Hillclimb Review

Our predictions that Alister Douglas Osborn would leap further ahead in the RAC National Hill Climb Championship at the two rounds in Scotland late in June fell to nought when his engine failed during practice for the Fintray Park event. The Waring and Gillow team had rather an unlucky time at Fintray, for Malcolm Dungworth’s car also suffered trouble during practice — a split oil tank — but was repaired in time to enable Douglas Osborn to share the car. Chris Cramer was on top form at Fintray, taking the honours with a fine climb of 27.62 sec. and the degree of competition can be judged by the fact that the first six of the top ten climbed within 0.8 of a sec. of each other. Outright fastest time of day went to James Thomson with 27.51 sec., but he could not find the form to equal this during the all important run off.

By the time the Doune round came about, the engine from Dungworth’s car had been transferred to Douglas Osborn’s Pilbeam, but man of the meeting was undoubtedly Thomson who couldn’t put a foot wrong at this very challenging venue to become the first man to climb Doune in under 40 sec. Chris Cramer, maintaining his form from Fintray, came close, but didn’t quite break the magic 40 sec. barrier, but no-one was in the same class as Thomson.

The magic was still with this young Yorkshireman when the Championship moved to his home ground at Harewood in the middle of July, for once again Thomson made fastest time ot the day, but this time Cramer was there with him, only one hundredth of a second behind. Harewood provided what must have been one ot the most exciting finishes to a round of the championship for some time — Thomson had set a new hill record in the class runs, but Douglas Osborn bettered this on his last run by 0.25 sec. Cramer followed with a shattering run in 36.73 sec., lowering the record by a further 0.32 sec. and it did not seem possible that Thomson could improve on that, but improve he did by that all important 0.01 sec. necessary. Thus after the eighth round, Douglas Osborn is still in the lead, but not in such a commanding position as he was earlier in the season, and young Thomson is snapping hard at his heels. Cramer has made a superb recovery from his very slow start to the season and now lies in third position.