BRITISH HILLCLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP Willis beats the weather at Loton
British Hillclimb Championship
Organiser: Hagley & District Light Car Club When: 11/12 Starters: 141 June
Trevor Willis reinforced his reputation as a rainmaster as he raced to his first double victory of the season at a rain-affected Loton Park. But despite his 20 points on the day, he barely dented the series leader’s advantage as Scott Moran was second on each occasion, exercising caution to ensure a good haul.
Current third place man Wallace Menzies took that position each time but had to work hard to keep ahead of Will Hall, who is gradually overcoming issues with his powertrain as the year progresses and was a consistent fourth both times.
Behind those four there was a satisfying scrap amongst the 1600cc cars and two-litre forced-induction cars. On the day it was a pair of the naturally aspirated 1600s which were best of the smaller cars with Richard Spedding and Eynon Price reversing their fifth and sixth places in both rounds, although Hall moved ahead of Spedding in the charts.
With the works Gould set-up to perfection, Price was driving alone as car builder Sean Gould suffered an unpleasant work-related hand injury midweek that may keep him out for a while. Spedding is proving the unexpected success of the year in the tiny GWR Raptor.
Best of the forced induction cars again was Dave Uren but seventh was his best position as he could not defeat Price and Spedding and he lost out once to another quick 1600 driver, Ed Hollier, in the first encounter. Hollier’s car does not have the advanced features of the all-carbon Gould or the small-scale of the GWR, but the chassis delivers the Ottery St Mary driver a lot of points for its price.
The wet course varied in moisture during the day from plain soaking to slippery and there were a number of delays as the result of cars skidding off. Worst affected was Jerseyman Jason Mourant, who did some heavy damage to his ex-tom New Gould by crashing out after the finish in Q2 and taking the right-front corner off the car despite having set a run-off qualifying time. He was not able to take his place in the shoot-out.
Martin Jones, an 1100 class runner, won the division for the first time and also qualified for his first ever run-off and with a non-starter and non-finisher managed to take a maiden British Championship point.
Colin Satchell continues at the head of the Leaders’ chart but was comprehensively beaten in his class by local track specialist Steve Bailey, who drives an immaculately prepared but elderly Ford Escort Mark One with enormous panache. Bailey’s superb time was better than three-times and reigning Midland Hillclimb champion Mike Turpin could manage in another class driving his fast and well setup supercharged Vauxhall VX220.