The pleasures and pitfalls of competitive motor sport were fully highlighted at a very entertaining but mixed event at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb over the weekend.
The Midland Automobile Club hosted its first British Championship event of the year where large crowds of spectators were treated to a nail-biting first run-off finish - for the fastest twelve cars of the day - with 2012 champion Trevor Willis in his V8-powerd OMS 28 beating rising star Jos Goodyear, in his new supercharged motorcycle-engined GWR Raptor, by a mere 4/100ths of a second.
The afternoon run-off event was marred by a spectacular crash involving current 4th placed championship driver Wallace Menzies while approaching the Bottom Ess section at over 130 mph in his Cosworth-powered DJ Firestorm. Scottish driver Menzies was tended at the scene for some time by on-site medical staff and marshals, before being taken to hospital from where he was released after treatment for a cracked cheek bone, stiches and bruising.
Menzies is now in fine spirits and said that it now felt like the results of a rough game of rugby and that he hoped to return to Shelsley Walsh later in the year, adding special thanks and tributes to the rescue staff at Shelsley Walsh.
The perfect conditions saw two new records set, one by Jos Goodyear with a time of 23.67 seconds in the 2 litre racing car class and one by Richard Jones with a 29.10 run driving his Brabham BT29X in the pre 1971 sports and racing car class.
Jos Goodyear received the „Man of the Meeting‟ award for his amazing exploits gaining his class record together with a 2nd and 3rd place in the run-offs, while Tom New, driving a Gould GR55 took a rare top spot in the final run-off of the day with a time of 23.55 seconds.
The weekend also hosted rounds of the Midland Hill Climb Championship, with 90 competitors taking part, but reigning champion Rob Stevens failed to score any points after yet again suffering mechanical failure during practice. This left Mike Turpin in his supercharged Vauxhall 220 and Robert Lancaster-Gaye in his Porsche GT3 to win their classes and take maximum points to move to the top of the current championship table.
British championship contender Ash Mason, driving a DJ Firehawk, crashed at Kennel Bend causing severe damage to his single seater racing car and later took to social media to thank people, saying: "I‟m OK and the car is repairable, the chassis is intact as the wings and wishbones did their job properly by absorbing the impact.
"I cannot thank the marshals and medics enough for their quick response to my incident and to their continued care both on the hill and back down in the paddock, and also to the many fellow competitors who helped me load the car into the trailer."
On a lighter note, MAC staff member Rachel Lovett, aged 22, competed in her „well worn‟ 1954 Morris Minor in which she will take part in a 10,000 mile charity four week adventure to Mongolia next month and duly received the applause and admiration of the crowds.
Other class winners included Allan Warburton in his Caterham 7, Carl Jones in an Austin Mini, Tim Cross in an OMS, Graham Wynn in a Force, Mark Goodyear in an OMS Hornet, Richard Spedding in a Force PC, Rodney Eyles in a Pilbeam and Will Hall in a Force.
Richard Prior in an F355 took the honours in a class for cars entered into the 2014 Ferrari Hill Climb Championship with John Marshall coming second in a 430 Scuderia model.
In the class for Shelsley Specials, Peter Speakman came first with a time of 34.48 in his Farm Special while Jan Nycz in his Staride Mk111 came top in the special class for members of the 500 Owners Association.