The final event of the 50th anniversary season at Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb took place on 10th September 2017. The conditions for practice were damp. However, the afternoons timed runs were a little different! A few of the first batches had damp first timed runs but the rain persisted so the rest of the meeting could only be described as wet!

There were some great performances despite the weather. We will come on to those later in this report. With all the meetings going on locally, we had a shortage of marshals for the event. We would like to thank those marshals who were asked at the last minute to come and help out. And those drivers, both competing and not competing, who helped manage the start-line and the top-paddock. Thank you!

With the overall Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb Championship already decided. The class championships came to the fore, as most were undecided. There will be more on those once the full results have been collated.

The Cavendish Ships Stores BARC-SW Top Ten Challenge was still wide open and the weather caused havoc with the results so dropped scores will became very important.

Fastest time of the day went to Mike Rudge and his Westfield. He produced a fantastic run in the first timed batches of 33.54s. Mike would normally have expected drivers in later batches to take Fastest Time of the Day away from him. But the weather intervened and no-one could match his time!

The weather forecast suggested that the first timed runs would be the key to class victory and as it turned out that was pretty much true.

Class Results in detail:

The TR Class

The TR Class were the first to the line. The V8s pretty much dominated this class from the off. Roderick Warner won the class finishing on 40.79s with Steve Small and James Giddings, second and third respectably. Their times were 41.06s and 41.91s. With the weather deteriorating no-one could improve their times.

The MG Class

You would normally expect this class to be pretty close. It wasn’t, Ben Rolls put in a sterling performance in the first timed run finishing on 40.66s. His next nearest rival was Richard Withers and his MGB GT with a time of 42.39s and Paul Bernal-Ryan in his MG Midget on 42.73s. Second timed runs weren’t anywhere near this pace.

The Austin Healey Class – Big Healey and Warwick Cars Class

The three Big Healey and Warwick cars were as entertaining as ever. Paul Baker and his Healey 3000 stopped the clocks on 42.37s with Pat Cooper in the Healey 100/6 second on 43.56s. No-one could improve their first timed runs in the second runs.

The Austin Healey Class – Austin Healey Sprite Class

The Austin Healey Sprite Class had a good entry. Robin Johnson and James Taylor, in their Sprites, were separated by just 0.10s after the first timed runs. Robin’s time of 43.53s and 43.63s didn’t change later in the day.

The Reliant Scimitar and Sabre Class

James Carter stamped his authority on this class in the car he shares with Richard Carter. James’ first timed run was 44.03s. Richard had it all to do in the second timed run but it wasn’t to be. Richard was one of the few drivers to improve their times in the second timed runs. His improvement, over three seconds, stopping the clock on 46.19s!

The Isle of Wright Car Club Class

Steve Wells and his Procamp LA Locost took the Isle of Wright Car Club. His Gurston Down experience paid off, he dominated the class. Steve was another driver to improve his time on the second timed run, only by 0.01s, finishing on 41.83s. All of the drivers in this class improved on the second timed runs! The other Locost of Ricky Sheppard was second on 44.63s.

Regular Gurston Classes

The Gurston Down MX5 Class supported by DoctorMX5

The 2017 Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Champion, Mark Crookall’s car broke down on the way to the event on Sunday. This left the class wide open. In August, Julian Cox (DoctorMX5) won the class with Nick Revels, Gurston Down’s competition secretary second. After the first timed runs it looked like it would be a repeat of the August results. But Nick Revels went almost 1.5s faster than his earlier run. He finished on 44.11s with Julian on 44.81s

Road Going Series Production Class up to 2000cc, supported by Record-Designs

It was Dean Cubitt’s and his Mazda MX5 that took this class. His first timed run of 41.65s was enough to take the win. His second run didn’t quite go to plan – check out facebook for some great pictures. The next eight drivers and cars were separated by just 0.70s. Paul Hearne in his Clio Cup finished on 42.20s, Tim Forster in his Lotus Elan was third, just 0.01s behind Paul.

Over 2000cc Road Going Series Production Class, supported by Turbo Dynamics

The 2015 and 2016 Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Champion, Stephen Moore in his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 secured his first place after the first timed run with a 36.14s. Conditions on the second timed run had significantly deteriorated so there was little chance of any vast improvements by the drivers in this very full class. Shaun Fudge in the Subaru Impreza was second and Neill Duncanson in ths Audi was third. Their times were 37.40s and 37.72s. The first four places went to four wheel drive cars.

Road Going Specialist Production Class, supported by Fieldfare Trailer Centre

Clive Skipper has his 2.0 Caterham HPC lead the class from the first timed run. Adrian Lewis’ 1.4 Westfield Megabusa was second. Clive didn’t take his second timed run but there was no way Adrian would be able to improve his time with the worsening conditions. Clive finished on 39.68s and Adrian 40.25s.

CAR 103

The Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Car up to 2000cc Class

Steve Butts had the class to himself and managed a 40.77s first timed run.

The Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Cars over 2000cc Class

The Ginetta of Graham Beale lead the class from the outset, not by much, but enough. Simon Purcell and the Lotus Elise was only 0.30s behind after that run. But, again, the conditions sealed the result. Graham finished on 38.77s and Simon on 39.07s.

The up to 1400cc Modified Series Production Car Class

Neil Turner, the class record holder has been dominant all season. He had already won the class championship but a great margin. September wasn’t any different. His time of 39.11s was over half a second ahead of Richard Wood.

Over 2000cc Modified Series Production Car Class, supported by Meadens Skoda

Tim Painter and the gorgeous the Aston Martin Vantage he shares with Andrew Fraser finished ahead of Mike Butler, in the Toyota Celica GT4 and Mark Walker in the Porsche Cayman S. Tim’s first timed run time of 38.08s was enough. Mike and Mark, stopped the clocks on 39.71s and 40.08s respectively.

The Modified Specialist Production Class, supported Gates of Brockenhurst

This class produced what many would say as one of the best performances of the day and earned the driver Fastest Time of the Day! Mike Rudge and the Westfield weren’t taking any prisoners! His time of 33.54s was quick, no question about that. We would have expected the next few classes to be quicker but it was Mike’s day! Antony Orchard was second on 36.19s.

The Historically Interesting Class, supported by Kelvin Jouhar

Fyrth Cross’ Dempster Ensign LNF3 made this class his own after a first timed run of 40.08s. Sue Hayes and her Palliser WDF3 took second place with a 41.28s.

The Sports Libre up to 2000cc, supported by Class Lewis Property Services

Unfortunately the Jonathan Gates / Peter Sexton supercharged Force LM didn’t make it past practice so the class was left to just two drivers. Keith Diggle and his WEV HCS-BDG took the win, finishing on 37.77s with Peter Steel and his Mallock on 46.07s.

Sports Libre over 2000cc Class, supported by Berazzi Wheels

Chris Cannell had this class to himself. His battle was for a quick time to help him with points in the Cavendish Ships Stores Top Ten Challenge points. His time of 38.09s might not have been enough. Further news on the Top Ten Challenge soon.

The 500 Owners Association – (2001 Rules) Class

Those historic 500 Owners Association, 500cc racing cars came next. Nicholas Reynolds in his Cooper Mk 9 made the class his own after a first timed run time of 46.40s and improve by 0.05s on the second. He finished on 46.35s. Mark Riley and the Creamer Special took second with a first timed run of 47.98s.

The 500 Owners Association – Other Cars Class

The second 500 class was won by Charles Reynolds’ Mk7 Cooper with a 44.43s run.

The 601cc to 1100cc Racing Car Class, supported by Drynham Project Management

The weather really slowed the pace of the racing car classes. James Moore and his Empire 00 was not just chasing the class win but a quick time for Top Ten Challenge points. He pretty much put his name down for the win on the first timed run. His time of 35.97s was almost 1.5s ahead of his next nearest rival, Adam Steel (37.35s). Adam’s margin over third was similar. Unsurprisingly, the class finished that way.

1101cc to 1600cc Racing Car Class, supported by SM AeRoTechniques with Brian and Adrian Moody

Peter D Smith was third after the first timed run. Richard Gayland, who shares the force with him, lead at this point by almost two seconds. Richard’s time was 38.03s. Peter put a great second timed run in, jumping to the top of the class with a 37.19s run.

The Formula Ford Class- Cars up to 1600cc

Simon McBeath and his Swift SC92F, the current record holder, has been very consistent in this class. He needed a great result for class championship points. But Russell Haynes, Mark and Lynsey Alley would never give him an easy ride. Simon’s first timed run of 41.72s was just ahead of Russell Haynes’ 42.43s but was enough to take the win.

The 1601cc to 2000cc Racing Car Class – Normally Aspirated

Dave Lord in the Quest has been improving all season and it showed with a great performance, taking the class win from Roger Cock. They finished on 37.92s and 39.05s respectively.

We would like to thank everyone who made the day possible, the office staff, the marshals, timekeepers, scrutineers and officials without whom we couldn’t run the meeting. Thanks to Ashley Wood Recovery, TSL Timing, Steve Lister, Insight Medical Services, Insight Security and Peter Crutcher from Ringwood PA.

Don’t forget to get your annual awards lunch tickets. It’s at the Haynes International Motor Museum on 26th November 2017. Application forms available on;line now!

We will be back in 2018 for another great seasons motorsport and Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb!

Anthony Record – Press Officer BARC SW Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb