Chain Gang

The MSA British Hillclimb and Hillclimb Leaders Championships visited Gurston Down Hill Climb in Wiltshire over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Despite the chance of rain having being forecast, the two days of competition stayed warm and dry: much to everyone's relief.

Merged racing car classes up to 600cc and 1100cc attracted a huge entry with 21 starters on Saturday morning, though an engine failure for Tony Levitt (Empire EVO) during Saturday's practice runs led to his retirement. Five different models of OMS car competed in this class: Hornet, CF1100, R/A, 2000M and OMS 28. OMS drivers included Les Buck, Murray Wakeham, Harry Pick, Steve Loadsman, Simon Andrews, Steve Owen, Bernie Kevill and Lynn Owen.

Lynn Owen OMS 28 BMW: photo Tim Wilson

Being one of the most competitive classes in British Hill Climbing, the overall final top 9 class positions were all covered by 0.52 seconds. However the Hillclimb Leaders Championship has now adopted the British Hillclimb Championship points scoring procedure and drivers are awarded points based on each of their two competition runs.

After morning timed runs; Steve Owen sat third in class with the OMS 28 BMW on a time of 30.80s only a quarter of a second behind class leader Thomas Poole. A smidge behind Steve was Bernie Kevill in his OMS 28 Suzuki with his run time of 30.82s to take fourth, whilst Bernie's co-driver Simon Andrews lay in fifth place with his morning run time of 30.90 seconds.

Simon Andrews OMS 28: photo Tim Wilson

Following the afternoon timed runs drivers at the top of the class shuffled around. There were two retirements from the competition Thomas Poole and Lloyd Chaplin (Empire EVO) who had led the class in the morning and two new scorers Simon Fidoe and Darren Gumbley (Empire EVO) both of who failed to reach the finish line in the morning runs. Steve moved down to fifth overall in class 2/100ths behind Gumbley and 5/100ths adrift of Chaplin. Bernie held onto a Leaders Championship points scoring position, finishing an excellent 6th overall in the class.

Three South West OMS drivers were entered in the 1600cc racing car class. Ian Tucker (OMS CF07) had suffered a chain failure at Wiscombe Park the previous weekend and unbeknown to Ian, the failure had also caused damage to the gearbox which only became apparent when taking his morning practice run, side-lining Ian from the meeting.

Neal Coles in his OMS CF04 had a very enjoyable weekend setting new personal best times with each run he took. At the end of morning timed runs Neal was sitting 6th in class, but slipped out of a point scoring position following second timed runs. His final run and best time 30.86s being another new PB for Neal. Fellow class competitor Peter Hammock was also driving a CF04 though his car has had new carbon bodywork and a new aero package fitted during the winter months. Pete commented that the modifications had made a big improvement to the car's handling and now he had to be more confident and push harder in the car.

The OMS CF09 TKD was at Gurston for the first time in the hands of new owners Trish and Terry Davis. The duo held onto 4th and 3rd respectively in the class for racing cars up to 2.0 litres throughout the competition runs, with Trish setting a best run time of 31.21s and Terry 30.93s.

Trish Davis OMS CF09 TKD: photo Tim Wilson

Joining Trish and Terry in the only two non-chain driven OMS cars competing at the event was Trevor Willis (OMS 28 V8). Speaking with Trevor after the meeting had finished, he agreed that his results today were possibly the best he has achieved at the venue in dry conditions. A best class run time 26.53s took the class win from multiple British Hillclimb Champion and regular combatant Scott Moran.

Trevor Willis OMS 28 RPE V8: photo Tim Wilson

The pair also duelled for top honours in the BHC Top Twelve Run Offs, with Trevor taking the win in round 7 and Scott winning round 8. Trevor stunned the crowd with his win, matching Scott's intermediate split time to the Karousel 14.22s knowing that the Powerful NME engine in the Gould could outpace Trevor’s RPE V8 power unit on the run to the finish line. A determined Willis stopped the clock on 26.12s having managed to shave 7/100ths of a second from Moran's 26.19s run a moment earlier, to take his first British Hillclimb Championship run off win in 2016.

To view final results click here.

To view BHC and Hillclimb Leaders points tables click here.

Date: 30/05/2016 | Author: L.Owen