Pirelli Ferrari Hillclimb Championship

Round Round 2


8 May 2021

1st Dave Snelson (F430)
2nd Nick Taylor (F430)
3rd Tim Dickinson (F458 Spider)
report by John Swift
photography by John Swift

The traditional early May, 2-day Harewood meeting rolled into action on a very wet Saturday morning.  Heavy rain was forecast for the entire day and, unusually these days, the met office prognosticators were dead right.  We couldn’t remember a wetter Harewood.  The usual Covid-19 restrictions applied: no spectators, no catering (other than a coffee kiosk), no posted results sheets, no scrutineers, no prizes, and no hugging.

Because of the dire weather quite a number of competitors stayed at home but to our credit all 9 of the Ferrari entries were on parade, driving a representative mix of tipos.  Paul Booth (F458 Spider) is only a shortish drive from his home in North Lincolnshire and was the first to arrive.  Current PFHC champion Dave Snelson’s F430 was looking very smart after a lot of coachwork TLC over the winter and he arrived in company with our latest recruit, John Kennedy, at the wheel of a very nice silver California T which he has just purchased.  John hails from Brooklyn, New York, and is over here for six months to compete in our 2021 hillclimb championship.

Tony Attwood was in his familiar plum-coloured 308GT4 although son Iwan (aka Kimi) had decided to sit this one out.  Other early arrivals were Sandra and Tim Dickinson, who had clearly planned everything with military precision.  Accompanying their Mafia-black F458 Spider was a range Rover back-up vehicle and two sizeable mini marquees clad in army olive-brown drab. 

Tim has a predilection for military armed vehicles with a superb collection – many of them armed – back at home.  The queen of the collection is a Chieftain tank, and it’s interesting to compare its vital statistics with Tim’s other pride and joy, the 458.  On power output the tank wins, with 650 bhp compared with the Ferrari’s 570 bhp, although this is produced by only 4.5 litres against a more substantial 19 litres.  On the weighbridge, the Ferrari reads 1.54 tonnes but the Chieftain would show a vastly more portly 54 tons.  As you might expect with all that armour the tank’s maximum speed is about the same as a quick bicycle – 25mph – whereas Italy’s finest can accelerate to a hysterical 210 mph.  By having two such magnificent vehicles, Tim gets the best of both worlds.

Pauline and Jon Goodwin arrived in tandem: Pauline in her bright yellow ex-Spicer 328GTB and Jon in his 250 Lusso.  The delectable Lusso looks superb; it is now in its original blue factory livery.  Anne and John Swift were in their F355, which probably knows its own way up Harewood, and last to arrive (not unusual) was Nick Taylor with his class record holding 430.  Nick has just returned from Monaco Historics where he finished on the podium with his Lotus 18.

With the track awash and standing water in several places the Ferrari class was the first to tackle P1.  Extreme caution was clearly the watchword. Taylor was marginally quickest, at 77.22, a couple of seconds or so faster than Snelson.   With a depleted field, it wasn’t long before the second practice was called and although everyone improved their time it was still Taylor who was quickest (74.57).  Since his record stands at 64.61 it is easy to gauge how wet it was.

There were some quite long delays during the day, as (mostly) single-seaters either broke down or skidded off the track and into the wet undergrowth.  Eventually the first official runs were called up and we all tried a bit harder.  Pauline impressed with a 80.47, just behind Kennedy’s 80.18 – impressive with an unfamiliar car in a foreign continent!  Tony Attwood looked good (82.30) and a possible candidate for the handicap award.  At the front, Nick Taylor (71.57) still kept his advantage over arch rival Snelson.

And then, although it was only the middle of the afternoon, the Ferraris trickled down to the start for the second and final run.  Substantial improvements were made by Attwood, Booth, Pauline Goodwin, and Dickinson.  But at the pointy end of the spectrum, Dave Snelson really got his head down and stopped the clocks at 71.23, a time that just shaded Nick’s by 0.39 secs.  

When Anne Swift had completed all her calculations, she declared that it was Nick Taylor who had collected the precious 20 Championship points, with Pauline a ‘highly commended’ 15.  The handicap winner was Tony Attwood, who had driven with purpose all day. 

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