Round 5

Gurston Down

15 June 2024

1st Rob Samuels (458 Speciale)
2nd Dave Snelson (488 Spider)
3rd Pauline Goodwin (328 GTB)
report by Steve Burns & Simon Jefferies
photography by Steve Burns

Sunshine and showers were forecast for our annual visit to Gurston Down in Wiltshire.  The meteorologists predictions turned out to be correct with regular cells of rain keeping at bay the June sunshine’s best efforts to dry the track, which proved to be quite frustrating for the nine CSA Service Group Ferrari Hillclimb Championship drivers who had made the trip.

On the damp track it was the classic cars which rose to the fore during Practice and the first timed run with the top positions after PEP adjustment going to Tony Attwood, Pauline Goodwin (328 GTB) and Iwan Attwood sharing the family 308 GT4 Dino.  The newer tipos of Dave Snelson (488 Spider) and Rob Samuels (458 Speciale) struggling to get their power down.  Relative newcomers Steve Nunney (348ts), Stuart McCabe driving the ex-Tim Mogridge 328 GTB and Simon Jefferies (Roma) completed the points scoring contenders.

The ninth driver in the Ferrari class batch was championship regular John Kennedy.  However with his trusty California T delayed at the garage John had enquired whether he could run his weekly shopping car instead.  The local organiser surprisingly declined to accept the change of class after close of entries so a quick read through our regulations and a liberal interpretation of our new Invitation Class permitted John to remain with the Ferrari’s with his rapid ‘Ferrari-Ford Focus RS’.  Of course as an Invitation class entry John would not be scoring any championship point or eligible for any awards but at least he was out enjoying a run up the hill and challenging his previous best California T times in the family car.

Thankfully for most, but to the disappointment of Tony Attwood, the track dried for the final timed run, resuming normal service….well almost.  Topping the final time sheet by 0.28 seconds was a delighted Rob Samuels, ending Dave Snelson’s winning streak.  Pauline Goodwin was a further 6 seconds behind in third on scratch times, with Iwan Attwood taking the final podium spot after applying the PEP adjustment.  Steve Nunney took the Best Improver award.

Following a pleasant sociable dinner at the Stones Hotel, everyone reconvened for Round 6 on Sunday.


Over the Hills & Far Away – Why Not? (PART 1)

On the 16th and 17thJune the Ferrari Owners Club Hillclimb Championship headed to Gurston Down near Salisbury to compete in the double header for rounds 5 and 6. Sponsored by CSA Service Group the Championship visits many parts of the country from Harewood in Yorkshire to Bouley Bay in Jersey and including Prescott and venues in the Midlands. This presents an ideal opportunity for owners to bring out even the most prized cars as you can proceed as fast or as slow as you like and whilst there is much rivalry between us you are at the same time competing against the hill and yourself in your car.

I had purchased my Ferrari Roma in 2021 and soon realised that enjoying and exploiting in power on public roads was not going to be possible, so encouraged by regular racer and all-time good chap Nick Taylor, I decided to enter the FOC event at Gurston Down. Competing in hillclimbing has several advantages in that the car and driver need minimal preparation; the car needs a timing strut which can easily be fixed into the towing eye slot, an indication of how to turn off the ignition and not much else. Personal preparation needs to include a hillclimb and sprint licence (easily obtainable from Motorsport UK) as well as crash helmet, gloves and overalls to the current specification.

We set off on the Friday before the event as Gurston was some way from home and stayed with some of the FOC competitors at a convenient hotel. Setting off on Saturday morning things did not look good as we were facing heavy rain that the British summertime does so well. This meant unpacking the car in the rain and the knowledge that our first runs would likely be on a wet track with low grip. Having a small tent to stash gear in was a wise choice and meant that kit could keep dry. Soon we were called for first practice and it was quite unsurprising that leaving the start line the wheels spun up and the car’s ECU just cut the power leaving me going nowhere! Eventually the Roma moved away and I drove carefully up the course, waited at the top for the return to pits and contemplated that the Roma may not have been the ideal hillclimb car of choice – but it was fun!

Second practice was similar but now I was learning where the corners were and where the grip wasn’t. Times were published almost simultaneously and soon we were all looking and comparing times with each other. The camaraderie and instant friendship shown by the FOC competitors was really the best part of the day, with help and advice given to each other in the most selfless of ways.

Competitive runs in the afternoon were somewhat drier with rain coming and going in an unpredictable way and I was able to improve my times and enjoy the car. Best Saturday time went to Rob Samuels with Dave Snelson close behind and promising to come out looking for the top slot on Sunday. Pauline Goodwin impressed, as always, with her 328 in third.

Saturday evening it was back to the hotel for a jovial meal, stories and then bedtime.

– Simon Jefferies, Roma


More photos from the weekend are available for you to enjoy on Flickr, courtesy of Simon Halls @NoodlePix.

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