The most recent round of the State Hillclimb Championship was held at the DECA driver training complex in Shepparton where more than 70 competitors suffered through a very cold early morning start, but thoroughly enjoyed the superb weather and track conditions when the sun rose above the horizon. This event is always very well organised by members of the Shepparton and District Car Club which had undertaken some additional track work this year to appease the CAMS track inspectors. Hot food was available throughout the day and the takings went towards supporting the local club.
Even though it’s quite a short track at only 800 metres in length, and there’s no real hill to speak of – this venue is one of my favourites and it probably suits the ‘Brick’ more than any other track in the series.
The course starts on top of a small rise. The cars then accelerate downhill into a tight, second-gear, right-left-right chicane before climbing the ‘Shepparton Alps’ which quickly becomes a blind crest as the road drops away into a fast left-hand turn. It’s then hard onto the brakes and back to second gear for a long sweeping right-hand 180 degree turn that leads onto the back straight where another right-left-right chicane slows the pace prior to the short sprint to the finish line. The road is narrow and uneven with several surface changes over its length; but it’s great fun to drive – especially when you get it right. Because of the below-zero morning temperatures, the track was extremely slippery for the first of our 5 runs; but competitors’ times became faster throughout the day as the track warmed under a cloudless blue sky.
Three Sporting Register members made their way to Shepparton for this popular round of the Championship. David Anderson made the journey up from Allambee with Jane Vollebregt, transporting their respective MGBs on the Aussie Pools Race-team transporter. David chose to run his cross-flow headed MGB roadster in the Open Sports Car (up to 2-litre) class for this event and finished with a fastest time of 36.6 which placed him first in class and 20th outright. Princess Jane was running a brand new engine in her Marque Sports Car (up to 2-litre) class MGBGT and kept her best run (40.4) for the final session which earned her third place in class and 54th outright. After a close tussle with the historic Nc Cooper S of Peter Weymouth-Wilson, Steve Schmidt’s even more historic Group Nb Cooper S was relegated to second in the class by less than 0.3 of a second, it also placed 29th outright with a fastest time of 37.3 seconds.
It was a very enjoyable day of motorsport, there was plenty of friendly banter amongst competitors, and thankfully no serious incidents, nor mechanical issues to spoil the event.
Other cars featured in the picture gallery include Don Woods’ red MGB, Greg Corbin’s whitish MG Midget and Graham Dows’ Bugeye Sprite.