VICTORIAN HILLCLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP Rd.4 Bryant Park. Sunday 10th April

Bryant Park’s figure-8 configuration is the longest and one of the most popular hillclimbs in Victoria; it is also expected to be the format used for the Australian Titles later in the year. The 1400m course begins at the top of the hill and runs down through a series of bends to the crossover where drivers turn right and then left into the very technical anti-clockwise bottom loop bringing them back to the Crossover and onto the uphill section of the track which runs up past the clubrooms to the finish line.  About 100 drivers contested this round; there were open-wheel racing cars such as Formula Ford and Formula Libra hillclimb specials, sports cars, sports sedans, improved production sedans and historics.

Five Sporting Register members supported this local round of the Championship. David Anderson had his cross-flow headed, purple MGB running in the Sports Car category, Jane Vollebregt was competing in the Marque Sports Car class in her recently purchased light purple MGB roadster, Ian Holdsworth was in the large capacity sports car class in his turbo-charged Mazda RX7, Jim McNiven was driving his sports sedan Corolla, and Steve Schmidt had entered his ’64 Cooper S in the Historic Touring Car category.

Unfortunately David’s MG blew a head gasket on the first of the four timed runs, and despite him rushing home to pick up another head gasket and working feverishly in the pits to replace it, the problem was more deep-seated and he was unable to get the car back on the circuit. His first and only run was still quite fast at 70.88 seconds despite completing the final section on reduced compression. He was rewarded with a third in class and some valuable points towards the overall championship.

Jane is fast coming to grips with her new MGB racer which is lighter and more powerful than her old MGBGT.  Her times improved on each run with her fastest time a 74.05 earning her second in class at the end of the day.

Jim McNiven’s little Corolla is a real giant-killer and is often fighting for outright tin-top honours. Today was no different; despite Jim missing out on the last two runs, his fastest time of 64.31 seconds secured him a first in class and 18th outright. Nailing honours for the fastest tin-top at the meeting was Ian Holdsworth who clocked a 62.82 in his turbo RX7 after being disqualified on his first run for taking a shortcut and missing the bottom loop section of track! Ian has done a lot of work on the car recently and was very happy with the way it was running.

Your editor’s historic Cooper S decided to play up with a locking nut on the clutch thrust bearing shaft coming loose on the first run which rendered the clutch inoperable. Luckily it was very easily repaired and the car ran faultlessly for the rest of the meeting getting faster on each run, eventually taking a class win with a 69.84 final run.

Like most events at Bryant Park, it was very well run by the Gippsland Car Club team, despite a number of incidents that required the use of the recovery crew.  Thankyou to all the officials who gave their time so generously.

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