Two run-off wins helped Wallace Menzies 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 hot and sunny day at Bouley Bay Hillclimb in Jersey. On what was the first post pandemic BHC visit to the Channel Islands since 2019, over twenty BHC registered contenders made the journey across the water to the historic Bouley Bay Hillclimb located in the Northern part of the beautiful island of Jersey. They were greeted by warm and dry conditions but a track that was never really grippy throughout the day. Outright Bouley Bay record holder Trevor Willis had a strong day with third and fourth place run-off finishes to move ahead of Matt Ryder into fourth place overall in the BHC. Scott Moran took an excellent second place in the first run-off but faded a little with a fifth place finish in the second, but still holds third place overall in the BHC. All drivers found the track conditions tricky with mistakes being very easy to make and nearly impossible to recover from.
The first run-off saw a fabulous battle at the top. Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M) took the overall win by just one hundredth of a second from a hard charging Scott Moran (Gould GR59J). In third place just four hundredths behind Scott was Alex Summers (DJ Firestorm) who in turn was just over a tenth of a second clear of the on-form Trevor Willis (OMS 28 – RPE V8). Richard Spedding (GWR Raptor 2) took a fine fifth place at a hill that he often does well at, eight tenths of a second clear of Matt Ryder (Gould GR59J). It was a steep learning curve for Matt who had never seen the hill before his visit this year. Paul Haimes (Gould GR59) was just three hundredths behind Matt in seventh and two tenths of a second ahead of local Guernsey driver Nick Saunders in his self-developed Reynick. Dave Warburton (Gould GR59) took ninth, three tenths clear of a delighted Nicola Menzies (Gould GR55B) who once again took the final point for tenth. Nicola is in fact the first lady to qualify and score BHC points at Bouley Bay since Agnes Mickel back in the 1970’s. Well-done Nicola! Out of the points were local Jerseyman Glyn Moignard (OMS 2000) and Lee Griffiths (OMS 28) who lost time in the lower reaches of the hill.
The second run-off was again won by Wallace Menzies, this time just seventeen one hundredths of a second clear of Alex Summers. Alex was in fact ahead in the lower reaches of the hill, with Wallace dragging the time back to lead by a mere four hundredths of a second going into the final corner. Wallace’s run-off victory was confirmed by a fantastic power-slide assisted run through the top bend to the finish line. Very spectacular and very effective too! Trevor Willis capped a fine day four tenths of a second behind in third. Richard Spedding produced a great run to secure fourth place just four hundredths ahead of Scott Moran who could not match his first run-off pace and finished fifth. Matt Ryder will have been happy with sixth keeping Nick Saunders two tenths of a second back in an excellent seventh. After not qualifying for the first run-off due to a mistake at Radio corner, Dave Uren (Gould GR55B) was relieved to score BHC points for eighth place, nine tenths of a second clear of the consistent Dave Warburton in ninth. The final point, for the fourth time this season, was secured by Nicola Menzies. Nicola really is in a rich vein of form right now, having qualified for the last four BHC run-offs. Out of the points once again was the unfortunate Lee Griffiths who faded from a personal best qualifying time to finish eleventh. Guernseyman Andy Bougourd (Force PT) did well to qualify for the run-offs but unfortunately recorded a failed run and consequently a non-score.
Overall Bouley Bay winner and current BHC Championship leader Wallace Menzies said “It was tough out there today. The hill never really gave us the grip that we needed or expected and as a consequence the car was moving around a lot. It was a case of minimising mistakes to produce a competitive time. I am delighted to have secured two run-off wins and twenty Championship points. Moving onto Val des Terres on Saturday will be a big challenge. I understand that the hill has been resurfaced since we were last there in 2019. This is another unknown in what is a mega different hill. The hot temperatures expected will be make it difficult for all of us too. I must admit that I am looking forward to it though!”
There could be another twist on the horizon in the BHC Championship battle due to a possible supply issue with Pirelli Hillclimb rubber. With a number of the top competitors running on Pirellis and their cars of course set up to maximise performance with this tyre, a switch to Avon rubber seems likely for those affected. This could throw a massive curve-ball into the Championship battle and potentially be a real boost for top ranked Avon runners Scott Moran and Matt Ryder. Time will tell regarding how this plays out. Watch this space!
The Championship now moves on to the final leg of the Channel Islands double-header at Le Val des Terres in Guernsey’s capital St Peter Port on Saturday 16th July. The traveling BHC circus of over twenty competitors will be looking forward to the event and the opportunity to score Championship points once again in what is proving to be an absolutely enthralling 2022 BHC season.