Stuart Wing - HarvestFest13-09-20Stuart

Shelsley Walsh Newsletter

September 2020

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!

We are already working on plans to enhance 2021 for MAC Members so stay tuned with our social pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as here on ShelsleyWalsh.com.

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.

View the Campbell Cottage

View the Segrave Cottage

Gould in a Gould

Sean Gould has been driving hill climbs on and off since the early 80s with quite a break in-between until the latest GR59 appeared a couple of years ago, but now he’s come into a fantastic purple patch with the 4 litre Judd V8 behind him. Quick in his debut season in 2019 with records taken, his focus was upon a championship challenge in 2020 but we all know what happened to a disrupted season. However, Sean was out as soon as he could at our MAC Members’ day on July 18th getting his eye in, building the speed in the car.

 

Come September he was on stellar form with a 22.73 second run even though there was a wiggle in between the Esses that cost him time and probably the difference between the record and the 22.73 he ultimately did. 

 

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.”

The very first Tin Top 10

Our late August meeting had a brand new Run Off to cap the day off in the shape of the Tin Top 10. The spoils went to Damien Bradley and Steven Darley for a 1-2 finish with their Subaru Legacy that was bought of a lady in total bog standard form…but that was a long time ago. 

29.19 seconds was Bradley clocked an impressive 29.19 seconds from 29.44 of Darley ahead of a returning Roger Banks' 31.34 in his class record holding Audi A4 V8.

Bradley pulled a massive 122mph over the finish line with the 700+ bhp 4WD Legacy, something he'd been aiming for since his first competitive visit to Shelsley in July.

Richard Brant in the rapid Renault Clio was fourth ahead of Peter Flanagan's Mini Cooper GP and Olly Wright in his Peugeot 106GTi.

We will aim for another Run Off with roofs next year! 

Harvest Festival Shelsley

The aptly named Harvest Festival weekend over September 12th and 13th was just brilliant with the sun shining and a dry track giving some very quick times indeed, so much so that Robert Kenrick and Sean Gould broke the 1100 and unlimited capacity class records and then a real showdown between Alex Summers and Sean Gould with sub 22 second runs being traded between them amongst some great views and a relaxed atmosphere as MAC Members and Spectators. The weekend set the scene for the following weekend at the Autumn Speed Finale that had a full entry both days as is now par for the course and again some personal bests then set by so many drivers throughout the two days.

 

Peter Tomlinson 

I was privileged to be at Bottom Ess when Alex did that 22.71 run. When the time came up on the screen everyone broke into spontaneous applause. What a brilliant way to finish the season. Thank you MAC and Shelsley for having the strength of character and determination to keep this unique sport on this historic hill alive in such dreadful circumstances.

 

Gordon Lang

How lucky have we all been to have witnessed Alex & Sean battling over the last 2 weekends? Can't wait for it to start again next year, hopefully in better times with all the top cars and drivers back, thank you Shelsley, see you next year as 2 new members.

Maggs Day Centre

The Harvest Festival weekend had tables in the wooden barn and the Member’s tent for donations of food and supplies for the Maggs Day Centre in Worcester for those who are less fortunate than ourselves in terms of somewhere to live and sleep. By the time the car was loaded up to go to Worcester it was down a bit of the suspension to say the least! 

With the difficulty of events and attending them this year the guys at the centre are concerned that some donation won’t be as big as in previous years, but were heartened and extremely thankful of the time, care and donations made but so many at Shelsley. 

New drivers at Shelsley Walsh 

New drivers at Shelsley has been a great thing to see this summer with a whole host of drivers attacking Shelsley for the first time in all sorts of cars of all sorts of ages. Tom Weaver has been coming to the hill for many a year but he sat in a Formula Ford for the first time this season and immediately got the buzz as did Max Hawkes in their family Formula Ford, getting down to a 36.41 second run in September. 

 

Alex Bones brought his Audi A3 with now 500bhp three times to the hill and managed to get to a very respectable 32.77, John McQuillan had done the Driving School and naturally wanted to jump into competition with his Mini Cooper as did Adele Hunt while James Evans used the 4wd Subaru Impreza for his first year on the hill too. The flash of colour Kevin Knight brought to the hill was brilliant too in his Russell Brookes look-a-like Talbot Sunbeam. Rallying heaven…

 

Don’t forget that Alex Summers started in the Formula Ford class and look at him now!

2021 Dates

The latest 2021 dates for your diary are all up on the website here so ink them in well ahead! 

Members’ Day

Our final day on the hill for people to try out their own cars went well on September 25th after a little bit of damp on the track in the morning but enjoyed a trouble free day of running. Everyone had a great time - sometimes warmer in their cars than out of them, but all with huge smiles.

Photoshoots at Shelsley Walsh

We’ve had two photo shoots at Shelsley Walsh recently with the 130R Performance crew using the hill in both direction under sunny skies for some great pictures while Car Mad Dad came along in his BMW M2 to get a feel of what it would be like. How good are these pictures of the Mini? A great sense of speed.

 

For Car Mad Dad, search on YouTube 'Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb BMW M2 Competition'

Cars & Coffee

The second Cars & Coffee evening for MAC Members took place on Thursday 17th September with another great array of cars and then the chance for people to catch up over the best Fish and Chips around thanks to Graham and Zoe in the Restaurant. We will do more of these next year when the weather looks better come spring so keep tuned for the dates we have up our sleeves.

Arrive & Drive

After a morning of competition on August 29th we had an afternoon of Arrive & Drive for anyone with a car and a crash helmet to drive Shelsley Walsh. For just £10 a run the paddock was brim full of all sorts of cars and bikes including a brand new Lamborghini, some racers who stayed on from the morning, a Daytona 675 motorcycle, Aston Martins and even Driving School instructor Tina Hawkes in her GT86 Toyota. “It’s not as quick as my Force racer..I was wondering if the hand brake was still on on the way up...”

 

The afternoon was a perfect way for people to try Shelsley for the very first time after coming for years spectating or being introduced to the hill through the Breakfast Club.

Not everything was the latest 20th century car though as Paul Skitt brought along his HRG that competed in the very first year of the British Hill Climb Championship in 1947 pictured below at Craigantlet in 1947. If you look closely, the gentleman on the left with the hat is Raymond Mays who won the very first British Hill Climb Championship that year.

Fiat Abarth Day

Abarth took the hill over for a day of test driving and instruction for some of the UK’s most accomplished journalists to get their hand in up the hill. Soon there was less ‘it’s only short’ chatter as people built the bravery to take Crossing without lifting in the Abarth 595 Scorpioneoro and 595 Monster Energy Yamaha models. Trophies were awarded for Most Exciting Start as well as Most Improved Driver over the day. 

 

As some readers will know, the 595 Abarth range is huge fun so you can only imagine what it was like to drive the range on the hill.

Richard Brown 50 years

Former record holder at Shelsley Walsh Richard Brown came to the Harvest Festival meeting with son George in their trusty Mallock Mk 17 but what marked the drive was Richard notching up five decades of driving at Shelsley Walsh from the 1960s to the 2020s.

 

“I think I came in 1967 first but definitely 1968 in a Cooper Type 76 that I’d bought to do the British F3 Championship in. The trouble was that it didn’t have the latest engine in for the circuits but it was quick on the hills, especially when I put a Lotus Twin Cam in it. I upgraded to a Felday and then an F5000 car but think I’ve done every single year without fail even if one year I did VSCC Shelsley in a 1927 Lancester when it took me all day to try and beat 70 seconds. There’s a picture somewhere of me waving at the family on the way up rather than the way down.”

 

Richard set his name into Shelsley history with a brilliant record breaking drive in the Pilbeam MP58 in June 1992 with 25.34 seconds, a mark that stood for nine years, the second longest standing record holder at Shelsley after Martin Groves.

Kim Johnson

It was with a very heavy heart that we learned on September 17th of the sudden death of Kim Johnson one of the ‘Dibnahs’ who volunteered many hundreds of hours at Shelsley with maintenance and wise words about the venue.  Kim was last at the hill during the Harvest Festival weekend and was due to drive the following weekend in his Mallock he shared with Robin Nicholson.

 

A minute’s silence was held before the meeting took place on September 20th at 1.15 during which Kim’s cars were positioned on the start line…..you could have heard a pin drop. 

 

Unbeknown to us at Shelsley his friends and colleagues were also having a minutes silence at Brands Hatch too.

 

All of his friends in the hill climb paddock send their thoughts and sympathies to wife Jenny and Family.

ERA R4D prints

Prints of the most famous of all ERAs, R4D, have been very kindly donated to the club by former 1980s Top 10 runner Godfrey Crompton. We have these in the office at present and are very happy for them to be collected by anyone who would like a large part of Shelsley history to go on their wall. Collection (we have a safe distance policy in lace) is advised due to the delicate nature of the prints but we’re offering these at a very attractive £25.

 

Email Sarah@mac1901.co.uk to reserve yours.

YouTube coverage

Three weekends at Shelsley Walsh were covered in 2020 through the Shelsley Walsh YouTube channel with around 30,000 live views over the six days and viewers tuning in from all over the globe. The solidity of Superfast broadband now makes the whole job much less stressful to get the signal out of the valley rather than resting on an EE mobile phone signal.

 

Thanks to Rich Danby, Al Rayner, Eddie Walder, John Moody, Toby Moody and Chris Drewett who set up and commentated throughout the season.

 

Just a selection of comments were;

 

Graham Fradgley

“Shelsley YouTube coverage was superb. Next best thing to being there!”

 

Andy Johnson

“The live stream just keeps getting better! Liking the inscreen so you can see both cars and the finish line camera too. 

Also the cuts into Shelsley history when there are pauses in the action is perfect, very professional and very enjoyable to watch.”

 

Simon Bath

“Keep up the good work and I certainly will be renewing my membership for next season after the two live streams which for members who can't or don't feel it is right to attend has been a superb answer from the MAC team.”

 

Philip Rogers

“Nice to be able to watch from Australia, great racing and video work.”

Driving School

by Gary Thomas

 

Tuesday 8th September saw the second Shelsley Walsh hill climb school of this shortened 2020 season. The weather started fine and got better throughout the day with a host of shopping cars sat next to supercars but the only thing that mattered was the driving. 

 

As usual we hosted those who just wanted to have the opportunity of driving Shelsley once in their life as well as those wanting to hone their driving in preparation for the next competitive outing at our world famous hill. We always also see people who have attended previous school days with us and it's always nice to see these familiar faces.

All of the days drivers saw a noticeable degree of improvement and the driver who was awarded Most Improved was Lee Hammond in a beautiful Morgan. Best Novice of the day was Jason Taylor who planned to be competing by the end of the season and Driver Of The Day was Tony Maughan in his early Mazda MX5 who emerged just ahead of Alex Chard and Nigel Pitt. 

 

Many of the students wished to pass on their thanks to all of the marshals and those who had ensured that the day went ahead so successfully.

 

The instructors were Tina Hawkes, Peter Cox, Trevor Willis and Gary Thomas.

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Written and compiled by Toby Moody.

 

Thank you to photos from Shelsley Instagram @shelsleywalsh, Rob MacDonald, Dennis Wood, Tom Gay, Peter McFadyen, Geoff Robinson, Stuart Wing, Ian Dowding, Nigel Mee and James Green

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