Torbay Motoring enthusiasts driving through the rain
- Credit: Nigel Cole
Wiscombe Park hosted the Torbay Motor Club hillclimb in a meeting introduced to replace the club’s event at Oddicombe Hill in Torquay.
It had been a regular club fixture since the late 50s. However, in 2003, Torbay Council decided that the hill was no longer privately owned, and was a public highway and therefore subject to a 30mph speed limit.
Torbay Motor Club moved its hillclimb to Finlake for a few years, but then that venue was lost due to ownership changes of the leisure complex. The event finally settled at Wiscombe Park and there are eight hillclimb weekends a year at the venue set in the grounds of a gothic mansion.
A challenging and fast 1,000-yard climb, it is a driver’s favourite and considered one of the best courses in the UK. The hill record stands at 33.13 seconds.
The number of entries were limited to 110 drivers and with a high demand, there were a number of disappointed drivers who did not get their entry approved – you have to be quick just to get your entry in. This event, was also open to the members of the National Hill Climb Association who compete on motorbikes and sidecars – their maximum of 40 entries were also fully subscribed.
Unfortunately, the weather tried to spoil the party for Wiscombe’s third hillclimb weekend of 2021 with torrential rain falling from mid-morning. Normally, there would be two timed runs in the afternoon, but it was decided that, due to the conditions, there would only be a single run for each competitor.
In one of the most competitive classes, A2 for road going cars, it was James Hudson in his VW Golf who led the way and topped the class. This performance also took James into second place in the Tillcoultry Quarries Wiscombe Park Championship, just two points behind triple British Sprint Champion Rodney Eyles (Alfa Romeo 4C).
Another great performance came from Martyn Glover in a Mitsubishi Evo competing in Class A4. He not only topped the Class, he also set the overall third quickest time of the meeting.
In Class C2, it was a family battle between Neil Tuckey and son’s Shaun, the current ASWMC Hillclimb Champion, and Nathan, all competing in modified Ford Ka’s. It was Nathan’s day in the wet conditions, pipping Jonathan Baker (Ford Fiesta) and Shaun to top spot.
One of the more unusual cars on the hill is the Legend Ford 34 Coupe raced by father and son David and Jan Yeo. This car is a 5/8ths scale replica of a 30’s style American car powered by a Yamaha motor bike engine. It is a small car that packs a powerful punch. To prove it, Jan won Class D1 and set the 7th quickest time overall.
In the other classes, Steve Hill (Austin A35) was third in Class A1, Mike Lee (Caterham 7) second in Class B2 and Kevin Frost (KMD 004) second in Class E3.
The fastest cars are always the single seater race cars, and it was the usual suspects battling it out for the honour of the fastest time of the day. Cullompton’s Ed Hollier in his Pilbeam MP62 and Dorset’s Andrew Forsyth / OMS CF04. So far this season, Ed has come out on top, but Saturday saw the tables turned, and Andrew was victorious with a time of 45.82s – four tenths quicker than Ed. I am sure that this will be a season-long, close battle between these two very fast South West racers.
If it was difficult in the conditions on four wheels, spare a thought for those on two and three wheels. With some very brave riding, Paul Jeffery on his KTM took top spot with a time of 45.82s – exactly the same time as Andrew Forsyth achieved in his car. The Hodges family had a great day – Tommy Hodges, also on a KTM, finished second, from brother George third on a Honda CRF.