WISCOMBE Park hosted rounds 23 and 24 of the Avon Tyres Wynn Developments UK British Hillclimb Championship, reports Nigel Cole

The 1,000 yards/0.57-mile Devon course is a favourite with Dorset competitors and the weekend brought the UK’s best drivers to Wiscombe competing for the National Championship – currently being led by Wallace Menzies from Alloa.

Wiscombe was also hosting rounds five and six of the nine-round Wiscombe Tillicoultry Quarries Hillclimb Championship – these rounds being administered by the Dorset-based Woolbridge Motor Club.

This championship attracts the best drivers in the south west. Current leader is Rod Thorne (Pilbeam MP43) from Martyn Pike (Ford Escort) and Adrian Lewis (Westfield Busa).

The hot weather was perfect on both days. The type of conditions to produce record times and hopes were high that the hill record, shared by Trevor Willis and Will Hall, set at 33.79secs in 2014, and so it was, three times during the first British Championship Run Off on Sunday morning.

Honours would eventually stand to Menzies with a new hill record of 33.13secs – beating the old record by 0.66secs.

Olivia Cooper was in record-breaking form too, in practice on Saturday she set the 13th quickest time of 37.78secs, setting a new Wiscombe Ladies Record.

This time qualified her for the Second Run Off on Sunday when she lowered the ladies’ record again, recording a time of 37.74secs – 11th quickest but unfortunately out of the points, as only the top 10 of the 12 drivers in the run off score points.

In another run, Cooper eventually lowered the ladies’ record down to 37.03secs.

Ed Hollier set a time of 36.79secs in Saturday’s qualifying in his Pilbeam MP62 and he was being pushed hard by Andrew Forsyth from Poole – his time 37.72secs in his OMS CF04 which was 13th quickest.

Both Hollier and Forsyth’s times were quick enough for them to qualify for the National Run Offs, however, they had not registered to compete in that section of the event, and therefore were only eligible for the national SBD Motorsport Hillclimb & Sprint Association Speed Championship (rounds 21 and 22) and the local Wiscombe Championship.

On Sunday it was Hollier who took the honours with a time of 36.41secs from Forsyth (37.88secs) and Thorne (38.24secs).

Tim Pitfield in his DJ Firecat finished fifth quickest with a time of 40.41s.

Other Dorset drivers on the hill competing in the Downton Motor Club (DEWS) Speed Championship were Dorchester’s Graham Vingoe in his Renault Clio 182 setting a time of 47.55secs and Stephen Wareham in his Mini on 47.43secs.

Weymouth’s Debbie Blake, competing in the Wiscombe Championship Roadgoing Class, set a time of 51.27secs.

Both run offs for the National Championship were highly exciting, close affairs, and Menzies clinched Run Off One in the morning with his record-breaking 33.13secs time from defending 2018 champion Willis and Sean Gould.

Run Off Two in the afternoon saw the same three drivers at the top, but in a different order.

Gould topped the session with a 33.46secs from Menzies and Willis. The understeer that Gould was suffering in Run Off One was dialled out over the lunch break and it worked as Gould claimed his first ever win at Wiscombe.

It has been a tough year for defending champion Willis, but after some midweek testing, performances at Wiscombe left him feeling more confident that he may be able to haul himself into the top three by season end.

With Menzies now enjoying a 40-point lead from Alex Summers, it is on to historic Shelsley Walsh, although the championship cannot be secured there, it is possible that Menzies could be crowned champion at Gurston Down, there would still be three venues to go: Prescott, Doune and Loton Park (two rounds at each venue).

Results:

Run Off One: Wallace Menzies – Gould GR59M 33.13secs (new hill record), Trevor Willis – OMS 28 33.55secs, Sean Gould – Gould GR59J 34.02ecss, Dave Uren – Gould GR55B 34.07secs, Will Hall – Force WH Xtec 34.12secs.

Run Off Two: Sean Gould – Gould GR59J 33.46secs, Wallace Menzies – Gould GR59M 33.49secs, Trevor Willis – OMS 28 34.03secs, Dave Uren – Gould GR55B 34.13secs, Alex Summers – DJ Firestorm 34.31secs.

Championship: Wallace Menzies 217, Alex Summers 177, Richard Spedding 147, Dave Uren 140, Trevor Willis 126

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