Two runs under the existing outright record and a win in the second run-off saw Wallace Menzies cap a near perfect Channel Islands double header. His forty one point haul from the two events saw him edge further ahead of Alex Summers in the battle for the outright lead in the British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) presented by Avon Tyres. On a very hot and sunny day at Le Val des Terres Hillclimb in Guernsey’s capital St. Peter Port, the battle for who wins the 2022 Championship once again pushed the top drivers into places that even they thought they couldn’t go. Wallace, Alex and Scott Moran all dug deep and produced times in the run-offs that were under Scott’s existing outright record of 26.99 which he set back in 2015. Wallace now holds an eight point lead moving into the last four events of the season. With Alex having a zero to drop due to his fuel pump failure at Harewood, the battle between Alex and Wallace is pretty much exactly equal. With drivers starting to drop scores after the Wiscombe Park event at the end of July this will soon play out. Breaking hill records during what remains of the season is therefore going to prove critical in who will be crowned 2022 BHC Champion. Scott Moran joined the party and broke the existing record in the second run-off and now sits in third place overall, nine points behind Alex. Realistically Scott now needs a couple of wins at Wiscombe to spark a run to take him into the overall Championship fight. Trevor Willis scored good points to consolidate fourth place in the BHC. He is now fifteen points ahead of Matt Ryder in fifth, after Matt spun and damaged the front end of his Gould GR59J in qualifying and had to withdraw from the rest of the meeting without scoring points. This was Matt’s first real error of his debut season in big singles seaters. No doubt he will bounce back to resume battle and reset at Wiscombe in a few weeks’ time.
The first run-off saw the pace at the top being as hot as the weather! As in Jersey the run-off was won by just one hundredth of a second, this time by Alex Summers (DJ Firestorm) from Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M). Both drivers carved over four tenths of a second off the existing record as they pushed for the win. Scott Moran (Gould GR59J) finished half a second adrift in third, just seven one hundredths shy of his own existing outright record. Richard Spedding (GWR Raptor 2) was having another strong day in the Channel Islands, producing personal bests to finish in fourth place, two tenths of a second ahead of a hard trying Trevor Willis (OMS 28 – RPE V8) in fifth. Guernsey driver Nick Saunders (Reynick) continued his giant killing form from Bouley Bay to finish sixth, over half a second clear of another local Tim Tulie (Empire 00). This was a magnificent result for Tim who has much less power than most of his competition. His skill and local knowledge seemed to more than make up for a lack of power though. Well done Tim! Dave Uren (Gould GR55B) was happy to get points on the board in eighth, two tenths of a second clear of Dave Warburton (Gould GR59) who finished ninth. Local driver Steve Brehaut (Empire EVO3) was delighted to pick up the final point for tenth. Disappointed and out of the points were BHC regulars Darren Gumbley (Force TA) and Lee Griffiths (OMS 28).
The second run-off was won by Wallace Menzies with a time exactly equal to the one he set in the first run-off. There’s consistency for you! The extra point for breaking the existing outright record was most welcome and could be vital in the tight battle for BHC honours. Scott Moran upped the ante to finish three tenths of second back in second. His time was also under his existing record. Scott will be both pleased and relieved to score good points in his quest to get on even terms with Wallace and Alex in the Championship battle. Richard Spedding once again produced a personal best, this time finishing a magnificent third. This is a seasons best for Richard and one that he will hope to build on in his quest to take the fight to Dave Uren and battle for sixth place overall in the BHC. Alex Summers was a disappointed fourth suffering from a severe lack of front end grip for his entire run. Two tenths of a second behind in fifth was Nick Saunders. This was his best result of the four Channel Islands run-offs this season, leaving him with a big smile on his face. Trevor Willis faded a little to finish sixth four tenths of a second up on the hard charging Tim Tulie, who produced a personal best time in seventh. Dave Warburton was just six hundredths of a second behind to finish eighth, ahead of locals Matt Bougourd (Force HC) in ninth and final point scorer Steve Breahaut. This was a great performance by Matt as this was his first ever BHC run-off qualification and points score. Out of the points were very disappointed BHC regular point scorers Dave Uren and Paul Haimes (Gould GR59).
New Val des Terres outright record holder Alex Summers said “I am very pleased to come away with the record. With the grandstand at the top of the hill it made for a very special atmosphere which really added to the sense of achievement. I am disappointed with the second run-off result. I just didn’t have any grip on the front end, so suffered all the way up. Congratulations to Wallace on his forty one Channel Islands points – awesome consistency. It’s great for the Championship that we are about equal after dropped scores but I won’t pretend that it isn’t stressful! We hopefully have some upgrades to fit to the car for Wiscombe so I’m really looking forward to that.” The final words go to current BHC Championship leader Wallace Menzies who said “We quickly got to a decent set-up for the car and the grip levels were much better than at Bouley Bay where we all struggled a little. Well done to Alex for his new outright hill record. It is super tight at the top of the Championship and outright hill records have become even more important. It is critical that we maximise our performance at Wiscombe in a couple of weeks’ time. It will be difficult as I’m sure that Alex, Scotty and a few others will be hard on it. I am really looking forward to the challenge though!”.
The Championship now moves onto Wiscombe Park in Devon over the weekend of 30/31 July. The Championship is finely balanced and after Wiscombe BHC contenders will be in a position to start dropping their worst point scores in the season to date. This is likely to really close things up. One thing for certain is that the drivers will be giving their all at the picturesque and technical Devon venue. If you can make it, get yourself down to Wiscombe near Honiton. It will be well worth the trip! Advance tickets can be purchased below.