Shelsley Results 030612

Shelsley 3rd June 2012

Many areas of Britain were operating under drought regulations but the weather gods thought differently for the MSA Hill Climb Championship event at Shelsley Walsh for the weekend of 2/3 June. Ted Sharpe wondered if snorkel's could be fitted to 500's and Mike Wood was heard to say that he had a swimming pool in his tent! Some of us had Gazebo's which were tied together to give a small degree of protection and Stuart Barnes and his wife even went shopping and bought one; it was suggested that with enough Gazebo's we could form a 500 Villa! This was the weekend to celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and I believe that everyone in the '500 hill climb family' received one of Gwen's queen cakes served on a Union Jack decorated paper plate or napkin. Congratulations Your Majesty. In spite of the wet weather the '500 family' were as friendly, helpful and cheerful as usual, and it was good to have some ladies with us for support. We were all pleased to see Jan and Dierdre Nycz with us for most of the weekend; Jan is overhauling his Staride and seems to be disappointed at missing the driving. Most of the 'family' had gathered in Steve and Terry's gazebo at lunchtime on Sunday where the laughter seemed to keep everyone's spirits up. When Gwen and I joined them it was noticed that we were feeling cold; a horse blanket was produced and we were wrapped up until we felt warm again. Very thoughtful and thank you Mark, and horse! After signing-on and having the cars checked by the scrutineer, Saturday was devoted to practice. This is carried out at Shelsley in batches and drivers select their batch with the helpful ladies in the paddock office. At this stage we start our engines to check and warm them, and in the cold and wet conditions they were reluctant to run. My engine usually starts well but it took several attempts on the roller starter before it would run and then it ran roughly until well warmed. Mike Wood had fitted a replacement engine on the Friday and had not had time to 'fire it up'; it just would not start and the ignition was suspected. Mark Riley certainly amazed me as he went straight to the cause of 'no spark': the 'p' lead post was touching the magneto cover and he soon had it insulated and sparks reinstated.

A damp day at the Esses. Photo Derek Hibbert

After first practice runs some technical malady's showed up. When Ted Sharpe took his foot off the accelerator his engine continued running fast (must have been exciting to drive?). He found that the carburettor slide was being held in a part open position by the small throttle cable guide and he soon rectified it; a small item can make such a big difference! John Dent's gearbox failed at the end of his first run and he and Alistair 'just' changed it before lunch; they are both such good mechanics. Stuart Barnes' lovely IOTA was suffering from clutch slip and Mark R 'found' and fitted stronger springs to the Norton clutch; this cured the problem as witnessed by the tyre marks when Mark did a couple of test starts! Most of our second practice runs were carried out during the afternoon when the conditions had improved to damp and the times recorded were respectable. The cars now seemed to be running well and were put to bed for the night. The Shelsley organisation was very good and the 500 drivers, greatly helped by 'pushers' Bruce, the two Steve's, and others, made sure that we were ready to start engines down the slope from Gate 'A' when signalled by the paddock marshal who seems to understand 500 race car problems. This worked very smoothly and would do so at Prescott if the 500's were allocated spaces in zone 'C' of their paddock. Can anyone arrange this? Your reporter did notice one improvement that could be made at Shelsley, as follows. The 500's were run at the beginning of the batch but returned at the end of the batch. When the returning cars are trying to park in their paddock garages it causes a 'traffic jam' at the paddock entrance and the air cooled 500's have to turn off their engines, thereby increasing the 'traffic jam'. If the 500's were returned down the hill first they would go straight to their parking positions and there would be no 'traffic jam' at the paddock entrance. Can this be arranged? To say that it was wet on Sunday would rather understate the conditions that the drivers had to face as they ascended the famous and historic hill. Were the drivers perturbed by the bad conditions? Of course not! It was impressive to see all 500 OA drivers compete safely and in fast or acceptable times, as shown by the following results.

Pos Name Car Best

As always, Mark Riley and Alistair Dent drove with brio and only a fraction of a second separated them all day, the class win finally just going to Mark. John Dent drove consistently and fast to gain third place. Talking with the drivers, there was agreement that we are grateful to Paul Harris, our 500 OA Sprint and Hill Climb Secretary, to the MSA Officials and Midland Automobile Club members, and to the Marshals, for their work and organisation that allows us to enjoy our sport - thank you all. At the end of the event the rain increased and loading up cars and equipment was far from pleasant.

I cannot submit this report without thanking all those members of the '500 family' who stayed to help me pack-up car, equipment and gazebo in the heavy rain.

Alan Hartfield


1 Mark Riley Creamer Kieft-JAP 42.75
2 Alistair Dent Hornet-JAP 43.67
3 Patrick Riley Smith Mk III-JAP 47.27
4 John Dent Cooper Mk VI-JAP 45.01
5 Ted Sharpe RGR-JAP 47.78
6 Alan Hartfield Cooper Mk V-JAP 47.99
7 Mike Wood Iota-JAP 53.73
8 Steve Lawrence Cooper-JAP 54.27
9 Mike Lawrence Cooper-JAP 54.38
10 Marcus Black Cooper Mk V-JAP 56.54
11 Stuart Barnes Iota-JAP 67.01