Bri­tish Hill­climb Cham­pi­onship

Motor Sport News - - Rally Report - By Ed­die Walder

Or­gan­iser: Ul­ster Au­to­mo­bile Club

When: April 30 Starters: 96

Scott Mo­ran re­turned to the Craigant­let hill­climb in Belfast last week­end af­ter be­ing ab­sent in 2015.

He de­liv­ered a dev­as­tat­ing per­for­mance by twice go­ing un­der his 2013 record to take the max­i­mum 22 points, steal­ing a 14-point march on his near­est ri­val Trevor Wil­lis af­ter only four rounds.

“The car is go­ing well and felt just right, so with a dry track I felt con­fi­dent in push­ing hard on ev­ery run,” said Mo­ran.

Wil­lis qual­i­fied well for the first run-off but, as he came to the start, the car would not en­gage gear from the cock­pit. Even­tu­ally a gear was man­u­ally en­gaged at the gear­box and he toured slowly to the top for a point. The car was soon fixed for later and he took a fine sec­ond to the fly­ing Mo­ran.

Will Hall con­sis­tently had the best split times on the twisty bot­tom half of the hill and Wil­lis was with him too, so there is still the prom­ise of tight com­pe­ti­tion go­ing for­ward.

Two of last week’s stars from the opener at Prescott suf­fered dis­as­ters. Richard Sped­ding’s car de­vel­oped a wiring fault and he was of­fered a drive in Gra­ham Wynn’s Force. Even though he was the pre­vi­ous owner, the MSA stew­ard on the day ruled against it be­cause Sped­ding had not prac­ticed in the car.

Wal­lace Men­zies suf­fered an omi­nous en­gine fail­ure in prac­tice and it will be touch and go for him to make re­pairs be­fore Hare­wood this week­end. How­ever, his wife Ni­cola col­lected her best-ever com­bined score and her co-driver David Uren also went su­perbly well.

Wynn was in the Force af­ter his Gould broke a diff at Prescott. Alas­tair Craw­ford rev­elled in the 2.8-litre Gould and looks able to get an­other num­ber next sea­son if he can cover enough events al­though his job might in­trude.

Ir­ish Repub­lic-born Kevin Crea­van trav­elled to Craigant­let for the first time and was overjoyed to score in what is a fairly el­derly OMS chas­sis.

Scot­tish mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ist David Fin­lay reg­is­tered for the cham­pi­onship and brought along a fac­tory-fresh Honda, pro­vided by the man­u­fac­turer, in an at­tempt to be the first ever stan­dard saloon car to score Bri­tish Hill­climb Cham­pi­onship points. With 12 reg­is­tered con­tenders in at­ten­dance his chances looked slim but the fail­ures of Men­zies and Sped­ding opened it all up and his­tory was made but it was not just a con­so­la­tion point – he beat Peter Her­bert on the road each time.

Photos: Tom Maxwell/ Race­line Photography, Colin Casser­ley

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