As the end of another hillclimb season approaches so too does the perrenial question: who will be crowned British Hillclimb Champion.
This season it has been a two horse race between 2011 British Hillclimb Champion Scott Moran in the Gould NME and Trevor Willis in his OMS 25 V8 Powertec. As they started this weekends Avon Tyres MSA British Hillclimb Championship meeting at Doune in Scotland, Trevor had a 32 point lead over Scott. However with drop scores to take into account and four more scoring rounds to count this season, the crown could still go to either of the two drivers.
True to form this year, the weather yet again had a hand in the championship run offs. The forecast on Saturday was for sunshine with rain moving in overnight which is exactly what happened. Practice on Saturday was dry but come Sunday morning heavy rain fell as the first batch of cars took to the hill for morning practice. This continued on and off during the class runs leaving a slippery wet track for the drivers to negotiate.
Gary Hill was again driving the David Oldridge 600cc OMS Hornet, this time sharing with OMS constructor Steve Owen. Both drivers had a great day despite the rain, with Steve winning the class from Gary. Their preparation efforts or should I say those of the cars' owner Dave were rewarded at the prize giving with the Peter Speakman Trophy, awarded by the scrutineers to the best presented car at the meeting. The first time Dave has received a trophy when not driving.
A number of OMS cars competed in the 1100cc single seater class including new OMS PR owners Nicola and Dave Sedgwick in the ex-Duggie Douglas car. They were getting to grips nicely with the car in the dry conditions, a shame that Sunday was less favorable and they were unable to improve on their Saturday times.
Congratulations must go to Finlay Whyte driving his Force in the 1600cc single seater class. Not only did he win the class and qualify for both Top 12 Run Offs, he was also crowned 2012 Guyson Scottish Hillclimb Champion, following in the footsteps of his father John Whyte.
And so we return to the Avon Tyres MSA British Hillclimb Championship Run Offs. Scott had everything to play for as he was dropping no scores due to missing some rounds this season. Trevor on the other hand was dropping scores and this weekend had to finish 3rd or higher to add to his points tally. Trevor’s time of 43.61 seconds in the first class runs out qualified the field, leaving Trevor as last man to run. The rain had stopped falling but the track was still wet, which would be the better tyre choice? Driver after driver took their run on wets, then at the last minute Trevor elected to change to slicks, a risky strategy given the pressure of needing a win and the slippy track conditions. Fastest man at this point was Roger Moran on a 43.23 having beaten son Scott who only managed a 44.25 second run. Trevor's launch time of 2.22 was the fastest, then came his split time 13.92 seconds over a second faster than anyone else to this point, the crowd waited to see what time he would do. His finish time of 42.13 seconds placed Trevor over a second ahead of his nearest rival Roger and delivered the win needed to maintain the championship lead. This fabulous display of skill in the wet would also set fastest time of day. Trevor certainly has earned the title of rain king this season.
As the meeting progressed conditions improved and in the second run off again Trevor out qualified the field, with Scott running just ahead of Trevor for the final two runs of the afternoon. All drivers were running in the 15 and 16 second mark to the split. Scott then dropped into the 14's with a 14.88 this was going to be a quick run. Trevor watched as the time came up on the clock 42.40 that was the time he had to beat to take the 2012 title on this run. The launch was quicker than Scott, the split was quicker than Scott's, could this be it, had he gone quicker? The clock stopped on 42.66 not fast enough, this duel will go right down to the wire at Loton Park in two weeks time.
As the cars returned to the paddock the reason for Trevor’s time became apparent, he had hit a wet patch at the exit of Junction and slid into the Armco barrier damaging front and rear outer wheel rims. he had lifted to collect the car and in so doing lost those vital tenths he needed to take the British Hillclimb Championship title.With just 20 points seperating them this championship is going to be a close call.
Date: 17/09/2012 | Author: L.Owen