In a day of thrills, spills and superb conditions Oliver Tomlin took the family 4.0 Pilbeam MP97 Judd to sub-28 second times as the Midland Hillclimb Championship made its annual visit to Gurston on July 19th. Oliver set two consistent timed runs to qualify top for each run off, and went on to even quicker times in the shoots outs, finishing with BTD on the last run of the weekend on 27.54 seconds.
Oliver Tomlin took both Midland Top Ten Run Offs in the 4.0 Pilbeam MP97. Copyright: Akina Media
Ed Hollier won the 1600cc racing car class on 28.20s in the 1.6 Empire Evo, which was good enough for third BTD, but more importantly it meant he has won the Gurston Down Top Ten Challenge for the second time in three years. Hollier’s pace in the relatively low-powered car meant he was very close to the big V8 engined cars of Oliver Tomlin and Channel Islander Jason Mourant (3.2 OMS 28), but crucially he was the fastest of the Gurston Top Ten Challenge registered contingent and collected his fourth maximum score from the four rounds so far this season. With one round to go in September he cannot be beaten.
The day’s only class record went to local man Stephen Moore (2.0t Mitsubishi Evo) as he won the over 2000cc modified series production saloon class on 32.72 seconds, shaving a mere hundredth off the previous record! The bonus point earned for breaking his record means Stephen is now clear at the top of the Gurston Down Championship with one round to go. The title could, theoretically, still be taken by second placed driver Simon Neve, who won the over 2000cc roadgoing series production class in his 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo, but he will need to break his class record in September to have a chance at the title.
In the classes
It doesn’t get any tighter than in the up to 2000cc roadgoing series production class as former double Gurston champion Paul Webster (1.9 Mazda MX5) and Adam Greenen (2.0 Honda Civic Type R) dead heated on their first timed runs. But Adam’s brother Andy, third fastest on the first runs, had a huge moment at Karousel on his second effort which resulted in a roll, fortunately without any injury to the driver. This put the car out of action so Webster took the win on the basis of his second run time. Behind the leading trio there were some other great battles going on with several groups of drivers within a few tenths of each other; the class goes from strength to strength.
Clive Stangle had another good event in his 1.8t Audi TT Quattro with a class win in the ‘B licence’ holders’ over 2000cc roadgoing series production class ahead of Shaun Fudge in his 2.0t Subaru Impreza WRX. Simon Neve again took the ‘A licence’ holders’ over 2000cc roadgoing series production class in his 2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6 and holds onto second overall in the Gurston Championship with one round to go.
Simon Neve now holds second overall in the Gurston Championship. Copyright: Akina Media
The roadgoing specialist production class for ‘B licence’ holders was a very close run thing, and Clive Skipper took the win in his 2.0 Caterham 7 HPC from Steve Holland (1.6 Caterham Hayabusa) by a mere six hundredths of a second. The ‘A licence’ holders’ roadgoing specialist production class saw an emphatic win for Piers Thynne in his 1.3 supercharged Westfield Megabusa, but runner up Andy Forsyth set a personal best in his recently acquired normally aspirated variant. Adrian Lewis slotted into third place with yet another personal best in his 1.4 Westfield Megabusa.
Graham Beale was another clear class winner, Graham taking the up to 2000cc marque sports car class in his 1.8 Ginetta G20 and moving into third overall in the Gurston championship.
There was another good battle in the over 2000cc marque sports car class and once again it was Simon Purcell who emerged in front in his 1.8 supercharged Lotus Exige ahead of Tim Painter in his 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the latter indulging in a bit of early oats harvesting after departing the track at Burke’s Rise on his second climb.
The modified series production up to 1400cc class was pretty close but local man Neil Turner (1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’) used his knowledge of the hill to take a half second win over Midland Championship contender Carl Jones in his 1.4 Austin Mini.
Although not on his Leaders Championship schedule this meeting saw Colin Satchell enjoying Gurston just for fun and he duly took the win once again in the up to 2000cc modified series production class with a comfortable margin in his rapid 2.0 Peugeot 205 GTi.
Stephen Moore’s record in the over 2000cc modified series production saloon class had been coming for a while, but he did no more than was necessary by shaving exactly one hundredth off the previous mark! And his points score on the day puts Stephen almost out of reach for the Gurston championship title now.
Stephen Moore set the day’s only class record in his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6. Copyright: Akina Media
The over 2000cc modified series production sports car class was very much a Midland championship affair, and Mike Turpin (2.2s Vauxhall VX220) picked up maximum points for the class win to consolidate his series lead at this stage.
Clutch hydraulic problems unfortunately sidelined Mike Rudge in the 2.3 Westfield SEi after he had closed to within a very few hundredths of his class record in practice. So it fell to the up to 2000cc runners to battle it out in the amalgamated specialist production class. Antony Orchard (1.3 Westfield ‘Bakerbusa’) had a cracking first run and won by three quarters of a second from returnee Ritchie Gatt (2.0 Westfield SEiW), both in the 32s.
Gurston stalwart Geoff Hunt, still dialling himself back into competition after his recent layoff, took the Historically Interesting class in his immaculate 1.6 Lotus 22.
Peter Steel won the ‘B licence’ holders’ up to 2000cc sports libre class in his 1.3 Mallock Mk 20 from what must be one of the more unusual cars seen in this category, the nicely crafted BMW bike engined Citroen 2CV of Alex de Vries. The ‘A licence’ up to 2000cc sports libre class went to Gurston Hillclimb Drivers School sponsor and instructor Chris Cannell in his developing 1.3s Empire Evo from Midland championship runner Henry Grantham-Wright in the 1.3 Brytec Bullet.
There’s never a dull moment when Nic Mann brings along the awesome 1.7t Mannic Beattie, and with new turbine developments under the bonnet to overcome last season’s gremlins the meeting was a first shakedown for the car. But all ran reliably and a sub-30 second timed run bodes well for the Nic’s next run in the car at the August meeting. Keith Diggle’s 2.2 WEV HCS was a bit breathless in comparison and he had to settle for the runner up spot.
Tony Levitt entered his second weekend at Gurston having impressed on his debut in June in his brand new 1.0 Empire Evo, and Tony once again showed he’s one to watch as he won the ‘B licence’ holders’ up to 1100cc racing car class with a sub-33-second time.
The well-supported ‘A licence’ holders up to 1100cc racing car class produced some very close action throughout, but Simon Fidoe got closest to a sub-30 run with 30.09s in the 1.0 Empire Wraith. Half a second behind with a good second run improvement to climb the order was Thomas Poole in the 1.0 Empire Evo he has fairly recently acquired, just a hundredth clear of Adam Steel in the developing Martlet AS1, now with turbo-assisted 750cc power.
Ed Hollier was not the only driver flying in the up to 1600cc class because in second spot was Peter D. Smith in the 1.6 Force who also went sub-29 seconds on his first effort (though he spun out at Ashes on his second!). This also tied up second spot in the Gurston Top Ten Challenge. Sean Gould brought the normally aspirated 1.6 Gould GR59 home in third spot.
Ed Hollier gets all crossed up exiting Karousel in the 1.6 Empire Evo. Copyright: Akina Media
Tony Wiltshire (1.6 Swift SC93) once again was the only driver under 37 seconds in the Pre-94 Formula Ford class but Simon McBeath (1.6 Swift SC92) narrowed the gap from their previous encounter in June to just 0.28 seconds this time. Andrew Abbey was less than half a second behind in the 1.6 Jamun M91 for third.
A healthy up to 2000cc racing car class produced a selection of Pilbeams, a Dallara, a Gould and a Force and it was the latter of Midland Top Ten Challenge sponsor Graham Wynn that took the win and Midland ‘Driver of the Meeting’ on 29.04 seconds from the similarly 1.3 supercharged Gould GR59 of Simon Moyse. Tim Elmer’s nearly new 2.0 Dallara F303 with TKD V8 power was running well took third place.
Graham Wynn took the Midland Driver of the Meeting award. Copyright: Akina Media
The over 2000cc racing car class went to the very consistent Oliver Tomlin, and Jason Mourant took second in the 3.2 OMS 28 with another sub-29 second climb. Third in class was Sandra Tomlin in the family Pilbeam on exactly 30.00 seconds.
The amalgamated sports racing and racing car classes up to 1971 and 1985 saw Johnathen Varley take the gold medal in his 2.0 March 772P by six tenths from Stuart Ridge’s 2.8 Pilbeam MP53 after the latter encountered a problem on his first climb. The beautiful little 1.6 Centaur Lotus of Joshua Moss and the rumbling and equally gorgeous 5.0 Lola T142 F5000 of Roger Deans were, bizarrely, very closely matched, the smaller car taking third by three hundredths!
In the Downton Engineering Works Social (DEWS) Motor Club Speed series class Cornishman Derek Kessell once again took his 1.4 Maguire Mini Cooper ‘S’ to the win with a couple of consistent sub 37-second times. Tim Porter and Steve Harris also repeated their 2014 positions, the former second in his 2.0 Darrian T90 ahead of the latter in his 1.8 Vauxhall Corsa.
Both TTC Group Midland Top Ten Challenge run offs went to Oliver Tomlin in the big Pilbeam but the positions behind him swapped around each time, with Jason Mourant taking second and Graham Wynn third in the first run off, the pair reversing positions in the second.
Full results can be found HERE.
The next event at Gurston is the British Hillclimb Championship event on August 29th/30th, where the cream of the country’s speed hillclimb drivers and cars will be putting on a show of the very best motorsport action against the clock. Don’t miss it!