Name: Matt Ryder
Home Town: Leyland, Lancashire
Competition Car: Gould GR59J
Matt has been around the sport of hillclimbing since he was a little boy. In fact, his family have been actively involved in the sport for over 40 years. Matt’s Grandad Ken Ayers was a very successful competitor during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, winning the British Sprint Championship outright in 1982. He was also an occasional British Hillclimb Championship run-off qualifier and points scorer with a best of 6th at both Craigantlet and Gurston Down. His distinctive gold Lyncar and Pilbeam MP58 single seaters were regular Craigantlet visitors during this time. Matt’s Mum & Dad Caroline and John Ryder also compete regularly.
It was therefore almost inevitable that Matt would start to compete himself. His first steps in motorsport were taken in karting, initially at indoor venues, then successfully outdoors on short circuits, where he won two club championships and was Midland Champion in 2021. In 2013 at the age of sixteen, Matt started to compete in circuit racing in Formula Jedi. His car was in fact originally the one his Mum Caroline had been using in hillclimbs. Matt enjoyed himself thoroughly and a number of podium finishes were secured over the next three years.
Matt first dipped his toe into the world of hillclimbing sharing a motorcycle engined OMS Hornet. As his experience grew, he moved into a Force TT powered by a 1600 Hayabusa engine. His natural speed and neat but attacking driving style really started to show. 2018 saw the purchase of an Empire EVO2 and a first BHC run-off qualification and points score. Matt also qualified to compete for Team GB at the end of season European Masters event in Gubbio, Italy. Despite this being Matt’s first competitive hillclimb abroad, he achieved what he describes as his career highlight to date, by securing the trophy for the fastest driver under 25 years of age. A very proud moment for Matt and his family.
An unfortunate accident for Mum Caroline at Shelsley Walsh during the 2019 season sadly severely damaged the car. An Empire Wraith was purchased and the engine from the EVO2 was fitted. This setback did not slow Matt down. In fact, he continued to improve his times and as a result more success followed.
The 2021 season saw Matt qualify for half a dozen British Hillclimb Championship, presented by Avon Tyres run-offs, with a new personal best finish of 4th overall being achieved in mixed conditions at Wiscombe Park. A second qualification for the European Masters event in Braga, Portugal was also secured. This really whetted his appetite for more speed and power and plans were made over the Winter to step up to the big single seater class in the “works” Gould GR59 with its Judd engine.
Matt will share the car during the 2022 season with 2018 BHC runner-up Will Hall. The experience that Will has gained over more than a decade of top class hillclimbing will really help Matt and give him an accurate yardstick to measure himself against.
Matt is a qualified ARDS instructor having previously worked full time coaching drivers on a variety of race circuits, off road courses and skid pans.
The 1460 yard climb on closed public roads is spectacular, with the current record standing at 39.12 seconds, an average speed of close to 78mph from a standing start!
Craigantlet is only Matt’s second competitive BHC event in the big Gould, so don’t expect too much. He may well surprise us though! Definitely one to watch. Good luck Matt.