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A Grand Day Out at Gurston ( for most )

The Gurston Down BARC Hillclimb of Sept 11th is the last of their calendar, but not for the Revington TR / TR Register Sprint and Hillclimb Championship – the significance of which will become apparent.

After the deluge on the Saturday we were all very relieved to see the promised sunshine starting to burn though the mist over the Wiltshire Downs as we all tried to wake up and get prepared for our first practice run, scheduled to start at 8;30, as we were the first class to run.

We had a bumper class of 14 drivers in a good spread of 12 cars-

  • Tom Purves in his beautiful TR3A.
  • Matt Feltham TR4A and suitably dried out from Wiscombe on Saturday.
  • TR6s of Martin Paine , Jim Berry, Nick Smith .
  • TR7s of Graham Ramsey, Mandy and Steve Small.
  • TR7 V8s or Chris Roberts and Rod Warner
  • Alan Yeo in his Vitesse convertible
  • Sam and Tony Browne in the Dolly Sprint.
  • Dale Huxford in his race Spitfire.


So on time at 8:30 off we went to line up for practice 1 which for most of us is used as it should be – to wake up , find where the gears are and where the black bits go –so these times are not necessarily that representative of competitive times though Nick was giving it a fair bit of stick recording a 41.88 secs. Dale said that he was not sure what happened with the first practice - forgot how to drive as his daily driver is an automatic. He managed to change down to first, lock the rear wheels and slide gently sideways through the first corner, Karousel, and 3 seconds off the pace.

However we all arrived at the top paddock in an orderly fashion with the primary goal being to get back down without delay for a great Gurston breakfast, sitting in the sun watching the start line – what could be better?

Practice 2 was a different matter - any damp patches had gone and most were beginning to remember what it takes to go quickly. It was going so well until Nick (current Championship leader) set off with plenty of welly .

You see those F1 shots of a driver loosing it on an acre of track, booting it, doing a 360 and ending up pointing the right way and carrying on - well in the real world on a 12 ft track lined by Armco that's not what usually happens. I was following Nick, and on launching myself into the Karousel complex was faced with red flags to see the TR6 facing backwards at 45 deg to the Armco with a reshaped front, wings and bonnet, marshals running around and flags everywhere.

Nick was fine but this will put him out of the remaining three events of our series. He is currently leading the championship by a reasonable margin but could be caught by Dale so could open it up again.

With this and other offs the timed runs started much later than usual so it was 1;45 that we were back on again for timed 1 where you usually try to get a respectable banker time in the bag.

This time there were no unexpected excursions from the black stuff and many set competitive times.

I was relieved to achieve my target of getting below 40 secs (actually 39.38) but still a way off my target bogey.

Dale and Tony were getting pretty close to their class bogey, Jim was having problems with an intermittent crutch (think that's what he said) but was pleased that there were no chicanes. (In joke with reference to castle Combe Sprint!!)

Sam was motivating herself by shouting, faster, faster, faster, but wonder if she can hear herself over the LOUD Dolly exhaust .

Tom was trying out different gears – the right ones, but not necessarily in the right order – its very easy to fluff a grabbed gear change in the hustle of a hillclimb.

As Steve was sharing the car with Mandy a quick driver change is necessary but the seat was in the wrong position and he tried to adjust it on the run, but it went fully back so he was struggling to reach the peddles and so was a little off his target ( better reason than the dog ate my homework ) .

For timed run 2 many were not quite as fast as timed run 1 .

Dale nearly copied Nick, managed to cross the kerb and do a bit of grass-track with the right side of the car. But kept his foot in and it went straight... Maybe there are some advantages to not having an LSD as the left wheel was still on the tarmac and tracked straight.

Steve, correctly seated, knocked a good chunk off his time, and Tony improved - maybe wearing Sam's old race suite was an incentive to get up the hill quickly and relieve the tensions.

However Dales first run was good enough to secure the maximum points, closely chased by Tony.

Can Dale keep this up and pip Nick to the Championship?.. watch this space .

Results;

Name

Class

Bogey

Time

Prov. points

Championship Score

Dale Huxford

3a

40.00

40.74

9.815

10.05

Tony Browne

3a

40.00

41.14

9.715

9.95

Steve Small

2a

42.00

43.92

9.542857143

9.77

Rod Warner

3b

37.50

39.38

9.498666667

9.73

Graham Ramsey

1c

44.50

47.18

9.397752809

9.62

Martin Paine

1b

45.00

47.80

9.377777778

9.60

Tom Purves

1c

44.50

49.26

8.930337079

9.15

Mandy Small

2a

42.00

46.74

8.871428571

9.09

Alan Yeo

2a

42.00

47.01

8.807142857

9.02

Chris Roberts

2b

40.50

47.53

8.264197531

8.47

Samantha Browne

3a

40.00

46.96

8.26

8.47

Matt Feltham

2b

40.50

51.69

7.237037037

7.42

Jim Berry

1d

43.50

57.35

6.816091954

6.99

Nick Smith

2b

40.50

41.88 -P1

No timed runs

0.00

Words by Rod Warner

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