Following Bouley Bay Hill Climb in Jersey earlier in the week, the Nicholson McLaren British Hillclimb Championship sailed into Guernsey for rounds 19 and 20 of the championship. Unfortunately the blue sky & warm sunshine of the Jersey event didn't join competitors on the journey & instead grey skies & rain as we have experienced for much of the season, greeted drivers on Saturday morning.
Val des Terres is a unique, challenging hill on a section of public road leading from outside the old brewery on St Peter Port's seafront. Sweeping through high stone walls and grass banks, threading its way up a valley of woodland that casts dense shade & then bursting out into open grassland onto the main straight, before the final sting in the tail a right corner before the finish line.
Unlike other public road venues, at Val des Terres the pavements are used by drivers to secure fast times in dry conditions. Edged with granite sets, the pavements are virtually flush with the road surface and are easy to ride even in a single seater. On the road the tarmac is highly polished by the traffic that makes its way up & down on a daily basis, so grip can be elusive.
Add to this mix Saturdays wet conditions and it became a challenge to championship contenders, all wanting to set fast class times in order to qualify for the two Top 12 run offs. Three OMS drivers succeeded in qualifying for both run offs Trevor Willis in his OMS 25 V8, Geoff Guille in the ex Trevor Willis 2 litre OMS CF04 and Steve Owen guesting in the Nev Rollason/Craig Bates 1600cc powered OMS 25. Despite many visits to the venue this was the first time Steve had qualified for a British Championship run off in Guernsey.
In round 19 all finished in the points, Trevor 4th, Geoff 5th and Steve 10th. The wet weather conditions continued throughout the day and in round 20 Trevor was pushing hard and nudged the bank with the front wing leading to a failed run. Geoff drove the 2 litre OMS into 8th position and on this occassion Steve just missed out on any points finishing in 11th place.
Steve may not have scored any Nicholson McLaren British Championship points in round 20, but his qualifying time bagged the class win from 1600cc front runners Will Hall & Eynon Price much to Steve's amusement. Sarah Gaudion drove her home hill for the first time in wet conditions, in the recently aquired OMS CF08 finding the car very tractable. Her co-driver Lynn Owen had the upper hand in the wet, having driven this car previously in similar conditions many times back in the UK.
Despite the difficult wet conditions it was a highly enjoyable meeting that ran very well. There were no long delays nor many incidents, as might have been expected in the slippery conditions. The award presentation took place at the top of the hill in the Alfa Romeo event sponsor marquee.
Date: 18/07/2011 | Author: L.Owen