April’s Meetings Preview

The 2016 season finally gets under way at Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb. On April 16th & 17th there will be two days of exciting and entertaining championship action.

The season’s opening weekend will provide a glorious show of sound, smell, skill and speed. Each day, over 130 cars and drivers will compete in standard road cars, classic and modern cars and amazingly fast sport and single seat racing cars. All of them will pit their wits against the fast and twisty course at Wiltshire’s famous Speed Hill Climb Venue and each other.

On Sunday a contingent of riders and motorbikes will join in the fun too!

Copyright: Simon McBeath

Copyright: Simon McBeath

Spectators have unrivaled access to the hill, paddock and facilities. We have excellent catering and refreshments on site too.

You really can’t get closer to the action!

On Saturday April 16th, Gurston hosts a number of championships. The Association of Central Southern Motor Clubs (ACSMC) holds a round of its hill climb championship, as do the SBD, BARC and the SBD Hillclimb and Sprint Association. There will also be special classes for Westfields, TVRs, an assortment of over 15 Classic Marques Cars and pre-War Austin 7s on top of the usual mix of production-based machines, sports racing cars and single seaters.

On Sunday April 17th, Gurston hosts the first round of its own, popular and well-subscribed Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Hill Climb Championship and the Cavendish Ships Stores BARC SW Top Ten Challenge. All the usual classes, from production cars to single seat racing cars will compete against each other and against the clock. There will also be supporting invitation classes for Volvos, Austin Healeys, Triumph TRs, historic 500cc racing cars and another huge collection of Classic Marques. It should be an outstanding day’s motorsport. This will be the first outing of Gurston Down’s class for standard Mazda MX5s.

The regular mix of four-wheeled competition cars are joined by some of the country’s top riders from the National Hill Climb Association who will be wowing the crowds on (sometimes one…) two and three wheels!

There will be a battle royal for the Fastest Time of the Day (FTD)! Ed Hollier, the 2015 Top Ten Challenge Champion in his beautifully prepared Empire Evo will have some serious competition. Peter D Smith’s Force and Simon and Peter Marsh’s DJ Firehawk will keep Ed on his toes. We shouldn’t forget the SR8 of Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes and the Force LM being driven by Jonathan Gates and Gurston Championship Sponsor, Peter Sexton, which might be in with a chance.

Saturday 16th Invited Classes in Detail

The first meeting of the year gets under way with the invited classes. First up is the ‘SBD Road Legal Cars’ Class, Chris Berrisford is favourite in his very quick Subaru Impreza. Next up are the Pre-War Austin 7’s. The “Road” Class , Alistair Frayling-Cork’s 7 Special could be the quickest there but the ‘Race’ division will be close. If last seasons results are anything to go by, Martin Whittaker and Paul Geering will be fighting it out.

The ACSMC ‘Road Legal’ Class is wide open. The TVR class looks like it’ll be go down to the wire, last season the top four drivers were only 1.2s apart with Jes Firth (5.0 Griffith) taking the win. It’ll be an interesting day for the TVRs! The Westfield Class always produces some fantastic action and it’s too difficult to call this year.

The SBD HSA Speed Championship – Sports and Saloons brings a very wide range of cars to the hill, Justin Andrews is the favourite. The Sport Racing and Racing Class has only one entrant, Peter Goulding in a Mygale FF.

Sunday 17th Invited Classes in Detail

Sunday’s invitation Classes, the Volvos start the day’s action. The TR’s are next up and based last years April form, Roderick Warner (3.5 TR7 V8) will start as class favourite, from Nick Smith (2.6 TR6) and Dale Huxford (1.3 Spitfire Mk 4). But what does the form book mean?

The ‘Big Healey’ Class should see Richard Mason (3.0 3000 Mk 2) take the honours. The Austin Healey Sprite Class will probably be taken by Julian Wakeham but the rest will be aiming to make it thier own!

Copyright: John Hayward

Copyright: John Hayward

The huge ‘Classic Marques Speed Championship’ Class on both days has attracted entries from all over the country, in a variety of cars. It’ll be well worth watching.

Regular Gurston Classes

Gusrton Down’s New Mazda MX5 Class will be interesting. The cars have to be almost standard, check the regulations in the Driver / Officals section for more details, so we are expecting some very close times. Mark Crookall has the experience and hill knowledge so should end up to top, in his beautiful Mk1 RS .

The Road Going Series Production Class up to 2000cc brings the Greenen brothers, Andy and Adam back in the “new” 2.0 Honda Civic Type R. Paul Webster, Gurston’s competition secretary (Mazda MX5) will have to be on top form to catch them. But there might be a few surprises too.

Copyright: Ben Record

Copyright: Ben Record

The over 2000cc Road Going Series Production Class, is far too difficult to call. Simon Neve’s (Mitsubishi Evo 2.3t) and the 2015 Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Champion, Stephen Moore in his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 will be close. Sean Fudge has a re-worked Subaru which might just be a surprise!

Copyright: Akina Media

Copyright: Akina Media

The Road Going Specialist Production Class always brings fast cars to the hill. Clive Skipper in his 2.0 Caterham HPC, Adrian Lewis in his 1.4 Westfield Megabusa, and Andrew Forsyth in his 1.3 Westfield Megabusa, should all be in the hunt for the spoils. You can’t rule anyone else out!

The Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Cars up to 2000cc Class pits Dee Stapley’s MGF against Graham Beale’s Ginetta G20 which should have the class win.

Copyright: Akina Media

Copyright: Akina Media

The over 2000cc Modified Limited Production Marque Sports Car Class sees Simon Purcell in his familiar and rapid Lotus Exige! Up against him is the spectacular Bob Mortimer (Porsche 911), Paul Slade (Jagaur E Type), and the Datsun 240Z of Steph Colvin and Hannah Stapley.

Copyright: Akina Media

Copyright: Akina Media

The up to 1400cc Modified Series Production Class is complemented with classic Minis as usual. Jim White, the class record holder, in his highly developed 1.4 Mini Clubman will be starting as favourite but he’s not certain to take the win. Derek Mullis fields his rapid 1.4 Mini Cooper ‘S’ variants so this should make an interesting battle.

Richard Wood runs in his Yamaha Mini both days in the Modified Series Mini Class.

The over 2000cc Modified Series Production Class, Saturday’s entries see the TurboTechnics founder Geoffrey Kershaw in his 3.0t Sierra and Mike Butler in his BMW M3 and the Aston Martin Vantage of Tim Painter and Andrew Fraser. But Sunday, the 2015 Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Champion, Stephen Moore is entered in his 2.0t Mitsubishi Evo 6 and Brendon Jones in his supercharged Escort RS2000. Mark Walker in his 3.4 Porsche Cayman S runs both days.

Copyright: Akina Media

Copyright: Akina Media

Mike Rudge will have his work cut out in the over 2000cc Modified Specialist Production Class with a field of five cars on Saturday and four on Sunday.

The Historically Interesting Class always brings out some lovely machinery, this weekend is no exception. Mike Broome’s 1.6 Alexis Mk 17 F3, Hugh Kemp in his 1.6 Palliser WDF3 and Fyrth Crosse’s Ensign LNF3 should make this class a tough one to win..

Derek Harris in his Mallock17b is the only entry in the Hill Climb Super Sports Class.

The up to 2000cc Sports Libre Class is likely to be headed up by Jonathan Gates / Peter Sexton in the supercharged Force LM. Although Sunday sees Clive Wooster in a Radical SR4. Another class that will go down to the wire!

The over 2000cc Class sees Chris Cannell and Sue Hayes in the Force SR8 up against the WEV HCS of Keith Diggle. My money would be on Chris Cannell but that WEV HCS is quick!

Copyright: Akina Media

Copyright: Akina Media

Sunday sees a small group of ‘500 Owners Association’ historic 500cc racing cars appearing. Alistair Dent (Cooper Mk 6) and John Dent (Cooper Mk 8) join Stuart Barnes (Iota P1.01). The other 500 class, has only one entry, Charles Reynolds in a 1.1 Cooper Mk7.

David Cuff goes in the up to 600cc Racing Car Class in his Jedi Mk4.

The 601 to 1100cc Racing Car Class has a good entry both days. James Moore and Tony Levitt’s Empires should be the front runners both days.

The Formula Ford Class sees Mark Alley in his first competitive FF event. With similar cars, this class will be decided on the day.

The 1100cc to 1600cc Racing Car Class puts Ed Hollier (Empire Evo) up against Peter D Smith (Force). On previous form, Ed Hollier is most likely to come out on top. But they both are contenders for Fastest Time of the Day.

Copyright: Akina Media

Copyright: Akina Media

The 1601cc to 2000cc Racing Car Forced Induction Class has the brothers Peter and Simon Marsh going head to head is their DJ Firehawk. They will also be contenders for Fastest Time of the Day…

Copyright: Ben Record

Copyright: Ben Record

Sunday brings the NHCA (Motorbikes) to Gurston Down. If you’ve ever driven Gurston Down in a car, you’ll be blown away by the motorbikes!

Copyright: Akina Media

Copyright: Akina Media

The 251cc to 350cc Class sees Paul Tilly’s Honda go head to head with Mick Lovelock’s Yamaha.

There are seven riders in the 351cc to 500cc Class. Tommy Hodges is probably the favourite but the other six riders won’t make it easy.

The 501cc to 750cc Class will be an interesting one. Any of the six riders could claim the spoils.

There are eight riders in the 751cc to 1300cc Class. We can expect some quick times in this class. The hill record stands at 31.85s for solo motorbikes!

The Sidecar Class will be fantastic to watch. The two combinations entered should be great to watch. The Baker 1000cc of Patrick and Paul Keates will have their work cut-out as we are sure Kevin and Sara Dewell won’t let them have an easy ride!

Tom Short set Sunday's bike BTD on his 525 Honda CRF.

Kevin & Sarah Deweel aka ‘Pinky Race Team’ leave the line on their SKR Honda outfit.
Copyright: Simon McBeath

Key info

Location: 1 mile west of Broad Chalke, 9 miles SW of Salisbury, Wiltshire. Turn off the A354 at Coombe Bissett on the unclassified road to Broad Chalke, follow AA signs.
Dates: Saturday April 16th and Sunday April 17th
Times: Competition from approx. 1300, practice from 0830 both days.
Admission: Only £10 for adults each day, accompanied under 15s free, free paddock entry, free parking.

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

Reminder – Road Going Classes – V5 Required

The Competition Secretary has asked us to remind all drivers with cars entered in the Road Going Classes (Classes 4a-MX5, 4a, 4b and 4c) that their V5 will be inspected at sign-on.

This applies to the follwing classes:

Class 4a-MX5 -Roadgoing Series Production Mazda MX5s, Mk 1 – Mk 2.5, up to 2000cc (normally aspirated).
Class 4a -Roadgoing Series Production Cars up to 2000 cc.
Class 4b – Roadgoing Series Production Cars over 2000 cc.
Class 4c – Roadgoing Specialist Production Cars, any capacity.
Those entered in the Meadens Skoda Gurston Down Championship will not be eligable for points if the V5 is not presented, nor will they receive an award.

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

First Hillclimb FF Fest!

FF fun at Gurston Down

FF fun at Gurston Down

Gurston Down is proud to announce that it will host the inaugural ‘Hillclimb Formula Ford Fest’ at its July 23rd/24th Midland/Gurston Down Hillclimb Championship event. The Hillclimb FF Fest, will be for ‘Kent’-engined 1600cc cars and, subject to the requisite entry numbers, there will be three classes: pre-1982 ‘Classic’ FF; pre-’94 FF; and ’94 onwards FF. The first two classes fall within Gurston Down’s existing pre-‘94 FF class, so drivers in those classes will be eligible for Gurston Championship points as long as they register for the championship before the due date, May 15th.

The idea of a hillclimb ‘FF Fest’ came from Van Diemen RF91 driver Charlie Reilly in 2015 and, as Gurston already has an FF class, supported by Veloce Publishing Ltd, the ‘fit’ seemed perfect! With the cars being matched on power and weight, the competition is bound to be extremely close on Gurston’s 1057 yard (967 metre) course! Andrew Henson’s three year old class record may also come under threat…

Charlie Reilly in his immaculate Van Diemen RF91

Charlie Reilly in his immaculate Van Diemen RF91

The technical regulations have been posted on the Drivers Information page of the Gurston Down Hillclimb web site and can be found by clicking HERE. In essence the regulations for Gurston’s FF classes are identical to circuit racing Kent FF 1600 regs with the sole exception that a timing strut to S.10.9 must be fitted to actuate the timing equipment.

Entries for the July 23/24 event are open now and close on June 24th. Numbers may have to be limited, so get those entries in early! As always the acceptance of entries is entirely at the discretion of the competition secretary!

Come and join the FF Fest fun at Gurston Down!

Test Day Report

After a rather overcast and damp start to the day the sun broke through and with a few hours the sun had burned off any remaining dampness. The weather in the afternoon, meant times falling and busy batches.


By 0900 the paddock was busy and by ten almost everyone had been signed on. With the marshalls, rescue, timekeepers and officials all in place the hill was opened. Early drivers were rightly cautious with the new surface at Karousel and the damp track. It wasn’t long before the course dried and times started to fall.


The morning session gave opportunities for the new car / driver combinations, new drivers and some regulars to re-establish their knowledge of the hill.

The ladies were out in force, Sarah Fudge left the family Subaru at home and drove a beautifully presented Honda Civic Type R, Jennifer Strangle in the Audi TT, Babs Lubbrook’s red Honda S2000 GT and Hannah Stapley and Stephanie Limb in a misbehaving Datsun 240Z.


The fastest time of the morning was Adam Steel in his Martlet AS1, who was spectacular particularly at the top of Karousel, with a 32.63s followed by Peter Marsh in the DJ Firehawk.


By the afternoon, the hill was drying and the drivers / car combinations were starting to come together. Times started to fall as confidence grew.

Adam and Andy Greenen returned with a “new” silver Honda Civic Type R. The new Mazda MX5 class brought some new cars and faces who’ll be back in April. There will be more about that in the April preview.


The Porsche 997 Cup of Tim Painter and Andrew Fraser put in some good times. Although this may be the last outing for the car as they have entered something different in the April meetings.

Babs Lubbrook’s red Honda S2000 GT saw off Sarah Fudge in the Honda Civic Type R. But Jennifer Strangle in the Audi TT was the fastest lady. The Stapley / Limb Datsun 240Z finally decided to behave, with Stephanie beating Hannah by just 0.34..

Fastest time of the afternoon, and the day, was Simon Marsh at 30.45, officially. Although it was suggested that someone may have forgotten to switch the numbers over! Peter recorded a 31.08.. Adam Steel improved his time and was third fastest.


Now testing is over, it’s competition time. See you all in April.

Ben Stapley, Gurston’s Chairman, was very happy after an extremely busy day and “thanked the drivers for leaving the newly seeded grass at Karousel intact”… We should also mention those who came over on Saturday to complete the hill set-up.

We would like to thank everyone who made the day possible, particularly Linzi, Barbs and Rachel for their help in the office, the marshalls, timekeepers, scrutineers and officials without whom we couldn’t run the meeting. Thanks to Ashley Wood Recovery, who had a busy day dealing with relatively minor breakdowns, TSL Timing for providing the timing, Insight Medical Services for the rescue crews and Peter Curtcher of Ringwood PA.

Anthony Record – Gurston Down Press Officer – BARC SW

John Forsyth

John Forsyth

It is with deep regret that we must report the passing of long-serving BARC SW committee member John Forsyth following a heart attack on March 21st. John was a stalwart member of the organising team at Gurston as well as a very successful competitor in all the classes he’d entered down the years. He’d driven everything from a DFR V8-engined Pilbeam MP58, which he delighted in sharing with son Andrew, to most recently his 500cc Alfa Dana, with which he won the 500 OA Rules up to 500cc racing car class in the Gurston Championship in 2015. With such a breadth of hillclimbing experience it’s no wonder he was a much-valued member of the instructing team at the Gurston Hillclimb Drivers School.

Always willing to find time to help friends and fellow competitors, John’s warmth and generosity will be missed every bit as much as his good humour and sheer enthusiasm.

Our thoughts are with his wife Judy and all the family at this very sad time.

There will be a Service of Thanksgiving at Lytchett Minster Parish Church (BH16 6JE) at 11am on Wednesday 30th March.