Barbon Hillclimb Reports

Barbon Nat A/B Hillclimb  – 1st July 2017

Event cancelled.

Following an inspection of the venue on 29th June the decision was taken to cancel the 1st July Barbon Hillclimb.

Rainfall had been unusually high over the previous week which resulted in the paddock becoming substantially waterlogged. Despite there being no further rain forecast until after the event, it was clear that the ground conditions would not recover sufficiently by Friday evening / Saturday morning to allow competing cars and their attendant vehicles, trailers etc to safely negotiate the paddock. Frustratingly, the course itself was in near perfect condition and of course was completely dry on the day of the event.

All we can do is to apologise to members who entered the event or were looking forward to watching the annual visit of the British Hillclimb Championship. It’s clear that our summers are getting wetter and we need to do something to make the venue less vulnerable.
When the ground is wet, the problems start the evening before an event when competitors start arriving with trucks, motorhomes, vans, trailers etc which inevitably chew up the ground even before competing cars have to negotiate the grass paddock and having to tow vehicles back onto firm ground is not something we wish to see.
We are looking at ways of tackling the land drainage issues at Barbon as we strive to improve this spectacular and challenging venue for the future but for 363 days a year it’s a farm and as there are only 2 motorsport events a year to provide funding, the work needs careful planning in order to be affordable.

We tried to find a replacement date in July or August, but this has not proved to be possible as all available dates clash with other events.

Barbon Nat B Hillclimb – 10th June 2017

Wet, Wet, Wet!                                                                                          Report by John Harden

Seven hours of continuous rain was the order of the day at Barbon in June and although the track itself stood up to the conditions remarkably well, the same cannot be said for the paddock and spectator car parks. Although some competitors decided not to turn up, 67 did venture out and make the most of the day. The event was running remarkably well given the conditions, right up to the point that a car lost the contents of its sump and left an oil slick from the approach to the hairpin right up to the top paddock.
Oil & water on Tarmac are not a good combination so an early lunch was called whilst our venerable marshals and officials treated the track with detergent, much brushing and copious amounts of additional water. Never has the hairpin been so clean!  We resumed after lunch but it soon became apparent that the paddock was slowly becoming waterlogged and cars were having great difficulty gaining access to the track. So the tough decision was taken to call it a day after the first timed run – much to the approval of the vast majority of competitors. No records were set of course but most people enjoyed the day.
We greatly appreciate the many comments of support that we received after the event. We tried to keep things going, but safety had to be foremost in our decision, and calling a halt was the right thing to do.     And, of course, at 4.30pm, the sun came out!

Barbon Nat A/B Hillclimb  – 2nd July 2016     

Moran and Willis again at Barbon National                                                                           

Report by Jerry Sturman With acknowledgements to the Hillclimb and Sprint Association’s magazine – SPEEDSCENE

 On the busiest weekend on the British hillclimb calendar, the trans-Pennine north of England double at Barbon Manor and Harewood, championship leaders Scott Moran and Trevor Willis traded run-off wins on Saturday’s Barbon event as intermittent rain swept across the Cumbrian fellside. Willis got the better of the weather to set FTD in first qualifying on a damp track, but in the wetter run-off a big tailslide exiting Lafone hairpin, yards before the finish line, blunted his attack on Moran’s time set moments earlier and the series leader took the win by four hundredths.           Behind the wheel at Barbon for the first time in 28 years, Sean Gould took a fine top qualifying place for the second shoot-out in his GR59-Suzuki, with Moran settling for a cautious seventh place in the batting order. After qualifying third behind Dave Uren, this time Willis made no mistakes. Spectacular as ever in the OMS V8 through the fast Richmond left-hander, he took the win by a quarter of a second from Wallace Menzies, who had shadowed the two championship front-runners in his Gould-NME in the opening run-off. In another fine drive from Gould, the top 1600cc runner on the day put the GR59 in third place leaving Moran’s GR61X was left in a safe fourth spot, there being no need for heroics with his series lead over Willis still relatively comfortable as they left for the following day’s Harewood meeting.

Will Hall’s fortunes seemed to be improving with a useful fourth place in the opening run-off,  but it all went wrong in the second qualifying session. Running full wets on the front and intermediates on the back, he got a wheel on the grass at Crabtree just after the start and spun the Force-AER into the barrier. Fortunately the car was undamaged, although the chance of a run-off place had evaporated. With fifth and sixth place finishes, Dave Uren maintained his edge over Hall on the Championship table and his co-driver Nicola Menzies also made the cut each time, but Ed Hollier got the better of Uren’s Force-Suzuki turbocar in the second, wetter, shoot-out after just failing to qualify his normally aspirated Empire Evo-Suzuki for the opening bout.

His PCD Saxon sidelined with engine problems, Steve Marr was sharing Richard Spedding’s GWR Raptor for the weekend, qualifying the car for the opening shoot-out. Eighth place left Spedding in the top six on the table despite neither driver making the second cut. Paul Haimes took a couple of low scoring places, the occasionally recalcitrant Gould-Suzuki turbo apparently trouble-free at Barbon, while Eynon Price made sure that the ‘works’ GR59, shared with Gould, was in the points each time although in the constantly changing conditions, even the Doune run-off winner’s wet weather prowess didn’t allow him to capitalise on his early third place qualifier. Championship co-sponsor Graham Wynn kept his burly Gould-HB V8 in the series top ten with two ninth places. In his first ever British run-off, Darren Gumbley finished just out of the points in Simon Fidoe’s 1000cc Empire Wraith, leaving his co-driver to bag the final point in the closing shoot-out.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t match that of last year’s record-breaking British Championship event, intermittent rain keeping paddock exit conditions, never ideal, even less so and track conditions at best unpredictable. But in the opening over 2-litre series production class, Jamie Powell put his Mitsubishi Evo’s 4WD to good use, maintaining a two second cushion over Peter Herbert’s 911, while David Finlay bravely manhandled his latest Hillclimb Multicar Challenge mount, a massive 6.4-litre Chrysler-Hemi powered Jeep Grand Cherokee, up the treacherous Barbon slopes for third a similar distance behind.

Defending Hillclimb Leaders champion Colin Satchell, recently eased off this year’s top spot with a lack of points due to insufficient class numbers, suffered the same fate at Barbon despite sole opposition ‘Bod’ Bolderson’s 1400 Mini being no match for the potent Peugeot. With Geoff Twemlow’s Impreza running on his own in the big class, Tim Higgins’ 2-litre Westfield-Vauxhall was well clear of Phil Hallington’s smaller Ford-powered version in the specialist production class.

Unfortunately Andrew Jackson’s Honda powered Reliant Kitten had problems in practice and David Seaton’s superb Pilbeam-BMW failed to appear, so former motorcycle road racer Allan McDonald had a solo sports libre run in his radical Mini Evo-Mitsubishi turbocar.

Even the immensely popular 1100cc racing cars were relatively thin on the ground, more so when Steve Marr’s Martin Ogilvie penned PCD Saxon had seized its Suzuki engine on the dyno, (although once again Richard Spedding came to the rescue with the offer of a 1600cc drive in his Raptor) and Will Ker and Ben Hamer’s turbocharged OMS-Kawasaki refused to co-operate after practice. Simon Fidoe took the win in the depleted class some three seconds outside his class record, such were the conditions, from co-driver Darren Gumbley and Michel Tomlinson’s sturdy, ‘perpendicular’ AFG-Honda Supermoto racer. A Price/Gould one/two subdued even Spedding in the 1600 class, while Paul Haimes split the Uren/Menzies Force in the 3-car, 2-litre forced induction division. Willis’s early 22.34 among the big racers survived for the big class win and FTD, despite Moran closing to within eight hundredths, while Hall might have improved on third place but for his second run indiscretion.

The National B classes began with a solo run for David Wiggins’ 1300 Peugeot Rallye. With two MGF Trophys in the 2-litre sports car class it was IT consultant Stephen Norton’s example that had the edge over Robin Haslam’s rare 160 version, there being just 310 left on the roads out of the 2000 built. Competing since 1957, John Wadsworth, son of erstwhile Barbon regular Edgar, ran third in his Mazda MX5.

In a TVR duel for over 2-litre sports cars, Michael Parden’s rare 2500 Triumph straight six version steered clear of former international rallyist and recent hillclimb returnee Duncan Woodcock’s 4-litre Chimaera V8 by just three tenths.

Nigel Fox took the win in the combined kitcar class, his injected 2-litre Raceline Zetec powered Caterham coming home just under two seconds clear of Dent tyre dealer Tony Middleton’s Westfield crossflow.

Youth won out in a ModProd duel aboard their shared Mini between Willy (make it!) Makinson and his son Paul, fought out on solely on the slightly drier opening runs, while Duncan Rob-Cummings probably wished he, too, had confined himself to a single run in his Midget after problems second time up cost him several seconds. Both modified kitcar runners settled for one run, Mark Purdham’s MJ Hosson Bouler stealing a quarter of a second early on from Chris Boyd’s smaller, bike engined Sylva Riot Bingley Special.

Aboard his ex.Steve Owen/John Chacksfield Harewood Championship-winning OMS-Vauxhall, Barbon ace Jim McDiarmid took a clear win in the single-seater class from Southport garage proprietor Peter Oldfield’s ex.Jordi Gene Formula Ford Van Diemen and Robert Bailey, driving his father’s OMS-Suzuki 2000M for the first time.

In the pre-68 Classic class, Mike Garstang ran solo in his very original Cooper S after John Mansfield’s Austin Ulster had cried enough during practice, while in the pre-86 class, Martin Breen’s V8 MGB GT just got the verdict from police officer Peter Garforth’s 1977 Skoda Estelle, despite the bright green machine, the oldest RHD example left, closing in on the second runs.

Competitors in the final class, for Luffield Championship MG cars, were offered a third run at the end of the meeting. Less than half the eight car class took advantage of it in the less than favourable conditions, and in fact the leading second run placings remained, Andy Walker’s V8 MGB collaring the pot ahead of John Payne’s Sprite and Richard Watkinson’s Midget.

There’s lots of photos of the action on the Barbon Hillclimb Facebook page.

Barbon Nat B Hillclimb  – 11th June 2016       

A competitor’s view…….                                                                                             Report by Keith Thomas

This event, run by Liverpool MC but assisted greatly by the stalwarts of Kirby Lonsdale MC, was a superb event.

Weather was mixed, dry for much of the day but every now and then a big downpour just when you thought the clouds were disappearing rather spoiled it for spectators and made conditions very tricky for drivers.

Mal MacKay had a very hairy adventure in his Silva Riot; it aquaplaned off to the left of the track just before the Armco on the hairpin where the field drops away steeply. It spun and bounced several times threatening to overturn at every change of direction according to spectators. Somehow it stayed upright, just missed a great number of big rocks and the trees. This was heart stopping for everyone at the time.
PTS Recovery’s superb unit soon picked up the relatively undamaged car and returned it to the paddock with Malcolm still grinning broadly I have to say.
Next car up had an equally action packed few seconds but was unfortunate enough to hit the Armco barrier and remove the suspension in a rather nasty unorthodox way. Fortunately this driver too suffered only injury to his wallet, a big sigh of relief all round.

I hope someone writes a comprehensive report of the event elsewhere as I spent so much time talking to the other drivers in my class I never got around the paddock to see what everyone else was doing. Our class had no less than 15 cars in it and some cars I had never even seen before.

It was a varied class to say the least, Classic and Racing cars manufactured before 1968 was a really unusual cut off date for some reason.
Usual dates are up to 1946, the next class up to 1960 then 1960 and above. It was really close fought class and I have never ever seen such narrow margins between the cars.
Easy winner was a beautiful works replica Healey 3000, a fantastic car that my wife was really desperate to take home driven by Julian Hindle with a time of 33.07. 2nd was the rapid pre war Alvis 12/70 of David Smith who managed a brilliant 37.71 in this car dating from the early 1930s. A wonderful Lotus 20/22 exactly like Jim Clark used to drive and in Team Lotus colours driven by Barbon resident Peter Anstiss did a 38.50 and was 3rd in class. I did a 38.59 in the Buckler, nine hundredths of a second slower than the Lotus yet when I looked I was back in 6th in class!

George Cooper, the 82 year old driver from Glasgow who competes in some fantastic ex Stirling Moss’s cars which he owns and races all over Europe, beat me by just one hundredth of a second in the ex works prototype Cooper MG doing a 38.58 and was 5th in class. Jon Mellor beat George with a 38.53 and took 4th. Mike Garstang in the 1293 Cooper S was just behind me with a 38.88 so was 7th in class. I have never seen such a close competition in any class of dissimilar cars..

I really regretted having that pie for lunch after I saw those times I can tell you.

(This would be a great class for which a handicap system would be ideal. At Prescott the system works like this. Your fastest ever time in that car at that venue would be your handicap time, first time competitors get their fastest practice time. If you beat your practice time by more than 5% your time is discounted to stop deliberate sand bagging. The winner is the one who beats their fastest time by the biggest margin.)

Our class was a really varied and by far the biggest class this year. It was brilliant to see the differences in engineering over a wide span of time. A 1920 Napier which was probably taller than me had a 6220cc engine, looks like a vintage Bentley and in fact many parts are from the Bentley stable. This lovely monster had no front brakes at all, the brave guy piloting the beast was Maurice Gleeson from Accrington. Its discovery & history of the restoration as told to me was every bit as interesting as the car looked.
Jane Corner, well known VSCC driver from York had her lovely Talbot 65 special, Geoff Purnell’s fantastic supercharged Singer looks very similar to an ERA with a big blower on the front apron. Unfortunately Geoff broke a half-shaft, this sidelined him which was a great shame. John Hunter was in the gleaming Riley TT special and VSCC purveyor of vintage parts Stuart Cook was in a highly polished Morris Keen special.

An Anglia 105E, the 1960’s one with the reverse slope rear window, had a 1700cc motor, an MG Magna from the 1930s had a 1087cc supercharged unit and a Riley 9 had 1087cc without a blower adding to the great variety of vehicles in class 6A
The Austin 7 class for those entered in the Bert Hadley challenge comp had a fantastic 11 entries with cars from as far away as Bristol. Some of these cars sound more like the motor bike engine cars rather than what one imagines an Austin 7 will sound like. Someone once told me “revs cost money”. I am sure this is very true bearing in mind how sophisticated those race engines are.

Angela Jones again co drove Willie Jarman’s car and frightened the Nomex under pants off Willie by posting a quicker time, but on the last run he pipped her by 1 sec so he will probably loan her the car again for the next event !
We missed Willies banter this year as we were parked in different areas, there being so many cars entered. No doubt other drivers will have had great enjoyment and a little bit of drumming in their ears during the day having the privilege to be parked near to Willie’s circus where entertainment is guaranteed. The Jarman’s Tracsporter covered trailer would have been very nice in those showers I bet.

Chris Spencer the man who has almost every model of VW Beetle, combi, camper, Karman Ghia etc ever produced now has a motorhome also on a VW Chassis complete with a 2.5 TDI motor of course. He was competing in the VW based Formula Vee Scarab. Chris was telling me he taught Willie Jarman how to drive but I haven’t ascertained as yet from Willie if that’s true!
Star performer in class 6B was Peter Garforth in his Skoda Estelle. He was quickest beating a Jag D type replica, the rapid MG TC of Keith Beningfield, Lotus Elan and other cars. Great drive Peter, his long hours in the garage and even more hours on the phone to the Warsaw or wherever it was in Czechoslovakia obtaining parts for the Skoda paid off eventually but it took a long time and much perseverance to get the correct parts. His time of 34.18 shows the car & driver combination was really quick especially as the track was wet.

Barbon once again is a “must do” event. Liverpool Motor Club (and Kirby Lonsdale of course) deserve all the accolades heaped on them by competitors and spectators alike. Phil Gough and his team did a great job.
Special mention must go to commentator Bob Milloy whose wit and knowledge keeps everyone entertained and informed. He even apologised for the rain as if it was his responsibility to organise a dry day.

Great event, thanks to all concerned especially the hardworking marshals, and don’t forget the next event is very soon, being on July 2nd which is Barbon’s British Championship event.

There’s lots of photos of the action on the Barbon Hillclimb Facebook page.

Barbon National A/B Hillclimb – 4th July 2014

Incorporating the MSA British Hillclimb Championship

 Goodyear shatters Barbon record                                                   Report by Jerry Sturman, With acknowledgements to the Hillclimb and Sprint Association’s magazine – SPEEDSCENE

 Photos courtesy of Mark Holmes

The 2015 Barbon National’s date switch from May to July not only marked a change in the weather but, after seven long years, a new hill record was set as Jos Goodyear, after failing to qualify for the opening run-off with a mechanical failure, bounced back and finally reset the oldest course benchmark on the British hillclimb calendar. His phenomenal shot in the supercharged GWR Raptor-Suzuki was almost half a second inside the old mark – this in a run that lasted barely 20 seconds.

  Jos Goodyear - Raptor 2

For the statistically minded, his 20.08s run (quite a coincidence that the old record was set in 2008!) means that in terms of average speed from a standing start, Barbon is now the fastest hillclimb on the British calendar. For the record, its new average of 90.66mph now exceeds that of Shelsley Walsh, where Martin Groves’ 90.59mph average for the 1000yd Worcestershire hill still stands at 22.58s. The win marked Goodyear’s fourth consecutive British hillclimb FTD, yet with his moments of brilliance punctuated by failed runs and mechanical problems, he remains confined to sixth place on the championship table.

The writing was on the wall after the appreciative crowd, basking for once in Cumbrian sunshine, had seen Trevor Willis win the opening shoot-out in a time just six hundredths away from Scott Moran’s 2008 record. But with Moran not competing at Saturday’s leg of the traditional Barbon/Harewood double-header Willis, even after running wide just yards from the finish at the notorious Lafone Hairpin in the closing run-off and finishing fourth, had done enough to move ahead of the five-times titleist into second overall in the championship standings.

After qualifying top for the opening stanza with a new class record, Moran’s protégé Alex Summers’ two runner-up placings kept him firmly in charge of the championship with a healthy 41 point lead. Will Hall chased hard for an opening third place, but a less than perfect start in the second run-off left him ninth on a hill where the slightest mistake can be costly. After a couple of solid finishes in the red Gould-NME, by close of play Wallace Menzies had levelled with his championship rival’s fourth place on the table.

With the turbocharged Force recovered from its recent escapades, courtesy of much midnight oil burnt by the indefatigable Ian Dayson, Dave Uren scored his third fifth place finish of the year, following it up with sixth later on to step up his challenge to John Bradburn’s Gould V8, which he outran by a couple of places each time. Tom New swapped places with season-long rival Alastair Crawford to end the day to maintain their status quo. Ninth and tenth respectively in successive run-offs, the sister Gould GR59s of Paul Haimes and Simon Moyse took turns at scoring at the tail end, Haimes’ supercharged car finishing the opening stanza ahead of Ed Hollier, who qualified each time but was forced to abandon the evening trip over to Harewood after discovering an oil leak from a cracked casing on his Hayabusa unit.

The entry was only about two thirds that of Barbon’s Nat B event three weeks earlier, but this is usually the case for this British Championship event, previously held in May, as with another two rounds at Harewood the following day, a number of competitors not chasing championship points opt to spend a more leisurely weekend at Harewood to contest the Yorkshire hill’s B event on the Saturday. But while there were several classes with only one entrant, there were class records in abundance.

After triple ANWCC hillclimb champion Steve Price had opened the meeting with a solo run in his Impreza, Tony Bunker was first into the record books with his burly Nissan GT-R, the former Clubmans driver from Brighton well inside Simon Butterworth’s old mark each time and chased hard by Chris Berrisford’s Impreza, which was also well inside the previous standard. Defending HSA speed champion Chris Howard-Harris didn’t quite manage to get his Caterham K-Series on terms with Allan Warburton’s Specialist car record, but he was well clear of Westfield-Vauxhall pilots Tim Higgins and Jerry Neary.

TTC Group Hillclimb Leaders front-runner Colin Satchell Colin Satchell Pug 205maintained his form in the very blue wide-tracked Peugeot 205 with another record, but with only two runners in the 2-litre ModProd class his points haul was not enough to maintain his series lead. He had eventually to concede it to Jos Goodyear, but this would only be temporary – he would regain it the following day with another record at Harewood!

Much travelled Cornish resident Geoff Twemlow and Porsche expert Simon Dawes rounded off the ModProd classes with solo runs in Impreza and 911 respectively, while Ben Lovell also ran on his own in his carbon tubbed OMS sports libre car, but after Ben’s defeat by Jim McDiarmid’s OMS-Vauxhall by a hundredth of a second at the recent June meeting, their duel continued unofficially, despite running in different classes. After the first runs Jim, last to run in the Nat B section of the meeting, had the edge again. The margin? A hundredth of a second…

Mike Manning’s twin turbo Ford Puma led the big sports libre class initially but retired early on during the second runs. After spluttering lamely over the finish first time up, the amazing Mini Evo of former Manx GP winner Allan McDonald returned to health and snapped up the win.    After Midlands hillclimb marshal Justin Walker had enjoyed a solo run in his 600cc Jedi-Yamaha, the record books were opened again as with the svelte Empire Wraith warmed up by co-driver Darren Gumbley, Simon Fidoe reset the 12-year old 1100cc racing mark jointly held by Mark Budgett and former British champion Adam Fleetwood. The time would qualify Fidoe for a shot at the opening run-off, quite a feat in a one-litre machine at the fastest hill in the championship, although he would finish out of the points. Phil Nelson led a trio of Formula Fords in his Hawke, pursued by the Van Diemen of veteran Graham Curwen (who first visited Barbon in 1952 – as a schoolboy, of course!) and Phil Perks’ Royale.
On his first visit to Barbon for eight years, Ed Hollier’s efforts resulted in a 1600cc class win and two run-off placings in the Empire Evo, but the engine problems mentioned earlier meant an early return to Devon. In a class of attrition, both Richard Spedding and Steve Spiers missed their second runs through mechanical problems and a broken drive-chain respectively.

After fixing a broken supercharger drive pulley that restricted the Raptor to sixth place early on, Jos Goodyear bounced back with a new 2-litre record and a top qualifying place as a prelude to his stupendous run-off shot. Early leader Dave Uren and Paul Haimes were left to dispute the runner-up spot. Alex Summers also warmed up with a new class record to head the line-up for the opening shoot-out, its eventual winner Trevor Willis bagging the second class award ahead of Will Hall.

With a substantial margin over Peter Green’s BRA Cobra 289, the immaculate Lotus 41C twincam of Malcolm Wishart not only beat Peter Brogden’s pre-72 sportsracing and racing car record but also bagged the Scrutineers’ Award.

The Nat B contenders were then offered a third run after the second of the day’s British run-offs, but with no opposition Graeme Procter decided to forgo the extra run in his turbocharged Fiat Abarth. A three-way battle between HSA championship contenders Roger Fish, Ken Morris and Michael Tindale saw Fish’s Honda S2000 emerge on top from the two MX5s. Returning to motorsport this year after a 30 year absence, Lancaster’s Duncan Woodcock took the big roadgoing sportscar win in his TVR Chimaera from Duncan Rob-Cummings, forsaking his regular Europa TC for a TVR 390SE.

Just two runs were enough for solo runner Rob Holt to lower his ‘non-ferrous’ class record in the Elise before Ivan Russell took his Anglia-BDH to the 1400cc ModSaloon win ahead of Paul Makison’s ex-Mini Miglia contender.
Poor Andy Larton’s third run attempt to lower his new 2-litre record was not a good idea, as the rapid Peugeot 106 barrel-rolled several times exiting Richmond. Andy Larton Pug 106Happily, although the car was a mess Andy stepped out unscathed, and he tells us he is already contemplating what can be salvaged to transfer to his spare shell as he thinks there is still another second to be had!
Having marshalled at Barbon in June, Steve Lewis’s third run paid off with a four hundredths improvement in his Impreza, but neither Michael Parden nor James Proctor found more, their earlier see-saw TVR/Nissan duel resolved in favour of Time Attack UK contender Proctor’s 350Z.
Just one Sylva Riot Bingley Special competed in this year’s event, in the hands of Malcolm Mackay. In the next class, erstwhile rally driver/navigator Chris Thomas’s rally spec Talbot Sunbeam had a half second edge over Gary Houghton’s Toyota Starlet.
But how did final runner Jim McDiarmid from Kendal fare in his unofficial duel with Carnforth man Ben Lovell? He won again – this time by four hundredths!

Words by Jerry Sturman
With acknowledgements to the Hillclimb and Sprint Association’s magazine – SPEEDSCENE

It was an absolutely superb day on the hill at Barbon. There were challenges, not the least being the failure of the PA system link to the speakers at the bottom of the hill, but judging by the number of positive comments we’ve been receiving, it was the best British Hillclimb meeting at Barbon for years. There’s lots of photos of the action on our Facebook page.


Barbon Hillclimb  – 13th June 2015       

A View from the Hill……..                                                                                             Report by Phil James

  With a capacity ninety-car entry and as a qualifying round of no fewer than twelve regional championships the only potential dampener in the days leading up to the event was the weather.

Those good folk at the Met Office were forecasting rain, rain and more rain, hardly ideal in terms of drivers getting the most from their cars or organisers attracting lots of spectators. Thankfully the forecasters got it wrong (again) and whilst cloud was a prominent feature of the day, the weather stayed warm & dry.

There was also a lack of any dazzling sunshine and whilst that may have disappointed some of those spectating it helped make for some perfect driving conditions. That helped keep pressure on the drivers with many classes not decided until all final runs had been completed.

Jim MacDiarmid 13th June 2015

Jim MacDiarmid, OMS, FTD
13th June 2015

Similarly the FTD was only determined once Jim Macdiarmid had completed his final drive up the 890 yard long 1:12 incline stopping the clocks on 24.20, a hundredth of a second faster than Ben Lovell.

Ben Lovell, OMS 13th June 2015

Ben Lovell’s short-cut didn’t quite work
13th June 2015

Carnforth based Lovell had set best time on the second timed run but having put his OMS SC4CF onto the grass on the inside of the Lafone hairpin on his final run he failed to improve his earlier time. That left the way open for MacDiarmid, from Kendal, to snatch top honours after timing his run to perfection.

There were lots of close contests throughout the classes, in particular Class 3B where six hundredths of a second separated the Ford Escort Mk2 of winner Richard Hargreaves and the Peugeot 106 of runner-up Andy Larton. Records were broken too, amongst others Mark Purdham set a new benchmark in Class 3G.

Mark Purdham, lifts a wheel 13th June 2015

Mark Purdham, lifts a wheel
13th June 2015

Dave Exton, slightly off-line in his MR2 13th June 2015

Dave Exton, gets slightly off-line in his MR2
13th June 2015

For the most part the day was incident free but a spot of bale bashing at the Lafone hairpin by Dave Exton in his Toyota MR2 Mk2 gave the marshals the chance to flex their muscles!

In real terms it all added to the day’s entertainment, hopefully leaving the spectators wanting more and returning to the hill for the British Hillclimb Championship event on 4th July.


Barbon Hillclimb  – 14th June 2014        

Thomas to the top                                                                                         Report by Steve Wilkinson

    Despite the threat of rain late in the day the jointly run Liverpool MC & Kirkby Lonsdale MC hillclimb at Barbon Manor stayed completely dry and there were some interesting battles throughout the classes plus some superbly different cars tackling the 880 yard hill.

There was just the one Standard class and that went to Martyn Bland in the Fiesta ahead of co-driver Neil Gibson and the 4wd FIAT Sedici of Tim Gill. In the Road Going classes there was a win for Robert Iveson in the Up to 1400 split despite pressure from Steven Holmes’ Saxo. In the two litre class Russell Thorpe and his trusty Renault 5 Turbo ‘Doris’ took a comfortable win after William Roberts retired his supercharged VW Polo. In the Over 2000 class Steve Murphy just kept the bonnet of his Impreza ahead of Paul Anderson’s Mitsubishi taking the class by 0.17sec. In the Sports Car class Gordon Riley in the Elise led throughout but was pushed all day long by Ronnie Macgregor in the Honda S2000.

In Mod Prods Dave Wiggins took the Up to 1400 class in his elderly Peugeot 205 Rallye whilst in the two litre class Richard Hargreaves, who was giving his superb Escort Mk 2 a run out after an 8 year rebuild, took the honours ahead of the ever youthful pairing of John Moxham and Bruce McKie in their Peugeot 205s. William Jarman took a comfortable win in his Ford Escort Cosworth in the final Mod Prod class finishing ahead of Ashley Hodge (Escort Mk 2), Chris Thomas (Talbot Sunbeam) and the enthusiastic Phil Griffiths who was somewhat out gunned in his Series 3 Landrover!

Sports Libres were next and Dan Mason took a solo win in his Radical Prosport in the Up to 1700 class whilst David Seaton rumbled to the Over 1700 class win in his brutal Pilbeam MP43 complete with glorious sounding 4.9 litre BMW V8.

Mason’s time in the 1300 Radical would have been good enough for second in the larger capacity class. Phil Nelson took the Formula Ford class in his immaculate Hawke DL2B beating veteran Barbon competitor Graham Curwen en route.

The battle for FTD was centred on the two remaining Racing Car classes. Gary Thomas in his 1400 Force PC took the 1600 class win and emerged with FTD as well. Colin Birkbeck, making only his second appearance in the ex-Peter Speakman Force PT took second in the 1600 class and was second FTD. Jim MacDiarmid was making his debut in the OMS CF04 that was previously run by John Chacksfield and took a solo win in the 2 litre class and set third FTD in the process.

There followed two Classic Car classes which were based on Target Times. In the first for road cars Robin Wright in the Morgan Plus 8 was quickest on Scratch but was way down the order on Target Time. The win went to the nimble 998cc Hillman Imp of Stuart Anderson with Dave Smith’s lovely Alvis 12/70 Special second.

Colin Kingsman never ceases to push his Aston Martin DB6 to the limits and a grassy excursion at the hairpin thankfully did no damage to the car which came home in fourth.

There was only one Classic Racing Car and that was the beautifully constructed FARM Special of Peter Speakman. FARM stands for Fisher Alfa Romeo Monocoque and Peter just took two runs before calling it a day.

The final class was for the mighty Pre-war Austin 7 cars that come in all shapes & sizes to contest the Bert Hadley Trophy. Arnside’s John Mansfield followed up his class win at Harewood with another cracking display at Barbon to take the win in his Ulster. Newcomer to the series Paul Geering brought his wonderful Austin 7 Pigsty Mk XIa home in second with Dave Tandy’s ‘Super Accessories’ in third.

As I drove home through quite heavy rain which completely missed the event (apart from a very brief shower that didn’t even wet the track) it was great to ponder on how superb the Barbon Manor experience is. It isn’t every hillclimb course that overlooks a picturesque village and its church and has extensive views of moorlands as well. I heartily recommend a visit to the 2015 events on the hill that will be promoted once again by Liverpool Motor Club.


British Hillclimb Championship, Event 2 – Barbon Manor – 10th May 2014

Willis’s Barbon Double                                 Report Courtesy of the Hillclimb & Sprint Association

Trevor Willis and his now methanol fuelled OMS-Powertec 28 were in superb form at Barbon Manor’s short but fast Cumbrian power slopes, winning both British Hillclimb run-offs and climbing to within three tenths of the hill record for FTD on a track drying after heavy rain during morning practice. Equally spectacular, particularly through the fast and bumpy Richmond right-hander, was Championship leader Alex Summers. But his supercharged DJ Firehawk failed to match the winner by a tenth during the opening stanza.

Almost threequarters of a second adrift of the unstoppable Willis in the final shoot-out, despite unofficially blitzing the 2-litre record, Summers’ run was matched by defending champ Scott Moran as both tied for second place ahead of Will Hall. Extensive reworking of his Nissan V6’s engine was a clear factor in enabling Hall’s howling, hard driven Force to bag a brace of fourth places. Like Willis and Wallace Menzies, whose sonorously percussive Firestorm-Cosworth ran third and fifth in successive run-offs, Hall was beginning to climb back up the Championship order after all three had missed a scoring round at Prescott’s season opener.

Dave Uren ran a valiant sixth early on in his turbocharged Force-Suzuki, but a broken bolt in the car’s rear suspension led not only to a wild ride as he slowed after the finish line, but also to a damaged rear wheel sensor which stymied his bid for a qualifying place in the second shoot-out. Richard Spedding bagged seventh and tenth places in his normally aspirated version while Simon Fidoe, aboard his Empire Wraith with extensive aero work by F1 engineer (and former ace hillclimber) Willem Toet, did well to qualify the 1-litre bike engined machine each time on the second fastest hill in the Championship, despite failing to score.