Steeped in over 115 years of motor racing history, Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb never fails to impress and last weekend’s Championship Challenge was no exception. The often damp and changeable weather contributed to the thrilling and action-packed weekend of speed hill climbing.
British hill climb ace Sean Gould once again raced to victory in the thrilling ‘Top 10 Run Off’ with his stunning 700bhp Gould GR59 V8. Gould touched 130mph on Ess Approach and crossed the finish line at 146mph and went on to claim the coveted ‘Best Time of Day’ award with his impressive 23.85 seconds.
With just over half a second between them, three times British Champion Trevor Willis and title winner Alex Summers tied for second place, both recording 24.42 seconds! Warwickshire based Alex Summers also scooped the first Top 10 with a spell binding drive in his ex-Indy 500 engine DJ Firestorm.
Former Midland Hill Climb Champion Josh Sadler made his welcome return in a stunning Porsche 911 RSR replica setting an impressive 34.15 seconds in the road going class. Time Attack Champion from the circuits, Alex Bones also competed in his stealthy black Audi S3 against the likes of Audi TTs, BMW 1 series, Alfa Romeo 4C, Mini Cooper S and MGBs in the same class.
The weekend saw many ‘personal bests’ achieved and first-time competitors taking part. Tenbury Wells resident Darren Gumbley took to the wheel of Paul Jones’ Radical SR3 RS for the first time and surpassed the time set by its owner.
Speaking at the event, CEO of Motorsport UK Hugh Chambers said “Hill climbing has a wonderful relaxed racing atmosphere and a fantastic mix of age groups competing in a wide variety of vehicles and classes. The skill and commitment of the drivers in the fastest machinery is something to behold. Shelsley Walsh is one of the best places in the UK to watch motorsport, with its terrific facilities and exceptional views of the track. Watching the cars tackle the hill towards the Esses is so thrilling to witness”.
Chambers continued “it’s wonderful to see such a high proportion of women competing in the sport in everything from a Renault Clio, Porsche 911, historic Lotus to the latest carbon fibre single seaters. Also, drivers sharing cars, which is allowed in this branch of the sport, making it more affordable and practical from a cost and shared workload perspective.”
“I would like to extend my thanks to the many marshals, officials and volunteers that make the events happen; their passion, enthusiasm and commitment is second to none. Congratulations to all at Shelsley Walsh for getting back on track. I look forward to returning to more events in the future”.
Whilst standing at Bottom Ess watching the hill climb action, Hugh Chambers got to meet Anna-May Furness. It was Anna’s debut as a marshal, but she was no stranger to the sport having raced the previous day in her Peugeot 106 GTi setting her personal best.
For the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 members of the Midland Automobile Club had the opportunity to attend as spectators. The Club had worked hard over the past few weeks to implement new health and safety requirements and venue layouts.
The hill climb action was once again live streamed on the Shelsley Walsh YouTube channel reaching as far afield as Australia, Qatar, Minnesota, Portugal, Germany and throughout the UK. Nearly 10,000 people tuned in to watch all the action free of charge.
Both days can still be viewed on the Shelsley Walsh YouTube and Facebook pages. Full race results are available to download from the Shelsley Walsh event page here: shelsleywalsh.com/entriesresults
Hill climb action returns to Shelsley Walsh on 29 August – 30 August 2020 with the Summer Sizzler. Entries are open for those wishing to participate at the fastest hill climb in the UK!