Wiscombe Park all set for what should be a wonderful weekend of motor racing
PUBLISHED: 10:18 25 July 2018
The highlight of the south-west's hill climb season is undoubtedly the visit of the country's premier series, the Avon Tyres/Wynn Group Motor Sports Association British Hill Climb Championship, to Wiscombe Park this coming weekend (July 28/29), writes Geoffrey Pickett.
The main championship event will include two exciting run-offs for the fastest 12 championship competitors on the Sunday whilst the previous day will see a separate event for local drivers plus the practice runs for those contesting the national series.
Pre-event favourite for victory at the East Devon venue, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, will be reigning champion Trevor Willis.
The Worcester driver is a double champion, having also been victorious in 2012, and leads the 2018 series in his potent V8 3.2 litre twin Hayabusa powered OMS 28 single-seater racer.
Willis will be the only driver competing at Wiscombe Park who has won the prestigious championship but that does not mean he will be unchallenged.
Leading the battle will be Wiscombe Park joint outright record holder (with Willis) Will Hall who will campaign his Force WH which is powered by a two litre four-cyclinder turbocharged engine based on the engines used in the Le Mans Prototype class in the World Endurance Championship.
The Stourbridge driver will have approximately 600 bhp at his disposal. Championship runner-up in 2017 was Scotsman Wallace Menzies who took his first victory at Wiscombe Park just twelve months ago and he will be keen to close the deficit to his adversaries with a good performance with his 3.5 litre Cosworth powered Gould GR59M.
Competitors will be travelling from Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands with the intent of claiming success. Not all of the challengers will have travelled so far and amongst those will be Empire Evo two namesakes Ben Wheeler and Ben Stephenson.
Both have shown good form at Wiscombe Park with Wheeler from Kilmington having taken a number of outright victories whilst Whimple resident Stephenson scored his first points in the national championship earlier this season.
Their light-weight single-seater racing cars will perform well through the demanding twists and turns of Wiscombe but may lose out in the power stakes against the British championship protagonists on the two straights where speeds in the order of 130 mph will be witnessed if the weather remains good.
Amongst other local drivers will be the Exeter father and son duo of David and Jan Yeo aboard their Westfield SEi as well as garage proprietor Steve Clarke with his rapid Subaru Impreza.
Good knowledge of their local hill will certainly help the local drivers including Volkswagen Golf pilot James Hudson from Ottery St Mary, Martyn Pike from Feniton in his Ford Escort and Honiton residents George Koopman, who has recently changed mounts from a Porsche Cayman to a turbocharged Renault Magane, and Duncan Beer with his Ford Fiesta.
The series only visits the south west once during the season so the fastest driver/car combinations can only be seen this weekend.
Although the focus of attention will be on these ultimate machines, there will be a huge supporting cast of saloon and sports cars including such machinery as vintage Austin Sevens, Porsches, Minis and Aston Martin.
More local drivers will battle for glory in the Woolbridge Motor Club organised event including golf professional Jon Langmead from Exminster in his Lotus Elise, Exeter’s John Tandy with a MG Midget and Ben Adams at the wheel of an Audi A3 Quattro.
Wiscombe Park information
Location: West of Southleigh near Colyton, Devon. Access from the A3052 and B3174 is signposted by the AA. Post code: EX24 6JE for satellite navigation devices.
Facilities: Entrance to the competitor’s paddock is FREE. Car parking FREE. Accompanied children under the age of 14 go FREE. An extensive choice of quality catering is available, with a licenced bar and toilets (including those for the disabled).
Admission: Saturday (July 28th). Adults: £10. Sunday: (July 29th) Adults: £13.
Weekend ticket: £20. Accompanied children under 14 FREE (both days).