Spectators and fellow competitors crowded into the paddock area and trackside at the British Hill Climb Championship‘s premier event were not disappointed on Sunday as the very last run of the day proved the highlight of the meeting held at Continue reading “EVENT REPORT: Championship Challenge”→
Former British Hill Climb Champion Trevor Willis was one of many people who heaped praise on the Midland Automobile Club for its outstanding success in organising a day where club members could drive the iconic hill in non-competitive format in their own road cars or on motorcycles.
Trevor, who was national champion in 2012 and lives nearby, rode his classic Laverda Jota motorcycle in the morning before popping home to swap it for a beautiful red Ducati 899 Panigale for the afternoon runs. Trevor, commented: “It’s lovely to come to Shelsley Walsh when there is absolutely no pressure on me, which won’t be the case next weekend for the big British hill climb meeting, but I have thoroughly enjoyed myself in this relaxed atmosphere and its good to see so many fellow club members attending in so many different sorts of cars.”
Making a return visit for Members Day were three men from Hereford, who had clubbed together three years ago and invested the princely sum of £450 in a 1999 Citroen Saxo with 137k miles on the clock, simply to take part in the first ever event.
Friends, Tom Webb, Wayne Simmonds and Nick Rizzadini have attended with this car for the past three years and Tom said: “This is a unique opportunity for us to come along and have some fun together, we do thrash the car quite a bit but it hasn’t missed a beat, even though it gets so many hard runs when constantly driven by all three drivers throughout the day.
“Our claim to fame is that event sponsor Jeremy Holden had a ‘guest drive’ in the Saxo and declared himself most impressed with its performance and handling, which was absolutely brilliant, and hopefully we will all be back again with this car next year!”
MAC event organiser, Rachel Lovett, said: “This year we have introduced the facility for passenger rides and this has proved to be a great success and sits well alongside the usual myriad swapping of drivers and cars, which is what makes this day so very special for our members”
One new MAC member is James Collins who drove his bright red VW Beetle to the event, having built the car entirely himself together with fitting a Porsche engine over the past few years, saying: “The weather has been fantastic, the array of cars superb and the organisation spot on! I have made several new friends and am looking forward to competing in regular events in this car next year.”
Members Day Car Show sponsor Jeremy Holden voted the 1975 Alfa Romeo Giulia, belong to Paul Varnon, of Pershore, as the ‘car he would most like to take home’ while the MAC’s Rachel Lovett won the ‘most smiles per mile’ award for her quaint and original Fiat 500, with former television presenter Peter Tomlinson winning the ‘best classic sports car’ class with his MGC Roadster Sebring.
Summing up, regular competitor Duncan Andrews, said: “As an avid club member I believe this to be one of the best social events here at Shelsley Walsh. I have today been acting as a paddock marshal together with Annie Goodyear, and this has given me a perfect insight into the patience and organisational skills that the regular team of paddock marshals need when trying to get drivers and their cars to the holding area in batch order, so full credit to them!“
Many stayed on into the evening for drinks and a buffet supper with entertainment from Geoff Godwins Chosen Few jazz band under the evening sun.
There is all to play for as the MSA British Hill Climb Championship reaches its crucial stages at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb, near Worcester, this coming weekend with all the top drivers and cars in action. (20/21 Aug)
Five times former champion Scott Moran of Ludlow currently leads by 21 points – before some scores are dropped – in his all-conquering Gould GR61X, with Worcester driver and 2012 champion Trevor Willis in his OMS 28 racing car in close contact, while Scottish driver Wallace Menzies holds third place, with Richard Spedding and Dave Uren in fourth and fifth respectively.
Reigning British champion Alex Summers, from Tenbury Wells, is awaiting delivery of his new car, so he will be sharing a Gould GR55 racing car with owner Mark Coley as it has a Cosworth V6 engine, similar to the one that Alex will have in his DJ Firestorm which is currently under construction.
Scott, said: “This should be a really good weekend as Trevor is chasing me hard and Wallace is not far behind, Alex will be sharing a Gould GR55 which is ideal for a ‘power hill’ like Shelsley Walsh, so as one of his favourite venues, Alex should go well!
“I haven’t driven for over a month since the Channel Island events but the car is being prepared this week and I will be raring to go at the weekend.”
The Championship Challenge weekend also sees a large entry of cars in the Midland Hill Climb Championship with reigning champion and current leader Mike Turpin, of Hereford, competing in his Vauxhall VX220.
The ever-popular Paul Matty Sports Cars Lotus Championship reaches its penultimate round at Shelsley Walsh this weekend with sponsor’s wife June Matty leading the points in the handicap class with her Lotus 2022 FJ while David Hampton leads the main class with his Lotus 69 Atlantic.
Paul Matty, commented: “The weather forecast looks good so we are hoping for a great weekend as both of our front running drivers only have a slender 3-point lead, so competition within the ranks will be pretty fierce and we apologise now for our boistrous behaviour after the event!”
Eight cars are entered into the 500 Owners Association class while no fewer than 22 drivers are competing in the 1100cc racing car class and 15 cars are taking part in the classic racing section for pre-1971,1975 and pre-1985 cars.
The action starts with practice and qualifying from 9.15am on Saturday with two timed competition runs in programme order with full commentary on Sunday. There will be a run off for the fastest 12 cars registered for the British Championship at the end of both the morning and afternoon sessions on Sunday.
Advanced tickets are still available for both days £10 Saturday and £12 Sunday with tickets also being sold on the gate at £12 Saturday and £15 Sunday.
Further information can be obtained from www.shelsley-walsh.co.uk
There has been a lot of interest in “The Spirit Of Shelsley Walsh” timepiece and we are pleased to announce that in association with our sponsor Omologato it is now available for pre-order.
Classic Nostalgia saw the first bespoke watch from Omologato awarded to a competitor who evokes the Spirit of Shelsley Walsh. Chris Jaques and his 1934 Maserati 8CM that originally competed at the venue back in the 1930’s were the first recipients.
Limited to just 50 pieces we are now offering members and enthusiasts of Midland Automobile Club and the Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb the chance to own a bit of British Motorsport History.
The last driving school of 2016 at Shelsley was very well supported and revealed the overall winner of the sportscar drive courtesy of the school sponsors Radical Sportscars Ltd.
A bumper entry with a substantial list of reserves promised to make for a tight schedule, however all participants were on their very best behaviour and didn’t cause any challenges for the ever efficient Course Control Team headed up by Dave Nursey.
With the drivers briefing and hill walk completed in good time, action soon moved to the green light at the start. The usual array of machinery provided an equally diverse range of performances; some fairly good from the start, others which took advantage of the instructors’ advice to show improvement.
Most improved over the day was Duncan Edwards in his Porsche Boxster, whilst hillclimb newcomer Jon Hildred earned the title of Best Novice in his extremely rapid V10 Audi R8.
Overall winner on the day was Westfield driver Simon Jones, who won a free entry to a meeting at Shelsley for placing second overall throughout the four schools of 2016. His score wasn’t quite enough to surpass Edmund Burgess’ performance from earlier in the year. Edmund will get the opportunity to drive a works Radical sportscar next year, which will no doubt be somewhat different to his usual Bugatti Type 51.
Dates for 2017 school days will be announced towards the end of next month. A standard roadgoing car is all you need in order to participate. Helmets can be borrowed on the day. Register your interest early with Rachel to be in with a chance of winning yourself a sportscar drive, as well as the opportunity to not only drive the hill, but also improve your lines.
A fine display of quality cars at Shelsley Walsh …
“A glorious summer morning and a fine display of quality cars” … that was the verdict of Midland Automobile Club commercial manager Mark Constanduros on Sunday’s meeting of the Breakfast Club at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb.
A new booking system has now ensured a smoother running of the regular monthly event, where like-minded individuals can come along to chat with fellow motoring enthusiasts and stroll around the iconic paddock looking at a wide variety of classics, saloons, sports and supercars.
Arriving in style in something a little different were two young ladies, Sylvie (4) and Margot (6) Watt, from the nearby village of Martley, who turned up with their father Stuart, in a SECMA Qpod, simply thrilled at the bumpy 3-mile journey from home in the Quadrocycle.
Regular Breakfast Club visitor Clint Kember is a member of Worcester Retro Club and the West Midlands Rover Enthusiasts Club and brought along his 1992 Rover 220 Turbo Coupe, which was codenamed ‘Tom Cat’ during production.
Clint, from Malvern, said: “I love talking about cars and meeting people, so this is the perfect place for me, everybody has different tastes in cars but they all appreciate the time and effort that enthusiasts like myself put into looking after classic examples.”
Paul Steward, from Brownhills, Walsall, has just joined the MAC and thoroughly enjoyed his morning drive via the B-roads from Bridgnorth in his futuristic looking and nimble Lotus 340R. Paul, commented: “This is quite a rare Lotus model and is a fantastic fun car, the performance and handling is exceptional and never fails to bring a smile to my face, especially on a spirited drive, such as coming here this morning!
“The car is a year 2000 model and was previously owned by EVO Magazine editor Harry Metcalfe, so it has had plenty of exposure in many publications, including being featured in the celebrated Lotus Legends book.”
Besides the line up of beautiful cars both old and new on display, with names such as Bentley, Porsche, TVR, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Lotus, many people took advantage of the sunshine to enjoy a walk up the hill, followed by a traditional breakfast in the Stratstone Restaurant, or simply a coffee in the Courtyard.
With several events planned for Shelsley Walsh in September, the next Breakfast Club meeting will now be on Sunday 9th October and further details and entry forms can be found at www.shelsley-walsh.co.uk
MAC Sports and Classics Coast to Coast run June 2016
Ostensibly this Coast to Coast run, meticulously organised by Gail and Tony Harrison, was scheduled to start at St Bees Head in Cumbria on Wednesday 8th June and end the following evening at Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast of Yorkshire. However, many, including these writers, made a week of it ‘up North’.
Several ‘Coasters’ took up an invitation to visit MAC member and Shelsley competitor Keith Thomas at his home in Cockermouth and still mention their warm welcome, and especially the cakes on offer, with great enthusiasm.
In our case, we stayed with friends in Ormskirk on Monday then took a leisurely drive to Ravenglass and a ride on the wonderfully named ‘Ratty railway’ to the village of Boot – more of which later. Then it was back to our digs, The Muncaster Country Guest House, next to Muncaster Castle where we met up with more of the MAC ‘Coasters’ for the mile walk to dinner at the Ratty Arms.
So the majority of the seventeen crews met up at the stunning Muncaster Castle for an extra breakfast and a grand send-off from the Castle’s owner whose wife’s ancestors had lived there for some 800 years.
There were two routes on the first day; one Northern taking in St Bees, Buttermere village, Crummock Water and the 1 in 3 Honister Pass, part of which is the Drum House hill climb used on the VSCC Lakeland Trial every year. On the other side of the lake was Haystacks Mountain, which the comprehensive ‘Harrisons Guide’ informed us, was a favourite of fell-walker Alfred Wainwright and where his ashes were scattered.
The route continued through Penrith to Kirby Lonsdale. Barbon Manor speed hill climb is just down the road and the wonderful views, as the Guide says, are probably best seen from the church which has a grand wrought iron gateway and an ingenious wheeled return – which impressed this Dibnah anyway. The Snooty Fox inn was always a favourite destination. On through glorious Swaledale to our night stop at the Charles Bathurst [CB] Inn at Langthwaite and a pint or two of Masham’s finest Black Sheep draught bitter and the sight of yet another of Ken Taylor’s understated shirts.
The Southern route followed the terrifying-in-places Hardknott + Wrynose Passes and for the first few miles, the 100 year old Ravenglass and Eskdale railway. We called into the village of Boot where we had stopped the previous day on the train, to investigate the mill. Dating from 1578 it has not just one, but three mill wheels powered by water, the third being a modern installation nearing completion which we were told will provide all the electricity for the mill to be self-sufficient. The owners were delighted to show us around even though they weren’t really open and were very interested to hear of the Shelsley Mill.
Next stop for us was the cable-driven ferry over Lake Windermere to Bowness. During the short trip we could see the weather arriving and it wasn’t good. Sure enough, just as we disembarked the heavens opened and within minutes the roads were like rivers – thank goodness for a car with a hood. Those hardy souls Cynthia+Barrie Scully in their beautifully engineered, but completely bonkers, three wheeler Moto Guzzi had to sit out the storm with just an umbrella for protection.
The route then took us through Kirby Lonsdale, Ingleton and Ribblehead. It doesn’t matter how many times you see a significant viaduct it never ceases to amaze and delight. Sadly we didn’t see the steam train taking Harry Potter and pals to Hogwarts School.
And so on through the Yorkshire Dales National Park – God’s country tha’ knows – to meet up with the others at the CB Inn.
Day 2 led us to Richmond and Northallerton and on to the North Yorkshire Moors, again amidst stunning scenery and good driving roads to Grosmont and the steam railway and Goatland, home of ITV’s Heartbeat.
There was then a choice of picturesque Yorkshire seaside towns such as Staithes, Whitby [where Gail Harrison was seen heading out to sea in a lifeboat] and the vertiginous road down to the sea at Robin Hood’s Bay from where we could see our ultimate destination, the impressive cliff top pile of Ravenhall Hotel, which by the way, would make an excellent setting for an Agatha Christie murder novel.
With that in mind, we’re pleased to report all the ‘Coasters’ made it through to breakfast the next day.
Our thanks to Gail and Tony Harrison, with special mentions for the dynamic duo of Colin Moore and John Dyas for their inspired route planning and David Moore for his advice on places of interest and landmarks en route. And thanks to all the ‘Coasters’ for their company which was the most important ingredient in making a really enjoyable and memorable trip.
Entries for the Blyton Park Sprint event were looking questionable until close to the date when there was a late surge of entries with 46 signing-on on the day. It worked out well on the very technical Eastern Circuit track configuration that had only been used once before for an MSA registered Sprint. It even attracted our very own David Nursey in a dual driven Ford Puma, Blyton Park owner Richard Usher in his McLaren 570s, and Rachel Lovett’s boyfriend Ewen Sergison who lives nearby in Doncaster.
With the sun shining all day and a very healthy entry from the Paul Matty Lotus Championship contenders, we saw a BTD of 67.85s for Paul Martin in his Radical PR6. 2nd fastest of the day was Richard Hollingworth in his DJ Firehawk and as a result, he now leads the MAC’s Sunrise Sprint Championship with just two rounds remaining. Malcolm Thorne in his Lotus Buick decided to spice things up with a spectacular 360 spin on the final corner clipping the finish line chequer board and then continuing on into the pits. He wasn’t alone as this final corner managed to catch several more competitors.
In the end, everybody gave the event a big ‘thumbs up’ and already we are talking about replicating the sprint using the same track layout next year due to the enthusiasm of those who took part on the day.
Class winners were:
Gordon Hick Seat Leon Cupra 280
Richard Usher McLaren 570S
Tim Brown Datsun 240Z
David Tatham Terrapin Mk41A
Iain Stallard Lotus Elan
David Hampton Lotus 69 Atlantic F2
A visit to Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb brought tears to the eyes of international racing driver Hans-Joachim Stuck during the Midland Automobile Club’s Classic Nostalgia event at the weekend.
Double Le Mans winner and former F1 driver Hans was guest of honour at the meeting and followed in the footsteps of his late father the legendary Hans Stuck, who exactly 80 years ago drove a similar V16 Auto Union Grand Prix car up the iconic hill in front of the same sorts of large number of spectators.
Hans, said: “This place and these crowds are absolutely magical and I won’t be shy with you, I actually had tears in my eyes coming back down from my first run – just thinking about my father doing the very same thing in the same car those many years ago.
“My reception here this weekend has been simply wonderful and I am delighted to have been able to put on a show with this famous car for so many people who have all shown such interest, enthusiasm and appreciation.”
Hans-Joachim Stuck also drove the Audi IMSA S4 GTO which was making its UK debut after arriving in this country only 6 weeks ago. This monster of a race car is capable of 190mph powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder, 20-valve racing engine creating 720 bhp. It certainly made the ground tremble as it took to the hill.
Another crowd pleasing aspect to the weekend was the appearance of 25 Group B rally cars from the 1980s period, which were eventually banned on safety reasons, but driven over the weekend once again by stars such as Jimmy McRae with his original co-driver Ian Grindrod, Russell Brookes with his co-driver Mike Broad and David Llewellyn in the Audi S1.
Jimmy McRae, commented: “I have just been reunited with the glorious Metro 6R4 which was always a crowd pleaser and these outrageous Group B cars still have a large following of avid fans, many of whom are here today to see and hear them in action once again.”
Fellow rally driver Russell Brookes, was driving his former 1986 Opel Ascona in tarmac specification and in original Andrews Heat for Hire colours, saying: “This is a fabulous occasion and it is great to be meeting up with old cars and old friends but is does seem strange to be racing against the clock up such a very short length of track.
“Somebody once created the slogan ‘the right crowd, and no crowding’ and this weekend sums that saying up exactly. The atmosphere and organisation is simply exceptional and credit must go to the organisers for their efforts in creating such an occasion whereby people can celebrate our wonderful motoring heritage in all its forms.”
A Concours d Elegance competition was staged for the first 100 cars to enter on the Sunday and this was won by Peter Prosser from Buckinghamshire with his 1935 MG Pillarless Magnette saloon, which will now be invited to be displayed on the MAC stand at November’s NEC Classic Car Show.
Peter, said: “We were invited here today as guests of Stratstone and just happened to be in time to enter the competition, not really expecting much as this car is in regular use and has just completed a tour of Ireland with the MG Car Club. I have owned the car for 18 years having originally bought it from Australia and had it delivered to my home in pieces on four pallets, taking another four years for its restoration.
“You can imagine our surprise then when my wife Dot and I were awarded the top prize and we were thrilled to be presented with our trophy by Jimmy McRae, who then drove us up the hill – being very surprised at how nimble the car was – so much so that he was still smiling when we got back down!”
Adding to the weekend’s festival atmosphere was live music and singing on a stage created in the Courtyard together with dancing displays in 1940s and 50s style. This was wonderfully enhanced by officials, vehicle support staff and members of the public being invited to dress in period costume to match the occasion and many many people entered into the spirit of the occasion and did exactly that.
On the track itself, competition was as fierce as ever through a wide range of varied machines dating back over the decades in various classes, hosting names such as Frazer Nash, MG, Cooper 500, Austin Healey, Lotus and Morgan, through to Austin Mini, Ford Mustang and Ferrari.
Best Time of Day on Saturday went to Nic Mann in his amazing home made Mannic Beattie Sports Libre car, which uses aircraft power as part of it engine, taking an ascent time of 25.47 seconds. Sunday saw a Best Time of Day for local man Keith Harris with a time of 29.18 seconds in his Chevron B25 racing car.
Saturday’s class winners included Bill Tuer in a Morgan, Mark Brett in a Bellamy Ford, Martin Spencer in GN Spider 2, Malcolm Thorne in a Lotus Buick, Mike Gallery in a Morris Cooper S, Stuart Gilbert in an MGB GT V8, Thomas Robinson in an MG Midget, Finlay Mackintosh in a Cooper Mk6, Phoebe Rolt in an Elva FJ Junior, Richard Mason in and Austin Healey 3000, Tim Painter in a Metro 6R4 and Kevin Jones in a Renault 5 Turbo.
Sunday’s separate event saw most of the above once again take class wins with the addition of Andrew Tippett in a Russell Alexis Formula Ford and James Smith in a 1968 Rellard Trials.
Also presented was a very special watch called the “Spirit Of Shelsley Walsh” which had been designed and made by Omologato, timing sponsor at the hill climb. This was presented to Chris Jaques who brought back the 1934 Maserati 8CM that Whitney Straight drove at Shelsley Walsh.
Looking back over the weekend, MAC committee member and event paddock marshal Tony Harrison, commented: “Yet again the accolades keep pouring in from competitors and visitors alike for this very special classic event here at Shelsley Walsh.
“For example, one competitor, Wayne Wilson is from Australia and competing in his 1968 Brabham BT21 and after this his first visit to Classic Nostalgia is already making plans to return next year and its easy to see why, the sight and sound of the Auto Union alone is mesmerising and you can watch people simply smiling at its pure power and presence.
“The crowds have been amazing and with awesome weather to boot we believe this could well be a record attendance. The Group B rally cars have also been such a huge success, so this event could be a very hard act to follow!”
Mark Constanduros, Commercial Manager for the Midland Automobile Club commented “Several years of hard work paid off this weekend. To see Hans-Joachim Stuck drive his father’s Auto Union was a very special moment. He is such a lovely guy who fell in love with Shelsley Walsh”
“And to also have three British Rally Champions here with 9 titles between them was a joy. They were all a bit like naughty school boys, great fun to be with”
“Not sure how we will follow this up, but there are ideas!”