Cultra Delivers New Champions and Debuts.
June 26, 2014 by Tony Gregory
Cultra Hillclimb 2014, ‘Ulster’s Motoring Garden Party’, crowned no less than 10 new Outright and Class Champions and delivered a packed programme of thrills and spills for the 2600 sun kissed visitors. the world’s Oldest Active Speed Hillclimb is based at Northern Ireland’s Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, run by the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club NI it celebrates the heritage and history of motoring and motorsport.
This year one major coup for the organisers was the European competition debut of the ‘Mother’ C-Type Jaguar XKC-030, which was driven by experienced historic racer and preparation expert, David Brazell from Towcester.
The car was supplied to a Mr. David Hirsch in the USA in time for the 1953 Sebring 12-Hour Race where it finished fourth, driven by Bob Gegen and Harry Gray. Changing hands on a regular basis it would go on to establish one of the longest known continuous competition histories of any car and remain unrestored whilst being lovingly maintained and repaired.
Because of this long history and lack of major restoration, it became recognised in America as the definitive example of a racing C-Type and earned the nickname ‘Mother’. Over sixty years in the USA it competed in a race or speed event every year, often 10 to 20 times a year, up in to the ‘Teenies’.
Amongst the many cars adding weight to the events ‘Mini, Mods and Monsters’ theme was Ian Glass’s green 1946 Rover single-seater racer, which had travelled from North Wales to perform course car duties.
Andy Hawthorne (Reynard) edged out Chris Houston (OMS CF04) by just 0.08secs to lift the Lynes Trophy for the first time as former Irish Hillclimb and Historic Rally Champion Robert McGimpsey grabbed the final podium place in his unique RMG Busa. With the next single-seater a full 15 places further back, the top saloons and sports cars proved highly competitive at the twisting North Down venue.
Young Mark Francis (GMS Honda) was top sports car for the first time and won Class 7 by half a second from David Mutch (GMS Honda) with Richard McGimpsey in his brutal RV8 claiming the final sports car podium spot.
Class 8 winner Stuart Biggerstaff had a rare outing in the family Metro 6R4 with Mark’s father Davy Francis (Escort Cosworth) providing tight completion for second spot, spliting the pair by just 0.08secs. Ian Lancashire (Impreza) completed the Saloon and rally car podium.
The TSCC again provided a Ladies Class that was won by experienced Irish Hillclimb competitor Deidre McKinley for the first, leaving multiple Irish Champion Simon McKinley to look after their 4-week-old (Rory) in the Paddock. Former Miss Northern Ireland Tiffany Brien (MG Midget) was runner-up from Cheryl McBride (Saxo), completing a pair of fathers & daughters contesting the event.
Will Corry Jnr (Midget), Colin McBride (Sylva), Steven Strain (Escort Mk1) and Chris Rogan (Mk2 Escort) were all first-time class winners. The ‘Tullyhommon Flyer” Mervyn Johnston (Cooper S) made his trip from Fermanagh worthwhile by holding off another legend of our sport, Tom Lawther (Rover SD1), to complete the historic saloon podium.
Closest finish of the day went to Andy Johnson (Alfa Monza), who held off Michael Adams(MG Midget) to best the rest of the Historic Sports Car field by just 0.01secs. Staying with the vintage cars, Simon Thomas (Ford TTV8) won the UVCC Members Handicap, whilst Nad Haghighi (VX220), in one of the youngest cars in the event, scored his biggest success to date, by winning the TSCC Members Handicap and the prestigious Todd Trophy.
After the Event TSCC President William Heaney (Cultra Event Co-ordinator) said “This was easily the best Cultra Hillclimb Event so far. So many people gave of their time to put on such a brilliant show that it would be impossible to thank them all individually. However, a huge thanks must go to the capacity entry for the hillclimb competition without whose support we’d be just another summer car show. Our unique partnership with the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum allows us to deliver this unique event to enthusiasts and the general public alike.
Crossle Racing Cars(Holywood) have had a annual presence here since the first revival in April 2000, we wish them every success with their long-awaited book ‘Hidden Glory’ and the whole motorsport community wish John Crossle a speedy recovery to full health. Finally, I must thank my TSCC Cultra Hillclimb Team and the UFTM Cultra Event Committee, whose efforts over the past 12 months paid real dividends today. Hopefully see you all on June 13th 2015 for another ‘Grand Day Out’ in North Down”.
Todd Trophy – TSCC Members Handicap = Nad Haghighi (VX220)
Lyness Trophy – Fastest Time of the Day = Andy Hawthorne (Reynard Lotus) 32.52secs
Fastest TSCC Member = Andy Hawthorne (Reynard) 32.52secs
Fastest TSCC Member Sports Car = Ivan McCullough (Nissan GTR) 35.12secs
Fastest Vintage Car = Andy Johnson (Alfa Monza) 40.48secs
Fastest Sports Car = Mark Francis (GMS Honda) 33.84secs
Fastest Saloon Car = Stuart Biggerstaff (Metro 6R4) 33.98secs
UVCC Members Handicap = Simon Thomass (Ford TT V8)
Ladies Trophy = Deidre McKinley (Reynard OPEL) 35.51secs