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Matt Ryder wins at Shelsley Walsh as Wallace Menzies edges ahead in tight BHC Championship battle

Photo by Ben Lawrence

A hot and steamy Shelsley Walsh served up a brilliant run-off win for Matt Ryder as the BHC presented by Avon Tyres Championship battle took a little nudge in the direction of reigning Champion Wallace Menzies. With only one timed run and run-off possible due to a number of factors, not least temperatures in the nineties and a number of delays, the BHC Championship battle between Menzies and Alex Summers will move into its last two weekends finely poised. With Sean Gould’s outright record remaining just out of reach, Menzies retains a slender but potentially decisive lead as the Championship moves to Prescott in a couple of weeks time. Unless Wallace has the perfect weekend at Prescott, it looks highly likely that the Championship will not be decided until the final round at Loton Park at the end of September. Scott Moran is now nailed on in third place overall with Trevor Willis and Matt Ryder battling intensely over 4th place overall.

The only run-off of the weekend saw the pace crank up as weather and track conditions remained sweltering. Matt Ryder (Gould GR59-Judd) produced a fantastic time carving nearly a second off his fourth place qualifying time to finish only seven hundredths of a second outside the existing record with a time of 22.44 seconds. Just over a tenth of a second behind in joint second were Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M-Cosworth XD) and Scott Moran (Gould GR59-Judd). Wallace was in fact ahead until a scrappy passage of the Esses saw things slip away from him. An understeering moment at top Ess blunted Alex Summers chances of victory as he posted a time in the late 22 second bracket in his IndyCar engined DJ Firestorm. This could be decisive in the outcome of the 2022 BHC as he now sits five points adrift of defending Champion Wallace Menzies. Just over four tenths of second behind was Dave Uren (Gould GR55B) who battled hard all weekend. This was Dave’s first weekend on Avon Tyres for a number of years. After scaring himself in Saturday practice, Dave made a few subtle set-up changes which made the car much more to his liking on Sunday. Nice work Dave! Trevor Willis (OMS 28 – RPE V8) finished just over a quarter of a second behind in sixth. His hard charging style kept him just about in touch through Kennel and Crossing. The fast run up to the Esses and to the finish left him a little breathless though. Sean Gould (Gould GR59-Judd) struggled a little on the lower reaches of the hill but still finished seventh just a quarter of a second clear of Richard Spedding (GWR Raptor 2) in eighth. Graham Wynn secured an excellent ninth of the Gould GR59-Judd that he shares with Scott Moran. He now needs good points at both Prescott and Loton to secure tenth in the Championship. You can do it Graham! Final point scorer was Jack Cottrill who just got into the 24’s in his Cosworth XD engined Gould Dallara. Out of the points were Dave Warburton (Gould GR59-Hayabusa) and Zach Zammit (Empire Wraith. Both of them are giving away significant speed to the fastest cars in their motorcycle engined cars.

In the BHC Cup presented by Classic Car Insurance Broker Footman James, Alex Coles continued his fine form in his Formula Ford Van Diemen RF86. He now holds an eight point advantage over Richard Spedding as we head to the last two events of the season. Jonathen Varley (GWR Predator) sits in third place, but is now eleven points behind Alex. A good weekend for Alex at Prescott may just secure him the 2022 Cup.

A new initiative at Shelsley over the weekend was the ‘Tin Top Ten’ specifically for closed cars. The paddock was full of fire breathing monsters, many wearing brand new Avon Tyres with the sum of horsepower being quite astonishing. With Steven Darley and owner Damien Bradley sharing the amazing Subaru Legacy, class record holder Roger Banks (4.2 litre Audi S4), Shelsley closed car record holder Ian Rowlance (MG Metro 6R4) and Simon Bainbridge in his 750 plus horsepower Audi R8 all entered, the action was sure to spectacular. Damien broke the existing class record by more than half a second to just pip Roger, who was also under his old class record. A spectacular off at Kennel however unfortunately ended Simon’s day. When it came to the tin top run-off things were turned on their head by Ian Rowlance in the 6R4, who improved his time when others were struggling, His 28.60 second time gave him victory in the first ever ‘Tin Top Ten’ run-off. Well done Ian!

First time Shelsley winner Matt Ryder said “It was certainly a challenging weekend in the heat, but I am absolutely thrilled with the result! The car was feeling great all weekend, and I was feeling more and more comfortable on each run. When we put some fresher tyres on for the final run everything just felt a little bit better and I was confident to push. It wasn’t the perfect run, my foot even slipped off the throttle pedal exiting Kennel and I had to get back on it immediately! If only we had had the second runs that were planned, I would have loved another run or two to really have a crack at Sean’s record!”

The Championship now moves onto its penultimate round at Prescott in the Cotswolds over the weekend of 3/4 September. With the Championship battle finely balanced it is sure to be a fantastic weekend. Will Wallace have the perfect weekend and secure the Championship or will Alex come back fighting and take the Championship to the final round at Loton Park? Advance tickets can be purchased on the button below.


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