Wallace Menzies re-took the lead of the British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) presented by Avon Tyres at the second visit in to Harewood in the 2022 season. With Alex Summers failing to make the start line for the first run-off and then ‘only’ taking fourth place in the second run-off Menzies took full advantage. His twenty point Harewood haul now gives him a two point lead over Summers moving into the Channel Islands double header. Matt Ryder’s brilliant second run-off outright record and maiden run-off win takes him up to fourth place in the BHC overall just one point clear of Trevor Willis, in what is turning into a titanic BHC Championship battle between the two of them. Third place overall is Scott Moran, who was probably a little disappointed with his second and fifth place run-off finishes.
The first run-off saw Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M) take a tenth of a second off his existing record to take eleven precious BHC Championship points. Six tenths of a second adrift in second was Scott Moran (Gould GR59J) who in turn was a further six tenths clear of an on form Trevor Willis (OMS 28 – RPE V8). Matt Ryder (Gould GR59J) was just a quarter of a second behind in fourth. A great run by Richard Spedding (GWR Raptor 2) placed him fifth ahead of Dave Uren (Gould GR55B) in sixth. Jonathen Varley (GWR Predator) was fully committed to finish an excellent seventh, nearly a second clear of Lee Griffiths (OMS 28 - Hayabusa) in eighth. Graham Wynn (Gould GR59) would have been encouraged to score two important Championship points in ninth, ahead of a delighted Nicola Menzies (Gould GR55B) who took the last point for tenth. Nicola was particularly pleased as she had broken the outright ladies record on her first qualification run, leaving it at an impressive 50.74 seconds. As previously mentioned, Alex Summers (DJ Firestorm) was an unfortunate non-starter due a broken fuel pump as was Paul Haimes (Gould GR59) who broke his differential on his first qualification run and was out for the rest of the day.
The second run-off produced a standout performance by Matt Ryder in what is proving to be a fabulous BHC season. Matt’s silky smooth style was on show for all to see as he not only took the full eleven points but looked like he had more in hand, taking three tenths of a second off Wallace Menzies’ one and a half hour old outright record. This was Matt’s first ever BHC run-off win. A star of the future – you bet! Wallace Menzies was nearly nine tenths of a second back, but would have been delighted to secure nine important BHC Championship points. Trevor Willis was just five hundredths behind in an excellent third place, a further seven hundredths clear of Alex Summers, who must have been relieved to score points on what was a rare difficult 2022 season weekend. Scott Moran was disappointed to finish eight tenths behind in fifth, after running wide a losing time at Country Corner. Richard Spedding finished off a strong weekend with sixth place nearly half a second clear of Dave Uren in seventh. Jonathen Varley secured a further three BHC Championship points in eighth. Stuart Sugden, sharing Les Mutch’s GWR Raptor, scored good points in ninth ahead of the consistent Lee Griffiths who continued his excellent 2022 season form by picking up the final BHC Championship point in tenth. The unfortunate non-scorers were Nicola Menzies who faded a little to finish eleventh ahead of Les Mutch in twelfth.
The BHC Cup presented by Classic Car Insurance Broker Footman James continues its fabulous season, with after two class wins, Richard Spedding now holding a one point lead over Jonathen Varley. Jonathen had a fantastic Harewood event scoring the maximum twenty points by breaking Lee Griffiths’ existing class record twice. Alex Coles had a difficult weekend in his Formula Ford Van Diemen RF86 and now sits four points off the overall BHC Cup lead in third.
The final words must go to new Harewood outright record holder Matt Ryder who said “ I’ve never had a run-off win or ended an event with a hill record before! On the last run, everything just came together and the car felt really good. The Channel Islands rounds may be a different story though as I have never competed there before. I will definitely be giving it my best shot though!”
The Championship now moves on to the traditional Channel Islands double-header. With two events in four days at Bouley Bay, Jersey (Wednesday 13th July) and Val des Terres (Saturday 16th July) in Guernsey’s capital St Peter Port. The events will be critical in deciding who the 2022 BHC Champion will be. The BHC rounds have special significance, being the first Championship visit since 2019 due to the pandemic. A traveling BHC circus of over twenty competitors will be looking forward to both events in what is no doubt a classic 2022 BHC season.