Who What When Where Why
A collection of questioning words maybe, or indeed the title of a song by 70's group Manhatten Transfer that didn't trouble the top 40. Though in this instance, these five words sum up quite an eventful few days in the Channel Islands for competitors in the MSA Avon Tyres TTC Group British Hillclimb Championship.
As is the norm each season the championship visits Bouley Bay Hillclimb in Jersey on the Thursday before making the short ferry crossing over to Guernsey for the Val des Terres Hillclimb on the Saturday. Though unlike in previous seasons, this year there was an issue with the Condor ferry fleet: the Clipper had been damaged on rocks and taken out of service for repairs, leaving more car/trailer combos than places on the smaller high speed vessels. This situation was exacerbated by the increased number of competitors making the inter-island crossing this year: 27 drivers came over from the UK including many Channel Island first timers. The ultimate deciding factor for Condor sailing times is the tides and this season they are not ideal. Obviously without enough depth of water the ferries cannot sail!
Despite every effort by Condor to reallocate trailers onto other boats, three competitors and their cars didn't arrive in time to take part in the Guernsey meeting: an extremely unfortunate situation. Though perhaps under the circumstances, we should be relieved that the number of nonstarters wasn't even greater.
Bouley Bay Paddock
Ricky Le Cheminant and Colin Le Galle cars in foreground
A total of twelve OMS drivers competed at the Apex National Hillclimb at Bouley Bay, which also included rounds 17 and 18 of the British Hillclimb Championship. Ricky Le Cheminant from Guernsey and local competitor Colin Le Galle both drove their OMS single seaters in the 1100cc racing car class.
Steve Elliott drove the family OMS 2000M in the 1600cc class whilst his wife Cathy Elliott who normally competes, was officiating as Deputy Clerk of the Course. Fellow class competitors Sarah Gaudion along with Justin and Charlie Smith came over from Guernsey. Justin set a new personal best time on the hill with 40.52 seconds placing him second in class behind BHC top twelve run off regular Richard Spedding. Sarah took 4th in the class with her PB time of 41.27 that also re-set the outright ladies hill record by half a second, congratulations Sarah. This record has eluded her for some time but she is now the holder of all three ladies outright hill records in the Channel Islands: Alderney, Guernsey and Jersey.
Four OMS drivers drove in the 2.0 litre racing car class: Guernsey men Geoff and Chris Guille in their OMS CF04 and Neville Rollason in his OMS 28S along with Jersey first timer Gary Hill as the share driver. Chris was the fastest of the OMS four with a 40.74 run, followed by his father Geoff on 42.18 seconds. This was the first visit with the OMS 28S for Nev who was delighted to be running the car in Jersey this year.
OMS 28S with Neville Rollason (left) and Gary Hill (right)
The larger capacity racing cars fielded two OMS drivers: Trevor Willis in the OMS 28 V8 and Jason Mourant in his V8 powered OMS 25. Jason had his best result to date since moving to the V8 power unit, the same engine as used by Trevor. Jason's second timed run of 40.37 seconds qualified him for the second BHC run off: his first time in the V8 car. He improved on his qualifying time to finish 7th overall in the run off on 40.11 seconds and secure his first BHC points of the season, well done Jason.
Trevor took second in class behind the ever improving Will Hall with a time of 38.52 to Will's 38.20 seconds. Qualifying for both run offs Trevor struggled to find grip in the first and finished a disappointing 4th only 3/10ths quicker than his qualifying time despite changing to new tyres for the run off. In the next run off Trevor was the second fastest qualifier and would run next to last car. Time was running short for the organisers: the event runs on a public road that has to open at 6.00pm. Roger Moran was first man to run and a drive shaft broke whilst tyre warming, resulting in a short delay to replace the shaft. The skies were also getting darker and rain was threatening as one by one the qualifiers took their runs. With four more cars to run the rain started to fall resulting in the two fastest qualifiers Trevor Willis and Jos Goodyear struggling to set representative times, Trevor finished 6th overall and Jos finished outside of a points scoring position.
Trevor Willis making his way to the first run off start
Another island another day for the British Hillclimb Championship competitors as the competition moved to Le Val des Terres in Guernsey for rounds 19 and 20 of the championship. Although the meeting started dry and warm the weather forecast was for storms during morning practice and just after 11.00am the heavens opened. Hailstones the size of marbles stung the arms of T-shirt clad spectators as they ran for cover. Others sheltered wherever possible though few escaped a thorough soaking. Areas of the seafront paddock flooded when the drains couldn't cope with such a sudden volume of water and the meeting was brought to a standstill for 45 minutes as rain came down in stair rods. Then at the firing of the mid-day gun from Castle Cornet the rain stopped: as if by command of the cannon.
When the meeting recommenced first timed runs were on a drying track, with drivers in later classes having an advantage over early runners and these changing conditions would provide an interesting mix of cars and drivers for run off one. The first cars on the hill were the sports libre class including the beautifully presented OMS SC1 of Mark Le Cras, followed by 1100cc racing cars. Jackie le Cheminant made her return to the national meeting in the La Villette Garage OMS P/R following the birth of her second child last year. Fellow OMS driver Alan Prevel also ran in his 1000cc OMS.
Charlie and Justin Smith returned to their local hill following the Jersey meeting along with the Val Des Terres outright ladies record holder Sarah Gaudion. Sarah had a spin on her first class run when the track was still wet. Justin also ran in these wet conditions so was not be able to set a run off qualifying time. However Charlie benefitted from the drier conditions when the co-drivers went up the hill and he did qualify.
Charlie Smith waits to run at Jersey
Neville Rollason ran in the wet but co-competitor Steve Owen had the perfect track conditions to set a qualifying time. Unfortunately the battery voltage was too low on the OMS 28S to power the ECU and despite everyone’s' efforts to change the battery in time Steve was unable to run, missing out on a place in the run off and a chance of increasing his points tally.
Although the track was mostly dry for the first run off there was still a damp section in the tunnel and the outcome would depend on how well drivers performed on this part of the climb. Four OMS drivers qualified the first being Charlie Smith who took the 1600cc OMS 25 into the first BHC run off. His time of 33.34 seconds also bagged Charlie 9th place overall and his first BHC points in this car. Geoff and Chris Guille qualified the Rubis OMS CF04 2.0Ltr and both drivers finished in the points, Geoff took 10th place a mere 1/100th behind Charlie whilst Chris finished an impressive 6th overall with his time of 31.38 seconds. Trevor Willis ran a 31.20 to take 5th place.
Second timed runs saw Charlie Smith take the 1600cc racing car class win, his first at a national meeting with the OMS 25. Justin finished in second place and Sarah third. In the 2.0Ltr racing car class Chris Guille took 4th with Geoff 5th, Nev Rollason 6th and Steve 7th.
BHC run off 2 fielded three OMS drivers, Geoff Guille who finished outside of a points scoring place, Chris Guille who finished 9th with a time of 29.73 seconds and finally Trevor Willis. Although his best time of the day, 28.77 seconds was not quick enough and Trevor once again finished 5th overall.
With the Channel Islands over for another year the questions come to mind - Who was there, who was not? What went well, what did not? Where did the car work well, where did it not? and Why when you put in so much time and effort is the outcome not quite what you hoped for?
To view the Jersey results ckick here.
To view Guernsey reults click here.
To view the British Hillclimb Championship table click here.
Date: 23/07/2014 | Author: L.Owen