The 2016 SCCSA hillclimb season at Collingrove started on April 16 with a come & try day, with 70 new comers getting to enjoy the excitement of a hillclimb for the first time. The next day competition began with the running of round 1 of the Sporting Car Club Winter Cup.
Near perfect weather saw 119 competitors, ranging in ages from just 14 to over 80 years of age, tackle the hill for the first time in 2016. In keeping with the hillclimb being a great discipline, for entry level motorsport, 44 of the entrants were in the “Road Registered” classes, that only allow very minimal modification from a standard road car.
To be eligible to enter these classes a road worthy car only needs to have a 1kg fire extinguisher and a sticker to show the position of the battery. No roll over protection is needed (and can only be fitted to open top cars in this category), and as long as the standard seat belt is in good condition, that is all that is required.
Several other near standard registered vehicles were also entered in other classes throughout the field, including Peter Emes in his standard Smart Car Roadster, entered in the production sports under 1300cc class.
Over half the field in these events usually drive their car to the track and home again, which along with $110 entry fee makes it a very affordable form of motor sport. It was also great to see Rob Harrison out there in his Porsche 993 race car after he had a big accident in it at Mount Gambier last November.
With several cars having off track excursions, (including John Illingworth’s Holden Commodore coming to grief and tearing the front end out, on the moss rocks at the top of the circuit) and the odd mechanical breakdown, there were a few delays in the early runs, as the Linas Auto recovery vehicle was called upon to bring the cars back to the pits.
Between these delays and the massive field, only 5 runs could be completed in the day but the competition was fierce throughout the field. Several new records were set by competitors, along the way including Peter Stanley in his glorious MkII Austin Healey Sprite that is shared between himself and his daughter Andrea Worley, And Peter Emes in the Smart Car, but times were generally a little slower than usual for most drivers, probably due to the track being cooler than it getslater in the year.
Only 5 cars were able to better 35 seconds, with Derek Foster taking outright first with a 29.89 second run in his Suzuki Special, 3.88 seconds ahead of Mathew Woodlands in the Richards 201C (33.77 seconds) Damien Hurst was third in his WRX in 33.82, 1 second ahead of Alistair Dow in the Puma Clubman. Alistair’s time of 34.82 was only .1 ahead of Alex Wilson in the Audi A4 Quatro at 34.92.
Four weeks later round 2 was run on another dry day albeit, quite cloudy in the morning, with a field of 99 cars this time.
Once again road registered cars were well represented, with the under 2000cc class having a massive field of 15 cars. Andrew Newell prevailed in this class with an impressive time of 36.46 seconds in his Toyota MR2 ahead of Tony Trewren in the Nissan Pulsar (36.70).
The usual protagonists in this class, Peter Altman & Robin Bostock were relegated to battling for third & fourth in their respective Mazda MX5s. Once again Peter was fractionally quicker than Robin in his older and smaller capacity model, but it was a ferocious battle all day.
John Steggles continually put in personal best times in the pink Hyundai Excel that he now drives after his daughter, our youngest competitor rolled their Daihatsu Charade in the final run of the last event for 2015. Joanne is now driving the junior challenge car that has been kindly donated by Chris Ferguson. This Ford Laser is also going to be used as a challenge car where, drivers can buy a raffle ticket to win 1 run to fight it out for an end of season trophy.
All proceeds of this will go directly to the Collingrove Hillclimb Development Fund. I was lucky enough to be the first driver to set a time after winning the drive in a silent auction, and I set a benchmark time of 41.41 seconds, hopefully quick enough to keep the rest at bay. Robert Atkins was another driver to greatly improve his best time when he got his Holden Commodore down to a 34.95 only .03 of a second behind Steve Thiele in his Porsche GT3.
Impressive work Rob! John Bryant’s Formula 5000 Lola T140 created a great deal of interest, but unfortunately, he couldn’t get it running on song and ended up heading home early, hopefully to return for the next event. John Illingworth returned for this event but this time in a Mitsubishi Mirage, after his mishap in the Commodore last time out.
Unfortunately this time around it was Luke Ballard in his Evo10 Lancer that ploughed off and damaged the front end of his car.
Once again it was Derek Foster in the Suzuki (30.25) who took out first place from Kurt Krassnitzer in the Pro Sport Mussane in a 32.45, with Luke bringing the Evo home in 3rd before his off track adventure.
Sarah Pfeiffer finished 4th in her dad’s Mallock U2 (34.34 seconds) ahead of both Mark Rice (Mazda RX7) & Gavin Farley (Mitsubishi Evo7) on 34.68. Peter Emes improved his class record again, getting the Smart Car upthehill in 42.75 seconds, thereby setting himself up well for a chance at the outright win in this year’s Winter Cup.
Our next event at Collingrove is round 1 of the multi club Collingrove Cup on June the 5th, so why not come out and enjoy a day watching great motorsport in a picnic environment. Collingrove Hillclimb track is situated on Hillclimb Road, Mount McKenzie, just 7km out of Angaston.