Thorne reigns supreme on Chateau hill



“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

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