Regulations have now been uploaded and entries are now open, so competitors, get those entries in for what promises to be another cracking season at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb. Go to the online entries tab under Drivers/Officials above or click HERE. The old fashioned paper entry forms can still be used if you prefer by clicking HERE. but you will help to keep your club’s costs down (and save yourself some postage) if you use out online system. Many thanks!
With our 300th meeting in April, that looks like being a very popular weekend, so it might be an idea to get your entry in sooner than later…
It is our sad duty to report the passing of Les Stone. Les was practically part of the Gurston scenery. But his hillclimbing career was long and varied, and tales of treks to venues from Rest and Be Thankful and Doune to Blandford Camp and Brunton were all part of his reminiscences. Not many competitors get to celebrate 50 years of continuous competition, but Les was able to do that at Prescott a few years ago. And his cars during this time ranged from a Jaguar XK120, the Les Stone Special that he built himself, a Cooper V Twin, a Cooper Mk 7 with Imp power, then the Brabham BT21B later owned by the Harratts and finally the Delta T79 in which he rounded off his competition career.
Les Stone in his Delta T79 at Karousel in May 1999
Cars were at the core of Les’s professional career too. In the Second World War he was involved in transport, and he recounted one tale of how he inadvertently strayed behind enemy lines in Italy. The shells that started to explode all around were a clue that he was in the wrong place and soon saw him retrace his path back to safer ground! After the war he worked first as a garage mechanic and then for many years as transport manager at famed UK forklift manufacturer Lansing Bagnall in Basingstoke, Hampshire. (It was at Lansing Bagnall that Les met Maureen, whom he subsequently married.) Les’s professional automotive background certainly influenced the high standards of preparation that went into his racing cars.
His Gurston visits began soon after the hill commenced activities in 1967, it being his ‘local’ venue, living and working as he did in Basingstoke. But his contributions to the BARC (SW) went way beyond simply competing and he was a regular helper setting up the venue. The marigold beds at the Finish Line marshals’ post and the paddock office planted by Maureen and Les became something of a trademark. Les also worked at the Gurston Hillclimb Drivers School for many years, running Top Paddock with Jerry Ledwith while Maureen took care of admin in the office.
Away from hillclimbing, Les and Maureen did plenty of travelling at home and abroad and caught the winter sports bug. Visiting Austria in winter time became a routine, but in the winter of 2008 a trip to Finnish Lapland saw Les sample snowmobiling for the first time at the tender age of 86… Needless to say, the combination of engine and snow was greeted with that coy but mischievous smile and dollops of throttle to surmount snow banks in the forest!
Les rather enjoyed his Snowmobile trek one Arctic ‘afternoon’ in Finland in 2008!
Just one of the nicest men you could wish to meet, Les will be sorely missed on the UK hillclimb scene, and at Gurston in particular.
Our thoughts are with Maureen and the family.
Having set a new record last January for the number of times a club had won the Norrie Galbraith Memorial Trophy for organising the year’s best Avon Tyres Btitish Hillclimb Championship event, notching up its eighth win, Gurston Down organising club the BARC (SW) has now achieved a hat trick, with its third consecutive ‘Norrie’ for running the best BHC event in 2013, taking the total to nine. Yes, at the BHC awards bash at the Telford Hotel on January 11th, Gurston once again was the immensely proud recipient of this prestigious award. For more comments on this and some words from the chairman have a look at our Facebook page.
We have had an invitation from the Midland Automobile Club (MAC) to BARC (SW) members for the following events:
Shelsley Walsh National A 31st May-1st June
Shelsley Walsh National B 20th September
Sheslley Walsh National B 21st September
MIRA Sprint 2nd August National B.
Your contact is the MAC comp sec Roger Thomas: email@example.com