Devon double cream

Big crowds turned out to watch the season’s first two days of championship speed hillclimbing at Gurston Down on April 18th and 19th. And they were treated to a superb selection of two-, three- and four-wheeled machinery with drivers and riders racing against the clock on the fast and narrow 967 metre course. Best Time of the Day (BTD) was set on both days by brilliant Devonian Ed Hollier in his 1.6 Empire Evo single seater. Ed, like most drivers, was struggling to get near previous best times in the cool and dusty conditions, commenting that grip was in short supply in the braking and the accelerating zones.

Ed Hollier blasts off the start in his rapid 1.6 Empire Evo. Copyright: Simon McBeath

Ed Hollier blasts off the start in his rapid 1.6 Empire Evo. Copyright: Simon McBeath

Ed Hollier, very modest, very quick. Copyright: Simon McBeath.

Ed Hollier, very modest, very quick. Copyright: Simon McBeath.

Despite the generally low grip levels two new class records were established over the weekend. On Saturday Justin Andrews carved large chunks off the SBD Championship registered road legal cars record in his 2.1t Subaru Impreza, setting the new mark at 35.01 seconds. And on Sunday Tom Walker made the switch from the Austin Healey Sprite class to the Big Healey & Warwick Cars class and shaved 15 hundredths off his own mark there in his Healey 3000.

The small but beautifully formed group of bikers put on a great show as always, and Paul Jeffery won the 751cc to 1300cc class on his mighty KTM RC8 1200, also setting bike BTD in the process. But the tables were turned in the bike Top Ten Run Off as Peter Short (525cc Honda) won by just six hundredths from Jeffery with Tommy Hodges (504cc Team GV CRF) just another seven hundredths behind in third place.

Paul Jeffrey set bike BTD on the big KTM RC8. Copyright Simon McBeath.

Paul Jeffrey set bike BTD on the big KTM RC8. Copyright Simon McBeath.

Full details to follow.

It was a terrific weekend of action to get the season off to a great start, and the next event at Gurston Down is a British Hillclimb Championship event on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday and Sunday May 23rd/24th.

The crowds enjoyed two superb days of hillclimbing at Gurston on April 18th & 19th. Copyright: Simon McBeath

The crowds enjoyed two superb days of hillclimbing at Gurston on April 18th & 19th. Copyright: Simon McBeath

The marshals were out in numbers as well. This chap supervised paddock assembly for two solid days. Copyright: Simon McBeath

The marshals were out in numbers as well. This chap supervised paddock assembly for two solid days. Copyright: Simon McBeath

Gurston gets into gear!

Key info
Location:
1 mile west of Broad Chalke, 9 miles SW of Salisbury, Wiltshire. Turn off the A354 at Coombe Bissett on the unclassified road to Broad Chalke, follow RAC signs.
Dates: Saturday April 18th & Sunday April 19th
Times: Competition from approx. 1300, practice from 0830 both days.
Admission: Only £10 for adults each day, accompanied under 15s free, free paddock entry, free parking.

In brief
The waiting is over! The new season gets into gear again at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb, Broad Chalke near Salisbury on April 18th and 19th with two packed days of exciting championship action against the clock. As always the season opening weekend will provide a real feast of speed as, each day, over 130 drivers in saloons and sports cars from classic to modern plus the awesomely fast sports racing and single seater racing cars battle it out on the twists and turns of the famous Wiltshire speed venue. And on Sunday April 19th a contingent of riders and motorbikes of the National Hillclimb Association joins in the fun too.

The battle for ‘BTD’ (Best Time of the Day) will be fought out between the drivers in the fastest single seaters and sports racing cars on both days. Among the BTD contenders will be 2013 Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge winner Ed Hollier who set amazingly quick times on the debut of his new car, the 1.6 Empire Evo, at Gurston last August. He will be up against, among others, Simon Moyse in his potent 1.3 supercharged Gould GR59 and triple BTD man in 2014 Peter D. Smith in his 1.6 Force. And among the sports racing contenders will be 2014 Top Ten Challenge winner and Gurston Championship sponsor Jonathan Gates in his rapid 1.3 supercharged Force LM. Making their competition debut in their latest car will be local heroes Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes, the pair driving their striking new 1.3 supercharged Empire Evo sports libre car. It’s going to be a fascinating first speed weekend of 2015…

Can Ed Hollier challenge for BTD? Copyright: Simon McBeath

Can Ed Hollier challenge for BTD? Copyright: Simon McBeath

Also on Saturday April 18th the Association of Central Southern Motor Clubs (ACSMC) holds a round of its hillclimb championship, as will the SBD BARC and the SBD Hillclimb and Sprint Association Speed Championships, plus there will be special classes for Westfields, TVRs, a huge assortment of Classic Marques plus pre-War Austin 7s as well as the usual mix of production-based machines, sports racing cars and single seater racing cars.

And on Sunday April 19th the first round of the popular and well-subscribed Gates of Brockenhurst Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship and the BARC SW Top Ten Challenge will take place featuring all the usual classes, with supporting invitation classes for Austin Healeys, Triumph TRs, historic 500cc racing cars and another big collection of Classic Marques.

As well as the regular mix of four-wheeled competition cars, some of the country’s top riders from the National Hillclimb Association will be wowing the crowds on (sometimes one…) two and three wheels on Sunday 19th too!

Spectator access is unrivalled – you really can’t get closer to the action that at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb. And with excellent catering and refreshment outlets on site everything is in place for a great value, exciting weekend of motorsport!

The details
Saturday’s invitation classes get proceedings underway for 2015, and in the ‘SBD Road Legal Cars’ class Chris Berrisford went sub-40s in his 2.0t Subaru Impreza last April so looks like the favourite to win here. Among the Austin 7s, Alistair Frayling Cork’s 7 Special could be the quickest in the ‘Road’ division, but the ‘Race’ division looks wide open!

In the ACSMC ‘Road Legal’ class Jack Gammon’s 3.2 BMW M3 should hold sway. The TVR class looks a goody; Steven Mogg won last April in his 5.0 Griffith 500 from Howard Barnard’s 4.5 Griffith, but former class record holder Jes Firth (5.0 Griffith) makes a return today, so we should be in for a good scrap! The Westfield class always produces some fast action; Peter Goulding won the class a year ago in his 2.0 SEiW with Gurston regular Martin Watson not so far behind in third in his similar car. Can Watson change the verdict in his favour today?

In Sunday’s invitation classes, the TR Cars start the day’s action, and based on the form on their previous visit to Gurston last September, Roderick Warner (3.5 TR7 V8) will start as class favourite here from Nick Smith (2.6 TR6) and Dale Huxford (1.3 Spitfire Mk 4). But we all know how reliable form books can be!

In the ‘Big Healey’ class Pat Cooper (3.0 100/6) and Richard Mason (3.0 3000 Mk 2) will slug it out again; last April Richard Mason won. And in the Austin Healey Sprite class, record holder Tom Walker (1.4 Mk 1) returns and will be aiming for the win. Adie Ball and Robin Johnson (1.4 Mk 1) and the rest will be aiming to make it otherwise!

A huge ‘Classic Marques Speed Championship’ class on both days has attracted entries from all over the country. Robert Pallett 1.8 Ginetta G20) won from Steve Cox (5.0 TVR V8S) and Geoff Stallard (1.7 TVR Vixen S2) last April. Then there’s Gurston regular Graham Beale (1.8 Ginetta G20), and a host of other drivers in lovely cars. Who will emerge top?

Onto the ‘regular’ Gurston classes and in the very well subscribed up to 2000cc roadgoing series production class the usual big local contingent is headed up by the Greenen brothers, Andy and Adam in their rapid 2.0 Honda Civic Type R. Can the rest stay in touch?

The Greenen brothers will be aiming for class honours in their Civic Type R. Copyright: Simon McBeath

The Greenen brothers will be aiming for class honours in their Civic Type R. Copyright: Simon McBeath

In the over 2000cc roadgoing series production class on Saturday Stephen Moore fields his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 against the 2.3t version of Simon Neve, but there are plenty of other quick car/driver combinations running here too!

The roadgoing specialist production class always produces some rapid machinery, and among the top contenders will be Clive Skipper in his 2.0 Caterham HPC, Adrian Lewis in his 1.4 Westfield Megabusa, former Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge winner Andrew Forsyth in his newly acquired 1.3 Westfield Megabusa, Mike Williams in his 2.0 Westfield SEiW and on Sunday Piers Thynne joins the fray in his 1.3 turbocharged Westfield Megabusa.

In the modified production marque sports cars up to 2000cc mother and daughter Dee Stapley and Steph Limb do battle once more in their shared 1.8 MGF. They are joined by Peter Ellens on Saturday in his iconic 1.6 Renault Alpine A110 and on Sunday by Nick Morgan in his modern icon, a 1.8 Lotus Elise.

The over 2000cc modified production marque sports car class sees 2014 Gurston Champion Simon Purcell in his familiar Lotus Exige, now with its 1.8 litre engine reinstalled in place of last year’s 1.4 litre engine, although the supercharger is retained! Up against him is the spectacular Bob Mortimer in his 2.7 Porsche 911.

2014 Gurston champ Simon Purcell moves up a class for 2015. Copyright: Simon McBeath

2014 Gurston champ Simon Purcell moves up a class for 2015. Copyright: Simon McBeath

The up to 1400cc modified series production class is complemented with classic Minis as usual, Jim White, the class record holder in his highly developed 1.4 Mini Clubman, starting as favourite but Neil Turner and Derek Mullis field their respective rapid 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’ variants and will be in the thick of the action.

The up to 2000cc modified series production class has the rapid Colin Satchell running his wide track 2.0 Peugeot 205 GTi on both days. On Saturday William Verhaak takes him on in his 1.8 Mazda MX5 but Satchell gets amalgamated with the over 2000cc modified saloons on Sunday and is up against Stephen Moore (2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6) who switches from the roadgoing class for the day, and the awesome 2.1t Audi Quattro of Tim Clarke and Andy Trayner. It could still be Satchell who bags the win… (Apologies to Speedscene’s Jerry Sturman for pun plagiarism…).

The awesome Audi Quattro of Tim Clarke and Andy Trayner. Copyright: Simon McBeath

The awesome Audi Quattro of Tim Clarke and Andy Trayner. Copyright: Simon McBeath

Saturday’s over 2000cc modprod saloon class looks good too as TurboTechnics founder Geoffrey Kershaw (3.0t Sierra) takes on James Hunt (2.3s BMW E30) and William Hunt (2.0t Sierra).

The over 2000cc modified series production sports cars feature two locals in tasty cars, Mark Walker in his 3.4 Porsche Cayman S and, on Sunday only, Mike Butler in his 2.0t Toyota Celica GT4.

There’s only one driver in the over 2000cc modified specialist production class but as it’s Mike Rudge in his 2.3 Westfield SEi you can be sure of being entertained! Mike finished an amazing sixth overall in the Gurston Top Ten Challenge in 2014, and given the right conditions is always close to his own class record. What can he do this weekend?

The Historically Interesting class always brings out some lovely machinery, and others we hope to see Mike Broome’s latest acquisition, an 1.6 Alexis Mk 17 F3, plus regular sparring partner Hugh Kemp in his 1.6 Palliser WDF3, who looks the likely winner here.

The pace really gears up as we reach the combined sports libre class, and among the class -and overall – front runners will be Gurston Championship sponsor and 2014 Top Ten Challenge winner Jonathan Gates aboard his 1.3 supercharged Force LM. Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes will run their new 1.3s Empire Evo in competition for the first time. Keith Diggle’s immaculate 2.1 WEV HCS is amalgamated into the class and will be in there fighting for honours. And Tim Pitfield brings along his 1.3 DJ Firecat, hopefully with test day gear selection gremlins sorted.

JonathanGates-Gurston-lr

Gurston championship sponsor and 2014 Top Ten Challenge winner Jonathan Gates will be a BTD contender again in the 1.3s Force LM. Copyright: Simon McBeath

A small but select group of ‘500 Owners Association’ historic 500cc racing cars appears over the weekend with John Forsyth (0.5 Alfa Dana) likely to be in the thick of it, and on Sunday Alistair Dent (0.5 Cooper Mk 6) and John Dent (0.5 Cooper Mk 8) join Forsyth and Stuart Barnes (0.5 Iota P1.01).

Among the modern single seater racing car class the front runners will be regulars James Moore in his 1.1 OMS 2000M and Bradley Hobday in his 1.0 Jedi Mk 4, plus the Kemp brothers Calum and Euan (1.1 OMS PR). On Saturday only John Oxborrow (1.0 OX7), fastest man at the test day in late March, could challenge for top honours. And on Sunday Murray Wakeham makes the switch from his Austin Healey Sprite (being driven by son Julian in the Austin Healey class) to his newly acquired ex-Summers Family 1.0 OMS CF96, the car being shared with Alan Joy.

Sole Saturday Pre-1994 Formula Ford class runner Paul Morcom (1.6 Merlyn Mk 11a) gets amalgamated with the other racing cars but on Sunday he is joined by Andrew Abbey and Chris Burley in their shared 1.6 Jamun M91 to make up a class. Andrew finished equal third on total points in the 2014 Gurston Championship but was ultimately classified fifth on the tie break rules, so he will be looking for more good results in 2015, as well as getting closer to that class record…

The combined 1600cc and 2000cc racing car class see some very rapid car/driver combinations running. 2013 Gurston Top Ten Challenge winner Ed Hollier (1.6 Empire Evo) perhaps starts as short odds favourite for the class win and BTD, but Simon Moyse (1.3s Gould GR59) is capable of fast times as are three times BTD man in 2014 Peter D. Smith and co-driver Richard Gaylard (1.6 Force) and Kelvin Broad in the ex-Hollier 1.6 Pilbeam MP62. Pete Hammock’s 1.6 OMS CF04 has had much work done over the winter and he will be hoping to close in on the top runners in his second only season of hillclimbing.

Simon Moyse could be a BTD contender in the superb 1.3s Gould GR59

Simon Moyse could be a BTD contender in the superb 1.3s Gould GR59

A clashing NHCA round over the weekend sees the bike contingent somewhat depleted but there are some class acts to enjoy at Gurston, with former record holder Paul Jeffrey going on his mighty KTM RC8 1100, plus Mark Short (550 Aprilia), Peter Short (525 Honda) and Tommy Hodges (504 Honda CRF), and on three wheels well see Kevin and Sara Dewell on their 781cc Honda SKR outfit up against Raymond Brown and Steve Hollingsworth on their 250cc MZ.

Paul Jeffrey will go on his KTM RC8 1100

Paul Jeffrey will go on his KTM RC8 1100

The variety and the action will be in plentiful supply at Gurston Down on April 18th & 19th! Don’t miss it!!

Full entry lists can be found HERE.

Entries & Finals for April now posted

The full Drivers Entry Lists and and Final Instructions for the April 18th and 19th events have now been posted. Click HERE to jump straight to them. A detailed preview will follow soon.

Gurston Test Day

Strong cross winds accompanied by occasional rain and drizzle made for a pretty bleak Test Day on Sunday March 29th but a large number of enthusiastic competitors turned out to blow away the winter cobwebs, and in some cases to try out cars new to them. The day’s real stalwarts though were surely the marshals who had to stand out in the rain and gales, perhaps especially those at the top of the hill where conditions were at there worst. Well done and thanks to all.

The top times were remarkably close, and had it been an event it would have been really exciting! John Oxborrow set Best Time of the Day in his self-built 1000cc OX7 single seater with a 35.48s run set in the afternoon’s ever improving conditions, shading out Kelvin Broad in the ex-Eddie Hollier 1.6 Pilbeam MP62 by just one hundredth!

Kelvin Broad was quick in the ex-Eddie Hollier 1.6 Pilbeam MP62

Kelvin Broad was quick in the ex-Eddie Hollier 1.6 Pilbeam MP62

An impressive third BTD went to Simon Neve in his roadgoing 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6 on 36.83, Simon packing in 14 runs during the day! The record for the number of runs achieved on the day went to David Bellamy in his Peugeot 106 – 16 runs! Four meetings’ worth in one day, not bad value!

Simon Neve was flying in his 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo.

Simon Neve was flying in his 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo.

Among those trying out ‘new’ cars was Murray Wakeham, who has swapped his 1.4 Austin Healey Sprite for the ex-Summers Family OMS CF96SS, and Murray enjoyed eight runs in the car with Richard Summers kindly providing support. BARC (SW) committee member Hannah Wiltshire has also made the jump from her Renault Clio Cup roadgoing car to a single seater and she debuted her superb Swift SC93 Formula Ford with ex-Gurston Top Ten Challenge winner father Tony sharing driving duties for the day.

Hannah Wiltshire debuted her Swift SC93 Formula Ford

Hannah Wiltshire debuted her Swift SC93 Formula Ford

Other drivers putting in fast times were regular BTD man in 2014 Peter D. Smith in the 1.6 Force, Keith Diggle in the 2.1 WEV HCS and local man Chris Cannell in the 1.3s Empire Evo sports libre, running very sweetly now after its rather fraught shakedown in last August’s National meeting practice session.

Chris Cannell's 1.3s Empire Evo was running well.

Chris Cannell’s 1.3s Empire Evo was running well.

All the times can be viewed by clicking HERE.

We can but hope that the weather will be better in three weeks’ time for the first meetings of the year. That’s April 18th and 19th, two packed entries to enjoy plus the bikes from the National Hill Climb Association on the Sunday. Full preview to follow soon.

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