Pirelli Ferrari Hillclimb Championship

Round 11


16 August 2015

1st Nick Taylor - 430 Coupe
2nd Phil Whitehead - 355 GTB
3rd David Snelson - 430 Coupe
report by none yet...
photography by John Swift, Richard Prior

The 2 lap sprint meeting at Curborough is one I always look forward to, the warm August event organised by the Reliant and Scimitar Owners club as part of their annual meet and Concours is always a friendly and well attended weekend . Unfortunately I came this year as a spectator, still without my 355 I had to watch the other Ferrari drivers enjoying themselves.

Iwan took to the track first, unfortunately the 308 GT4 had a noticeable miss-fire  and used the slower lap to reacquaint himself with the corners. Jon Goodwin took the 250 GT on an extended run when he forgot to use the finish straight to the chequered flag, and instead went through the crossover to start a 3rd lap. The timekeepers saw this as a failed run for some reason…

Tony Attwood took over from Iwan and with a few more revs made the still miss-firing GT4 sound slightly better and go quicker, unfortunately out braking himself before turning in to the x-over.

Phil Whitehead was clearly quickest so far, the 355 hurtled around the Curborough track in 68.28 seconds, Dave Snelson (430) was next up and trying hard, fast down the straights but braking hard and late for the corners and was noticeably wide out of the molehill, but a good time to start with of 68.26 just slightly ahead of Phil.

In P2 it was starting to warm up a little, Jon Goodwin got it right this time, a good smooth run got him a time on the board of 74.72, Mark Wibberley (360) took 2 1/2 seconds off and hit the rev limiter over the finish line. A good run and obviously trying hard.! Phil had a late turn on the crossover this time but was visibly fast on the return and ended up on about the same time.

Snelson was more ragged on this practice, trying too hard and making more mistakes, but a lot slower. In contrast Nick Taylor was flying in his 430, just 1 second off his PB already with 65.13.

The Paddock office announced the first official runs would start before the lunch break. The meeting was flowing well with very few offs, so we could be in for at least 3 runs.

Iwan started the Ferrari Class 78.39, Peter Hitchman was careful around the corners, but the 430 was fast and howled down the straights for 79.59 whilst Peter Rogerson (360) had a good tidy run with 75.61. Lorraine Hitchman took a wide line into the second lap, the 360 Modena just brushing the white line on the outside of the track boundary, 0.4 faster than her practice run, but there will be more to come. Mark Wibberley (also 360) took a similar wide line to Lorraine, almost running onto the green stuff in front of the commentary hut but had broken into the 70 second bracket. Chris Hitchman (yet another 360) was neater though and was over a second quicker after hitting some perfect apexes on 69.55.

The 308 GT4 of Tony Attwood still wasn’t running right, but 75.26 put him ahead of Rogerson and Hitchman snr. Pauline Goodwin (328) was wide at Molehill and was pushing hard, so a dramatic hairpin exit with tyre squeal made the spectators look up from their chips, as she stopped the clock on a new PB of 72.02. Dave Snelson was still twitching and squealing his way around, a wide line almost on the grass in front of us as he started the 2nd lap but made it to the finish without further problems in 68.60. Taylor was more precise and took the overall lead with 64.77. Whitehead was trailing behind in 2nd place on 66.28. At last the lunch break, Pam always does some tasty catering here, whether its hot pork rolls or chicken curry on chips for cold days, and there’s always the ice cream van close by when it warms up like today.

On the 2nd runs most drivers improved (only Pauline Goodwin, Nick Taylor and Phil Whitehead had reached their peak in the first round). Tony Attwood locked up going into the mole, the clouds of tyre smoke distracted from the misfire for a moment, and he took a lot of kerb on the return through the ‘chicane’ at the crossover.

Chris Hitchman also used the kerbs to knock another tenth off, and Dave Snelson was generally smoother this time, 67.34 would be his best of the day despite understeering around the Fradley hairpin. Nick also had a moment out of the hairpin corner which resulted in him fish tailing towards the crossover on the first lap. Mark Wibberley had got down to 70.13, Jon Goodwin had the crowd’s approval as he stylishly drove the 250 around in their best run of the day on 71.41. So to the 3rd runs, the top 3 had already tried their hardest on the earlier runs, possibly the tarmac cooling off, but there was still some glory to be had by other drivers.

Chris Hitchman had a superb start of 2.48 seconds to clock his fastest of the day, 68.60 gave him 4th place on scratch and 12 championship points, Lorraine sharing the car also went quicker in this run, another 0.37 off gave her 71.30 and 6th overall. Peter Hitchman knocked another fraction of a second off for 77.28 in the 430 coupe, but the last fight of the day went to Scuderia Attwood, where both father and son took a second off their times, with Tony still ahead of Iwan by 73.36 to 76.67.

Nick Taylor therefore had the outright Ferrari win and the 20 points from his first run, with his usual consistency he also had the highest top speed over the line, 103 mph on all three official runs. Phil took 2nd place and the 17 points, with Dave Snelson also on the podium and 15 points. This had bought Nick back into play in the championship and was closing in on the top 3 now. Thanks to Lorraine’s 3rd run she was presented with Fastest Lady Driver of the day (an award presented previously to Pauline Goodwin) so congratulations Lorraine!

Next round, back to the hills at Prescott.

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