Defending British Hillclimb (BHC) Champion Wallace Menzies won the second run-off and Scott Moran the first, as Wallace ended the weekend leading the BHC presented by Avon Tyres by two points after the first three events of the 2023 season. Showing great consistency and maturity, Matt Ryder took two second place run-off finishes and now sits in second place overall; six points clear of Scott. Trevor Willis continued his solid start to the season. A fourth and fifth place run-off finish leave him in an encouraging fourth place overall. Will Hall will be delighted to find himself in equal fifth place in the Championship. A third place finish in the second run-off giving him encouragement that there is much more to come from his brand new Judd engined Gould. 2022 BHC runner-up Alex Summers’ early season woes continued. ‘As yet un-diagnosed electrical gremlins’ resulted in Alex’s DJ Firestorm grinding to a halt exiting Country Corner on his first timed run and ended his day. The resulting two non-scores have severely damaged his BHC Championship challenge for the 2023 season. Although the 2023 season is only three weeks old it now looks extremely unlikely that Alex will be able to mount a serious challenge for the 2023 BHC crown. The car is obviously very quick, which makes the situation all the more difficult to take for the man from Henley in Arden. Keep the faith Alex!
The first run-off produced a relatively comfortable win for fastest qualifier Scott Moran (Gould GR59J). Fastest from start to finish and certainly not leaving much on the table, the six time BHC Champion showed his class to secure his second run-off victory of the season. The ten points scored mean that Scott has amassed over four thousand BHC points since his debut in the series back in 2002. Running him closest was Matt Ryder (Gould GR59J), again showing great composure and speed as he continues to impress. Two tenths of second back in third place was defending Champion Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M). Wallace just did not have the raw pace on this occasion to live with Scott and Matt. Trevor Willis (OMS 28 – RPE V8) was trying hard and produced a tidy run to take fourth place. Four tenths of a second behind in a seasons best fifth place was Dave Uren (Gould GR55B). Dave would surely have finished at least one place higher if he hadn’t had a big lock up under braking on the approach to the tricky Quarry Corner. Sean Gould (Gould GR59J was fifteen hundredths of second behind Dave in sixth place. Will Hall (Gould GR59J) was another to lock up at Quarry and finished one tenth a second behind Sean in seventh place. Richard Spedding (GWR Raptor 2 Mistral Suzuki) produced a neat run to finish top of the smaller engined cars, just two hundredths of a second back in eighth place. Johnathen Varley (GWR Predator - TKD V8) was consistent all day long. His ninth place finish, even after a wide exit at Country Corner, give him encouragement for the season ahead. Dave Warburton (Gould GR59 Hayabusa) took the final point for tenth place. A mistake in the Esses cost 2023 first time qualifier Andy Greenen (Empire EVO3) time and any chance of points. He did however at least get to the top of the hill which twelfth place finisher David Tatham (DJ Firehawk) failed to do due to a spin at Country.
Wallace Menzies produced a controlled run with no mistakes to win the second run-off. His speed through the early section of the hill was excellent and allowed him to carry a small margin right up to the finish. His slender three one hundredths of a second victory over a hard trying Matt Ryder was enough to give him the ten points. A great run by Will Hall enabled him to finish an excellent third, four hundredths of a second clear of Scott Moran. Scott was disappointed with a run in which he found no real speed and consequently his time dropped off significantly when compared to earlier in the day. Just one tenth of a second slower than Scott was Trevor Willis, again showing his consistency. A sideways moment at Country Corner probably cost Trevor at least one place though. Sean Gould finished a further four tenths of a second back in sixth, half a second clear of Dave Uren who was another driver to drop time from earlier in the day. Dave Warburton improved his position to eighth, four one hundredths ahead of a slowing Richard Spedding. The last point was secured by a delighted David Tatham who picked up his first BHC point of the 2023 season in tenth. Johnathen Varley looked like he was on for a great result until a spin on the approach to Quarry resulted in a no-score. Next time Johnathen! Darren Gumbley also finished out of the points. His spin across the finish line resulted in four wheels off the track and consequently a failed run.
In the classes two wins for Allan McDonald and Johnathen Varley see them tied in joint first place in the BHC Cup presented by Classic Car Insurance Broker Footman James. Allan really appears to be getting used to the Force SR4 Sports Racing Car that he acquired over the Winter. It looks like it will be a great battle at the top with a number of other drivers including Duncan Barnes (Norma M20FC) in with a shout as well. Watch out for Gavin Neate in his little Peugeot 106 too. His two class record breaking wins at Harewood mean that we should keep a close eye on his progress over the next few events.
The last words go to 2023 BHC Championship leader Wallace Menzies who said “A tough weekend once again with fine margins and very little between the drivers. I started off on the back foot when I ran out of talent and spun at Farmhouse Corner on my first run of the weekend, ending up facing back where I had come from! I am slowly getting used to the new to me Avon Tyres. Their behaviour was a little different to the previous two events as it was a little warmer. There is still lots more to learn and no doubt some more tweaks to make to the car. The Gurston double header weekend will be another challenge. The high speed nature of the track and hopefully higher temperatures will all add to the fun. I’m looking forward to it!”.
The Championship now has a two week break before returning with a bang with the only ‘double-header’ of the season at Gurston Down in Wiltshire, over the weekend of 27th & 28th May. Will Wallace Menzies continue his charge, or will Scott Moran, Matt Ryder or perhaps Will Hall and Sean Gould have something to say? Get yourself to Gurston and see it all live.