Pirelli Ferrari Hillclimb Championship

Round 3


9 May 2021

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

Day 2 of the Harewood Hillclimb weekend started in a far more promising fashion than Saturday’s deluge.  Some light rain in the early hours dried up, the skies lightened, and we all hoped that the forecasters’ promise of fine weather would be accurate.

Paul Booth was certainly more optimistic.  Yesterday’s Alpine rubber Wellingtons had been replaced by very smart traditional leather racing boots, which solicited envious looks.  John Kennedy was suitably dressed in case the rains were to unexpectedly reappear.  Business-like jacket and a woolly hat made him look indistinguishable from a time-served Yorkshire farmer.  Pauline washed her 328 in an effort to catch the Paddock Cup judge’s (Sandra Dickinson’s) eye.  In no time at all we were ready for the fray, because to be the first class to run in the morning was a rare treat for us Ferrari drivers.

The track was still quite damp for P1 and needed treating with respect.  Nick Taylor opened the batting with 71.92 – a second quicker than Dave Snelson,  Tony Attwood (80.45) had a wobble as he rounded Orchard and Pauline (78.81) similarly went off course at some point.  For the others, it was just a question of testing the grip levels for later.  P2, which came up remarkably quickly, saw everyone’s time improve.  Now, Snelson (having finished last night’s pizza) just edged out Taylor’s time by 0.12 secs (shades of Hamilton vs Verstappen) while Tim Dickinson carved seconds of his previous numbers.  Pauline, likewise, was tidier and faster.

With few hold-ups the meeting was already running way ahead of schedule and it was decided to run the first of the ‘officials’ prior to the lunch break.  Again, times were generally an improvement on P2 with the exception of Pauline, who made a dog’s breakfast of her run when she again briefly left the track.  Snelson was the pick of the crop (66.51 and 0.31 secs quicker than Taylor) with Dickinson nicely in touch a further second adrift.  The best of the rest was Booth, with Kennedy (74.48) breathing down his neck.  Attwood, Swift and Jon Goodwin were all much of a muchness.

It was on R2 that your reporter provided much of the afternoon’s entertainment.  As his F355 accelerated out of Farmhouse and up the final straight to the finish it clipped the grass verge on the right.  Although the track was dry the outfield was still soaking wet and on full throttle the back end snapped out of line.  The car vaulted into the air, hit the barriers on each side, and then dropped back on the track. It was slowly driven to the finish, Swifty cursing his rotten luck but thinking things could have been far worse.  Inspection revealed a badly damaged front bumper and a pair of smashed side/indicator lights, but mercifully not much else.  Swifty has experienced misfortune before at Harewood so perhaps there is a demon at work.  The other Ferrari drivers were enormously helpful in removing damaged bits from the car and retrieving miscellaneous parts scattered on the track.

 Meanwhile, the show went on. This time Snelson made an error, so that Tim Dickinson was now in charge with a best-so-far 66.01.  Nick Taylor, however, was only 0.35 secs behind.  An ecstatic Kennedy posted an outstanding 71.15 to move into 4th fastest overall to beat the handicapper.  

 But it was only mid-afternoon and the BARC team on the hill offered us a third official timed run if we wished.  Naturally we accepted the offer and the remaining eight drivers steeled themselves for a final assault.  Of the three likely FTD candidates, Dickinson went first: a spectacular 66.23.  Dave Snelson is nothing if not a trouper in the best tradition.  He gritted his teeth, sat slightly lower in the seat, and tore up in 65.85.  And then it was the turn of the record holder, Nick Taylor.  He tried his hardest, he really did, but the watches stopped at 65.94 – a tiny deficit of 0.11.

As the attached results show, Nick Taylor was again the winner on PEP, with Dave Snelson taking the 17 points and Tim Dickinson the 15.  Pauline’s second run brought her 13 valuable points.  John Kennedy well deserved his handicap award on this first outing, and Pauline, by virtue of that early morning car wash, was adjudged to have the best turned out Ferrari.

Despite the nasty weather on the Saturday and all the hassle associated with the pandemic, I believe that for most of us (with one exception!) can mark Harewood 2021 as a success.        

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