2001

JUNIOR GETS IN A MESS

The 2001 British Hill Climb Champion Graeme Wight Jnr got in a mess last Sunday (December 2nd) when he had an accident in his workshop at Drumoak in Scotland. With the Gould V6 rebuilt after Snr's accident at Loton Park in the autumn, Graeme's attentions are now on 'tidying up' (his words not mine) the red family transporter. However, the angle grinder got the better of him and set about his left wrist causing Jnr to have a night in hospital before being released with a plaster from his elbow down to his hand. "My little finger is a little troublesome at the moment, but it all looks as if it will be OK, but a good 6 weeks rest is what the doctors told me." Said the four hill record holder. We all wish him well for an enjoyable Christmas from the Top 12 team.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JUSTIN FLETCHER?

Former top 12 runner and 2 litre record basher in the MP62. You may well ask... well, he is running a hospitality company in motorsport which is involved in the Rally GB in Cardiff. Click on www.wrcexperience.com to have a look, or if you want to get in touch with him direct, then email him on and mention the top 12 website for a possible discount! He is living well in Banbury and is all married up!

NEWS FROM LOTON PARK - Sept 9th

Graeme Wight Jnr stayed with Roger Moran after Loton to be near his father in Shrewsbury hospital until Wednesday afternoon when he went home. He has 2 possibly 3 crushed vertebrae. Snr has had injuries before to his back and it was unclear to the medics which were new or existing injuries. Peter Harper has bought the new SPA single seater tub off Rob Welch which Rob dinged at Barbon some years ago with the 3.2 Judd engine.

Has Martin O'Connell had a falling out from Rowan Racing??.... mmmm.

MEGA MAC 100 CELEBRATION!

The Midland Automobile Club's Centenary celebrations were mind blowingly fantastic fun, over all three days of the weekend. Good fun was had by all, but bad news for David Gould in the original 84G Gould which had a 'major malfunction..' According to Gould, "A 3 pence roll pin wriggled its way out of the oil pump drive and the resulting engine failure requires (at least) new rods crank and pistons, some valves some welding and machining and a complete strip clean and rebuild - at least 4,500 worth and probably considerably more - not bad for 3p eh.? Anyway, even that was worth it for the best weekend we've had in years - it was simply great." Sorry to hear the news David, but look forward to seeing the car again soon.

BARBON CANCELLED

With further mysterious foot and mouth outbreaks in the middle of summer in Cumbria, the October round of the Tran-X British Championship at Barbon has been regrettably cancelled. There is no chance of the round been rescheduled.

MAX HARVEY PASSES AWAY

Long time hill climb driver and supporter Max Harvey has passed away in South Africa this week. He drove many car culminating in the MP58 3.5 DFR engined Pilbeam which he shared with Martyn Griffiths to break the 4 cylinder strange hold on British Hill Climbing which had run through most of the 80s. He later went onto do some historic rallying in a Porsche with Griffiths, something which which his son Damon later did in the Peugeot 306 challenge. (June 29th)

CALENDAR CHANGE

2001 Tran-X British Hill Climb Championship Season
May 27th Gurston Down
June 17th Shelsley Walsh
June 24th Prescott
July 1st Harewood
July 8th Shelsley Walsh
July 19th Bouley Bay
July 21st Val des Terres
July 29th Wiscombe Park
August 4th Craigantlet
August 26th Gurston Down
September 2nd Prescott
September 8th Loton Park
October 6th Barbon
October 7th Harewood
October 14th Loton Park

The calendar changed once more over the weekend with Doune now being pushed out through foot and mouth problems and Loton Park moving to the end of the year. There is now a two venue double header in October between Barbon and Harewood with the season now closing at Loton Park on October 14th. Due to this move of events, the Midland Hill Climb Awards Dinner has been moved too from October 12th to October 26th - a new note for your diaries.

ROUND 2 MOVED TO OCTOBER FOR FOOT AND MOUTH REASONS

The second round of the Championship at Loton Park has been moved to October 14th due to a new outbreak of foot and mouth in the area. (Not reported in the press, but still enormously rife..) (May 24th)

SHELSLEY CONFIRMED AS GOING AHEAD, BUT WITH PRECAUTIONS

The MAC confirmed on Tuesday 22nd May that their June 17th meeting will go ahead, but with stringent foot and mouth precautions in respect of the local farmer on and around the hill. Teams will disinfect every vehicle coming onto the property with special requests going to people travelling from infected areas to please disinfect their vehicles even before leaving home. Secretary of the MAC, Roger Thomas said, "It is only fair to the local farmer that we take as much care as possible to prevent any outbreaks of foot and mouth in the valley. He has moved his sheep off the main car park field for the duration of the season, but it was not an easy decision for him as he is over flowing with stock at the moment due to being unable to sell at market because of the movement restrictions." (May 22nd)

LESS THAN TWO WEEKS TO GO FOR START!

The days are being counted down before the start of the 2001 British Hill Climb season at Gurston Down Near Salisbury in Wiltshire. Normally we would be well into our seasons of both British and Midland Championships, but due to the foot and mouth problems it has all been on hold. top12runoff.co.uk will be there with new digital cameras to get the action up on the web as soon as possible after the meetings throughout the year. (14th May)

MORAN WINS FIRST TIME OUT

Roger Moran won the two clubby one day meetings at Harewood over the weekend in his new Gould GR 37. He was up against The two Tims (Coventry and Mason), Simon Durling (Ex Grace Gould) and Chris Merrick (Ex Moran Pilbeam) - all of whom are essentially in new cars, even the two Tims have a new 'high nose' front end. Moran had not driven the car before but after two circulations of the paddock to check the length of the brake pedal blasted up on Saturday to win on a 55 second run. He then approached Sunday intent on doing a low 55. Instead he sauntered off with a 53.4 second run which would have won last July's National Championship meeting! He went off on the next run, but was amazed at the grip of the car even if he found it difficult to drive. "I am absolutely bruised from top to toe this morning (Monday). It is a much harder car to drive than the Pilbeam, but this car has the most phenomenal grip up into that final right hand corner it was almost pushing me out of the car with the G force... I can see why Richard Brown got into trouble at that corner a few years ago as it just lures you in a lot further than you can cope with due to the intense downforce. Amazing.. " Roger said to us this morning. "It is hard to drive around the slower corners, but likewise I really cannot wait to get to Shelsley in it." The car is painted in 'Aruba Blue' which is a brand new Vauxhall colour which is similar to the Benetton F1 blue. The car has silver wing end plates. (14th May)

NEW SURFACE AT SHELSLEY WALSH

On Thursday May 18th Shelsley Walsh was resurfaced across the 'kink' and then through the entire length of the Esses. The pictures here show the work in progress and then the finished product after a winter of considerable difficulties with the sheer amount of water trying to find a way under the track from the enormous catchment area above the hill.
Not only have the areas on the hill been tended to, but also the section just by the Triangle where the returning cars peel off the hill en route back to the paddock. There was a rough dip in the road where cars would stop rolling and then hold up the process of getting each batch back into the paddock, but this will now be a thing of the past.

Although the first meeting at Shelsley Walsh has been postponed from May 19th and 20th until August 4th and 5th, the meeting on June 16th and 17th for the late starting Tran-X British Hill Climb Championship will take place as scheduled which will see the top cars charging into the Bottom S at 125 mph and then over the line at 135+ mph. The new surface will aid the times no end... maybe even see the outright record fall which was set in 1992 at 25.34 seconds. There is a cash prize of 1000 for the first person to crack the 25 second mark.

There has also been work on the inside of the Crossing exit at Shelsley where the rake of the bank has been made a great deal 'user friendly' in case of a car swiping the bank. Before there were bare tyres which may have provoked a car into a spin rather than a glancing blow, whereas now it is a lot smoother. The tyres are still buried underneath the fresh new grass as well as the bank being a little higher in order to prevent anyone going over into the giant rhubarb. (12th May)

HILL CLIMBERS GET THEIR FIRST RUNNING IN MAY THROUGH MAC

The MAC are the first Club to have secured an event at Rockingham Speedway. The test day is scheduled for Saturday May 19th and is 75 to enter for a day's testing at the 1.5 kilometre (just under a mile) course in the infield section of the oval. They have a few places still available but they are going fast! Email [email protected] to get an entry form. (19th April)

FORMER HILL CLIMB CHAMPION TAKES FIRST F3 WIN 1995

British Hill Climb Champion Andy Priaulx won his first Formula 3 race on Sunday. Here is an extract from his press release: more at http://www.andypriaulx.com

'In the second race of the day, it was an Alan Docking front row as Paul Edwards took pole and Andy lined up alongside him in second. Priaulx wasted no time in surging past pole sitter and team mate Paul Edwards at the first corner and came under pressure from Takuma Sato for the duration of the twenty minute race. However, he was able to pull out a lead, putting in his best lap towards the end and took the chequered flag with over a second in hand. Priaulx's first F3 victory puts him will in contention for the championship title and demonstrated his talent of driving in the rain. The whole race was wet and the drive earned him the accolade of F3 rainmeister. Priaulx was delighted with his win. He said "After a disappointing morning, it was great to lead the afternoon race from almost the start to its conclusion, an F3 win is something I've been working towards for over twelve months and this weekend has given me the confidence to continue winning right through the season. I know I have the ability and now I've got the results." Andy Priaulx continues his bid in the British F3 championship at Donington Park in two weeks time.'

Meanwhile, Gould Engineering have called upon Andy's driving services to shakedown a recently Gould re-built Arrows A17, the Damon Hill one from 1997 before it goes to America.

MORAN GOULD RUNNING

Roger Moran had his Gould GR37 running but not moving for the first time on Easter Sunday even though it was outside the garage in which the former Richard Fry car has been rebuilt. With the engine he used before in the Pilbeam MP72 being sold on to Chris Merrick, a nother 3.5 litre Judd EV has been rebuilt by J and F with new pistons and crank for the 2001 season. A new wiring loom is in together with new plumbing from James Listers hosing. The bodywork has been sent to the paint shop this week for a slightly darker shade than Benetton blue. Son Scott will continue with his Caterham this year .."until I get a record."

BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP HAS 2001 SPONSOR

Tony Fletcher informs us all that the National Championship now has a new title sponsor. It will now be known as the Tran-X MSA British Hill Climb Championship. Tran-X is an engineering company involved in hill climbing - more news on them later. (14th April) Part of the Autosport Engineering Group. Driveline components based in Coventry.

MAY PRESCOTT MOVED. JUNE DOUNE ....????

Prescott on May 6 has been moved into the Midland meeting they have there at the end of June. It is therefore now on the weekend 23 and 24th June. June Doune has been put on hold, but there is no date yet fixed. (14th April)

NEW CALENDAR FOR 2001

Due to the foot and mouth troubles, the new calendar is on the left of this page. As we approach events, keep in touch through this web page to confirm meetings. (14th April)

CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING RUN SEEMS A LONG WAY AWAY...

Who would have thought that when we saw David Grace speed up Prescott on September 3rd that when we would next see a car speeding towards Championship points would be 3 days over 8 (yes EIGHT) months afterwards IF Prescott on May 6th even goes ahead. Otherwise we are looking at nearly 9 months to Gurston on May 27th. Nightmare. (March 29th)

LOTON AND BARBON FALL TO FOOT AND MOUTH

The first and second British Hill Climb Championship meetings have fallen to foot and mouth today (21st March). Loton on April 16th is now on 9th September whilst Barbon is moved from 12th May right to the other end of the season, 6th October to be the day before MAC 'Clubby' Curborough. Barbon - at the moment at least - is the final round in the championship. (21st March)

LOTON PARK UPDATE

With Sir Michael Leighton's deer within the compounds of Loton Park, access to the place is of course restricted leaving some safety barrier work to still be completed at Museum, but this is not overshadowing the opening round of the championship as it will not take long for willing hands to blitz the job. The overwhelming problem is still the whole disease epidemic affecting the country and now Europe. (21st March)

SHELSLEY MAC 100 TO BE OVERLAPPED?

Tony Fletcher has made a concrete promise to the Midland Automobile Club regarding their Centenary celebrations over the weekend of August 17,18 and 19 that he will NOT re-schedule any Foot and Mouth cancelled meetings from earlier in the year to be on that same weekend. Roger Thomas from the MAC said," Tony has made it clear to us that he will not put any other meeting on over that weekend. Indeed he said it is 'a sacred weekend where we can have a break from the championship'." (20th March)

AUSSIE HILL CLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP

The Australian scene is just getting into gear with their actual championship coming down to one day near Brisbane in September. Aussie visitor to top12runoff.co.uk, Gary Goulding sent in this info. "We just have on shot at the Australian title as it is run on one week-end in the year not a series, you have to put it all on the line on that day. Here is a photo of my car with the wings nearly done for you to laugh at!! It isn't much and runs in the 2 litre Libre class. I would suggest that all RF85 Van Diemens should have this conversion done. It is utilising an MR2 Toyota 16v 2lt engine." Thanks Gary! (20th March)

WIGHT JNR EYES ANOTHER RECORD?

Graeme Wight Junior has announced plans to run the Gould GR51 at his home hill (Fintray) on May 13th, after an overnighter back from the May 12th meeting at Barbon, and, dry weather permitting, is confident he can drive a hole through Roy Lane's 25.71secs outright hill record. (19th March)

OFFICIAL: FIRST MEETING OFF

The first meeting of the year has been (expectedly) cancelled due to Foot and Mouth. The opening Midland Championship meeting at Prescott over April 7th and 8th has now been moved to the exact opposite end of the season - September 29th 30th to be one week after what was the final meeting of the Championship at Shelsley. Tony Fletcher said, "I keep re-arranging things all of the time but we have to take a positive attitude in these things.." (16th March)

28th February 2001

FOOT AND MOUTH AFFECT ON HILL CLIMBING?

British Championship Hill Climb co-ordinator Tony Fletcher today reacted to the MSA press release concerning foot and mouth disease and to questions about whether or not is would affect the opening round of the Midland Championship on April 8th at Prescott and then the first round of the British series at Loton on April 16th.

The MSA release says that: 'The Motor Sports Council has decided to suspend the majority of British motor sport events with immediate effect.

The suspension will halt all events using public highways as part of the competition, and all events which commonly take place on or near agricultural land. These include rallies, trials, autocross, rallycross and off road events.

Existing MSA Permits for these events will be suspended and no new Permits will be issued until further notice.

The continued running of events at permanent motor sport venues is under active review. MSA will urgently discuss the situation with the venue owners and make a further announcement in due course.'

When quizzed on the final paragraph of the document - something far more relevant to Hill Climbing - he said, "We are just going to have to wait and see and treat it as a week by week situation. The MAC trial has been cancelled on the 11th March and the three hills Marshalls training day due to take place at Prescott on the same day. It is very difficult for the organisers to go through these decisions as we forget at the end of last season some clubs had to cancel meeting due to the fuel shortage. That was not an easy thing for them to swallow and now they may have to do it again."

WIGHTS PREPARING

Graeme Wight Jnr is looking forward to the season as much as the amassed spectators eager to see if he can clinch more records and maybe the title catching up with Graeme on February 9th, he said, "The engine and gearbox have all been away to be looked at and all was very good when the engine was taken apart, Richardsons said it looked very good indeed. We are going to go for a little more bhp this year, particularly lower down when we change the mapping. We got in a bit of a tiz last year when we went full circle on the set up a few times, but we traced that to a load of bad sets of tyres, but this year (just as Gracie used last year) we'll use bigger 10" fronts after we had 8.6" and 9" fronts last year. I like it quite dominant at the front and where we went wrong last year was to raise the rear in order to try and get some front end bite but then that just lost us all of our rear end traction."

MORE NEWS FROM GRACE

David Grace will take to the hills a few times in 2001 in his old car which is now owned by Simon Durling and also in alongside Martin Groves in the ATOL. He may also jump into the Karl Davison Gould which he sorted at June Prescott last year.

NIC MANN'S MORRIS MINOR

Catch up with the original Autocar article with Nic Mann's rocket ship Morris Minor from the 80s. www.shelsey-walsh.co.uk/news.html

No 1 GRACE PLATE UP FOR GRABS

Reigning Champion David Grace is leaving the number 1 plate as good as vacant this year as he has sold his car to Simon Durling and concentrates on work interests at the new Rockingham Speedway. He will however pop up now and again for guest drives throughout the year although it remains to be seen in what car he'll use.

SHELSLEY SLIPPING AWAY

Contrary to reports in Autosport (1st Feb) Shelsley has NOT disappeared underneath 65 yards of mud on the S approach just by the speed trap. Right on the left hand kink the surface has dropped by a few inches, whilst further up by the trap and immediate S approach, there are cracks through which will necessitate a new surface to be put down before the first meeting on May 19. There has been such an enormous amount of rain in Worcestershire that with the size of the water catchment area around Shelsley and the majority of that water coming through underneath the track at the Bottom S (bet you never knew that!) that there is really only so much it can take. Fortunately work done on the hill at the start of winter helped enormously to get this water away, so the MAC can only think in horror at what may have happened without these initial workings.

GROVES IN NEW CAR

Having previously utilised Alan Warburton's white Dallara 2 litre, but of course driven to the absolute linit and beyond in 2000, Martin Groves now looks to the big time with the Keith Walker ATOL with the original 3.5 litre engine in the back. Otherwise the car will stay pretty much in the same spec as what Martin used at MAC Curborough when he drove the car for the first time. "I think we're going to try some different wings on it, probably Gould wings, but maybe not immediately." This is the car with which Roger Moran used at the beginning of 200 for 3 meetings before reverting to his Pilbeam MP72, so does Martin feel that things won't hit the same problems that Roger came up against? "Roger really went down a different route than the one we are on at the moment. He said that it lacked traction, but upon taking the car apart after Roger had moved on, Keith found that the clutch was as good as dead which caused us to think that it was slipping and so maybe making Roger think it was the wheels spinning. Remember that he had a 4 litre with an extra 80lb ft of torque which was really over the limit of what the clutch was designed for." "With regards to driving it I am used to a stiff chassis after the Dallara and having driven it at Curborough it even felt like the Dallara except with a bit more grunt for longer!"

THE WINNING CAR FROM LAST YEAR

Simon Durling purchased David Grace's number 1 Gould - the first of its type and of course the reigning champion chassis - but without the engine. Simon instead has transferred his 4 litre DFL into the back of the Gould. "It is not quite ready at the moment,but it is all going in quite nicely. We had a bit of concern at the start if it was all going to go in, but it looks to be all OK. The engine was looked at by J & F (near Reading) beforehand and it was OK - they look after many of the Thoroughbred GP guys so I'm happy on the job they do. With regards to colour I think there is a bit of the same red over so it'll be the Durling colour again!" Asked if there was to be another driver with him this year, Jonathan is looking to maybe do the Fastnet race and so he may be a bit restricted on time." Said Simon

BUSY WORK AT GOULD ENGINEERING

David Gould and son Sean are rebuilding the 1985 Championship winning 'original' Gould with which Chris Cramer won the championship. After a big accident ended its life on the hills, the Father and son outfit are putting it back together for the Shelsley Special class at the MAC 100 meeting over 17, 18, 19 August. They are very busy at the moment with rebuilding a series of Arrows cars for use in America. Mostly show cars, they are being rejuvenated back into runners to be used in competition. cars from 1993, 1994, two from 1996 and one ex-Damon Hill car from 1997 are all being worked on. "They'd be ace at a hill climb, but they'd be so wide you wouldn't get them up the hill!" I joked that maybe it out to be in the regs that if you can't get your car between the paddock sheds at Shelsley, you can't enter the Championship! Back on the 1985 car, they have the gearbox ready and the tub in pretty good order as the damage at the front was really only superficial although an engine mounting was broken leaving them to wait and see what engine they find to put back in. They got very close though to having the real thing though... "I traced the original 2.8 that won the championship and made the guy an offer, but he then sold it to someone else! I can't believe it would have been that much more of a better deal but we'll find another one even if it is a 2.5." Probably the hardest part of the rebuild will be the two rear uprights which were completely destroyed but with their engineering talents, it won't be a problem. David is in touch with Chris Cramer and is looking to put him in the car at the MAC 100 meeting in August. "We'll even try and have the original Unibond Erotic livery on the car too. That's what Patrick Head called it at the time and it stuck!" It was of course Unidraw Robotic, but now we all know, it'll never be the same.. More news and pictures from the Gould workshop soon, including the full SP on a 700+bhp 4x4 tiny little monster.

TURNBULL GOULDS AGAIN

Rob Turnbull is going to continue in his yellow and blue Winterwarmer Gould over all of the RAC Championship rounds plus the season opener at Prescott for the Midland Hill Climb Championship. "Usual really, same as.."

FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

Bill Chaplin showed off his latest creation off at the NEC Autosport International show, the car that Phil Cooke will drive this year. Fitted with a hugely enlarged Suzuki Hayabusa 4 pot, it'll sound great and go like the clappers. As the age old addage goes, 'It is easier to make a car go faster my taking weight off it than giving it horsepower'. May the force be with you! (Picture courtesy of Martin Depper) More news soon Welcome to the new 2001 look for top12runoff.co.uk - the leading website for British Speed Hill Climbing. We aim to bring you even more information and results this year with up to date reports straight from the hills and paddocks of the 32 round Championship from Doune down to Wiscombe Park. The first round as you can see is on Easter Monday at Loton Park but there are a few test days set up before then which we shall let you know about. The best way to keep in touch with this site is for you all to send me an email and then I can send you a note whenever any major news is posted in the run up to what we all expect will be another exciting season.

Best Toby Moody