Pirelli Ferrari Hillclimb Championship

Round 5

Shelsley Walsh

3-4 June 2017

1st Nick Taylor - F430
2nd David Snelson - F430
3rd Richard Prior - F355
report by Mike Spicer
photography by Barbara Spicer, Ann Prior & Nigel Nosworthy

Moving on from a rather cold Harewood our hillclimbers were hoping for sunshine at Shelsley but this area of the West Midlands can be inclement and so it was to prove.

In fact, on the less important Saturday practice day it wasn’t too bad. The running format has changed here for 2017. After many years of being able to turn up when you like and chose your running batches they have resorted to programme running order.

All Ferrari drivers were there on time apart from one but I think she was able to blag a run anyway! First practice follows much the expected order. Tony, with a useful 38.42, Spicer worryingly slow and Wibberley setting what would be his fastest time of the weekend at the wrong end of the proceedings, which was a shame as he has set some good times here.

Championship leader David Snelson was not showing his real potential but sensibly chose to drive an exploratory run as he had never before been here, and of course first time up Shelsley in a 430 on road tyres is not for the faint-hearted (which, of course, David is not). No organised evening meal this year at our 2 day Shelsley meet so competitors set off to various B&Bs, hotels, curry houses and other watering holes. Last year’s second and first place competitors chose to camp and very pleasant it was too.

Sunday dawned with brilliant sunshine actually shining through the tents waking up your scribe. Generally it was felt we had got way with the weather but as it turned out we were wrong! The event proper then and first off Tony Attwood did a PB (just) – 38.93, definitely in the right direction, Pauline next with 38.64 some way off her best but we had had rain only an hour or so before and although it could have been wet in the esses, in fact it was OK. Maybe Pauline over-reacted to this but not as much as the next competitor (Spicer) who really should have known better; 37.05 was what he deserved!

But on to a proper driver, Richard Prior who was more or less where he should have been with 35.03 but even the maestro could have gone better remembering his PB here in a 355 was a scarcely believable 33.43. But, 2015 Champ Phil Whitehead, on great form at the moment was only just behind at 35.07. John Swift also had in mind driving his 355 back to North Yorkshire and did a conservative, by his standards, 38.66. Although Mark Wibberley made a decent time he too was over-cautious with 37.78.

Now, on to the two perhaps favourites – David Snelson had decided to stop practicising and really have a go which was rewarded with a fine 34.93. If we look at this in detail remembering Dave had never been here before (although I notice he is booked in for a test day later this month) and, whilst he was on the dry start-line he couldn’t have known what dampness might lay ahead for his 463 bhp to cope with and his determination was rewarded with second fastest Ferrari time.

Now the vastly more experienced hillclimber, Nick Taylor it seems has found it necessary to secure an impressive collection of single seater racing cars with which he practices for Ferrari hillclimbing all over the circuits of Europe. It paid off with a winning time of 34.13 to gain not only 1st place on scratch but the 20 points as well. Although Nick is well known as a modest chap he did tell me he dropped off at the cash machine en route just in case he had to be in the chair when we all attended the bar afterwards when it was all done and dusted. I’m afraid over Nick‘s many years with us he had had to spend more on celebratory drinks than most of us.

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