THE 2019 season has seen Ed Hollier leave the national hill climb scene and return to his roots in the south-west and simultaneously return to his winning ways at Wiscombe Park.

The vehicle technician from Cullumpton proved his speed and dexterity at the wheel of his 1.6-litre Suzuki-powered Pilbeam MP62 with a brace of overall wins, both of which were taken ahead of Andrew Forsyth who battled to stay on terms with his friend and on-track adversary in his OMS CF04.

The OMS, like the chassis of the overall victor, was powered by Suzuki, but by a unit which has a displacement 185cc less than the winning car.

Hollier took the win in the Saturday meeting with a climb of 37.36 seconds having distanced Forsyth by 0.59 seconds whilst the following day his pace quickened with a 36.46-second ascent of the testing 915-metre course and the margin expanded by a further five hundredths of a second.

With the elevation of Hollier to the overall win Forsyth claimed the victories in the 1100cc to 1600cc racing car class.

Whilst Forsyth, from Shillingstone, was embroiled in his battles for the ‘Fastest Time of the Day’ accolade, garage proprietor Rod Thorne was fully employed repelling the challenge of Doug Bennett in the over 1800cc division of the Sports Libre category.

The duo have enjoyed many battles at Wiscombe but the internet seller from Tavistock was in form from the off on the Saturday morning with his 2.3-litre supercharged Honda-powered Sylva Striker sports car and threw down the gauntlet to Thorne who was driving his Rover V8-powered Pilbeam MP43.

After three competitive timed runs Thorne took the honours by just over a third of one second.

With fair weather and good track conditions, the combat continued on the following day with Bennett taking the advantage in both the first two visits to the hill but the Dorchester driver was not to be denied and produced a ‘10 tenths’ effort to steal the win at the last opportunity by a mere 15 hundredths of a second.

Another to claim a brace of awards was Weymouth’s John Kirby who relentlessly pursued the spaceframe chassis Mini Cooper S of Derek Kessell in the predominantly Mini class of the Downton Motor Club.

The more conventional Mini Clubman of the retired engineer fended off the challenge of Poole Locost 7 driver Andrew Mathis to take two runner-up finishes and set four personal bests.

Beaminster driver Chris Briant added to the trophy haul of Woolbridge Motor Club members with a third-placed finish in the up to 1400cc Roadgoing Series Production class. The MG ZR driver enjoyed good sport with husband and wife duo Gary and Helen Pitt in their Suzuki Swift GTi taking a third-place finish.

This weekend sees the final meetings of the season at Wiscombe – the MG Car Club and the National Hill Climb Association.

The former event will include a variety of MGs with cars of historic merit such as Jack Ashley’s 1929 M Type as well as the more contemporary MG ZR models and an array of marque sports cars plus the saloons, sports and single seaters contesting the Wiscombe Park Championship.

On the Sunday the NHCA will celebrate 50 years of hill climbing at Wiscombe with a national championship event which will see the 10 fastest competitors – solos and sidecars – contesting a Top Ten Run-Off to gain championship points.


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