Words: Keith Mainland – Photos: Chateau Impney-Press
The 2018 Chateau Impney Hillclimb was the fourth running of the event and included a demonstration of modern supercars for the first time as well as the usual vintage, historic and Ralli classes. The atmosphere is friendly and inclusive with a range of activities to engage Auto Addicts young and old including tank rides, a climbing wall and fun fair.
The Hillclimb is particularly well supported by the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) who fill half of the nineteen classes with their ever more adventurous pre-1940 ‘specials’ and thoroughbred pre-war sports and racing cars. The post-war classes cover sports and racing cars from between 1946 to 1967, plus a special class each for up to 1967 Production (Touring) Cars and more modern Group A, B and WRC Rally cars. In addition, an interesting selection of special cars and motorbikes were demonstrated during the lunch break, including Beaulieu Motor Museum’s recently restored V16 BRM.
The combined times from the two practice runs on Saturday made interesting reading. Perhaps predictably, the most recent single seaters were quickest with Malcolm Thorne topping the list in his 1965 F2 Lotus 35 at 40.65 secs followed by Martin Jones in a 1967 F2 Brabham BT31B only two hundredths behind. However, third place went to David Wright in 41.63secs in his ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC and James Baxter was fastest Pre-1940 car in his 1935 Riley Sprite ERA at 44.31secs.
Practice set the tone for Sunday’s timed runs and Thorne and Jones repeated their first and second places. This time the margin was much bigger with Thorne setting a new record at 38.86 (previously 39.33) compared to Jones time of 39.95. Third this time was Justin Maeers in his big 5.7litre Lola T70 (41.38) with Lotus expert Paul Matty a close fourth in his F2 Lotus 35 (41.43) who was less than two tenths ahead of David Gidden’s sports Lotus 23B (41.63). Sixth was David Wright in his WRC Focus (42.08) ahead of Justin Maeers this time in his Cooper Monaco T49 (42.67). The top ten was rounded out by Ian Wright in his Chapparal Mk2 (42.70), an impressive run by Tony Shields in his Group A Vauxhall Astra rally car (42.90) who just pipped Rod Jolley in his Cooper T45/51 (42.92). Fastest Pre-1940 car was Ian Baxter in his 1937 Alta 61IS.
From a spectator’s point of view, my stand-out cars were the Issigonis Lightweight Special which was possibly the first monocoque racing car and designed by Alex Issigonis in 1937 who later created the legendary Mini for BMC. John Harrison’s 1958 Dodge Coronet looked completely out of place in the paddock but was very entertaining going up the hill with some wild tyre smoking and tail-wagging antics. The Ferrari Enzo in the Supercar demonstration also appealed because it’s smooth lines seem to be ageing well compared to the more aggressively styled of Lamborghinis and Maseratis.
So, although still a relatively low-key event, Chateau Impney is growing year on year and establishing itself as a quality event in the historic calendar.
2018 Chateau Impney Hill Climb class winners:
Class 1: Pre-1940 Standard and Modified Sports Cars Unsupercharged up to 1500cc
Eddie Williams Frazer Nash Supersports 46.49secs
Class 2: Pre-1940 Standard and Modified Sports Cars Unsupercharged over 1500cc
Marcus Black Talbot Lago T23 49.12secs
Class 3: Pre-1940 Special Sports Cars and all Supercharged Sports Cars up to 1500cc
David Pryke Morgan Riley 47.31secs
Class 4: Pre-1940 Special Sports Cars and all Supercharged Sports Cars over 1500cc
Dougal Cawley GN / Frazer Nash Piglet 46.83secs
Class 5: Edwardian and Veteran Cars
James Collins Hudson Super Six 51.90secs
Class 6: Pre-1940 Racing Cars up to 1100cc
Winston Teague GN Wasp 48.54secs
Class 7: Pre-1940 Racing Cars over 1100cc and up to 1500cc
Nicholas Topliss ERA AJM1 46.00secs
Class 8: Pre-1940 Racing Cars over 1500cc and up to 3000cc
Ian Baxter Alta 61IS 43.47secs
Class 9: Pre-1940 Racing Cars over 3000cc
Robin Tuluie Menasco Pirate 44.23secs
Class 10: Racing Cars up to 500cc from 1946 to 1967
Mark Riley Creamer Special 45.34secs
Class 11: Pre-1961 Racing Cars up to 1500cc
Mark Woodhouse Elva FJ 100 43.20secs
Class 12: Pre-1961 Sports and Sports Racing Cars up to 2200cc
Justin Maeers Cooper Monaco T49 42.67secs
Class 13: Pre-1961 Sports and Sports Racing Cars over 2200cc
Tony Bianchi Allard Farallac Mk2 45.08secs
Class 14: Pre-1961 Racing Cars over 1500cc
Rod Jolley Cooper T45/51 42.92secs
Class 15: Pre-1968 Sports and Sports Racing Cars
Justin Maeers Lola T70 MkII 41.38secs
Class 16: Pre-1968 Racing Cars up to 1500cc
Jack Woodhouse Brabham BT6 43.49secs
Class 17: Pre-1968 Racing Cars over 1500cc
Malcolm Thorne Lotus 35 F2 38.86secs
Class 18: Production Saloon Cars from 1950 to 1967
Graham Hill Austin Mini Cooper S 45.76secs
Ralli22: Group A, B and WRC Rally Cars
David Wright Ford focus WRC 42.08secs