Thorne reigns supreme on Chateau hill
CHATEAU IMPNEY HDLCC JULY 7-8
“I have no idea how I did that – it seemed slow,” said Malcolm Thorne with an impish grin after shattering Chateau Impney’s hillclimb record in his pristine Lotus 35. To compound his disbelief, Thorne’s name will be engraved on Hagley & District Light Car Club’s magnificent Ken Wharton Trophy, remembering the talented garagiste from neighbouring Smethwick who won four British titles in the 1950s.
Onlookers had no doubt, for a rev-perfect start and neat ascent left Thorne the only competitor inside 39 seconds. Previous winner Martin Jones (Brabham BT21B) gyrated out of Raven’s Crest, but his opening run remained good for second, ahead of Lotus guru Paul Matty – whose team prepares his Lotus 35-F-9 alongside Thorne’s – among the Pre-1968 racing cars and Justin Maeers (Lola T70 Spyder) overall.
Chased by Tom Walker, who twice spun his Lola T160 nearing the summit, Maeers bagged two sportscar wins, but couldn’t match David Gidden’s Lotus 23B record. Gidden’s identical 41.61s saw off sporting trials king Ian Wright’s ballsy 42.70s in Richard Falconer’s Chaparral 2. Having plundered the Pre-’61 mark in his Cooper Monaco, Maeers inspired the deposed Peter Joy (Lotus Elite) to reset his personal best.
Seven records fell. Eddie Williams twice blitzed his target to deny fellow Frazer Nash pilot Tom Waterfield. David Pryke (Morgan Riley) came from behind to defeat Greg Lerigo (Riley 12/4 Special), while Marcus Black took large Pre-’40 sportscar honours in his delicious Talbot Lago.
Mark Brett’s Ballamy Ford V8 Special was pipped by Dougal Cawley’s snorting GN Piglet. The paddock was an entomologist’s paradise with Gn-derived Dragonfly, Gnat, Hornet and Spider specials under the timekeepers’ microscope, but the Ted Moor-built GN Wasp emerged on top with Winston Teague up, chased by
Ben Enticknap (GN Phoenix) and
Gary Clare’s ‘Gangsta’ Grannie.
Enticknap’s sister Hannah’s superb 46.66s in Phil Dobbin’s Morgan/gn Salome forced Nick Topliss (ERA AJM1) to find a second for Pre-’40 1100-1500cc racing car victory. James Baxter, in David Hawkins’s Era/riley, equalled Ian Baxter’s 43.71s record, but the unrelated VSCC Shelsley Walsh winner retaliated with 43.47s in his ex-jucker/abecassis Alta. Topliss was third in Brian Fidler’s ERA R4D, which Ken Wharton drove in 1954.
James Collins (Hudson) climbed within 0.15s of Mark Walker’s challenging Darracq Edwardian target as Niall Dyer thundered his Curtiss Ox-engined Mors past Guy Lachlan’s Fafnir. Robin Tuluie wrestled his Menasco aero-engined Pirate to a frenetic record, overhauling Julian Grimwade’s FN Norris Special. The intrepid Annie Scaldwell was a brilliant third in the wonderful V8
JAP airship-engined GN, which she drove home afterwards!
Mark Riley (Creamer) turned the 500cc tables to beat Cooper men Finlay Mackintosh and Stuart Wright. Charles Reynolds thrust his 1100cc V-twin Cooper Mk7 to the top of the 1500cc set, prompting record holder Mark Woodhouse to dig deeper in his Formula Junior Elva.
Rod Jolley eclipsed BRM ace Rob
Hall’s unlimited Pre-’61 record in his ex-works Cooper T45/51, then walloped it out of the park.
The equivalent sportscar class was a gripper, Sarah Thorne – Malcolm’s wife – leading at half-time with a splendid 45.36s in their Dizzy Addicott Lotusbuick 15 recreation. Aviator Tony Bianchi had to unleash the full force of Don
Farrell’s Cadillac V8-motored Allard evo to erase it. Veteran Dave West (Cooper S) set the Touring Car pace, but Graham
Hill clawed ahead.
Bo Williams’s Ferrari 250 PF roars past the iconic Chateau
Thorne’s Lotus broke hill record