Shelsley Walsh 4/5th May 2013
Eight WSCC Speed Series competitors headed to Shelsley Walsh to sample the 2-day format at this historic venue; all in roadgoing classes. Most lived fairly locally to the venue; David Reed being the exception by travelling in from Silverstone. The weather forecast was good and all looked forward to some blistering times! It was good to see old and new faces, this event being Craig Spooner’s first ever competitive hill climb.
None of us had experienced the 2-day format of one of these events before so we were not sure what to expect other than possibly a rather slow and drawn out couple of days.
We walked the hill to find new tyre walls conveniently placed in the grass banks to hopefully prevent the common Caterham route of over the bank and down the side of the hill coming to a halt at various angles in the bracken. Further up the hill we found The Essess had been completely resurfaced – this led to discussion about green tarmac (well it looked black to me) and grip levels! Stu Hill was sure the grip was good and The Essess could be taken at speed – more on this to follow.
A few rushed for the “first 30 signing on get a guaranteed 3rd practice run” opportunity and were duly scrutineered and booked into one of the first two practice batches. The sun had not shone on the track so was cold and dampish under the trees so a steady “sighting run” approach was adopted by most. George Newrick was seen with fingers crossed hoping that he had solved his recurring misfire problem.
The sun got hotter and the times got quicker; Tim Pennington and Stu Hill showed us how to do it by posting first practice runs in the 32s and 33s respectively. Everyone’s times were improving as confidence levels increased, then it rained very heavily and practice runs slowed significantly. Then it was time for lunch, the opportunity for further walks of the hill and the sun came back out with the hill rapidly drying.
Practice started again; Stu Hill attacked the hill, possibly forgetting that The Esses were in the shade of the trees and had not fully dried out, resulting is a spin but luckily not connecting with anything solid. So only his pride was slightly damaged!
In the end we all had 3 practice runs and everyone went home or to the bar satisfied with the times they had achieved.
Sunday morning the sun was shining and a promise of good weather was forecast. Craig had popped home and fitted his passenger seat. First runs took place with everyone improving on their best practice times. The fastest being Tim Pennington with a time of 31.66, beating the Class D target and Stu Hill posted a 31.78 to beat the Class C target.
With plenty of spare time between runs Tim and Stu had their first of many ice creams. Annie got bored with a detailed conversation about tyre pressures. Some took to the hill as spectators to watch the Top 12 run off; learn how to take the corners and to see what a 24 second run looked like.
Then it was lunch and the normal high quality catering of Shelsley Walsh was on offer. So with the sun getting hotter and hotter everything was set for some quick times in the afternoon.
Second timed runs started precisely at the pre-defined time; Shelsley is run in almost a military fashion by a devoted team of organisers and marshals.
Annie improved on her first run with a 34.13, Tim Pennington smashed the Class D target with a 30.71, everyone else followed with their best times of the weekend – Mark Schlanker taking 2 seconds off his best practice time - happy days!
At the end of the day Tim Pennington took 2nd place in the Roadgoing Specialist Production Cars class; Paul Morcom took 1st place in the WSCC Speed Series class; and Stu Hill took 1st in the HSA Saloons/Sports Car class.
Thanks to Paul Morcom for this report