The CAMS Applewood Distillery 2017 Australian Hillclimb Championship

The last weekend in October saw the Sporting Car Club of South Australia hosting the CAMS Applewood Distillery 2017 Australian Hillclimb Championships at Collingrove. This is the first time the national titles have been held in South Australia since 2010. With a set up day scheduled for the Thursday, many of the 150 competitors arrived early to stake their preferred spot in the paddock area. Several also set up caravans & tents as they prepared to spend 4 days at the track. Friday was designated as official practice and it turned out to be extremely hot & windy, creating huge dust storms across the complex. The day saw many drivers spending as much time as possible familiarising themselves with the track. With close to 40 interstate drivers, there were a number who had never driven the tricky, technical layout that is the

Collingrove hillclimb track, so any track time would prove to be a huge bonus. Saturday morning dawned with considerably less wind & slightly cooler conditions and most drivers viewed the day with great anticipation of fast times, before the weather deteriorated again for Sunday. After the drivers briefing and welcome, the competition commenced at 10am with the road registered cars under 1600cc heading up the hill first. Times were quick with both Michael Bishop & Fletcher Bolton lowering their respective class records on the first run of the day in their Mazda MX5s. While Fletcher then decided to rest on his laurels and save his car for the upcoming Willunga Hill event, Michael went on to better his time again on run 3. Several off track excursions, & mechanical failures, meant that the first run of the day took nearly 2 hours.

Once again, Kevin Mackrell in his awesome Datsun 660Z was one of the biggest crowd favourites especially as he set a new class record on run 4, setting a blistering time of 31.90 seconds in a cart that must be so hard to drive through the narrow twists at the top of the circuit. The outright battle between the Formula Libre open wheelers was as fierce as expected, with Brett Hayward & 39s first run of 28.34 being equalled by Malcolm Oastler on his first run. Wow this battle was going to be close! Greg Acland was less than 2 tenths slower with a run of 28.50. Only 2 South Australians were able to better 30 seconds on Saturday, with Derek Foster posting 29.60 on run 3 (after a 29.68 on run 2) &; David Mahon hitting 29.93 on that same run. After Bret followed his first run with a 28.36 & 28.35 in the next 2 runs, he finally broke into the 27s with a 27.68 run on the 4th and final blast of the day. Malcolm was also able to get into that 27 second bracket on the same run with 27.97, to head back to work on his car hoping for a little more speed on Sunday.

Garry Martin was another crowd pleaser in his bright green self built Martin, that was aptly named Bullfrog, but unfortunately a bent steering arm saw his car parked at the top of the hill on run 2. After towing it back to the paddock at lunch time, repairs were made and Garry returned for the last run of the day. Two 31 second runs on Saturday saw him a little despondent, but for a man at his first event at this venue, there was a lot of promise showing. Run 2 also saw the end of Henry Beasley& 39;s day as his Evo9 Lancer left much of its gearbox and all of the oil from within on the start line, resulting in a lengthy salvage & clean up. Henry did return on Sunday to compete in his father's lancer, but he

made the comment that although the car could be fixed, dropping oil onto the track, affecting other competitors, was what he was most annoyed with. As the day & 39;s competition wound up, we all enjoyed a gourmet barbeque put on by the committee, along with a quiet drink, and many tall stories that seemed to get embellished with each telling. Sunday welcomed us with horrendously windy conditions that also threatened storms as the day progressed. After shovelling the dust out of the cars that spent the night at the track, we were ready to start again. Although many of the tin tops made some improvement to their times, the unanimous feeling amongst the drivers of cars that relied on down force aids, was that the grip was terrible due to the wind getting under the cars and counteracting the wings. Both Greg & Malcolm only ran the first run on Sunday before packing their cars away. Of the top runners, only Garry Martin was able to really make any inroads, as he slowly came to terms with Collingrove & 39;s tricky course. With some quick recoveries of cars, that failed to finish runs, we were able to squeeze 3 more runs in before lunch, and with 1 after, driver had the chance for 8 competitive runs for the weekend, before the top 12 shootout.

This saw the fastest 4 available open wheelers battling out alongside the 4 quickest 4WDs & 2WD tin tops. In this section each driver tried to better their best time of the weekend with the time in the shootout represented as a percentage of their fastest for the event. Lowest percentage wins. With the 2WD cars off first, Tom Ferguson won this section with a percentage of 99.35% in his very fast Datsun 240Z. Following were the 4WDs and John Beasley just pipped Kevin Mackrell with 98.98%, while Garry Martin won the open wheel section with 98.74%. This certainly made Garry very happy as he finally, not only broke the 30 second barrier for the first time, he ended up with a time quicker than any of the other 1300cc Formula Libre cars.

Presentation of trophies & awards followed and Brett Hayward was crowned the 2017 Australian Hillclimb Champion from the reigning champion, Malcolm Oastler. Greg Ackland finished third with the South Australians, Derek Foster & David Mahon completing the top 5. Although the outright track record of 27.25 seconds remains unchanged, 14 class records were broken, and a new class record was set. For the first time ever an electric prototype vehicle competed at Collingrove, and Phil Pratt set a time of 36.86 on run 4 before retiring the car for the weekend. This was impressive as only 1 of the car's 2 engines were working at the event. As I first looked at this car, I had to chuckle at the irony of the fact that the Hooper Electrcar's major sponsor was a racing fuel company. Upon talking to Phil I discovered that the company also specialised in hi tech electronic components. A very well run program, and the fact that the forecast storms held off, saw the 149 cars compete in front of one of the largest crowds seen at Collingrove in many years, and considering the weather conditions, it would indicate the hillclimbing in South Australia is certainly in a growth spurt. South Australia & 39;s emerging V8 supercar driver, and Sporting Car Club ambassador, Todd Hazelwood attended on Sunday, signing autographs and giving a

few lucky sponsors rides up the hill in the very quick Reynella Mazda MX5. As the South Australian Collingrove hillclimb season comes to an end for 2017, many competitors are
already planning for bigger and better things in 2018. If our wonderful band of volunteers can do as good a job next year as they have this one, it will be another magnificent year. For me, as this goes to print, I will be competing at the Ararat King of the Hill event as South Australia attempts to retain the Peter Hall Memorial trophy for the 8th time in 9 events. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and great New Year.

CLASS WINNERS (NR = New record set)

Road Registered 2WD under 1600cc – Charitha Shivanka 38.27 NR Honda Civic
Road Registered 2WD 1601-2000cc – Michael Bishop 35.89 NR Mazda MX5
Road Registered 2WD 2001-4000cc – Martin Wallace 35.50 NR Lotus Elise 220 Cup
Road Registered 2WD 4001cc & over – Mark Rice 34.00 NR Mazda RX7
Road Registered 4WD 1601-2000cc – Peter Emes 39.18 Subaru Impreza
Road Registered 4WD 2001-4000cc – Michael Keen 33.94 NR Mitsubishi EVO
Road Registered 4WD 4001cc & over – Damian Hirst 34.22 NR Subaru WRX STI
Road Registered Clubman under 1600cc – Michael Banjac 37.27 Westfield SEW
Road registered Clubman 1601-2000cc – Anthony Flood 34.04 Birkin S3
Road Registered Clubman2001-4000cc – Alistair Dow 34.70 Puma Clubman
Electric Vehicle Prototype – Phil Pratt 36.86 NR Hooper Electricar
2B- Marque Sports under1300cc – Peter Stanley 39.85 Austin Healey Sprite
2b- Marque Sports 1301-1600cc – Alan Austin 36.47 Westfield Clubman
2B- Marque Sports 1601-3000cc – Paul Finch 34.37 PRB Clubman
2F- Productio Sports 1601-3000cc – Fletcher Bolton 35.49 NR Mazda MX5
2B/2F- Prodsports 2001-3000cc – Tom Ferguson 33.74 NR Datsun 240Z
2B/2F- Prodsports 3001cc & over – James Norris 35.38 NR Nissan 200SX
2A Sports Cars Open/Closed up to 1600cc – Sarah Pfeiffer 34.08 Mallock U2
2A Sports Cars Open/Closed 1601-2000cc – Roger Lomman 35.66 NR Elfin Clubman
2A Sports Cars Open/Closed 2001-4000cc – Robert Ephgrave 35.66 Porsche 911

2A Sports Cars Open/Closed 4001cc & over – Kevin Mackrell 31.90 Datsun 260Z
2C Supersports – Robert Ellis 32.16 NR Acrobat Mk1
Group 6 – Kurt Krassnitzer 32.89 Pro Sport Eclipse
Circuit Excel – Danny Maul 38.16 Hyundai Excel
Group-Lb – Bob Schapoel 35.85 MG TC Supercharged
Group-M – Bill Bentley 39.13 Nadger Clubman
Group-O – Trevor Booth 37.79 Nota Sunbeam Clubman
Historic Group N Up to 2000cc – Peter Waymouth-Wilson 37.97 Morris Cooper S
Historic Group N 2001cc & over – Neil Oatway 36.61 Ford Falcon XY GT
3J-Improved Production up to 1600cc – Grant Liddell 36.71 Datsun 1200 Coupe
3J-Improved Production 1601-2000cc – Stephen Sauer 36.22 Ford Escort RS2000
3J-Improved Production 2001-3000cc – Frank Bradley 39.21 Mini R56 Man
3J-Improved Production 3001-6000cc – Andrew Sarandis 32.55 NR Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
Formula Vee 1200 – Frank Chessell 38.82 Elfin Crusader
Formula Vee 1600 – Stephen Butcher 36.49 Stinger 014IX
3D-Sports Sedans up to 1600cc – Graham Modra 37.73 Ford Escort
3d-Spoirts Sedans 1601-2000cc – Geoff Vardon 34.02 Datsun 1200 Coupe
3D-Sports Sedans 2001-3000cc – Richard Holland 34.49 VW Beetle
3D-Sports Sedans 3001-6000cc – Jason Jordan 35.20 Holden Torana SS
3C-Rally Cars 2WD up to 2000cc – Aravinda Pitigala 36.84 Honda Civic Type R
3C-Rally Cars 2WD 2001cc & over – Simon Gunson 34.71 NR Ford Capri
3C-Rally Cars 4WD – John Beasley 32.40 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IV
Formula Libre 751-1300cc – David Mahon 29.77 Ninja GA7
Formula Libre 1301-2000cc – Brett Hayward 27.86 Hayward
Formula Libre 2001cc & over – Malcolm Oastler 27.97 OMS 28