R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship—1963

Our last article on the R.A.C. British Hill-Climb Championship appeared in our July issue and gave the position after the Midland A.C.’s Shelsley Walsh Hill-Climb. Since then five other qualifying rounds have taken place; these being Bo’ness, Rest-and-Be-Thankful, Bouley Bay, Great Auclum and Craigantlet.

Bo’ness, organised by the Lothian Car Club on June 22nd, saw Tony Marsh increasing still further his lead in the championship by taking his 2.5-litre B.R.M. up the short climb in 31.16 sec. Peter Westbury collided with the banking on a practice run and snapped a rear hub carrier on the 2.6-litre supercharged Felday-Daimler. Unfortunately, a replacement could not be obtained in time and Westbury had to share David Good’s 2.6-litre Cooper-Daimler, finishing sixth.

Second place to Marsh went to the domiciled Scot, Ray Fielding, who drove the Lotus 21 used by Innes Ireland to win the 1961 American G.P., now fitted with the ex-Arthur Owen, ex-Jack Brabham, 2.2-litre 4-cylinder Coventry-Climax engine. Third place went to the Scot, Gray Mickel with the ex-Arthur Owen 2.5-litre Cooper-Climax, with fifth place going to his wife Agnes, using the same car. Marsh’s record put up with the Marsh-B.R.M. last year was not, however, broken.

Rest-and-Be-Thankful, organised by the R. Scottish A.C. a week after Bo’ness, saw Westbury coming to the fore to break the three-year-old record set up by David Boshier-Jones’ 1.1-litre V-twin Cooper-J.A.P. at 52.05. In all, three drivers broke the 52-sec. barrier in the Championship runs, the other two being Tony Marsh, who drove one of his finest drives of the season with an ailing B.R.M. engine, and Ray Fielding with the Lotus-Climax. Other drivers to score at Rest-and-Be-Thankful were Peter Boshier-Jones (1.3-litre Lotus 22-Climax), Ian McLaughlin (1.1-litre Cooper-J.A.P.), and Keith Moore with the ex-Reg Phillips 1.5-litre supercharged Fairley-Climax, which has its engine transversely mounted at the rear. At this stage Marsh had a clear lead with 71 points to Peter Westbury’s 50, Phil Scragg’s 40 and Peter Boshier-Jones’ 38. Gray Mickel, who had done so well in the earlier events was a victim of Rest-and-Be-Thankful’s bumps, crashing the Cooper badly although escaping serious injury.

The drivers then had a short respite as a result of the Westbrook Hay Hill-Climb being cancelled, and the next event was the Jersey M.C. & I.C.C.’s Bouley Bay Hill-Climb on July 25th. For once Tony Marsh gave Bouley Bay a miss and the main protagonists were Westbury, Good, Boshier-Jones, and the Jersey driver Mac Daghorn. The Jersey-Italian Tico Martini had set up the record with his 650-c.c. Triumph-engined Martini “Go-kart” Special at last year’s Championship event but since then the road had been resurfaced and Daghorn had, in fact, made a faster ascent at an earlier Club event. Wet, dreary conditions prevailed throughout practice and nobody could get near the record. David Good’s Cooper-Daimler made the best time with just over 57 sec., which was some 6 sec. or so slower than the record.

On race day conditions could not have been better and Westbury became the first man to break 48 sec. with a first ascent of 47.97 sec. Second was Daghorn with 48.50, third David Good and fourth the consistent Peter Boshier-Jones, whose seven points for fourth place now brought him up into third place ahead of Phil Scragg. The only other drivers to score in the Championship were Peter Le Gallais with his 500-c.c. L.G.S. II “Go-kart” Special and Ray Terry with a much modified Lotus 7 which used Lotus 20 suspension components.

The Hants and Berks M.C.’s Great Auclum Hill-Climb on August 10th was the shortest hill to be included in the Championship series and actually started downhill before climbing upwards out of a steeply curved banking. This was another hill where Martini had astounded everybody with the “Go-kart” and several of the big car drivers, including Marsh, Fielding and Scragg (who has now sold the B.R.M. to Formula Junior driver Tony Griffiths and is concentrating on his Chaparral sports car) decided to give the event a miss.

Westbury, however, was the nearest challenger to Marsh and a win at Great Auclum would bring him into the lead providing he could pick up a bonus point for breaking the record. The going appeared good for Westbury in the class runs, where he set up a new record at 19.33 sec., but the Championship class produced a surprise win for Peter Boshier-Jones who took the Lotus up the short climb in 19.75.

Westbury was very close to Boshier-Jones on his first ascent but his second ascent was slower as a result of a battery going flat on the Felday-Daimler and second place was the outcome, although he was still inside the old record and gained ten points, to put him level with Marsh at 71 points each. Boshier-Jones’ win increased his score to 56 points but did not improve on his existing third place. Good, who took third place at Gt. Auclum remained in fourth place with 41 points. The Guernsey driver, Peter Wilson, who has been driving the Tico Martini Special with little success this year, took fourth place, and Patsy Burt (2-litre Cooper-Climax 4-cylinder) finished fifth, with reigning Champion Arthur Owen sixth, to score his first points in this year’s Championship in the Lotus 23 which he drove to third place in the Japanese Sports-Car Grand Prix.

An interesting entry at Great Auclum was Josh Randles’ re-vamped Cooper Monaco which was using the 3-litre Maserati engine from the ex-Jim Berry, ex-Brian Naylor J.B.W. Randles set up a new sports-car record on the car’s first outing.

The last event to catch our press schedule was the Ulster A.C.’s Craigantlet Hill-Climb where Peter Westbury finally snatched the record from Bangor driver John Pringle (2.5-litre Cooper-Climax). Also inside the old record was Ray Fielding’s Lotus, which just beat Pringle, who himself bettered the old record by a narrow margin. Westbury’s win gave him another eleven points but as only eight events can count towards a driver’s score he had to drop the five gained at Bo’ness, thus giving him a total 77 points to Marsh’s 71. Fielding’s second place, plus the one bonus point for bettering the old record, moved him from sixth place to fourth, one point ahead of David Good.

The last three events to count towards the Championship are as follows: August 25th, Shelsley Walsh; September 15th, Prescott; September 21st, Dyrham Park.—E.L.W.