Three rounds, three different winners as hillclimb title race gathers pace

The second meeting of the Avon Tyres MSA British Hillclimb Championship provided three different winners from three rounds as the grass-roots series visited both Cumbria’s Barbon Manor and Yorkshire’s Harewood Hill over the weekend of May 11/12. Reigning champion, Trevor Willis, took his first win of the 2013 season at Barbon Manor while the father-son duo of Roger and Scott Moran shared the spoils at Harewood.
Following on from the opening two championship rounds at Prescott, where triple-champion, Scott Moran, took two wins from two, current title holder, Trevor Willis, was keen to return to the top step at Barbon Manor, near Kirkby Lonsdale – the shortest venue on the BHC calendar.
Heavy rain on Saturday morning cast doubt over the afternoon’s proceedings but the drivers were able to take to the hill for the first run-off of an action-packed weekend. After getting to grips with the changes made to his OMS 25 over the winter break at the season opener a fortnight ago, Willis attacked the Cumbria hill hard, completing his run in a time of 21.69 seconds to bag ten valuable points for his title defence.
Willis’s nearest challenger was Scotsman, Wallace Menzies, whose effort saw him finish just over six tenths of a second clear of the champion. Next up was John Bradburn, who was followed by Will Hall, while Scott and Roger Moran finished fifth and sixth respectively.
The downpours of Saturday morning returned later on Saturday afternoon, forcing the cancellation of the second run-off as the competitors headed east to Harewood Hill, near Leeds, for Sunday’s competition.
From the shortest hill on the UK hillclimb calendar to the longest, rounds four and five of the championship were an all-Moran affair with the father and son, who share a Gould GR61X, sharing the spoils at the Yorkshire venue.
It was Moran senior who benefited from the best track conditions in the first run-off; the 1997 British Hillclimb Champion ascended the 1440-metre track in a time of 51.28 seconds, beating nearest challenger, Trevor Willis, to the top spot by almost a second. Moran junior, Will Hall, and Wallace Menzies rounded out the top five.
As track conditions improved for the final run-off of the weekend, it was Scott Moran who returned to the top of the pile, shaving almost one-and-a-half seconds off his father’s winning time from the first run-off, to secure his third win of the season. Wallace Menzies continued his in-form run to take another second-placed finish, with Roger Moran finishing just shy of Menzies in third place. It was a run-off to forget for Trevor Willis, though; the reigning champion spun and was unable to post a time.
Speaking after the split-venue weekend, Willis was pleased with the potential of his newly upgraded OMS, saying: “We’re definitely getting there in terms of pace; the car went very well at Barbon and it was great to get that first win on the board. There’s a lot of very encouraging potential in the car and its out-and-out speed so that’s all very positive.
“Harewood is very different to Barbon – it’s harder to get used to the adjustments we made there; it’s a bigger challenge to get the level of front grip right, without compromising the rear and losing the back-end, for example. That said, the first run-off went well; Roger benefited from being the first driver in a shared car so he got the best of the conditions going out early but, importantly for me, I beat Scott and that’s what’s really important at this stage.”