Name: Alex Summers
Home Town: Henley in Arden
Competition Car: DJ Firestorm – Cosworth XD
Alex was brought up in a family with a long history in the Hillclimb world and Shelsley Walsh in particular. Alex’s Great Great Uncle first competed at Shelsley in a Rolls Royce in the early 1920’s, apparently much to the dismay of Sir Henry Royce! Alex’s Great Grandfather, Dick Summers, also competed at Shelsley in a Vauxhall 30/98, again in the early 1920’s. The Summers family link to Shelsley therefore goes back for around one hundred years.
Alex’s parents Richard and Lindsay have continued the tradition, being active competitors in both vintage and modern machinery for many years. Both regularly share the Firestorm with Alex, alternating who has the ‘tyre warming’ duties at most British Hillclimb Championship rounds throughout the season! Wife Debbie and Brother Felix can also be seen driving either a motorcycle engined DJ Firehawk or the family Formula Ford at a number of events across the country. As you can see its quite a family affair!
After some non-championship karting, Alex started competing in Hillclimbs at the age of just sixteen in a Formula Ford. This really whetted his appetite for the sport and he was soon looking for something a little faster. The purchase of a motorcycle engined Firehawk from DJ Racecars ticked this box and Alex’s real potential started to shine through.
Alex has also competed in circuit racing, in a Formula Ford and something a little faster a 1968 Formula 5000 Lola! One of his motorsport highlights is a wheel to wheel battle with a single seater McLaren while driving his father’s Lola at Silverstone.
Alex has a role as a development driver for McMurtry Automotive. He assists lead development driver Max Chilton, who of course raced in Formula 1, IndyCar and at Le Mans, with the development of the exciting McMurtry Speirling electric vehicle. Alex has already tested at many UK race tracks and also demonstrated the car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed with motorsport legend Derek Bell in 2021. He is due to share the car again, this time with Max, at Goodwood in July.
Alex first entered the British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) presented by Avon Tyres in the Firehawk back in 2011. He qualified for five BHC run-offs and even had what he calls a ‘fluky win’ at Shelsley Walsh, the result of being on slick tyres at the right time! Although Alex did not finish in the overall top ten in either 2011 or 2012, he already looked like a star of the future. More wins followed in 2013 and 2014 with an excellent fourth and fifth place respectively in the BHC being secured. For the 2015 season Alex shared the most successful car in British Hillclimb history, the Nicholson McLaren engined Gould GR61X with owner Scott Moran. Alex had a stellar season and secured, what to date, is his only BHC title. After a quiet 2016 season, 2017 saw Alex out for what he hoped would be a shot at the Championship in a new DJ Firestorm fitted with an ex DTM Opel V6 engine. Unfortunately a serious accident at Gurston Down curtailed the season and also led to a relatively low key 2018.
2019 saw Alex return to the Championship full time in a new Firestorm chassis. He also returned to winning ways at the September Doune, on his way to a second place overall in the BHC. After the pandemic forced hiatus of 2020 Alex again finished in the overall runner up spot in 2021, as he scored five run-off victories. All looks good so far in 2022 as well, with Alex scoring an early victory at the opening BHC weekend at Prescott in his 600+ horsepower DJ Firestorm and proving to be right on the pace elsewhere. It looks like we have a very exciting and competitive season ahead and Alex has a genuine opportunity to regain the coveted number one!
A fact that not many people know:
Alex is developing his own chassis for use in Hillclimbs, he says for the “academic curiosity”! The car has been designed by Alex himself; he is a car designer by trade, with even the tub being produced at home by the Summers family. Alex says that his Mother Lindsay is much better than him at laminating carbon fibre! Fellow hillclimber Trevor Willis provides advice and the autoclave that the tub and other carbon parts are cured in. The car will have the ex DTM Opel V6 engine out of the original Firestorm. It is hoped that wife Debbie and Brother Felix will be out in the car next season. A very exciting proposition.
Shelsley Walsh Fact:
With a personal best time at Shelsley of 22.52 seconds, just fifteen one hundredths of a second shy of the outright record, Alex is sure to be fighting for overall victory. Alex is genuinely inspired by the history and unique atmosphere of a Shelsley weekend. He has nearly as much fun when returning down the hill waving to the crowd after a run, than he does when attacking the hill going for the outright record. Come and see if Alex can break the Shelsley record and kick on in the 2022 Championship. Its going to be an awesome weekend of top class motorsport. Advance tickets can be purchased by clicking on the button below.