At the half-way point in the 1967 R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship David Good leads by the narrowest of margins from Tony Marsh and Peter Boshier-Jones. Good, who drives the four-wheel-drive 2-litre B.R.M. ex-Grand Prix car, has gained 46 points after six events ― with 45 points each, Marsh drives the Marsh Special powered by a 4.1-litre G.M. V8 engine and Boshier-Jones a Lotus 22 with a supercharged 1.5-litre Coventry-Climax engine. Bryan Eccles has 42 points earned with his Brabham BT18 fitted with a 3.5-litre Oldsmobile V8 engine, and the championship will probably be won by one of these four drivers.
Unlike the European Mountain Championship, the R.A.C. series is run to Formule Libre rules so that attention is centred on the drivers and their theories for good “sprint” times rather than inter-marque rivalry. Apart from the Tholt-y-Will course in the Isle of Man, which is not in the series until next year, Britain does not boast a serious climb,the average winning time being in the region of 40 seconds! Points are graduated downwards from ten for fastest time in the Championship runs to one for tenth place, plus a point for beating the course record.
The first meeting was the Severn Valley Motor Club’s event at Loton Park in April, held in dry weather. Eccles beat Marsh by a fifth of a second, beating the course record in the process and Mike Hawley was third in the Felday 6, the four-wheel-drive Ford V8-powered sports car. Sixth and eighth places were taken by Boshier-Jones and Good, whose cars were not yet fully competitive.Rain before the Championship runs at Prescott in May, the Bugatti O.C. meeting, gave an advantage to 4-w-d machinery and Good scored an easy win over Boshier-Jones and Marsh. Eccles had a bad time of it, spinning during his first run and stopping next time with water in the petrol.
The next round was organised a week later by the West Hants and Dorset C.C. at Wiscombe Park. Again it was wet and again Good beat Boshier-Jones, with Peter Lawson’s Brabham BT18 taking third place and Marsh fourth. Eccles got fastest time of the day earlier when it was dry, but could only manage seventh place in the Championship runs.
Good made it a hat trick for his 4-w-d B.R.M. at Barbon Manor the following weekend at the event organised by the Westmoreland C.C. It was dry for the meeting and Eccles was placed second, with Phil Scragg’s open-wheeled Lola T70 third and Boshier-Jones fourth. Marsh did not appear, waiting for parts to turn his special into a four-wheel-drive car, and this has since proved successful.
At Shelsley Walsh on June 11th (Midland A.C.) Marsh scored 11 points for fastest time and course record. The hill had been resurfaced and in dry weather all the leading competitors got within the old record, Eccles being second fastest and Patsy Burt third in her McLaren-Oldsmobile. Boshier-Jones was fourth and Hawley, in his new Brabliam-Climax, fifth. Good’s B.R.M. was not running well that day, earning only four points.
The sixth event (half-way in the series) was held at Rest-and-be-Thankful, organised by the R.S.A.C. This had been resurfaced at the foot of the hill and the “hump” removed, but the road was damp in places and Marsh was not able to break the record despite strong competition. Good was second in his B.R.M. and the overall result favoured leaders of the championship since Eccles and Boshier-Jones were placed third and fourth.
The Championship continues at Bouley Bay, Great Auclum (August 5th), Craigantlet (August 12th), Shelsley Walsh (August 20th), Prescott (September 3rd) and Harewood (September 10th). Whenever the weather is poor, Marsh and Good have the advantage although their cars are strongly competitive at any time. The leading four competitors have been remarkably consistent and the Championship is building up to an exciting finish. ― M. L. C.