TWO days of Britain’s best motorsport action against the clock are lined up over the August Bank Holiday weekend (29/30) at Gurston Down as the British Hillclimb Championship returns to the celebrated Salisbury venue for its second visit of the season.
In addition, the Hillclimb Leaders Championship contenders will be battling with the locals throughout the classes, and valuable points are at stake in both series.
Not to be missed are the thrilling British Hillclimb Championship ‘Top 12 Run Offs’; these BHC points-scoring shoot outs will bring both Sunday’s morning and afternoon sessions to nail-biting finales.
The British Hillclimb Championship certainly has a different look to it this year as the ‘new kid on the block’ Alex Summers from Worcestershire holds an 18-point lead after Shelsley Walsh on August 16 in the 3.5 Gould GR61X, the British Championship’s most successful ever car.
Behind Summers it’s very tight with Trevor Willis from Worcestershire (3.2 OMS 28) on 154 points head of Wallace Menzies from Kincardine (3.5 Gould GR55B) on 152 points and reigning and three-times British Champion Scott Moran from Shropshire in fourth on 151 points in the car he is now sharing with series leader Summers. The competition between these and all the other drivers will be intense.
Salisbury area drivers
In the meeting’s opening class Steve Harris from Redlynch runs his rapid 1.8 Vauxhall Corsa and could well feature in the medal positions.
Adrian Lewis from Salisbury has forsaken his usual Westfield for this event and will instead run in the Historically Interesting class in the 1.7 St Bruno Roughcutter that belongs to his friend Chris Cannell.
And the Wilton Racing duo Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes will once again go in their stunning 1.3 supercharged Empire Evo sports libre car.
Making an impressive debut in the sport this season has been Salisbury's Tony Levitt who will run his 1.0 Empire Evo single seater again. Tony is entered in the Gurston club members ‘B Licence Holders’ class at this event and could be in with a medal chance here.
Other Wiltshire drivers
Mike Butler from Warminster has entered a 4.0 BMW M3 in the over 2000cc modified series production saloon car class. Mike, who has previously run a Toyota Celica GT4 is up against stiff opposition this weekend.
In the over 2000cc modified series production sports car class Steph Colvin from Malmesbury will run in the family 3.1 Datsun 240Z, restored to action by stepfather Ben Stapley. Up against her in the same class will be Mark Walker from Trowbridge in his increasingly rapid 3.9 Porsche Cayman S.
The Historically Interesting class will also feature Hugh Kemp from Wylye in his lovely 1.6 Palliser WDF3.
In the up to 1100cc racing car class Murray Wakeham from Warminster runs his 1.0 OMS CF96, and Bradley Hobday from Trowbridge [copyright: Akina Media] also goes in this class in his 1.0 Jedi Mk 4. Bradley is having a super season and could be in with a chance of the class win here in a very big, very competitive class.
Cirencester is well represented with Paul Morcom running his 1.6 Merlyn Mk 11a in the Pre-’94 Formula Ford class. And in the up to 1600cc racing car class Caroline and Mathew Ryder share the family 1.5 Force PT.
And the 1.0 OMS CF96 of Murray Wakeham appears again in the Gurston members ‘B Lincence Holders’ class in the hands of Alan Joy, also from Warminster.
Hants, Dorset, Devon and Somerset drivers
The event will open with roadgoing series production cars up to 2000cc and here former double Gurston Champion Paul Webster from Fareham looks the likely winner in his rapid 1.9 Mazda MX5.
The over 2000cc roadgoing series production class will pit some potent projectiles against each other and Simon Neve from Yeovil (2.3t Mitsubishi Evo 6). Andrew James from Christchurch also goes here in his 3.5 Nissan 350Z GTS.
The roadgoing specialist production cars are amazingly quick, and here we’ll see Piers Thynne from Hartley Wintney going for gold in his 1.3 litre supercharged Westfield Hayabusa.
It’s the modified series production cars next and in the up to 1400cc class Andover resident Neil Turner’s highly developed 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’ should start as favourite.
In the up to 2000cc modified series production class the current Hillclimb Leaders Championship table topper Colin Satchell from Holsworthy runs his rapid 2.0 Peugeot 205 GTi and starts as the favourite for the win once again.
The over 2000cc modified series production saloon class sees a nice mix of cars going, and it’s good to see Karl Stevens from Andover return to Gurston competition, this time in a supercharged 2.0 VW Golf Mk1. If this car is as well-prepared and well-driven as Karl’s previous car, a Mk 2 Ford Escort, he will be good to watch!
The over 2000cc modified series production sports car class should be good with reigning Gurston Champion Simon Purcell from Sherborne (1.8 supercharged Lotus Exige) taking on Tim Painter from Frome and Andy Fraser from Langport in their 3.6 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Purcell and Painter have been very close this season.
In the up to 2000cc modified specialist production class Antony Orchard from Wareham has been enjoying his return to the cockpit in the 1.3 Westfield ‘Bakerbusa’ and he will be charging hard for top spot.
Among the superb gathering in the Historically Interesting class will also be former class record holder Geoff Hunt from Andover in his superb 1.6 Lotus 22.
2014 Gurston Top Ten Challenge winner Jonathan Gates from Brockenhurst (1.3s Force LM) will start as pre-event favourite in the up to 2000cc sports libre class. AndTim Pitfield from Dorchester also goes in this class in his 1.3 DJ Firecat as does Derek Harris from Shaftesbury in his venerable 1.7 Mallock Mk 17B.
The over 2000cc sports libre class sees an interesting mix of cars as always and Keith Diggle from Aldershot will field his superb self-constructed 2.2 WEV HCS.
One of the biggest classes of the meeting is the up to 1100cc racing car class, and other regional drivers running here include James Moore from Frome in his 1.1 OMS 2000M and Lloyd Chaplin from Bridgwater in one of the 1.0 Empire Evos built by his stepfather Bill Chaplin.
The Pre-94 Formula Ford 1600 class has been increasingly closely fought at Gurston this year, the season’s habitual winner Tony Wiltshire from Newton Abbott (1.6 Swift SC93) coming under increasing pressure from Simon McBeath from Sturminster Newton (1.6 Swift SC92).
The Pre-1985 racing car class features an interesting mix of cars and drivers and among them will be the iconic 1.6 Ralt of Adrian Moody and Barry Moignard from Jersey.
In the up to 1600cc racing car class Ed Hollier from Honiton will start as the favourite in his 1.6 Empire Evo, having tied up the 2015 Gurston Top Ten Challenge in July. With the class win at Shelsley Walsh on August 16th he’s now second in the Hillclimb Leaders title race coming into this meeting, just a point behind the series leader, fellow Devonian Colin Satchell (see above).
The over 2000cc racing car class Southampton’s Tom New will go in the 3.5 Gould GR55B that he shares with Scotsman Wallace Menzies from Kincardine, and these two could challenge for the medal positions in this class. They will certainly feature well in the BHC Run Offs.
The well-supported class for BARC SW Centre members with National B Licences sees a wide variety of cars going. Class record holder Pete Hammock from Ferndown(1.6 OMS CF04) will undoubtedly start as favourite for the win.
The new for 2015 Porsche Club National Hillclimb Championship pays its first visit to Gurston, and Jonathan Williamson from Taunton (3.2 Carrera) will be among the front runner.
With a British Hillclimb Championship Top Twelve Run Off at the end of each set of class runs on Sunday, one before lunch and one at the end of the afternoon, it’s going to be a great event