Shelsley Walsh Newsletter
2020 at Shelsley Walsh has given us some truly fantastic days of speed hill climbing, fun days and spectacle with five weekends of what would normally have been a seven weekend competitive season but thanks to all of the MAC Members and friends of the hill it all came together.
Members’ opportunity to drive Shelsley, spectate once we were happy we had taken extra measures to keep people distanced plus some thrilling sport on the hill with some of the fastest hill climbing we’ve seen for over seven years. We also had a brand new set of Top 10 Run Offs for Tin Tops, MAC Members and Sunrise Championship runners too to give those that extra thrill of being in the spot light during which many set new personal best times.
YouTube has sent the word of Shelsley Walsh far and wide to all corners of the globe and we know you’ve all enjoyed the chance to watch Shelsley from afar or even watch yourself on the hill to see those lines!
Shelsley Walsh 2020 in numbers
30,000+ views on the Shelsley Walsh YouTube channel
4,662 competitive runs up Shelsley Walsh
200 Arrive & Drive runs
115th year of Shelsley Walsh
50 helpers over two Working party days
11 days of competitive action
7 Top 10 Run Offs, one of which for Motorcycles
5 days of YouTube broadcasting
2 class records - Robert Kenrick - 1100 class 24.58 secs and Sean Gould - over 2 litre class 22.73 secs
22.71 - the second fastest ever run up Shelsley by Alex Summers
Countless smiles from drivers and spectators in beautiful summer sunshine
John Watson visits Shelsley
Five time F1 Grand Prix winner John Watson was a welcome guest at Shelsley Walsh in September when he was in the area. Having heard about the hill but never had the chance to visit he was blown away with the speed of the quickest cars, the challenge of the hill and the attitude of all the drivers on the day.
After having a swift run up the hill in the course car ‘Wattie’ watched from the Bottom Ess slot and was soon giving advice to the going past. ‘Wrong gear’, ‘More gas’ or ‘I had one of those once’ was an oft heard expression. He didn’t quite see a 22 second run from Gould or Summers but he did vow to return along with David Addison, Wattie’s co-commentator in the TV booth for the GT3 races around the world.
Watson won the first F1 race for Penske at Austria in 1976, the first and only Penske F1 victory before winning the first Grand Prix in a full carbon tub car at Silverstone 1981. Later that season he suffered a huge crash at Monza that snapped the car in half with the engine going one way and the tub going the other…but John hopped out and was OK. That really was the first example that carbon tubs were strong as well as stiff to not flex under load.
Alex Summers 22.71 seconds
After 4,661 competitive runs in 2020 it fell to the very last one for Alex Summers to do the fastest time up Shelsley Walsh this season with an amazing 22.71 seconds in the DJ Firestorm Cosworth V8. The stunning commitment, the theatre of the very last run, the broadcasting of it all on YouTube and all in a car that wows the crowds with its sound and menacing looks laid for a perfect story to cap off 2020. With the outright record set by Martin Groves in August 2008 of 22.58 seconds and no 22 second runs since 2014 with Jos Goodyear, Shelsley has seen Sean Gould and Alex rattle off a thrilling number of fast times of late.
Summers was still letting 22 seconds soak in a couple of days later. “I was sitting on the line and I saw Trevor’s time in front of me (PB for Trevor at 23.10) and I thought ‘Ah, that’s rather good’ so I thought that there was a good time in the hill there and then. You’ve seen the splits and I’m very happy to get to Bottom Ess so well (quicker than Groves’ record) even if I lost 0.15 through the Esses over my previous best split the same day. If I could take that best Esses split forward with that last run then I’m getting closer to Martin (Groves’s) record.”
All the more impressive was Alex was on tyres from June 2019 but what appeared from the rush of fast times towards the end of 2020 was that the track is not as bad as some thought for a record to be on the cards.
“Yeah, there’s proof the hill still has the time in it as well as the car still having lots of potential too after three years with the V6 in the back of the Firestorm. We still have another 1500 revs to go (to 14,500rpm) from where we’re at as well as some electric stuff we can fine tune too but overall the proof is that the car will do it.”
“What I must say is that if it wasn’t for Sean Gould doing the times earlier in the year then things might’ve been different. There’s nothing like that competition bit of pressure and people such as Sean, Trevor Willis, Martin Groves’ time in the first place keep the fire lit underneath me. Thank you for pushing me.”
Sean Gould said, “It’s been a great season for me to get into the groove with my car that is only in its second season. I had to get up to full speed with it while I also am so happy to have supported Shelsley by being there and I hope putting on a show through YouTube and at the track. The GR59 is more than capable of taking the record but I’m gradually getting up to speed with it; it’s quick! Over the winter nothing will stand still technically with a few more ideas we have here at Gould so 2021 will be very exciting.”
All of this now means the ’22 Club’ is now made up of Martin Groves with 22.58 seconds, Alex Summers 22.71, Sean Gould 22.73, Scott Moran 22.83 and Jos Goodyear 22.86 and all with six time Champion Moran in the same car as Gould next year too. The race is on for the Shelsley record!
The on board of Alex’s run is on all three of our social media channels but here is the direct link to Facebook.
Holiday at our Shelsley Walsh Cottages
The perfect chance to spend time away in the English countryside right at the base of Shelsley Walsh is now available. After the MAC purchased the cottages at the base of the hill last year, an extensive ground-up maintenance has taken place and brand new furnishings added to both properties so now the two stunning cottages at Shelsley Walsh hill climb are ready for your break away in the glorious setting of the Teme Valley.
Named Segrave after Henry Segrave’s success at Shelsley in the late 1920s and Campbell after Malcom Campbell’s numerous visits to the hill in the 1930s. The pair of drivers regularly traded outright Land Speed records from 1924 to 1935 when the mark was moved from 146 mph to 301 mph. There are still trophies awarded to successful drivers at Shelsley Walsh each year that were originally awarded to Segrave and Campbell.