Robert Kenrick put his name in the 113 year old history books of Shelsley Walsh by setting Best Time of Day at the season opening Speed into Spring meeting on May 6th. Now into his second year driving his BMW 1000RR bike powered GWR Raptor single seater, the former Midland Hill Climb Champion is set for a full season of giant killing with his baby blue car as he utilised it’s agility through the Esses to set the fastest split time through the two corners even though he ultimately gives top speed away on the long straight. 25.17 seconds was his outright winning time, an incredible feat considering the class record 12 months ago for his up to 1100cc category was nearly a second slower.
“It means a lot to win here at Shelsley Walsh especially with such super conditions for everyone to enjoy. The car’s superb to drive, it doesn’t want for anything and that means a 24 second run at the June or August meeting is easily on. I’m not really pushing too hard at the moment to be honest - I’m driving very much within the limits of me and the car, I mean, I’m not even flat through Crossing so it makes 25s this year like the 26s of last year.”
"Everything is different with this new engine though as it could've been very easy to put a load of bits on and not gain anything from it but that’s a reward of developing it over the last 18 months to give me 117mph over the line compared to my 110mph that I did last year.”
The car was engineered and built by former outright British Hill Climb Champion Graeme Wight Jr who was an outright Shelsley record holder in the 2000s, but now Robert and his Father Clive run the car from their Welsh base.
Many old hands, regular faces and experienced Shelsley aficionados were speechless at the speed shown from Kenrick in a car with a 1 litre engine and around 300kgs with him sat in it. With the rules of hill climbing having quite a free and open rule book, it gives the opportunity for cars such as these
Tewkesbury’s Tony Hunt was second overall in his Gould with a 3.5 litre V8 engine while John Chalmers was third in his Ralt that now has a turbo charged Suzuki Hayabusa engine in it. Man of the Meeting was awarded by the judges to up and coming driver, Matthew Ryder who only took delivery of his Empire 00 car on Friday, but got into the all important Top 12 Run Offs 48 hours later. Impressive stuff from another youngster on the hills.
The next action at Shelsley Walsh is going to be even quicker as the British Hill Climb Championship makes its first appearance in Worcestershire in 2018 over the weekend of June 2nd and 3rd.