David West was just 19 when he first competed at Chateau Impney in 1967 – taking part in the last ever Hagley & District Light Car Club sprint event at the venue. He wasn’t meant to be competing but jumped in the car at the last second to replace friend Fred Jones, who was called away due to an emergency.
With no time or thought to inform the organisers, David drove Jones’s 1275cc Morris Mini Cooper S up the old 550-yard course and completed the course in an outstanding time of 28.49 seconds.
Despite David’s win, it was Fred’s name that was added to the Chateau Impney records. And with no further events held for almost half a century, the wrong remained unrighted. That finally changed at the 2016 Chateau Impney Hill Climb, as David got his wish to be top of the class!
Having beaten the class record by 1.1 seconds on his first timed run, David thought he could go even faster on his second run, and was 0.75 seconds up on his previous time halfway up the course. But when he spun his Austin Mini Cooper S at the roundabout, he had to hope his first time would be good enough to clinch victory in the 1950 to 1967 Production Saloon Cars class.
Last year, he lost by just 0.25 seconds, but this year he felt more confident.
“I’d done two hill climbs in France in May, so I knew the car was running well enough to get some decent times out of it. But you can never be sure of class victory. With new people in the class, you don’t know how they will perform.”
Luckily, David’s first run was enough for him to win the class in 46.87, 0.9 seconds ahead of nearest rival, Graham Hill, in another Austin Mini Cooper S.