Shelsley Walsh Newsletter
2021 and the 116th year of Shelsley Walsh will be remembered for some stunning records being set on the hill, the high point of which was the August meeting with the outright hill record being beaten three times in three runs with Wallace Menzies, Alex Summers both under the previous mark of 22.58 seconds from Martin Groves but eventually Sean Gould taking the prize of Shelsley with a stunning 22.37 seconds run.
Nicola Menzies took the Ladies record later in the day proving that the Gould GR55 that Groves had in the day was still sharp, nimble and competitive with a 24.70 second run.
Ian Rowlance then took the closed car record in September with 27.89 seconds with his Metro 6R4 proving Group B from 1986 is still quick…! Damien Bradley and his Subaru Legacy left the new ‘4WD any engine capacity’ class record at 29.39 seconds too.
Congratulations to all of the new record holders.
Menzies Back to Back Champion
Congratulations to Wallace Menzies, now a double British Hill Climb Champion following a truly stellar season from the Gould driver with 17 wins from 27 rounds and a top three finish at every one of those Run Offs too.
Menzies was the first driver to beat Martin Groves’ record at Shelsley in August only for it to be beaten on the very next run, but he did set the target if only for a minute.
Menzies is sticking with the winning combination of Gould GR59 3.3 Cosworth V8 for the 2022 Championship and who can blame him after beating existing hill records at five venues, Gurston, Doune, Shelsley, Prescott and Loton.
Congratulations to Nicola Menzies for breaking the Shelsley Ladies record in August with 24.70 seconds during the second Run Offs when she found an enormous 0.6 of a second off her personal best.
From all of us here at Shelsley Walsh, well done to you Wallace, Nicola, car preparers Tom New, Duncan Barnes and all of the Tillicoultry Quarries Team - the number one plate certainly made you quicker!
Sunbeams & Rainbows
One of the stand out angles we’ve seen from 2022 have been from Stuart Wing and Oli Fessey early on the Saturday morning of our September meeting that was delayed at the start because of autumn mist, Bottom Ess couldn’t even see Crossing, but just for a few seconds the sun burnt through and showed some stunning sunbeams to make it quite ethereal.
Right place, right time…but as the saying goes; The best camera in the world is the one you have in your hand right now.
Come the end of the day and the close of the season there was a double rainbow across the valley. It was good of the weather gods to put on such a show for us…
FIA Hill Climb Masters
The full entry list for the FIA Masters Hill Climb at Braga in Portugal is out with all 165 entrants from 15 countries.
Andorra, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK are represented over the weekend of the 9th and 10th of October.
The Masters will bring together the winners of national championships as well as the winners of the FIA Championship, Challenge and Cup with each driver having to be in the same car that they have used all year. The Masters will include two classifications: an individual classification, where the winners will be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals and a Nations Cup. Since the equipment entered and its level of performance may differ between each driver and country the classification of the Nations Cup will be based on a regularity index, rather than sheer speed.
Drivers are still capable of going for overall individual victory.
From the UK there is the reigning champion Wallace Menzies going, 2021 runner up Alex Summers, new Shelsley Walsh record holder Sean Gould, Will Hall, three time champion Trevor Willis, David Uren, Paul Haimes, David Warburton, Lee Griffiths, Matthew Ryder (winner of the U25 awards last time out in Gubbio, Italy) and Olivia Cooper.
Damien Bradley in his newly liveried Subaru Legacy will be very strong together with Justin Andrews in his Subaru Impreza, James Kerr in his trusty Peugeot 205 (they never seem to get old do they?!), Gavin Neate (Peugeot 106), John Pick (AMS Murtaya) and Simon Jenks in his rapid Caterham Superlight.
The youngest driver will be Tom Weaver in his Van Diemen Formula Ford at just 18 years and 11 months. Another honorary Brit going but under his Maltese flag will be Zach Zammit in the Empire Wraith 1600.
For those who haven’t been members of the MAC before we have an offer on now for 2022 membership at the 2021 price meaning you will have your subscription carry through to the end of 2022. You will receive two hard card season passes that will enable entry at all MAC run events we organise, forward car parking at Shelsley, free entry to our Breakfast Clubs and Cars in the Valley evenings plus the knowledge of being part of a club that preserves the history of Shelsley and yet is as modern as tomorrow to see the Top 12 Run Offs and innovative racing on the hill.
For the September meeting we put a shout out for new commentators to try their arm, or voice, on the hill and we had a great response from
Not only did we retain much of our original team but we gave everyone a chance to have their time on the mic over the two days. Alex Summers actually made a return to the box after doing a few stints from Crossing a few years ago and was confident enough to try Vox Villa even though he said, “There’s quite a lot to juggle in here”.
Al Moore, Lloyd Hackett, Ben Sage, Amelia Knightingale, Alex Coutts and Jamie Hubbard were all new to the mic and bedded themselves in perfectly with a wide range of knowledge covering different cars and different viewpoints from the norm. Peter Hughes was very measured after quite some time behind the mic for motorsport and rugby too having previously been at Six Ways broadcasting the night before. However, the biggest hat tip has to go to Alex Coutts who came up from Kent for the day and at just 16 years old took to the Crossing commentary box on the Saturday afternoon with huge confidence. Fair play Alex! Graham Jones did a second stint at Top Ess after first stepping into the breach in August too.
It was mentioned at one point that the combined age of the three commentators for a batch was 66 years old when the previous batch had a combined age of 232! Times they are a changing but it was the perfect scenario to have the younger commentators commenting on the Autocar Shelsley Walsh Young Drivers as they did their runs - it’s all about the future.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered to put themselves into the breach; you are more than welcome to return in 2022.
Another New Shelsley Record
Ian Rowlance took the prestigious closed car record at Shelsley in September with a stellar 27.89 seconds in his immense Metro 6R4, the first time a car with a roof has gone sub 28. The previous record was Mike Endean’s 28.06 from 2007.
Rowlance has been knocking on the door of mid 28 second runs but felt that things were going the right way on the day with two 28 second runs straight off the bat but it was in the damp conditions of his first class run that gave him the confidence.
“I’m normally a certain gap behind the single seaters when it’s wet, but this time I was right with them so I have 9 settings for the boost and had never gone above 5 before but for the last run I turned it up to 8 and hung on. I'm over the moon to have got the record that Hannu Mikkola, Tom Hammonds and Mike Endean had before; just fantastic!"
Lizzie Wins the Title
Lizzie Dudley is the first Autocar Shelsley Walsh Young Drivers Champion having had a fantastic 2021 season with four wins and a second from the six weekends in her Vauxhall Corsa. Open to new under 21 drivers who’d never previously held a competition licence before it was a great spectacle to see the cars as good as flat out through the Esses at Shelsley.
The series will continue next year with an announcement over the winter months as to its format and structure but one thing that won’t change will be the fun in that part of the paddock; there’s always a laugh!
Elizabeth Dudley 112
Alfie Nelson Westlake 86
James Gwilliam 80
Stephen Webber 78
Ben Evans 72
George William 70
Orlando Haywood 68
Max Smallwood 34
There will be an evening with ace car preparer and rapid driver Martin Middleton in our Restaurant at Shelsley Walsh on the evening of 26th November from 6.30pm with hot food from 7pm. Chatting will start at 8 with Chris Drewett as the compere.
Martin has had quite a life around cars and motorsport having come over from Argentina to first work at Longbridge, helped David Prophett with F5000, ran Brian Redman's F5000 in the USA before preparing championship winning hill climb cars. However the most fascinating part is that he acted as an interpreter for Fangio…
The cost is £20 with all bookings through Amanda Palmer in the office on 01886 812211 Ext 3.
Historic Motoring Awards 2021
The MAC has been humbled to have been nominated for the Historic Motoring Awards as Club of the Year 2022. Stiff competition still is ahead until the finals on November 18th in London against Aston Martin Heritage Trust, E-type Club, Mercedes Benz Club and the VSCC. Fingers crossed.
2021 MAC AGM
A new format for the AGM of the Midland Automobile Club took place on September 17th with members given the opportunity to vote in advance digitally and therefore including many more people’s voices than ever before. A total of 304 people voted meaning many more had their say than ever before.
The results of the AGM mean that Mark Harrison is the new Chairman of a smaller board with Helen Evans joining the ranks alongside Stephen Palmer, the pair of the them competitors, while Campbell Deas and Dave Nursey continue in their roles too. Mark has been a member of the board for nearly a decade overseeing the finances of the MAC as well as being a British Sprint and British Monoposto Champion too and is looking forward to his role.
All of the MAC would like to pass on its thanks to former directors Dave Ball, Antony Harper, Melodie Nightingale, Phil Nuthall, Allan Warburton and John Wood for their hard work and service to the club over many years.
Noggin & Natter
We’re going to have our First Thursday get together once more during the winter with the early evening Noggin and Natter in the Courtyard Bar.
The first one will be on Thursday 4th November starting from 5pm and is open to any member, friends of Shelsley Walsh and local residents.
We’ve supported charities over the summer at Shelsley Walsh with £1702 being raised for the Air Ambulance from the boiling hot Classic Nostalgia weekend.
£590 was raised for Shelsley’s own St Andrew’s Church during the August meeting in which floor was renovated last year while St Michael’s Hospice came along in September for the very first time with their staff on the hill and they managed to raise £310.
Thank You to all the Volunteers
Thank you to all of the helpers, staff, volunteers and friends for all of the time spent on the hill in preparation and during track days and meetings throughout the year.
The camaraderie is fantastic between all the crew no matter it being under the sun of Classic Nostalgia or in the rain we had during the Vintage day so THANK YOU all for your help, your laughs and your smiles.
Pikes Peak Hill Climb Winner at Shelsley Walsh
Two time winner of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Robin Shute drove Shelsley Walsh for the very first time in the September meeting when he stepped into the DJ Firehawk 1100cc car we see regularly driven by Alex, Lindsay, Richard and Debbie Dunbar now Summers. It was a baptism of fire but as expected, Shute as a pro driver got straight into the 26 second bracket on his second every ascent of the hill.
A little bit of drizzle took the edge off one class run but great fun was had by all to have someone so instantly quick in the car.
Shute left the hill wanting to scratch more hill climb itches and will try and get back to the UK more often to drive the lightweight cars on the hills of the UK. See you soon then!