HILL­CLIMB CLAS­SICS TAKE ON THE CHATEAU IMP­NEY CHAL­LENGE watched some iconic ma­chines go­ing up­hill in the Worces­ter­shire ex­trav­a­ganza IS­SUES FOR £6 S AV E 51%


Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene - Photos: Jeff Blox­ham

The sec­ond edi­tion of the re­vival of the Chateau Imp­ney hill­climb de­liv­ered on ev­ery front as a su­perb en­try pro­duced fierce com­pe­ti­tion at a stun­ning venue.

Com­pet­i­tive motorsport re­turned to the main drive to the Droitwich ho­tel a year ago after a gap of more than 45 years and the 2016 event built on the suc­cess of the first re­vival.

A big crowd en­joyed tremen­dous com­pe­ti­tion from 200 cars across 18 classes as driv­ers tack­led the climb up to and along in front of the ho­tel be­fore swing­ing up­hill again to the fin­ish. In keep­ing with the orig­i­nal story of the venue, the event is only open to pre-1968 cars and the en­try had qual­ity to match quan­tity.

Un­like some sim­i­lar events, Chateau Imp­ney is a se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion. Low speed demon­stra­tion runs are lim­ited to the lunch break and there was fierce com­pe­ti­tion in each of the well-thought out classes as cars from more than six decades of the sport at­tacked the hill.

Just as a year ago, For­mula Ju­niors were right at the heart of the com­pe­ti­tion and five of them packed out the top 10 over­all after Sun­day’s pair of timed runs. How­ever, they were all headed by Martin Jones who scorched his more pow­er­ful 1600cc Brab­ham BT21B to the top in 40.50s on Sun­day morn­ing to put fastest time of the day just out of reach for the Ju­nior pack. The hill’s first sub-40s climb will be the big tar­get for 2017.

Lead­ing the chase of Jones was young­ster Cal­lum Grant in the Mer­lyn Mk5/7 of John Sykes and he won Class 16 with a sec­ond run in 41.08s. A sec­ond down on Grant was fel­low For­mula Ju­nior racer and lo­cal driver Mark Wood­house in the Lo­tus 20/22 his son Jack took to FTD last year. Wood­house se­nior also ran his front-en­gined Elva 100 to Class 11 vic­tory.

Mak­ing it three Colin Chap­man de­signs in the top five were lead­ing sportscar driver David Gid­den (23B) and well­trav­elled Scots­man Mal­colm Wishart (41C) while sev­enth fastest Dun­can An­drews im­pressed with his at­tack­ing style in his rare FF1600 Elden Mk6.

In­evitably the Pre-war cars were a big hit with the spec­ta­tors and Mark Walker was an un­sur­pris­ing win­ner of Class 5 in his skele­tal 1905 Dar­racq. How­ever, Ge­off Smith in the Pickard Pictet ran Walker pretty close. Class 6, for the small­erengined pre-1940 rac­ing cars was one of the clos­est with the top three de­cided by a fifth of a sec­ond in favour of Win­ston Teague’s Hardy Spe­cial 2.

Justin Maeers was, as usual, all arms and el­bows in his GN Sports but was bumped from Class 4 vic­tory by an in­spired fi­nal run by Brian White in his Frazer Nash TT Replica. Nick To­pliss took Class 8 in per­haps the most fa­mous hill­climb car of them all, ERA R4D. How­ever, the charg­ing Martin Spencer in the ex-basil Dav­en­port GN Spi­der II pushed the younger ERA hard.

All through the classes were tremen­dous bat­tles at an event that has al­ready es­tab­lished as a highlight of the clas­sic com­pe­ti­tion sea­son.

Mark Walker was the star of the Pre War class in his Dar­racq

Two hun­dred cars went to the re­vival meet­ing to en­ter­tain the crowd Maserati 250F tack­les the course

Martin Jones used his Brab­ham BT21B to record the fastest time of the day

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