Alex Summers arrived in Belfast last Friday with his DJ Firestorm for scrutiny at Campbell College along with 19 other competitors from the Avon Tyres Motorsport UK British Hill Climb Championship (BHC) to entertain us all on Patterson Electronics Hytera Craigantlet Hill Climb, kindly supported by Belfast City Council.
Alex was runner up to Wallace Menzies BHC battle here at Craigantlet in 2022. He wasted no time in getting to grips with the slippery surface on the hill in his practice runs. Alex set the fastest time of the day, 39.97 seconds on his first timed run, just 0.85 seconds off the current record, (a superb result given the changeable weather conditions) which earned him first overall and the prestigious News Letter Trophy.
Wallace finished second overall, a mere 0.16 seconds slower which he also set on his first timed run. He won the second run off for round 4 of the Avon Tyres BHC, which was 0.60 seconds faster than Alex on this occasion, showing there is very little between these two highly skilled and competitive drivers.
That said they are both very good friends and embrace the challenges set by all the hills in the Championship. After 4 rounds of the Avon Tyres Motorsport UK BHC, Wallace is in the lead with 36pts from Matthew Ryder on 34pts, Scott Moran on 29pts and Alex Summers in fourth with 27pts points.
Dave Uren, (current joint record holder with Scott Moran at 39.12s ‘up the Hill’) managed 40.82 seconds, also on his first timed run, to take a respectable third position overall. Will Hall was fastest on the top 10 run off for Round 3 of the Avon Tyres Motorsport UK BHC with a time of 40.63 seconds, five tenths of a second fastest than his best run on the Craigantlet event.
Nicola Menzies retained her Ladies title and was presented with the Noble Trophy for a second time, she shares her car with Dave Uren.
Unfortunately, the Northern Ireland weather proved challenging for tyre choice between runs which resulted in the fastest times for most drivers happening on their first timed runs. This didn’t deter all the class winners demonstrating their commitment and driving skills to entertain the crowds who ignored the showers to watch the best hill climbing machinery and drivers perform on one of the fastest hill climbs in Ireland.
The club will be producing a video of the event which will be available for all to enjoy on YouTube and Facebook.
Words: BILL SWANN/UAC | Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY