce interest as eventual winner Mike Broome took to ‘pastures new’ (well, the wheat field actually) at the top of Karousel on his first climb. But he bounced back in the 1.8 Alexis Mk 17 F3 to take the win from James Dean’s 1.6 Raven 4WD.
BARC (SW) Hon. Sec. Tim Pitfield is thoroughly enjoying his return to the cockpit in the 1.3 DJ Firecat and took his first win of the season in the up to 2000cc sports libre class.
In the over 2000cc sports libre class Gurston’s Hillclimb Drivers School sponsor and instructor Chris Cannell showed how to do it by winning in the twin-engined 2.6 Force SR8 from Keith Diggle in his 2.2 WEV HCS and the well-travelled Allan McDonald in his 2.4t Mini Evo.
The biggest and most competitive class of the weekend was the up to 1100cc racing car class, but there was a clear winner with Debbie Dunbar taking the spoils in the 1.0 Force PT, a third of a second ahead of Simon Andrews in his 1.0 OMS 28 with Liam Cooper in third in his 1.0 Force HC a further 0.57 seconds adrift. Behind this, third to seventh places were covered by just four hundredths of a second!
The up to 1600cc racing car class produced an excellent battle as well, with regular Gurston exponents Peter D. Smith (1.6 Force) and Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo) slugging it out. Smith took a six hundredths lead at halftime but Hollier shaved another fourteen hundredths off on his second climb to grab the win as Smith slowed. Eynon Price brought the normally aspirated 1.6 Gould GR59 into third with the only other sub-30 second time in the class.
The pre-1994 Formula Ford class is beginning to gather momentum at Gurston now, and former Gurston Top Ten Challenge winner Tony Wiltshire got back in the cockpit of daughter Hannah’s 1.6 Swift after a lay off to show he has lost none of his speed as he won by eight tenths from Richard Summers (1.6 Jamun M90) with the latter’s co-driver Samantha Lester just another two hundredths behind in third.
In the pre-1985 racing car class Adrian Moody and Barry Moignard had a great scrap in the Moody family 1.6 Ralt RT3. Moignard took the early lead by four hundredths only to see Moody shave six hundredths off his first run time to grab the win by just two hundredths!
Times were extremely close in the up to 2000cc racing car class as well, with clas record holder Jos Goodyear (1.3s GWR Raptor) and Dave Uren (1.3t Force PC) dead level at half time with Paul Haimes (1.3t Gould GR59) just four hundredths behind in third. Second time up Goodyear improved by five hundredths to take a narrow win as the others slowed.
It was tight in the over 2000cc racing car class too but the reigning champion lead the class on both runs to qualify fastest for each Run Off, and thus also took the class win as well. But the margin to second placed Alex Summers was only 12 hundredths, he in turn just 11 hundredths ahead of Trevor Willis in the 3.2 OMS Powertec.
The Lotus 7 Club Championship classes entertained as always, but later runners had to contend with late afternoon drizzle on their second runs. In class 1 Robert Jacobs (1.6 Caterham 7) took an early lead which he then extended with a second climb improvement, but still the margin was only a quarter of a second over second placed Paul Boston (1.6 Caterham 7).
Class two saw just one driver dip below 38 seconds, Andrew Willoughby setting a pair of 37s to take the win in his 1.6 Caterham 7 Roadsport by 44 hundredths from Robert Spencer’s Caterham 7 Superlight.
Richard Price was on a charge in class 3 in his 1.6 Caterham 7 Roadsport, and thankfully his first run time stood for the win as a second run fail put paid to any improvement. His winning margin was just over a second, four tenths smaller than last year so the rest are catching up!
In class 4 Michael Sankey dropped into the 34s with his 1.8 Caterham Superlight on run one for the class win ahead of Nigel Fox’s Super 7
In class 5 it was just Shaun and Gill Elwell in their 2 litre Caterham 7, and once again Shaun was well into the 33s to take the win, but the drizzle precluded any chance of a stab at the class record he approached last May.
The final combined classes 6 and 7 saw Robert Margel’s 1.4 Caterham Hayabusa head off the similar machine of Mark Durrant by just under four tenths as once again the drizzle meant the first runs decided matters.
It was a great event, and the late drizzle certainly made life interesting for the later runners, especially so those contending the second BHC Run Off, who showed almost unabated speed in what at the very least were psychologically trying conditions. Well done to all the competitors for providing a great day’s entertainment.
The next events at Gurston are on June 20th and 21st, two days of ‘Midsummer Speed Fest’ action with some superb machinery to admire, plus the motorbikes of the National Hill Climb association on both days. Don’t miss it!
Fully detailed times can be found HERE courtesy of those lovely people from TSL.