Wiscombe Park hosts a fabulous return to motorsport
- Credit: Nigel Cole
Motorsport got underway for 2021 when the first meeting of the South West hill climb season was held at Wiscombe Park at the weekend.
Unfortunately, the meeting was held under very strict Covid19 guidelines laid down by Motorsport UK and the Government, and this meant that it was a “behind closed doors event” with no spectators allowed.
Wiscombe has been very fortunate over the winter to attract sponsorship for 2021 from Reis Motorsport Insurance – a national insurance broker. This will ensure that the venue can continue to operate whilst spectators are not able to attend the events.
It has been a long winter break for the competitors, and there was a big demand for an entry to the meeting – so much so, that the organising motor club, Woolbridge, could have held a third day of racing.
During the long winter months, drivers have been modifying their cars, and are obviously keen to see how much quicker their cars are. Although some drivers will have been disappointed, it is great to see that there are so many people wanting to compete – SW motorsport is in good health.
Wiscombe Park is regarded as one of the most challenging courses in the UK, and therefore, the 1000 yard course is a driver’s favourite. The weather God’s were kind, and the sun shone all weekend providing perfect conditions.
The hill had come through the rigours of winter in fine condition, and the drivers were able to record some good times on their early runs. On Saturday, Stephen Wareham from Bere Regis managed to set a new Class record in his Mini on his fourth run of the day.
Drivers come from all over the South West to compete in a variety of championships – Wiscombe Park has its own championship, and there were also rounds of Championships organised by Downton MC, Bristol MC and the National Classic Marques Speed Challenge.
Most drivers were competing on both days, and at the top of the time sheets it was a furious battle between Cullompton’s Ed Hollier in his Pilbeam/Suzuki MP62 and Dorset resident, Andrew Forsyth, in his OMS/Suzuki CF04. The pair have had many close battles at Wiscombe in recent seasons, and 2021 is going to be no different.
It was Ed who came out on top on both days beating Andrew by the narrowest of margins – by a tenth of a second on Saturday, and four tenths on Sunday – that is how closely matched they are – two very skilful and fast drivers.
In the Tillicoultry Quarries Wiscombe Park Championship, it was three times British Sprint Champion Rod Eyles from Wellington who has taken an early lead driving his Alfa Romeo 4C. Rod took Class wins on both days in the Road Going Production Car category – an excellent start to his season.
In addition to the cars, the National Hill Climb Association members were also competing on their motor bikes and sidecars. The dominant machines were those from Austrian manufacturer, KTM – Paul Jeffrey setting the quickest time on Saturday, and Tom Short on Sunday – both on KTM SMR’s.
Wiscombe Park are hopeful that at some point this season, they will be able to welcome the public back – that is of course all subject to the easing of restrictions. Please check on the Wiscombe web site www.wiscombepark.co.uk and Facebook page for all the latest news and updates.
Ten quickest times of the weekend
1 Ed Hollier Pilbeam MP62 36.46
2 Andrew Forsyth OMS CF04 36.94
3 Andy Short OMS CF07 37.47
4 Tony Wiltshire Ralt RT34 37.96
5 Ben Bonfield Jedi Mk4 38.16
6 Simon Clemow Radical SR1 38.29
7 Dave Greenslade Radical SR1 38.32
8 Tom Williams MWR Storm 39.26
9 Paul Crocker Jedi Mk1 40.04
10 Andrew Dinner Pilbeam MP62/82 40.26