2018 Season Opener – Saturday 21st
The 2018 Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb season gets underway on the Saturday 21st April with the first two rounds of the Meadens Skoda Championship and the Cavendish Ships Stores Top Ten Challenge. 2108 promises to be an exciting season!
The weekend’s events are the season’s openers and will provide a glorious show of sound, smell, speed and skill. Around 130 cars and drivers, 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 and themselves too!
With the recent course changes, spectators have superb and unrivalled views of the event, access to the hill, paddock and facilities.
You really can’t get closer to the action!
Saturday April 21st sees Gurston hosts a number of national championships. In addition to the first two rounds of the Meadens Skoda Championship and the first round of the Cavendish Ships Stores Top Ten Challenge.
The ACSMC hold a round of their championship, as do the Porsche Club, the TVR Club, 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 a competitors. With Wallace Menzies and his stunningly fast Cosworth powered Gould GR 59M, it’s going to be tough for anyone to come close. Wallace, who finished second in the British Hill Climb Championship in 2017 carries the number 2. Look out for the Wallace, he’ll be fast. He currently holds the speed record for the finish line at over 159mph. Remember the track is just over 12 feet wide!
SATURDAY 21st APRIL
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. Last years class winner, Daniel Cowley in his Austin 7 Special, starts favourite. Daniel did not have it all his own way, last year and will have to work very hard to maintain this kind of form.
In the much quicker “Track” division, last season winner Terry Griffin and his Austin 7 Special just pipped Paul Geering to the win by just 0.09s.There will be a real scrap for this class. The Austin Sevens class are so competitive, it could be anyone’s win.
The ACSMC Championship Class runs next. There are only two entries, David Brown in a Renault Clio and Mike Williams in a Westfield SeiW. Mike’s Westfield has the class on performance but he might have to work quite hard.
Then it will be the Porsche Club GB Speed Championship turn. With 14 drivers and 11 cars entered, the class will be hotly contested. Tim Barber and David Hilton in the 996 911GT3RS should start favourite, but there are some quick 911s and 944s in the class. It’s going to be down to the best performance on the day.
The next batch starts with the TVR class. There will be some great noise when these drivers take to the line. It’s probably going to be between Jes Firth in his Griffith and Mark Harris in the Cerbera. It looks like it’ll be go down to the wire!
Then to complete the third batch it’s the lovely cars that form the ‘Classic Marques Speed Championship’ Class. This class has entries from all over the country and in some great cars. Everything from a modern Honda S2000 of Phil Ludbrook to the Fiat Abarth TC Corsa of Phil Jones will be taking to the hill. These beautifully presented cars are always worth checking out in the paddock and watching run the hill. The class winner? Far to difficult to predict!
Batch Four brings out the Mazda MX5 Class, sponsored by The Window Doctor. Last year’s Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Champion, Mark Crookall and his RS, will be the driver / car combination to beat. Mark will have some stiff competition, Graham Hadley in his MK2 improved markedly at the Test Day so it will be interesting to see how that goes. How long will the class record survive?
One of Gurston Down’s new classes comes next Road Going Series Production up to 1400cc. There are three entries in this class and looking at previous form John Davey, the MD of our Top Ten Challenge sponsor, in his quick MG Midget is likely to take the class.
The Road Going Series Production Class, 1401cc to 2000cc, sponsored by Record-Designs runs next. Tim Foster, last years class champion, and his lovely Lotus Elan start favourite. Dean Cubitt’s MX5, Dave Newman’s MX5 and Paul Dickinson’s Honda S2000 will all be in with a shout. 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, sponsored by Turbo Dynamics, round off this batch. Simon Neve returns after an absence so that might give the Subaru Impreza of Shaun and Sarah Fudge something to think about. And John Maycock’s Mazda MX5 might just be in the mix. This class is fairly open at the moment and it will be interesting to see what happens on the day.
Batch Five begins with The Road Going Specialist Production Class, sponsored by Fieldfare Trailers. This class is always competitive. It will be interesting to see how Tony Wiltshire gets on with his Lotus Elise. It’s likely to be between Clive Skipper in his 2.0 Caterham HPC, Adrian Lewis in his Westfield for the first place.
The Over 2000cc Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Car Class sees four driver / car combinations entered. Simon Purcell and his Lotus Elise will have his work cut out to keep ahead of Graham Beale (Ginetta G33) and Bob Mortimer (Porsche 911). Paul Slade’s lovely Jagaur E Type might just be the wildcard here.
The Up to 1400cc Modified Series Production Class, sponsored by Cock and Sons (General Builders), has four super fast Minis entered. This class is always hard fought. Class record holder, Neil Turner will have to battle royal for the class win!
The Over 2000cc Modified Series Production Class, sponsored by Meadens Skoda, sees that gorgeous Aston Martin Vantage of Tim Painter and Andrew Fraser entered. Although, they ran their equally pretty, Porsche 911GT3 at test day. Whichever car they bring, they will start as favourite. Hopefully, Mark Walker’s 4.0 Porsche Cayman S, has had it’s turbo fixed so he will be able to join the fray.
The Over 2000cc Modified Specialist Production Class, sponsored by Gates of Brockenhurst, is a four car line up. This class is always far too difficult to predict, it could be anyone’s.
The Kelvin Jouhar sponsored Historically Interesting Class, runs next. This class has a big entry and as always there will be some lovely machinery on show. Mike Broome’s 1.6 Alexis Mk 17 F3, Jeremy Smithson’s Lotus Elan FHC, Fyrth Crosse’s Dempster Ensign LNF3, Sue Hayes’ Palliser WDF3 and the Chevron B19 of Amanda and Richard George are all out. Form suggests this will be Richard George’s class.
Batch Six is up next with Mark Mortimer in his Mallock17b being the only entry in the Hillclimb Super Sports Class.
Sports Libre up to 1400cc Class is one of the new classes this year and has three entries. Gurston Down’s Driver School Principle, Tim Pitfeild is likely to head this class but it will be interesting to see how Richard Wood’s beautifully prepared Yamaha Mini gets on.
Sports Libre 1400cc to 2000cc Class has just one official entry, Keith Diggle’s WEV HCS-BDG. Although Chris Cannell might bring the Empire Evo out, which will make this class on to watch.
Next up will be the Sports Libre up to 2000cc Class which sees Chris Cannell entered in the twin engined Force SR8 and Geoff Twemlow’s, Subaru powered, Saker GT. Geoff might well have the class to himself if the Chris Cannell’s Evo is out.
The next up to 600cc Racing Car Class sees David Cuff bring the Mk4 Jedi to the hill.
The 601cc to 1100cc Racing Car Class, sponsored by Drynham Project Management, has a good entry on Saturday. James Moore won’t have an easy win here. Hannah Wiltshire bring her new Empire Evo, hopefully it’ll behave on the day. You won’t be able to discount any of the rest of the class.
The 1101cc to 1600cc Racing Car Class, sponsored by SM AeRo Techniques, puts Peter D Smith and Richard Gaylard in their shared Force PC up against two other car and driver combinations. On previous form, the Smith / Gayland car is most likely to come out on top.
The New Techniques sponsored 1601cc to 2000cc Racing Car (Normally Aspirated) Class has just two entrants. The new livery on David Lord’s Quest should help take the win!
The last two in batch six are in the Gould Engineering sponsored Racing Cars Over 2000cc class. Wallace Menzies in the Cosworth powered Gould GR59M should take this class and is most likely to take Fastest Time of the Day.
Why not come and join us?
With this variety of cars Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd will both be action packed days 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 21st and Sunday 22nd April
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