The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

2014 Pirelli Ferrari Hillclimb ChampionshipPirelli Ferrari Hillclimb Championship

Round 2

Bouley Bay

20140421

1st Nick Taylor (430)
2nd Richard Prior (355)
3rd Jon Goodwin (550)
report by John Swift
photography by Sue Skinner & Messrs. Jackson, Swift & Snelson

For many of us hillclimbers, Jersey and Bouley Bay are the highlights of the season. The island at Easter time is a blanket of spring flowers and the few days before the actual competition begins is an opportunity for a little holiday after the long winter.

We only include Bouley Bay in the hillclimb programme when Easter is late in the year. This more or less guarantees that the weather will be kind, and this time it was no different. Although there was a spot of rain while we were there, it was dry and the sun shone when it mattered.

For reasons that weren’t altogether clear the Ferrari entry at just six cars was less than half the usual number of over a dozen. We discovered that numbers in the meeting as a whole were also significantly fewer so perhaps this will be the trend in hillclimbing in 2014.

Things began badly for Richard Allen and his companion Martin McGlone. Heavy traffic caused long delays and by midday it was obvious that they weren’t going to make the port at Weymouth in time to board the 2.00pm ferry. It was a similar story for Anne and your scribe on the 300 mile trek from North Yorkshire.

A collision between two heavy goods lorries led to complete closure of the M1. Resulting in a delay of 1 1/2 hours, and then further hold-ups on the traffic jammed M5 meant that we arrived at Weymouth just in time to see the high speed ferry heading for the horizon. We joined forces with the other latecomers Richard and Martin, and holed up for the night after re-booking our passage on the following morning’s boat.

The Hampshire Hotel, in St Helier, was again the Ferrari contingent’s base for our stay. We were encouraged to hear that a new chef had been engaged since our last visit in 2012and he proved to be a big improvement on his predecessor. With the reduced number of cars this year, parking in the restricted hotel car park was far easier than before.

Saturday evening was the first time we all managed to sit down to dinner together. The late arrivals joined the other Ferrari competitors: Jon and Pauline Goodwin (550 Maranello and 328 GTB respectively), Richard Prior (joint class record holder) in his 355, and Nick Taylor and Fiona with the heaviest weapon, his mafia-black 430. Also joining in the fun were Brian and Jenny Jackson, and Paul and Sue Skinner.

Sunday was all about enjoying the many delights of the island although the weather, which had turned to rain, didn’t help. The Navigator restaurant overlooking the peaceful harbour of Rozel is a perfect venue at which to enjoy a leisurely lunch on a rainy day. Bruno and Paulo are very welcoming when diners enjoy their local seafood specialities, particularly the delicious scallops. Here, we joined RA and Martin McG for a memorable meal – now something of a ritual whenever we are in Jersey.

The hill at Bouley Bay is a public road but here on Jersey the law permits closures for competition. The event regulations require competitors to be on the hill and signed-on by 7:30am, so we were all heading north from St Helier at a very early hour on Easter Monday.

In recent years the Ferraris have been located at the top of the hill, which enables competitors to easily watch the adversaries in action. With the reduced entry this time we were given slots in the paddock area near the start – handy for the Water’s Edge hotel and the famous Black Dog Pub, but meaning that for much of the time the cars were parked on the return road near to radio corner.

Breakfast on Monday morning was served early to allow the hillclimb competitors to reach the hill in good time.
It was a beautiful morning, the previous day’s rain clouds having been driven away to France. By the time we had descended to our paddock positions for scrutineering, the track was dry. Meanwhile, as the drivers were making sure our Ferraris passed scrutiny, our pal Martin McGlone was pedalling over to Trinity on his hired bike, carrying Swift’s Canon SLR in his knapsack. Martin had kindly agreed to act as photographer for the day – a sort of busman’s holiday for this professional lensman.

The first practice runs revealed that Ferrari record holder was the one to beat, with a time of 53.17, with RA, Nick Taylor and Jon Goodwin not far behind. Pauline G was circumspectly some four seconds in arrears while your scribe was, as usual, even more cautious on his first essay up this tricky hill. P2 saw Nick blast his 430 up in 51.59 to take the lead from an also improving Prior (52.08). Swift bettered his previous time by some 6 seconds to restore some credibility.

However, all was not well with Richard Prior’s 355. A significant coolant leak was causing worrying overheating and he had finished P2 in a cloud of steam. Inspection of the car’s plumbing – not easy in these cars as most of the pipework is buried beneath the machinery – suggested a split hose or loose clip. The offending hose had a preformed 90degree bend, so replacement was not going to be straightforward.

With a reduced overall entry, and providing there were no serious delays, it seemed possible that there would be time for three competitive runs in the afternoon. On the first run  Prior retook the advantage with 50.51 in his Ferrari steam car, over half-a-second quicker than the Taylor 430. Jon G was a similar amount shy with his powerful but bulkier 550. Swift and Pauline G vied for the doubtful honour of the slowest time with your reporter collecting the booby prize.

The Prior 355 sat out R2 while Richard tried (unsuccessfully) to stem the water leak. To his chagrin, Taylor went even quicker to snatch back the lead (50.29) with Jon, in 3rd, still just ahead of RA (52.23). Pauline got things all wrong at Radio by outbraking herself allowing the rascally Swift to move out of the tail gunner’s spot.

In R3 Prior decided to fill his radiator to the brim with coolant and hope it would get to the top and vanquish the 430. It was a brave effort which sadly for him didn’t work as he hoped (water was getting on the rear tyres!) and he recorded 53.12. To add to his woes, Taylor produced his best time of the day, at 50.19. Jon Goodwin, with the consistency of a fine Rolex, replicated his R2 time while Swift improved to keep ahead of the valiant Pauline. The final runs, with track temperatures cooling slightly, didn’t change the final pecking order although RA put in a storming run in 51.97 to close up to (but not beat) the Goodwin 550 Marenello.

When all the times were analysed it was calculated that Richard Prior had all his stoical efforts rewarded with the maximum 20 championship points, from Taylor’s 17 and Jon Goodwin’s 15. Jon was rewarded with the handicap award, the only driver to have bettered his/her target.