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Motorsport

09 Jul 2024

Photos by Ange Rose

Sixth Round of the Porsche Club Speed Championship

Prescott Hill Climb

Porsche Club GB Speed Championship 2024 with NINEMEISTER

Prescott Hillclimb 29 June
 
As I wandered up through the Prescott Hillclimb paddock at 6am on the (very sunny) morning of 29th June I wondered what Ettore Bugatti might have made of the sight of some of his glorious vintage cars competing alongside a mouth-watering selection of classics and of course our own finely tuned Porsche machinery.
 
Would he have approved? I hope so because this meeting organised by the Bugatti owners club really does present a feast to the eyes and ears of any true petrol head and the surroundings, the Gloucestershire countryside and its famous hill present a driving challenge that anyone who has faced it never forgets.
 
We had a fantastic entry of 20 cars evenly split across the four power classes with a mix of very experienced and very new drivers taking part. It was also our "Social" event where we had invited drivers to bring along family and friends and Sponsors and Club officials also invited to share lunch and stories with our group.


 
Practice Runs
It was a truly beautiful day, sunny, hot and dry and the hill looked to be in great condition as our first practice started. Unusually we were told there would be three practice runs which was welcomed by most as a chance to refine their driving before the points were to be won.
 
 We had 4 drivers running in P1. David Hilton was in his 996 and was facing a 2% penalty to be added to all of his times due to choosing to run slick tyres. He was soon on the pace and improved with each of the three practice runs on offer to a best practice time of 48.23. David is one of our established and experienced drivers. He is also a very sporting chap who, when he realised one of the new drivers needed to borrow a helmet, offered to share his by changing the running order to make the swap possible. This was no surprise to the rest of us, it’s what speed people like David do!
 
Wayne Helme was driving his 718 GT4 on road tires took over 4 seconds off his first practice run to end the morning with a 54.91 second time.  David Dyson and his 992 GT3 has been very quick so far this year and it was to be more of the same as he ended practice in 48.29 seconds. However, it was Richard Snow, with his Cayman GT4 that was quickest in practice with a time of 47.82 seconds, all the more impressive as it he had just got his car back from some gearbox work.
 
In P2 Mark Joynson-Bickerstaffe honed his time in his Boxster S by approx 4 seconds. Simon Carr ended practice with a moment, or in his own words “ escaping a fleeting and unfulfilling relationship with the tire barrier " Yes he got it wrong, no he didn't actually hit anything so all good for the timed runs after lunch!
 
Fastest in P2 as practice ended was Ian Wadsworth who was on good form and was soon into 49 second times in his 911 SC/RS  recording a best practice of 49.69 seconds. Mel Spear wasn't far behind in his 964 Cup car consistently in the sub 52 second bracket.
 
We had two new drivers in P3. Alex Lawler in his road legal Cayman S and Stephen Jennings driving a road legal 911.Stephen ended practice on a brilliant time of 53.05 seconds. Alex Lawler fell foul of a timing system error on his first practice but bounced back to a sub 60 second time which was again a great time for a first run at the tricky Prescott Hill.


 
Chris Milne, new to the championship this year and also in a road legal car, continued his impressive pace ending practice in under 54 seconds. The top three cars in P3 were separated in practice by just over 2 seconds, Jon Baldock and Wayne Eason not quite able to Match Geraint Evans at this point as he recorded a great 49.55 second practice time in his Carrera 3.0.
 
Everyone now expects Stephen Jory and Martin Leach to be swapping the lead of the P4 class run after run with perhaps just a tenth or even less between the two. Stephen in his 944 S2 model was on top at the end of practice by just a couple of tenths, but who would take the win later was anybody's guess!
 
Lunch!
Yes we did Lunch or perhaps better described as an excellent gathering of friends, family, Sponsor and club officials. Good food, glorious sunshine and enough cold drinks (soft drinks!) to help cool the brows of all preset. A smashing spread was laid on by the Prescott team and financed by our Sponsors. The Main sponsor, Colin Belton of NINEMEISTER, was able to spend several hours meeting and chatting with the drivers some of whom he had competed with in the past.


 
Scoring Timed Runs
David Hilton continued putting in great times in his 996 but the slicks penalty applied (2%) did hurt his final numbers such that he ended the day with a still very swift 49.70 second time to take the third place in P1. David Dyson was remarkably consistent with two runs just one tenth of a second apart to capture class runner up 48.22 seconds, very quick for a road car on road tires. However, Richard Snow takes the top consistency prize with three consecutive runs just 0.07 seconds apart!!  He managed an impressive best of 47.89 seconds to take the P1 Class win in the Cayman GT4.
 
Ian Wadsworth continued to push hard in the 911 SC/RS and scored a best of just over 49 seconds to take the win in P2. To put that into context the much more powerful cars in P1 averaged around the same time. Ian's car is very much lighter as a modified car and he is using slicks, however its still interesting to see how close the classes with different weights and power outputs can end up.
 
Mel Spear started the scoring runs with no time recorded for his first due to a moment. It’s always unsettling when that happens as you have only the final run to capture a decent time for points, however he held his nerve very well to end up runner up in the P2 class with a solid time of 52.18 seconds. Third place was very close between the two P2 road going cars of Simon Carr and Mark Joynson-Bickerstaffe. Both drivers managed quick 54 second runs in all of their scoring times but it was Mark who brought the Boxster S back a few tenths ahead of Simon to take third in P2
 
The top two drivers in P3 set 50 second times across all of their scoring runs. Wayne Eason in his Boxster was just quickest after the first run but a very on form Geraint Evans reversed the position in the second to take the P3 class win with a 50.27 second time. Geraint's car is very recognisable to many folk at speed events as he has been running it (and refining it) every year pretty much since the Championship began. The sleek silver Carrera 3.0 has always been quick and after a gearbox build this year is now even quicker!
 
What, Stephen Jory nearly 17 seconds behind Martin Leach in the 911E after the first scoring timed run, it can’t be true I hear you cry!.
 
Well yes it was true, mainly due to Stephen taking a dislike to a barrier and trying to elbow it out of the way!!  Stephen brought the car back and all were relieved to see that there was just a small amount of paint transfer onto his car and no real damage. You'd be forgiven for thinking he would perhaps take it a bit easier after that moment? Nope! Stephen pushed hard to end the day just one tenth of a second behind Martin who himself managed a brilliant P4 time of 49.68 seconds in the 911E to take the win. Jake Cartwright continues his march towards the top times in the class with 52.05 second run to end the day in 3rd place in his Boxster.
 
Sun, more sun, great driving ,new friends and lovely grub!
Can we do all of that again please!! :)
 
Cheers
Simon
  
Simon Wilson
Championship Coordinator
Porsche Club GB
simonwilson@porscheclubgb.com