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18 Jun 2024

Photos by Ange Rose and Claudia Jedrisko

Fourth and fifth rounds of the Porsche Club Speed Championship

Loton Park Hill Climb

Porsche Club GB Speed Championship 2024 with NINEMEISTER
Loton Park Hillclimbs 8&9 June
It would be very fair to say that as I left my home to head to Loton Park in Shropshire the weather was less than great, in fact it was wet and cold and grey enough to be October rather than early June!

Happily, the conditions did improve as I neared the venue, a stunning slice of English countryside with trees bordering the circuit as it winds snake-like up the hill through green parkland. The park contains deer that might (and did) make an appearance calmly browsing the grass among the cars during the quieter periods. 

We had another strong entry of Porsche cars for both the Saturday and Sunday events, the weekend also including the British Hillclimb Championship with their incredibly rapid specialised Hillclimb cars screaming up the hill.

Saturday Practice
We had two cars looking for the P1 (over 360BHP) class win. David Hilton in his slick shod 996 and David Dyson in his later model 992 GT3.

Faced with a grey and cold hill all the drivers took their first run keeping something in hand. The second, with the grip levels established, were all significantly quicker and it was David Hilton that was the quicker of the two exiting practice in a time of 59.84 seconds (after correction for slicks applied).
In P2 , the class for cars up to 360hp (plus standard road legal cars from P1) Ian Wadsworth (911 SC/RS 3.0) was quickest by a couple of seconds at the end of practice ahead of Mel Spear in his 964 Cup car.

P3 (Cars up to 280bhp and Standard Road Cars from P2) promised to be a close run thing and just two seconds covered the top three at the end of practice, Wayne Eason in the slick shod Boxster leading the charge in a very quick 60.89 seconds.

Martin Leach and Stephen Jory have been swapping results this year in P4, just as they did last year. Its great to see both of these hard charging drivers battling it out in very different cars. Martin Leach in his 911E ended practice ahead of Stephen Jory and his 944S2 by less than half a second in a time of 61.60 seconds.  Lying in third Jake Cartwright continued his run of form to record a sub 64 second run and Hannes Tanzer and Ian Cristol both charged up the hill with style and speed to end the practice session for the day.

Saturday Scoring Runs
Two scoring runs were on offer, so mistakes made on the first would pile on the pressure for the second, but then too conservative a "banker" might also mean a wasted chance come the second timed run later in the day.
In P4 the "to you-to-me" battle continued into the scoring runs. In the first Stephen Jory took the 944 S2 to a brilliant sub 60 second time recording 59.97 seconds but Martin Leach was only approx 0.8 seconds slower. In the second Martin and Stephen were both a bit slower and so it was Stephen's swift first run time that took the P4 class win on the day. Jake managed to break the 63 second barrier to end in third place and both Hannes Tanzer and Ian Cristol recorded big improvements to their earlier times.

In P3 Chris Milne impressed in his Boxster, new the venue and still very new to the sport, he managed a very credible 65,62 second best time. Jon Baldock, while a regular speed driver, was also new to the venue and so a sub 65 second time in his Boxster was a great result. The top three cars ended the day just 1.1 seconds apart. In third was Geraint Evans, always quick in his Carerra 3.0 with a best time of 61.52 seconds. Just 0.32 seconds quicker was Graham Rose, the supercharged 924s and he working well together to take second but fastest in the class was Wayne Eason who managed a best of 60.41 seconds to take the P3 class win in his Boxster.

In P2 Mark Joynson-Bickerstaffe is new to the sport and new to the venues this year. Its credit to him that despite a small off on his first practice run he managed to improve to a solid 68.25 second time driving his road legal Boxster S. Simon Carr was in great form in the previous Sprint event and here again he was quick in his (also road legal) Cayman S grabbing third for a best time of 65.49 seconds.

The P2 class win was to be decided between Mel Spear in his striking 964 Cup car and Ian Wadsworth in the slick wearing 911 SC/RS 3.0. Mel tried hard and managed a quick 62.18 second best time but Ian used his tires and experience to good effect to manage a best time of 60.19 seconds to claim the P2 class win for the day.

The different balance of power and grip levels between the two P1 cars seemed to be levelling them up as they ran through their two scoring runs. A moment on the first run put David Dyson some way behind but he recovered well in his second effort to record best of 60.44 seconds. David Hilton was very consistent all day and three of his his times were just 0.53 seconds apart. His best time (after slicks adjustment ) was a 59.17 second run, winning the P1 class for the Saturday event.

So a great day of sport, close as ever and in a brilliant setting, roll on Sunday!

Saturday Results here
Sunday Event
The weather dawned wet and cold in Cheshire as I made my second journey to the Loton Park venue. Luckily , as in the day before, the weather was better at the Hillclimb itself and while a little grey and at times chilly it was dry and hopes were high of increased temperatures and decreased run times throughout the day.
Sunday Practice
Being just a day after the first event on the same hill it would be reasonable to assume the track would be the same, but those in the sport know things can change with temperature and a little sun or rain and nothing is certain, so practice was as important as ever.

In P1 David Hilton came back from a slightly cautious first run to be quickest in practice in his 996 with a time of 59.32 seconds. David Dyson was close behind though in 60.19 seconds.

Simon Carr wasn't able to drive the second day and so we had three cars taking part in P2. In practice Ian Wadsworth was quickest with a 60.60 second run and Mel Spear not far behind in 63.80 seconds.
All the P3 drivers improved across their two practice runs. Geraint Evans was just one hundredth of a second behind Graham Rose lying in second place in a time of 61.77 seconds. However it was Wayne Eason who was again out in front as practice ended with a 60.41 second run.

The times recorded in P4 were again close for the top two runners. Stephen Jory in the 944S2 was the quicker in practice some 0.73 seconds ahead of Martin Leach and the pretty 911E.

Sunday Scoring Runs
As we got to the all-important scoring runs the conditions were by now warm, dry and the track clean and offering good grip.

In the two car P1 battle between the Davids, David Hilton and David Dyson, both drivers were consistent with times just a few tenths apart in each scoring run. On this occasion and opposite to the Saturday result it was David Dyson in his GT3 who took the P1 win for the day in 58.81 seconds.

After achieving the fastest P2 class time on the Saturday Ian Wadsworth was hoping to repeat the result. Although his second run was slower his first scoring run was a brilliant 59.23 second effort, the fastest Porsche time of the day with the 911 SC/RS 3.0 and the class winning time. In second place Mel Spear was again quick in his 964 Cup car recording a 62.22 second time. Mark Joynson-Bickerstaffe didn't let a minor off earlier deter him from a great weekend best time of 66.39 to end the day third in class P2.
In P3 Rules were about to play a small part in the results. There are penalties if a driver drifts a wheel into the corner markers strategically placed around the bends most likely to be cut.

Wayne Eason was trying as hard as he ever and slightly knocked one of those corner markers. For that he received a one second penalty. This meant his second scoring run had to be both fast given the very real speed of the others in his class and also accurate avoiding any corner post contact.

In the end Wayne in his Boxster was indeed both quick and accurate and took the P3 class win in a time of 60.47 seconds from a very close behind Graham rose in his Supercharged 924s who achieved a time of 60.56 seconds, yes just 0.09 seconds slower!

Geraint Evans improved his best practice time to set a 61.25 second time to take third place in class and Jon Baldock ended the day in fourth place with Chris Milne again improving by half a second from his best time Saturday time taking fifth.
Given his speed on the Saturday where he managed a sub 60 second time in his 944S2 the question was would Stephen Jory be able to replicate or better that performance on the second day or would Martin Leach turn the order around?

Well Martin did deliver a quicker time than the previous day, a best of 60.52 seconds, however Stephen was again just a bit quicker with another sub 60 second time of 59.58 seconds to claim the P4 class win. Jake Cartwright brought His Boxster home in a time of 63.36 seconds to end the day third in P4.

Sunday Results here 

Championship points here

So, a second day of enjoyable and close sport with great company. More to come! Next event Prescott Hillclimb where we have around Nineteen cars entered! We have our social where drivers and guests can grab a butty, drink and a cup cake at lunchtime, nothing too grand but a chance to celebrate our brilliant championship. If you wanted to grab a bite and have not yet let me know you are coming please, please do so within next few days as I have to make sure we have enough butties! :)
See you out there!
Simon Wilson
Championship Coordinator
Porsche Club GB