Bikers take the limelight at Wiscombe Park
- Credit: Nigel Cole
It was another great day of hillclimbing at Wiscombe Park in the all-bike National Hill Climb Association Arnold Gimblett Speed Hillclimb.
A massive 106 entries comprising bikes, trikes and sidecars battled it out for honours, with two timed runs in the afternoon finishing with the Top Ten Run Off.
Those experiencing morning problems included the highly experienced sidecar pairing of Simon and Jayne Foster – they lost the back end of their Honda F2 combination and nose-dived the bushes just inside The Gate.
Fortunately, the 2018, 2019 and 2021 NHCA Sidecar Champions were unhurt, and although the bodywork of the sidecar was damaged, they were still able to run in the afternoon without the body, as there was no mechanical damage. The spectacular Alex and Isaac Warren on their Suzuki trike also took a tumble at the end of Wis Straight.
The timed runs were fast and furious with some spectacular riding on a very varied range of machinery. Peter Isaac has been riding the Velocette “special”, based on a 1950’s production 500cc Venom, for over 50 years and estimates that he has completed in excess of 600 runs up the Wiscombe hill.
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The afternoon was incident free, except for when a three-wheeler became a two-wheeler. As Mark and James Foster, on their 1070cc Foster BMW sidecar, left Sawbench and accelerated up Castle Straight, the wheel of the tray made a break for freedom! Fortunately, they came to a safe halt.
The day was rounded off by a Top Ten Run Off. Not surprisingly, it was very close, but was finally decided in favour of the current NHCA Champion, Tom Short – KTM with the Fastest Time of the Day of 40.39s.
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Second was Noth Devon’s Paul Jeffery – KTM SMR 40.46s and third, Tommy Hodges Team GV KTM SMR 41.35s. Both Tom and Paul bettered their qualifying times, proving the hill was getting quicker. A KTM is the bike to have for hillclimbing with the Austrian manufacturer filling nine of the top ten places.
It was also a battle between two well-known South West racing families as well, the Hodges from Taunton versus the Short’s from Bideford and Brampford Speke.
The bikes will be back at Wiscombe on the 25th and 26th September when they join the cars, before their season finale, the all-bike meeting at Hartland Quay, Bideford on the 3rd October.