The Autumn Speed Finale was a truly fitting end to another outstanding season of motorsport at Shelsley Walsh. It was a weekend of two halves – one of glorious sunshine and of stormy showers – but that didn’t put our competitors off as they pushed harder than ever to achieve the best times they could.
On Saturday, Stuart Bickley shot to the top of the timesheet while competing in the popular Jedi TDF, achieving a time of 26.81 seconds. He faced stiff competition within his class from Derek Sweeney and his OMS 2000M and Clive Austin’s Empire Wraith, who were just hundredths of a second behind him.
However, on Sunday, it was up to Lindsay Summers in the DJ Firestorm to triumph over the slippery conditions and earn the best time of day. The third in her family to achieve the BTD at Shelsley, Lindsay was absolutely thrilled. “I’m really chuffed to get the FTD,” said Lindsay. “I was particularly pleased to be the quickest in both competition runs, although the conditions were tricky – I’ve never known the Esses to be so bad!”
The weekend saw the introduction of a brand-new class at Shelsley Walsh – Class Z for Commercial Vehicles. After petitioning the MSA, Jim Henshaw managed to get a new class set up that his vintage hot rod could compete in – a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup that had been previously used for sand racing at Pendine. The official time for Class Z at Shelsley is now 39.95 seconds, so we’ll see what challengers arise in the 2020 season.
The weekend played host to rounds from numerous championships – the most we’d seen at Shelsley all year! Saturday staged the final round of the Paul Matty Sports Cars Lotus Championship, where several drivers managed to set personal bests, with best in classes from Sarah Bosworth in the Lotus Elise and Stephen Palmer in the Lotus 23B with times of 31.98 seconds and 33.84 seconds respectively.
A storming run from Nick Mugglestone (36.99 seconds) in a Mazda MX5 in Class A2.1 saw him achieve an unassailable lead at the top of the HSA Speed Championship with two rounds remaining. He was one of three competitors at the meet that broke the HSA record for their class. As a result, he gained 17 points – the maximum HSA points available – meaning he has gained full points for nine of the available rounds this season. He currently sits top of the pile with 153 points.
It was all change in the Pirelli Ferrari Hill Climb Championship following Sunday’s competition. Heading into the weekend Mike Spicer, competing this season in a distinctive yellow 328GTB, led David Snelson by one point in the standings. On a day of mixed weather conditions, it was Snelson who came out on top with a time of 34.76, a clear two seconds faster than Spicer.
The Jekyll and Hyde nature of the weekend’s weather proved to a be a great leveller in the 500 Owners Association’s competition with Pembrokshire-men John Dent and Fin Mackintosh, both competing in Coopers, battling out for precious championship points. Despite only competing on circuits this year, it was Mackintosh who came out on top in his first hill climb of this season, with just one second separating him from Dent.
Other triumphs were had by Justin Mather in the Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Speed Championship with Pirelli – he swiped the championship from Ian Wadsworth by just 0.34 of a second, competing in his Porsche 924. While in the Midland Speed Championship, Pete Taylor confirmed his championship win on Saturday while competing in a Mazda MX5, and Steve Barnard stormed into second place in his Nissan GTR.
View full results for Saturday here, and full results for Sunday by clicking here.
Photos kindly supplied by Stuart Santos-Wing, Dennis Rushton and Mighty.