Simon Neill - Gurston Down Hillclimb 19/20 June and a Class Win!


This weekend I was at Gurston Down Hillclimb with the Indy R GSXR1000. What a weekend, one of 2 halves with the weather. Damp and drying well on Saturday and just wet on Sunday. I had done nothing to the car (well just nipped up the cam chain tension a fraction) other than check the drive shaft bolts and main suspension bolts, they were all good!


Left early on Saturday morning and arrived nicely at 0730. Lovely little venue and home to BARC SW, based mainly in a farm but a well maintained hillclimb surface with some challenging corners and a couple of fast bits! It’s strange that the first section is actually downhill but teases you into a left hander before rising sharply through carousel (180 degree) with a hump and then into a tight left on an incline and opposite camber before a fairly straight line through a climbing wiggly finish. All over in seconds…


First run and only a practice so not counted, nervous as a nervous thing, engine up to temps and me trying to remember the corners and gears for each, which all went out of the window as soon as I started. Green light at start and off… Traction was poor but short shift to second and then through box to 4th, backed off loads for the left hander / took 3rd I think and not sure on grip (only a single car width and no run off in places), mid corner it was fine and fed in some power to 4th again and then the 180 degree (double right on steep incline) is on you, second gear – slipper clutch making all its noises and pick up power after first right and ended up steering with the back end and right foot, over the leap and again wild back end and slid into left hander, poor traction out and up through the gears to 5th but really tame as the back was stepping out a lot… over the finish… 41.5 secs


With P2, I carried another 10MPH into the first left and stayed in fourth and got to the carousel a bit quick, rally style round the 180 and sideways a lot into leap and out. Brave on run up to finish, nailing throttle more. P2 time down to 39.7.


Now it starts, Timed runs…. I’d worked out that the speed into and out of the first left hander and speed taken into carousel were critical. T1, off the line ok and quickly pinned the throttle, clutchless shifts to 5th and steady throttle only through first left (hit 89 at speed trap before left) and flew into carousel, struggled again on grip and wild out of the next left but grew some minerals and just went flat out to finish. Felt scruffy but quicker…. And it was , T1 – 39.30 but sat me about a second of a quick Caterham who was leading my class… (ok there are only 3 in this class but he was my competition)… Quick 250 BHP Caterham J oh but I have GSXR power and a better intake noise…


T2 (but I did not know it was the last run by the way). Off the line ok ish and I was consistently 2.8 sec first 64ft on Saturday. Slipped seamlessly through the gears, with glorious engine sounds, carried on further into left hander and carried loads of speed into the 180 of carousel… Sideways out and over leap and scrabbled around the next left and just planted throttle to finish – wiggling through the kinks… and the time…… 38.04 sec and a class win!!! 0.01 sec off class record. I thought I had another run to come and knew where I could improve… I think I could be in the 36sec area with another couple but I will take the 38.04.

Sunday, rather forget that, too wet to enjoy much and ended on a 44 sec, which given the weather was ok and car in one piece too.



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