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%
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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.