With the first four places in the R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship all being close together, the Ulster Automobile Club’s Craigantlet Hill-Climb on August 15th received entries from current Champion Peter Westbury (2.5-litre Ferguson-Climax P99), Peter Boshier-Jones (1.3-litre Lotus 22-Climax, supercharged), Tony Marsh (2-litre Marsh-Climax) and Tony Griffiths (2.5 B.R.M.). In addition, local driver John Pringle, who had made fastest time of day in the 1961 and 1962 events, came along with a 2.7-litre engine in his Cooper-Climax, and to complete the class John Barnes entered his Allard-Dragon-engined Mk. 7 Elva and Nick Porter a 1,293-c.c. Downton-tuned Morris-Cooper, reputed to turn out 118 b.h.p.!
From the Friday’s practice, Peter Westbury set the pace, recording 63.46 sec. for the 1,883-yard road course, an improvement of 0.98 sec. over his record set up in 1963 with his 2.6-litre supercharged Felday-Daimler. Tony Marsh had the misfortune to break a rose-joint on one of the Marsh’s radius arms and by the time a repair had been effected the light had failed and practice had been curtailed. Thus Marsh, to be eligible to compete, had to count the first of his class runs as his official practice—a severe handicap when other Championship contenders had managed three practice ascents. In both the class and Championship runs Westbury had the legs on the opposition, finally smashing the record by 2.74 sec., to leave it at 61.70 sec. Peter Boshier-Jones, who managed to vanquish Westbury at the previous week’s Great Auclum Hill-Climb, had finally sorted out the ignition faults on his supercharged Lotus by fitting an additional 6-volt battery, thus putting something like 16-17 volts through the coil. The car sounded really healthy, although rather running out of wind on the long straights of Craigantlet, but nevertheless Boshier-Jones secured second place at 64 sec. dead, to gain an additional bonus Championship point for bettering the old record and to put him level with Tony Marsh in the Championship placings (see latest positions on page 706), the latter having to be content with third place after his second Championship ascent ended in a spin at the first bend. Pringle’s 2.7-litre Cooper was not handling at all well and his best time of 67.44 sec. was good only for fourth place this year. Tony Griffiths, who, like Marsh, was new to the hill, was unlucky to lose the clutch on his 4-cylinder B.R.M. but managed to stave off John Barnes for fifth place. One of the Ulster members is going to put up a trophy for the first driver to break the minute barrier as a result of Westbury’s performance in the Ferguson— any takers?—E. L. W.