Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Wiscombe Park hosted the prestigious Avon Tyres British Hill Climb Championships. With the fastest car and driver combinations travelling from Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands it was an ideal opportunity for the local drivers to showcase their abilities.
The Road Going Specialist Production Car class saw the first of the Crediton Conibears to claim a trophy. Lotus 23B driver Cliff Conibear was obliged to give best to the contemporary Westfield SEi of Andrew Williams but defeated the Westfield driven by Exeter’s Paul Sullivan. It was another second place finish in the Modified Series Production Car division when Den Conibear finished behind winner Ian Joyce. The latter’s Peugeot 205 GTi had an advantage on handicap over the Nissan GTiR of Conibear.
Third place was taken by Vauxhall Tigra pilot Gordon Iles.
Whilst the saloon and sports car drivers were immersed in their battles, the quest for honours in the British Championship Run-offs was intense. With the series leader Scott Moran absent from the meeting the door of opportunity was left ajar for second place man Trevor Willis, although the Aylesbury driver would have to defeat the challenges of Jos Goodyear with his 1.6 litre Suzuki powered GWR Raptor Extreme. The latter having taken two new hill records in Jersey and Guernsey just seven days previously.
A new track surface and good weather conditions led pundits to consider a new record at Wiscombe Park was a possibility.
With the 2004 record standing at 34.16 seconds three drivers qualified for the first championship run-off with sub 34second times. Scotsman Wallace Menzies fought his mighty Cosworth powered DJ Firestorm all the way up the testing 900 metre course to set a time of 37 s, eclipsed by Goodyear who used short-cuts across the kerbs and grass verges to post a time of 36.73.
Willis took the win on 36.47 seconds.
forty-six hundredths of a second slower than his qualifying time which had constituted a new hill record.
The same trio of drivers were the top qualifiers for the second run-off. The finishing order was identical, but this time Menzies spun his dramatic sounding Cosworth powered car on the exit of the Sawbench hairpin, narrowly missing a tree.
Goodyear exhibited more restraint in his driving style on this occasion and as a resulted benefited with a time of 34.26 seconds.
Providing a fitting climax to the meeting Willis stormed the hill in his Powertec engine OMS 25 providing the large number of spectators with an a drive of controlled aggression to claim not only his second victory, which put him in the lead of the national championship, but another outright hill record of 33.92 seconds.