BRYANT PARK HILLCLIMB, Sunday 7th November

It had been a long time between drinks. The last hillclimb at this spectacular venue was back in May – just before the State plunged into its final lockdown, so there were plenty of people keen to put the helmet back on and reacquaint themselves with the track. Seventy-three entries and the longest version of the track meant that there was a fair wait between runs for competitors, but that time was well spent catching up with mates and admiring the incredible range of machinery in the pits.

Four members of the Sporting Register were competing on the day and it was great to see Allan Richards assisting on the start line. These events can’t run without the help of many officials who volunteer their time so that those participating can enjoy a fun and safe event. A big thank you to all who officiated at this event, it ran like clockwork. As far as I know there was only one minor track incident when an MGB left the track and came to rest against an embankment after the splines in the steering wheel boss stripped, resulting in a car that didn’t respond to the driver’s steering inputs. Frightening, but thankfully there was no damage to the car or driver, leaving the recovery teams little to do.

Fastest of our little quartet was Jim McNiven in his Toyota Corolla, a very well sorted car that had been sitting idle for almost 18 months. Jim suffered “Brain Fade” on his first run, entirely forgetting to repeat the bottom loop of the track and arriving back at the finish line with what would have been the fastest time of the day, if it had been allowed. Later in the day Jim made amends for his mistake by recording a time of 88.53 seconds which placed him 12th outright in the results.

Ian Maud was our next fastest competitor with a best time of 92.33 seconds in his Fiat X 1/9, placing 23rd outright. Ian is still working at improving the performance and reliability of the mid-engined 1500cc Fiat. He was pleased to finally have a chance to run on his set of sticky Avon race slicks that were purchased pre-lockdown and hardly used since. This time the car held together and his times kept improving.

Ahead of Ian up until the last couple of runs, Steve Schmidt’s historic racing Cooper S turned in consistent runs varying by no more than 0.6 of a second between his slowest and fastest time – a 93.42 on the last run, placing him in 29th outright and five places ahead of John Moss in the red, 2.5 litre “Improved Production” BMW. John’s best lap time was 93.91 seconds, recorded on the third of his four runs. John also stood in as an event Steward on the day and we hope that he didn’t have too many issues to contend with.

The weather was fantastic, the track was in excellent condition and food van gets a 9 out of 10 for their Breckie Burger. Thank you to the Gippsland Car Club for helping us on the road back to normality.

NOTE: If you would like to have a non-competitive drive around the Bryant Park circuit just to see what it’s like, the Sporting Register are having a social drive to the venue on Sunday 21st November.

Details are in the November edition of IDLE CHATTER.

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