The 2017 Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb season gets underway on the Saturday 22nd April. It’s Gurston Down’s 50th Anniversary Season so looking ahead, it should be an exciting year!
Saturday kicks-off the season’s opening weekend and will provide a glorious show of sound, smell, speed and skill. Around 120 cars and drivers competing in different cars and classes, in everything from your average standard road car, classic and modern sports and saloon cars and purpose built, fast sport and single seat racing cars. All of them will pit their wits against the fast and twisty course at Wiltshire’s famous Speed Hill Climb Venue. They will also be competing against each other too, of course.
Spectators have superb and unrivalled access to the hill, paddock and facilities. We have excellent catering and refreshments on site too.
You really can’t get closer to the action!
Saturday April 22nd sees Gurston hosts a number of national championships. The SBD Hillclimb and Sprint Association hold a round of its hill climb championship, as do the Westfields, TVRs, Classic Marques Cars and pre-War Austin 7s. On top of all those championships there is the usual mix of production-based machines, sports racing cars and single seaters.
Fastest Time of the Day is the ultimate goal for most competitors and Saturday will be just as competitive as ever. There are a number of drivers in contention. Peter D Smith and Richard Gayland in their Force PC will have to work hard to keep Peter Sexton and Jonathan Gates at bay in their Force LM. But we should never discount Chris Cannell in the Force SR8 or perhaps Malcolm Cole in the Force MV8. This will be all about the car and driver on the day!
Saturday’s meeting gets under way with the invited classes. First up should be the Pre-War Austin 7’s. The “Road” Class has six drivers entered. It’ll be difficult to predict but the Austin Seven Special of Bernard and Daniel Cowley probably starts favourite. In the much quicker “Race” division, last seasons results would suggest the man to beat will be Martin Whittaker in his Austin Seven Single Seater. The Austin Sevens are so competitive, it could be anyone’s win.
The TVR class looks like it’ll be go down to the wire. There will be some fabulous sound when these cars take to the hill!
The Westfield Class always produces some fantastic driving. Keith Adams in his Westfield Sei and Martin Harvey will probably head the field but it’s a tough class to call.
There is a huge ‘Classic Marques Speed Championship’ Class. It has attracted entries from all over the country, in a variety of cars. You’ll see everything from a Ginetta G4 driven by Roger Coate, an MGB GT driven by Richard Withers, a Marcos Mantis driven by Phil Jones, a Honda S2000 driven by Phil Ludbrook and Steve Cox in his TVR V8S. The winner? That’s far too difficult to predict! This class has a wonderful array of beautifully presented cars and is always worth watching.
Next up will be the Gurston Down Mazda MX5 Class. Mark Crookall, the 2016 class record holder and the 2016 class champion starts as favourite. But there are a few new comers, Lucy Cuff and some returnees, Mark Coleman who may well mix this class up. Mark Jones, Phillip Eaton and Nick Hollier can’t be ignored because this class is so evenly matched.
It’s all change in the Road Going Series Production Class up to 2000cc. The Greenen brothers, Andy and Adam, have moved onto a 1100cc single seater and Paul Webster, Gurston’s competition secretary has sold his Mazda MX5! Tim Foster and his lovely Lotus Elan start favourite. The closed season has seen a few cars undergoing significant changes, Dean Cubitt’s MX5 has had some major work done and if Test Day was anything to go by, he’ll be right there at the front. You really can’t discount any of the driver / car combinations in this class. There might be some surprises.
The over 2000cc Road Going Series Production Class will be interesting. Shaun and Sarah Fudge and the revised Subaru Impreza are definitely in the hunt for a win. This class is fairly open at the moment and it will be interesting to see what happens on the day.
The Road Going Specialist Production Class always brings some fast cars to the hill. Clive Skipper in his 2.0 Caterham HPC, Adrian Lewis in his 1.4 Westfield Megabusa, to name just two. John Watson and his Lotus Elise might we surprise. You can’t rule anyone out!
The Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Cars up to 2000cc Class has only one entry but it’s the current class record holder, Steve Butts in his Lotus Elise.
The over 2000cc Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Car Class sees Paul Slade (Jagaur E Type), Steve Holley (TVR Griffith) and the 2014 Gurston Champion Simon Purcell in the super-charged Elise, go head to head. The previous for it’ll be Simon who’ll end up on top.
The up to 1400cc Modified Series Production Class has two very fast Minis entered. David Bean and Derek Mullis will have a battle royal for this class.
Darren Balster runs his Peugoet 205 in the 1401cc to 2000cc Modified Series Production Class.
The over 2000cc Modified Series Production Class, sees that gorgeous Aston Martin Vantage of Tim Painter and Andrew Fraser, Mark Walker in his 4.0 Porsche Cayman S. It’s be interesting to see whether Mark can overcome the Aston!
The over 2000cc Modified Specialist Production Class has a six drivers (and five cars) line up. This class is far too difficult to predict, it could be anyone’s.
Up next will be The Historically Interesting Class. This class always brings out some lovely machinery and Saturday is no exception. Mike Broome’s 1.6 Alexis Mk 17 F3, Jeremy Smithson’s Lotus Elan FHC, Geoff Hunt’s Lotus 22, Fyrth Crosse’s Mallock U2 Mk2B and the Chevron B19 of Amanda and Richard George are all out. Form suggests this will be Richard George’s class.
Mark Mortimer in his Mallock17b is the only entry in the Hillclimb Super Sports Class.
Peter Sexton and Jonathan Gates go head to head in their shared Force LM in the Sports Libre up to 2000cc Class. They are both very competitive so we will have to watch this class to find out.
The Sports Libre over 2000cc Class, see the Force SR8 of Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes come to the hill. On previous form, Chris is likely to take the win.
The 601cc to 1100cc Racing Car Class has a good entry on Saturday. James Moore won’t have an easy win here. Murray Wakeham and the rest of the class will make sure he works for it.
The Formula Ford Class sees Linzi Alley, Gurston’s Treasurer, in her first competitive Formula Ford event and after her showing at Test Day, it may prove interesting. This class is always close so Linzi and Mark Alley, Paul Morcom, Russell and George Haynes, with very similar cars, will all be there on the day.
The 1101cc to 1600cc Racing Car Class puts Peter D Smith and Richard Gayland in their shared Force PC up against four other car and driver combinations. On previous form, Peter D Smith is most likely to come out on top. This class has some contenders for Fastest Time of the Day.
The 1601cc to 2000cc Racing Car (Normally Aspirated) Class has just two entrants, Malcolm Cole with his Force MV8 will probably end up on top. Malcolm is another Fastest Time of the Day contender.
The SBD HSA Speed Championship – Saloons and Sports Cars round off the day. This class bring an eclectic range of cars to the hill. The two Subaru Imprezza’s of Chris Berrisford and Justin Andrews, the Lotus Elise 250 Cup of Tim Richardson, the Raw Striker of James Robertson and David Newman’s Mazda MX5 will make this an interesting end to the day.
Why not come and join us?
With this variety of cars Saturday, April 22nd will be an action packed day at Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb.
Don’t miss it!
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 AA signs.
Dates: Saturday April 22nd
Times: Competition from approx. 1300, practice from 0830 both days.
Admission: Only £10 for adults each day, accompanied under 14s free, free paddock entry, free parking.
Anthony Record – Press Officer – BARC SW, Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb