Menu toggle

Motorsport

11 Jul 2023

Photos by Simon Wilson

Speed Championship Rounds 7 Prescott Hillclimb

Round 7 Prescott Hillclimb July 8th

For the seventh round of the Speed Championship, we travelled to Prescott Hillclimb near Gotherington. Organised by the Bugatti Owners Club the hill has a long history and hosts around 30 events a year. On site is the Bugatti Museum and clubhouse and the beautifully prepared and technically challenging hill is popular with drivers and spectators alike.
 
The Hill is 1127 yds long and after a fairly quick open run from the start to a understeer inducing hairpin bend climbs into a narrow tree lined avenue and Esses and ends after a long right-hand corner with a steep drop off on its outside. It’s not for the feint hearted but is a hugely rewarding drive when done well!
 
Practice
 
As the Porsche drivers were the first cars out the track was perhaps at its most ‘green’ for our competitors. Everyone knew that rain, possibly even a Thunderstorm had been muted in the weather forecasts and so despite being the first runners the Porsche drivers grasped the opportunity to have a dry and relatively clean first run.
 
In P4 we welcomed the Cristol father and son team again, Ian running with son Simon in their shared fully road legal Boxster S. Ian was the quickest in the first practice run but by just 0.19 seconds with a time of 56.71 seconds.  Jake Cartwright hasn’t been able to drive very often with us this season but we were pleased to see him again at this iconic hill. Jake managed a solid first practice time of 58.44 seconds in his Boxster.
 
Martin Leach and Stephen Jory have been closely matched all season and Prescott was to be no exception. In the first practice run Martin, in his 911 was just 0.4 seconds quicker than Stephen in his very different 944 to lead the P4 runners.
 
There were two drivers in P3, Wayne Eason and Geraint Evans. Both with plentiful experience of driving this very technical challenge. Wayne hustled the well-balanced Boxster to a great first practice time of 52.90 seconds however Geraint used the traction of his 911 Carrera to deliver a brilliant first run time of 50.59 seconds.
 
In P2 Ian and Nick Wadsworth were back running together with their 911 Carrera 3.0. Ian drove brilliantly on cold tires but was just 0.06 seconds slower than Nick who managed a very rapid first practice time of 49.61 seconds. Mel Spear and his 964 Carrera Cup car looked great on the hill and completed the run just a couple of seconds shy of the Wadsworth’s times. Simon Carr-Little was with us again after his well driven first outing at Loton Park a few weeks ago. Simon managed a sub 60 second first run time in his Cayman.
 
We welcomed another new driver into the P1 class at Prescott. Rupert Smith joined us driving his 991 GTS. No stranger to a race track Rupert quickly got to grips with the hill and put in a very respectable first run time 57.79 seconds.  The three-way battle between Tim Barber, David Hilton (both sharing the GT3) and Andy Fagan in his Boxster S promised to deliver some very impressive times. David piloted the big GT3 to 52.29 seconds and Tim 49.39 seconds but Andy Fagan was the quickest with a very strong first run time of 48.14 seconds.
 
The drivers were thinking about their second timed practice runs when the heavens opened and dumped some serious water onto the hill. The resultant major reduction in grip caused some minor dramas with running water on the track in places.
 
Everyone got through those second wet practice runs ok but with no improvements made it was then time to relax during lunchtime, to forget the wet experience and replay the dry first practice in their heads as they looked for those precious seconds, tenths or even hundredths.
 
The Prescott paddock is a very pleasant place to visit, with a large restaurant area, coffee stalls and club shop, not to mention the fabulous spread of metal on display from the vintage to the modern and all lovingly turned out. Some of the drivers took advantage of the offerings in the paddock, and some (the Cristols) even held their own high intensity Rock/Paper/Scissors tournament. I can confirm that Ian won!
 
Scoring Runs
 
The sun had come back out during lunch and for the first scoring timed runs the track looked dry on the start line. All was not as it seemed though, and the drivers coming back from the hill reported some remaining treacherous damp areas. Times across the classes were better than the very wet second practice but a long way short of the quickest times so far achieved during the first dry practice run. With the conditions better understood the drivers prepared themselves for the second and final scoring timed runs.
 
In P4 Ian Cristol ended the second timed run with a good time for a fully road legal car of 58.65 seconds, just a couple of seconds ahead of Jake Cartwright. Ending the day in a very credible third place in the class was Simon Cristol. Simon, driving the shared fully road going Boxster S managed a best time of 55.37 seconds, not far behind the top two class contenders.
 
The competition between Martin Leach and Stephen Jory, Stephen in a 944 and Martin a 911, ended with Martin taking the P4 class win in a great time of 51.36 seconds, a time that would have grabbed second in class P2.
 
As ever Wayne Eason and Geraint Evans were swapping the lead in each timed run. In the first scoring run Geraint was quicker by about half a second, in the second run it was Wayne that had the advantage with a very quick time that took the P3 class win of 52.23 seconds.
 
In P2 Simon Carr-Little improved his time by nearly 2 seconds in the second run. Ending the day third in class was Mel Spear. The distinctive 964 sounded serious as it shot past us on the way to the iconic Ettores bend and on to best time of 53.41 seconds.
On a dry track there really was nothing between Ian and Nick Wadsworth in the first scoring run, but in the second Nick found something extra and driving with his usual verve recorded a marvellous P2 class winning time of 50.38 seconds.
 
Our higher horsepower P1 class has been the scene of some very close battles this season and the Pescott scoring timed runs were just as competitive. Rupert Smith’s 991 looked fabulous as it streaked along under the trees on its way to the ever so tight Pardon bend. Rupert was in a road car on road tires and did well to grab a time of just over 57 seconds.
 
Taking third place in the class was David Hilton in the GT3 in a time of 50.70 seconds, the time corrected by the 2% slick penalty. Both David and Tim Barber had been impressive in their control of the car, but Tim was quickest of the two on the day and after the slick tire penalty of 2% was only just beaten for the P1 class win by Andy Fagan who pushed hard on the last timed run to end on top by just 0.08 seconds and a time of 49.05.
 
Yet again the speed championship had given us an exciting day of sport with a narrow winning margin, all the more impressive when you think how different the cars are and always exciting to watch.
 
Our next rounds are below, why not come along and talk to us if you are free?
 
Points Position, Class Leaders                   ‚ÄčThe Classes

P1 Tim Barber             100.59                        P1 Over 361bhp
P2 Ian Wadsworth       114.04                        P2 281-360bhp
P3 Geraint Evans         136.22                       P3 221-280bhp
P4 Stephen Jory          139.07                        P4 Up to 220bhp
 
 
Future Rounds                                              
22nd July          Castle Combe Sprint              
26/27 Aug        Snetterton Sprints                 
3rd Sept            Brands Hatch Sprint
16th Sept          Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb