The final event of the year at Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb took place on Sunday 8th September. These were the final two rounds of the Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb Championship and the final round of the Cavendish Ships Stores BARC SW Top Ten Challenge.

The weather was a little cool in the morning but soon warmed up. It was great to see that all the drivers were offered a third practice in the morning as the first two ran though very quickly. After lunch the real competition began.

With the overall Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Championship decided, Mark Crookall taking his third overall championship in succession with only what can be called some outstanding performances. There were plenty of battles in some of the classes that had yet to be decided.

The Cavendish Ships Stores BARC SW Top Ten Challenge was decided at this meeting. Chris Cannell in the Force SR8 took the title.

More on the two championships in a separate report.

Fastest Time of the Day and the Russell Challenge Trophy went to Pete Hammock in his Empire Wraith. It all seemed to come together for Pete on Sunday, the car being brand new at the beginning of the season, his time of 30.86s taking the award.

Class Reports:

The Triumph Register Class

The Triumph Register always brings a huge class of classic British cars to the hill. September was no exception. It was Steve Small and the lovely TR7 V8 that dominated both practice and the timed runs. His best timed run was the second run in the late afternoon when he finished on 36.63s. Roderick Warner in his TR7 V8 was second finishing over three seconds behind Steve, finishing on 40.26s. Roderick in turn was three seconds ahead of the TR6 of Dale Strachan after the first timed run. But he put a great second timed run pipping Dale Huxford in his Spitfire to third. Dale Strachan finished on 43.26s and Dale Huxford on 43.49s.

The MG Class

There were twelve car and driver combinations in the class. The super light weight Sprite of Ben Rolls dominated this class from the out set, his best timed run was 38.85s. It was up to the rest of the class to chase for second place. After the first timed run, there were three drivers split by just 0.4s. Peter Clark in his Midget ended second on 40.78s, Robert Bell in his F took third on 40.98s and Steve Luscombe in another Midget fourth on 41.08s.

The Austin Healey Class – Big Healey and Warwick Cars Class

There were six cars in the Big Healey and Warwick cars class entered. The 100/6 shared by Pat Cooper and John Tewson, in John’s hands just pipped Pat to the win. He improved his first timed run and finished on 38.20s with Pat just 1.30s behind on 39.50s.

The Austin Healey Class – Austin Healey Sprite Class

The Austin Healey Sprite Class had six drivers entered. The top three after the first timed run were within a second of each other. Steve Casson in the light weight Sebring, leading over Colin Gale and Maxwell Shand. Steve didn’t improve his first timed run which was 39.49s, Colin and Maxwell both improved their times but they were by enough to over-come Steve. Colin was second on 39.66s and Maxwell third on 40.09s.

The Isle of Wight Car Club

Jennie and Clive Stangle in their Mitsubishi Evo 5 took a commanding lead over Steven Wells in the SEWC SubZeroMore. Jennie and Clive set and reset the class record during the timed runs. Clive finished on 33.94s, a new class record and Clive’s first sub 34s run in the car. Jennie finished on 35.19s.

Regular Gurston Classes

The Gurston Down MX5 Class supported by the Window Doctor

The 2017, 2018 and 2019 Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Champion, Mark Crookall, was on sparkling form again in his Mazda Roadster RS. He reset the class record in both the first and second timed run. The first timed run was 38.99s and the second timed run 38.73s. That time would have given Mark third in the Up to 2000cc Road Going Class and don’t forget, the Mazda Class doesn’t allow any significant modifications, basically, they are standard cars! Jason Richardson in his Mk2.5 RS was second. His first timed run ended in a bit of a spin, but his second timed run was 39.61s. He managed to just stay ahead of Chris Burch, who shares Mark’s Mazda, who finished on 39.70s. Sadly, Jason is taking some time off and has sold the car to another regular in the class, Paul Wheatley.

Road Going Series Production Class up to 1400cc Class

John Davey, Managing Director of our Top Ten Challenge sponsor, Cavendish Ships Stores had issues with his gearbox during the first practice so didn’t take any further part in the meeting. This left David Nutland in his Mini to run alone. He finished on 41.10s.

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

This class has become very competitive this season. The top seven in this class were covered by just two seconds. The class championship leader and current class record holder, Miles Horne in his Peugeot 306 took the win with a 37.59s first timed run. Dean Cubitt in the Mazda MX5 was second on 38.48s with Russell and Chris Davies third and fourth respectively in the Honda Civic they share. They finished on 38.87s and 38.88s.

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

Mike Rudge in the Ford Focus RS had a great day. He took the class win with a 36.22s first timed run. Paul Dickinson in the Renault Megane 250 Cup took second with a 37.11s first timed run.

Road Going Specialist Production Class, supported by Fieldfare Trailer Centre

Thomas McMillan in his Lotus Exige took control of this class from the first timed run. Thomas turned in a 36.00s second timed run, which left the rest of the class far behind. Bruce Bosley in the Caterham Super Sport took second on 38.37s and Andrew McMillan in the Lotus Exige was third on 38.61s.

The Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Cars up to 2000cc Class and the Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Cars over 2000cc Class were amalgamated

Graham Beale in the Ginetta G33 took the win over Simon Purcell in the Lotus Exige. Graham finished on 35.06s and Simon on 36.25s.

The up to 1400cc Modified Series Production Car Class

Neil Turner, the class record holder, in the Mini Cooper S won this class. He had a good lead over James White and the rest of the field after the first timed run. Unfortunately, James didn’t improve his time on the second run, meaning Neil takes the win. Neil’s time was 35.36s and James 36.54s.

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

Jim Herbert in the Mitsubishi Evo took control of the class after the first timed run. Jim finished on 33.77s with Paul Meadows in the Renault Clio stopping the clocks on 38.57s.

The Modified Specialist Production Class, supported Gates of Brockenhurst

Richie Gatt in his Westfield and Martin Watson in his Westfield were just 0.02s apart after the first timed runs with Martin leading. That meant second timed runs were likely to be a decider. Martin improved his time by just over a half a second. Martin’s time was 31.91s. Richie Gatt didn’t improve his time so ended second on 32.58s.

The Historically Interesting Class (Pre 73), supported by Kelvin Jouhar

With just two lovely cars in this class. Mike Broome in the Alexis MK17 F3 was dominant. Mike’s time was 38.14s with Jeremy Smithson in the Lotus Elan finishing on 44.50s.

The Sports Libre up to 1400cc Class

Tim Pitfield in the DJ Firecat is the current class record holder and is having a great season. Sunday wasn’t any different. He did have a worrying mechanical issue during the day but that ended up being a very minor and simply fixed. He smashed the class record by more than one second, reducing it again this season. It now stands at 31.62s. Peter Steel in his Radical SR1 Gen 2 took second with almost identical times, 34.12s and 34.11s.

Sports Libre over 2000cc Class

Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes double drove the Force SR8 in this class. Chris had a great day, won the class on 30.95s and also added to his points in the Top Ten Challenge. As a consequence he won the Cavendish Ships Stores Top Ten Challenge for 2019.

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

James Moore in the Empire 00 had a good lead after the first timed runs with a 31.56s. James didn’t improve on the second run but that time was good enough to secure first place. Murray Wakeham in the OMS CF96 was second on 32.36s with Tony Levitt in another Empire, this time an Evo, just 0.01s behind Murray after the first timed runs. Although both Murray and Tony improved their times, Tony’s was a little better. Tony finished second on 32.11s with Murray third, just four hundredths behind on 32.15s.

1101cc to 1600cc Racing Car Class and 1601cc to 2000cc Racing Car Class – Normally Aspirated were Amalgamated

This meant Roger Cock in the Pilbeam MP54 and Mike Lee in the OMS 3000M had a tough day. Pete Hammock and the lovely Empire Wraith was quickest. His time of 30.86s not only won the class but took the fastest time of the day too. Mike finished second on 31.54s and Roger third on 32.46s.

Our season, sadly, has now come to an end, well almost….

Don’t forget that we have our Annual Awards at The Stones, High Post, Near Salisbury on Saturday 2nd November. These are in the evening and those who would like to stay overnight should contact the hotel directly and mention the Awards Dinner and you’ll get rooms at discounted rates. More details of the Awards Dinner and an application form for the evening are available by following this link – ANNUAL AWARDS

As ever we would like to thank all those who made our weekend and season possible!


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