The 2012 Avon Tyres MSA British Hillclimb Champion, Trevor Willis, and ‘rookie of the year,’ Alex Summers, were honoured at the championship prize giving ceremony on Saturday, January 12, at Telford Hotel and Golf Resort.
Wendover-based Willis clinched the title at the final round of the championship, beating 2011 champion, Scott Moran, to glory. Willis eventually finished 14 points clear of his season-long sparring partner.
Newcomer Alex Summers collected the ‘rookie of the year’ at the annual gala. Twenty-one-year-old Summers took his first British Hillclimb Championship win at his first attempt back in 2011 at Shelsley Walsh and went on to contest a full season in 2012. A season fraught with reliability issues saw the Tenbury Wells-based racer finish just outside the top 10 in his first full season of competition with his best finish coming at Prescott, where he placed fourth overall in his DJ Firehawk.
Speaking to Avon Tyres, Willis admitted that his title glory still hasn’t quite sunk in, stating, “Although we felt it was coming for a while as we’d been in a strong position for much of the second half of the season, it still hasn’t completely sunk in. It’s been a slow-burning realisation I suppose – even now I think ‘wow, we actually did it.’ It’s very special because, while it hasn’t been our focus since we began competing in hillclimbs, it’s always been at the back of our minds and something we’ve been slowly working towards, so when you actually achieve it, you really appreciate it.”
Alex Summers, who is in his final year of a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Bath Spa University, was unable to attend the awards ceremony but spoke to Avon after the event, saying, “To win rookie of the year feels really good – I’m a rookie in the sense that I didn’t compete full-time until 2012, but I began hillclimbing back when I was 16. Winning my first-ever run-off in 2011 put a lot of pressure on me and 2012 was a tough year as we had a lot of reliability issues. Looking ahead to this season, we’ll be hoping to put those problems behind us and score strong points on a far more consistent basis.”
Sarah McRoberts, European Marketing Manager for Cooper Tire Europe, looked back on Avon’s first year as title sponsor to the series, saying, “2012 was a fantastic year for hillclimbing – a close-fought season with some very dramatic rounds made for some very exciting weekends. Hillclimbing is a great form of grass roots motorsport that appeals to so many and we’re looking forward to another strong and successful year in 2013.”
The 2013 Avon Tyres MSA British Hillclimb Championship begins on April 28 at Prescott, Gloucestershire.