Wallace Menzies secured his fourth successive British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) presented by Avon Tyres title at a hot and sunny Prescott. After third and fourth place run-off finishes, Wallace has become a member of a very exclusive club, as he joins Ken Wharton (1951-54) as the winner of four consecutive BHC titles. This is a fantastic result for Wallace and his team, ably led by Crew Chief Tom New. After Wallace’s accident at Shelsley Walsh less than a month ago the team were faced with a massive test to repair the car and finish the season off with victory. After considerable effort this is exactly what they have achieved in helping Wallace to secure BHC title number four. Scott Moran is ending, what will be his last season in big single seaters for a while, with a flourish. Two hard earned victories, one shared with Matt Ryder, have consolidated Scott’s second place in the BHC. Matt Ryder had a strong weekend, the victory shared with Scott and a second place, secure a coveted top three BHC finish for the 2023 season. This represents good progress and will surely set Matt up for a title challenge in 2024. Alex Summers concentrated on the development of his self-built AFS P4t at Prescott. Qualifying for both run-offs showed the cars potential as he still holds fourth place overall in the BHC. The battle for fifth saw Will Hall continue to pull away from the rest. Third and fifth place run-off finishes continued Will’s impressive recent form.
The first run-off saw a fantastic battle at the top. Third fastest qualifier Matt Ryder (Gould GR59J) put in a storming run of 34.95 seconds, only three tenths of a second outside the outright Prescott record, and must have thought that victory was his. That was until Scott Moran (Gould GR59J) took to the track. Scott was in fact behind Matt right up until the final corner, semi-circle, but carried massive speed through the corner to take victory with Matt. Will Hall (Gould GR59J) took a strong third place half a second in arrears. Will’s attacking style was on full show as he pushed the Gould to the limit. Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M) ‘only’ needed a few points to secure the Championship. He duly obliged with a sensible fourth place finish just six one hundredths of a second ahead of an on form Dave Uren (Gould GR55B). Dave was probably a little disappointed, as he was actually the fastest qualifier with a personal best time and therefore ran last. Fifteen one hundredths of a second behind Dave was a hard charging Travor Willis (OMS 28 – RPE V8). Less than nine tenths of a second separating first to sixth places – that’s British Hillclimbing in a nutshell! Dave Warburton (Gould GR59 Hayabusa) set a personal best time of 36.57 seconds to take an excellent seventh place. This was just what the doctor ordered as the precious four points scored took Dave up into tenth place overall. Paul Haimes (Gould GR59 Hayabusa Turbo) was on good form once again and took eighth place, just eight hundredths of a second ahead a slightly disappointed Sean Gould (Gould GR59J). Sean’s run initially looked like it would result in a better finish. A small mistake at semi-circle put paid to that though. Jack Cottrill continued his fine end of season form, scoring the final point for tenth place in his Dallara Cosworth. Johnathen Varley (GWR Predator) finished out of the points in eleventh as did a delighted Alex Summers (AFS P4t) who qualified the self-built car for its first BHC run-off.
Late afternoon came and it was time for the second run-off. Scott Moran once again put in a super smooth run to fend off the opposition. His time of 35.01 seconds only six one hundredths of second slower than his time in the first run-off, when track conditions were arguably better. Matt Ryder backed up his first run-off form to finish sixteen one hundredths of second back in second. With the Championship in the bag Wallace Menzies went a little quicker to take third, just nine one hundredths of a second clear of Dave Uren in fourth. Dave was having a strong day, his fourth place finish equalling his best run-off result of the season. Will Hall slipped back a little to take fifth, holding off ‘Scary’ Trevor Willis by just one hundredth of a second. Trevor is obviously getting used to running the Avon Tyres, as he was only fifteen one hundredths of a second behind his personal best. Good stuff Trev. Sean Gould improved to finish seventh ahead of Paul Haimes in eighth. Paul looks like he has now secured ninth place overall in the BHC. With a season containing a number of ups and downs this is a good result. Jack Cottrill took ninth place with a personal best time of 36.55 seconds. This was Jack’s first time in the thirty six second bracket. Competing in a few more BHC events in 2024 would surely result in a top ten number? Go for it Jack! Dave Warburton secured the final point for tenth. They all count in the battle for a top ten number. Alex Summers turned the tables on Johnathen Varley to take eleventh, but again neither scored BHC points.
A brilliant first class run by Johnathen Varley in the GWR Predator, breaking his own class record, followed by another class win in the afternoon gave him a nineteen point haul for the weekend. He now leads the BHC Cup presented by Classic Car Insurance Broker Footman James by four points heading into the final round at Loton Park. Johnathen’s class record breaking form over the last three events look like they have secured him the 2024 Cup. I am sure that he will be looking to break records again at Loton to put the icing on the cake though! Both Allan McDonald (Force SR4) and Duncan Barnes (Norma M20FC) had great weekends. Two class wins each mean they are now tied in second place heading to the final event at Loton Park. Fourth placed Paul Haimes (Gould GR59 Hayabusa Turbo) is only one point behind them and could just come and spoil their fun at Loton. Class records will be the all-important currency in the race for the runner-up spot.
Newly crowned BHC Champion Wallace Menzies said “You can’t win the Championship in a weekend, but you can definitely lose it in a weekend. We had to hang onto Scott’s shirt tails these last two weekends, just to make sure. To win one BHC title was amazing and fantastic and this will take some time to sink in.”
The Championship now moves onto its final round at Loton Park in Shropshire over the weekend of 23/24 September. There are still some scores to settle and the Cup positions to finalise. The final round of the BHC tin top - top ten Challenge will take place at Loton too. Damien Bradley and Steven Darley go into the weekend separated by just two points in their shared Subaru Legacy. Who will come out on top is anyone’s guess. So, make your plans to be at Loton Park for the final BHC event of the season. Its sure to be a super weekend! Advance tickets can be purchased on the button below.