Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July sees the British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) presented by Avon Tyres visit the beautiful parkland setting of Wiscombe Park near Honiton in Devon.
Wiscombe Park has been part of the BHC since 1962, holding its first competitive Hillclimb in 1958 on a shorter track that ended just after Sawbench hairpin. The track was extended over the Winter of 1960/61 with the addition of Castle Straight and Martini Hairpin, forming the track that is used today. The track is now 914 metres (1000 yards) long. Starting adjacent to the 19th century gothic country house which was built on the site of the old manor house, the track turns sharp left at the tight Wis Corner before the cars reach high speed across the open parkland section of the hill. Continuing over Bunny’s Leap and braking into Gate Corner, the course then climbs through the tricky tree covered Esses section. At the end of the Esses the track turns sharp right at Sawbench Hairpin before starting the climb up Castle Straight to the sting in the tail, Martini Hairpin. Many a good run has been ruined at Martini, which requires heavy braking from high speed and seems to go on forever as cars search for grip as they exit for the finish line.
The BHC is now moving into the last third of what is proving to be another classic Championship year. Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M – Cosworth XD) holds what looks like a healthy Championship lead of thirty five points over Scott Moran (Gould GR59 – Judd). With dropped scores still to have an effect it is still all to play for though. After a challenging couple of events in the Channel Islands third placed Matt Ryder (Gould GR59 – Judd) will be looking to bounce back at Wiscombe too. Current Wiscombe record holder Alex Summers (DJ Firestorm – Cosworth XD) is sure to be at the sharp end. His record set last year stands at 32.94 seconds but with both Wallace (32.95 seconds) and Scott (32.98 seconds) both having personal best times under thirty three seconds the battle at the top is sure to be very tight!
The top contenders in the class based Championship the BHC Cup presented by Classic Car Insurance Broker Footman James, will also be out at Wiscombe. Duncan Barnes (Norma M20FC) currently has a five point Championship lead. Allan McDonald (Force SR4) got back to winning ways at the last round at Harewood and lies in second. David Tatham (DJ Firehawk) holds third place overall six points behind Allan. David will have his work cut out this weekend as he competes in the ultra-competitive up to 1100cc Racing Car Class. With numerous cars in his class he will be under pressure to secure victory. With dropped scores coming into play after this weekend it could be all change at the top.
A particular highlight on the entry list is the fabulous 800+ horsepower Subaru Legacy of Damien Bradley. Damien shares his car with the equally quick Steven Darley. Between them they currently hold the ‘tin-top’ record at every BHC venue except for two. Wiscombe is one of them and their goal this weekend is to set a new record. The Subaru is a truly remarkable car. It is probably worth the entry fee all by itself and is sure to be a spectacular sight as it attempts to add the Wiscombe ‘tin-top’ record to its list of achievements.
With a round of the local Wiscombe Tillicoultry Quarries Hillclimb Championship currently led by Julian Rinaldi also taking place, track is sure to be both full-on and entertaining. In addition there will be a number of off-track attractions including displays from a number of visiting car clubs, the ‘Great Wiscombe Cake Off’ and a competition for amateur photographers. With many others interesting things to see and do its sure to be a great day out for all of the family.
Competitive action is scheduled to start at 8.30am on both days and will continue until around 5.00pm. There will be a BHC run-off on each day.
Make your plans to visit Wiscombe Park over the weekend. The action is sure to be intense as drivers fight over vital Championship points and records. Advance tickets can be purchased below.