You can almost guarantee a great event by the HSCCQ at Willowbank. Organised, friendly, well planned, full CAMS spec scrutineering and ball tearing, arse-out racing all day.
As usual, we weren’t disappointed.
Having won last year’s Challenge, expectations were high for the crew. Shane Murphy, Jon Young, Jason McGarry, Liam Philp and yours truly represented the “Seven” fraternity. Martin O’Brien held up the Elige end (no typo, I have decided the generic Elige covers all Elise and Exige variants) and a ring-in or two – the GT3 of Phil Hart won’t go astray!
The tests are handed out on lovely colour copied pages. Two this time, with two runs on each, then two runs in reverse. That’s eight runs in all, with little time between. Entries split into two groups with the entire LCQ group together, save for Phil who kept the rest honest all day.
The top end test was basically a simple figure eight done three times. Second gear mostly, maybe third for a bit. Easy unless you are pushing hard, in which case for goodness sake keep the count! Jon used a prime number sequence to ensure accuracy and certainty, with predictable results. Shane must have felt the flags were out of sequence so re-arranged quite a few, in front of the time keepers, just to ensure they got the point. Martin used the “go so fast they won’t see any errors” and did just that – very fast and no errors. Jason just made it up as he went, which looked spectacular but maybe didn’t impress the trial designers. I just kept thinking 3 you mug, 3.
The bottom end test was decidedly more complex. First, second, third and maybe fourth gear. Garage, witches hat slalom, narrow gate onto end of Drag Racing circuit, chicane, sharp left / right, short straight, hair pin, straight with chicanes, back in the gate, witches hat slalom and home. Then the opposite in the afternoon.
I have done these a few times and thrilled at their complexity. Very difficult to pick any meaningful lines quickly, so you really have to drive intuitively rather than by rote – no dig at the “pussy” circuit drivers meant there!
So the difficulty on this trial was getting a handle on it. Best way to go?
Quite simple really.
Drive a Lotus or Clubman and even us “amateurs” look skilled! Most of us sailed through, but Liam really shone with an outrageously quick time. Doesn’t happen that often, so thrilling when it does.
The day wouldn’t have been the same without the camaraderie of all the competitors and the support of Margie and Caitlin Philp and Jen Murphy.
So thank you HSCCQ for another good one, and follows the results which speak for themselves.
Martin O’Brien: 1st
Phil Hart: 2nd
Dick Reynolds: 3rd
Liam Philp: 7th
Shane Murphy: 13th
Jason McGarry: 17th
Jon Young: 35th