One Tree Hill on the outskirts of Ararat is a fast, popular; but unforgiving hillclimb, which despite being unsuitable for open wheel or cycle-guarded racing cars, hosted Round 6 of the nine-round Victorian Championship. Until additional safety fencing is installed at Ararat, open wheel racing cars and Clubman sports cars contest only 8 rounds of the Championship; but the rest of the classes contest the full nine rounds.
Sixty-five sports car, improved production, sports sedan and historic touring car competitors contested this round which began with a chance for drivers to familiarise themselves with the layout during optional practice in the rain on Saturday. The rain not only put a dampener on everyone’s enthusiasm, but it quickly turned the unsealed pit area into a muddy morass. The start line fared no better as cars carried the mud from the adjacent pit area onto the bitumen. Sunday morning’s weather brought little improvement with constant drizzle keeping the track damp and slippery. It was anticipated that 4 runs would be conducted on the Sunday, but several incidents requiring the recovery vehicle ate into the program leaving only enough time to run the field through three times. Most competitors had at least one dry run to post their fastest time, but as the weather improved and times were falling, most would have appreciated a fourth run at the hill.
Only three of the regular Sporting Register hillclimbers entered this event. Jane Vollebregt and David Anderson shared David’s purple MGB, whilst Steve Schmidt ran his Group Nb Cooper S in the Historic Touring Car class. David won the Under 2L Sports Car class with Jane following closely behind in second place. Unfortunately the gearbox in the MGB gave up on Jane’s third run, leaving David disappointed with only two runs on the board. They decided to cut their loses, called it a day and made an early departure on the 4-hour trip back to Allambee. Steve couldn’t find an answer to Peter Weymouth-Wilson’s similar Cooper S which was faster up the hill on each of the three runs, so settled for second and a few more points for the Championship.
Unfortunately, Jane and David’s drive home in the big Ford Ranger Ute, towing the MGB, was interrupted by a burst heater core under the dash. Steam, fog and overheating necessitated several stops, so it was fortuitous that they departed Ararat relatively early.
The remaining 3 rounds are at Rob Roy (Christmas Hills), Bryant Park (Newborough) and DECA (Shepparton).
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