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Ryder Bounces Back with Double Harewood Win

Matt Ryder was in scintillating in his Gould GR59J at Harewood - photo by Ben Lawrence

Matthew Ryder was the big winner at Harewood on Sunday with an impressive double win to get his British Hillclimb Championship title bid firmly back on track. However, two strong runs from Alex Summers kept him at the top of the points table at the start of a busy month for the championship.

This was a day when the great British summer played tricks on the title contenders with heavy rain showers soaking the Yorkshire hill at regular intervals and turning tyre choice into a lottery. But through it all, Ryder and his team kept their head, and he delivered with two strong runs in ever-changing conditions.

In the opening run-off, Ryder just edged Wallace Menzies by one-hundredth of a second as the flying Scot bagged his best result of a challenging season to date. Will Hall went with them and was only a 10th away to make it an all-Gould podium while Summers was well in touch in fourth at a hill that never quite suits the DJ Firestorm.

At the end of a long day, Ryder was the final runner in the second run-off and went onto a still damp hill knowing that the mark had been set by Summers at 51.51s. Like most of his rivals, Ryder was still running wets all round and turned in a blistering 50.31s to make it a Harewood double.

However, equally impressive was Jack Cottrill who fired his DJ Dallara into a career best third overall by edging Menzies back to fourth. Menzies had run wide at the Esses when the front tyres just didn't give him as much grip as he had hoped and that cost him more than a second.

“That's a brilliant weekend,” said Ryder, who now heads to the Channel Islands double-header 14 points down on Summers. “The DJ doesn’t love Harewood,” admitted Summers, so another podium was a bonus result and it remains advantage Summers who has yet to finish lower than fourth in any run-off this season.

Sean Gould bagged a single sixth place but was unlucky not to win the first run-off after getting the best of the weather. Unfortunately, the time was disallowed when he skittled the floppy markers on the exit of the Quarry. David Warburton twice topped the smaller-engined cars in his Gould GR59 as Stuart Bickley and David Tatham both impressed.

The weather even played games on the opening class runs, which decided the qualifiers for the first of two run-offs. Steven Darley made good use of a dry hill to get a slot in the coveted BHC top 12 run-off in Damien Bradley's Subaru Legacy. Darley went on to bag the points for ninth place to get a closed cockpit car into the BHC points for the first time in probably eight years.

Running alongside the main run-off were two run-offs for closed cockpit cars to start the season of Tin Top - Top 10s. Roger Moran was superb in his Skoda Fabia R5 to win the opener by one hundredth of a second from Damien Bradley after Darley had his foot slip off the brake going into Country Corner and lost a lot of time. Sometime later on a drying track, Simon Bainbridge bagged victory in the second tin top contest with his mighty SBR Chrono as Bradley and Darley edged Moran back to fourth.

Written by Paul Lawrence and published in partnership with Autosport


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