Jones Triumphs as Records Tumble at Chateau Impney

Tuesday 12 July 2016

The course record at the Chateau Impney Hill Climb was destroyed this weekend as a three-way battle ensued for the fastest time of the day (FTD).

It was Brabham BT21-B driver Martin Jones who reigned victorious as he took almost two seconds off the existing course record, set only last year when the event returned to the historic motorsport calendar following a 50-year absence. 

The morning session saw a trio of drivers emerge as clear contenders for the Chateau Impney crown, with Callum Grant’s first run of the day in the Merlyn Mk 5/7 Formula Junior providing the catalyst for a day of high drama.

Taking to the course for his first ever hill climb, the 21 year old from Bolton knocked almost one second off the existing course record of 42.42 seconds, with a time of 41.69.

But as news of a new track record began to sink in with both the driver and spectators, Gloucestershire man Martin Jones upstaged the youngster with a blistering drive when he took to the course in the next class. Jones completed the 1,000–yard course in just 40.50 seconds – almost two seconds quicker than the time set by last year’s winner Jack Woodhouse.

“I was very surprised to win. I have been hill climbing for over 30 years but this is the first fastest time of the day I have secured,” said Martin, who is also currently leading the Bugatti Owners’ Club Championship.

“I decided to be cautious in Saturday practice as it was a course I have never driven. But when the sun came out this morning, I thought this might be the best weather we will get today and I went for it.”

Sandwiched between the runs of Grant and Jones was Mark Woodhouse in his Lotus 20/22. He also beat the inaugural track record with a time of 42.07, which on any other day would have put him at the top of the standings. While it was not quick enough to secure the FTD, it was good enough to give him family bragging rights in the Woodhouse household, at least until next year’s event.

In all, the existing Chateau Impney record was beaten by five different drivers across the competition day. As well as Jones, Grant and Woodhouse, David Gidden in a Lotus 23B and Malcolm Wishart in a Lotus 41C also enjoyed the honour of being record-breakers, recording times of 42.14 seconds and 42.20 seconds respectively.

“It’s fantastic to see that the record book has been well and truly rewritten in just our second year,” said event director Rod Spollon.

“While we knew that Jack’s record would be challenged throughout the day, we weren’t expecting five different drivers to beat it! Congratulations to Martin on his win in what has been a very high calibre field.”

In total, 200 drivers took part in the event, split across 18 classes. The full list of class winners is as follows:

Class 1: Simon Blakeney-Edwards – Frazer Nash Super Sports – 50.81
Class 2: Ewen Getley – Bentley 3 Litre – 49.36
Class 3: Greg Lerigo – Riley 12/4 Special – 49.18
Class 4: Brian White – Frazer Nash TT Replica – 46.84
Class 5: Mark Walker – Darracq 200Hp – 51.75
Class 6: Winston Teague – Hardy Special II – 47.25
Class 7: Rob Cobden – Riley Falcon Special – 45.13
Class 8: Nick Topliss – ERA R4D – 44.40
Class 9: Julian Grimwade – Frazer Nash Norris Special – 44.98
Class 10: Peter de la Roche – Cooper Mk V – 44.71
Class 11: Mark Woodhouse – Elva 100 FJ – 42.68
Class 12: Peter Joy – Lotus Elite – 44.03
Class 13: Malcolm Thorne – Lotus Buick – 43.88
Class 14: Rod Jolley – Lister Jaguar Monzanapolis – 46.37
Class 15: David Gidden – Lotus 23B – 42.14
Class 16: Callum Grant – Merlyn Mk 5/7 Junior – 41.08
Class 17: Martin Jones – Brabham BT21-B – 40.50
Class 18: David West – Austin Cooper S – 46.87

Nick Topliss scooped the awards for the Fastest ERA and Fastest Pre-1940 Car with a time of 44.40 seconds. The award for the fastest Post-War/Pre-1967 Sports Car went to Adam Jones in his Chevron B8, thanks to a strong time of 43.93 seconds.

Other notable performances at the meet were recorded by Bob Dyke and David West, but for different reasons. Dyke took the honour of being the first driver in 100 years to pit a steam car against petrol cars at a competitive motorsport event. His entry comes following his campaign to have a ban on steam cars at historic motorsport events overturned. 

West, meanwhile, finally ended fifty years of injustice by finally securing his name in the Chateau Impney record books, following a mix-up in 1967 when his class win wasn’t recorded properly. He also picked up the award for the Fastest Production Saloon Car with a time of 46.87 seconds.

An unrivalled and diverse array of cars took part in the event, including the Fiat S76, best known as the Beast of Turin, ex-F1 racers, American sports car specials, and a number of 1950s and 1960s sports cars, including C-Type and D-Type Jaguars.

The event also featured a series of crowd-stopping air displays from the Red Devils an RAF Battle of Britain flypast. Spectators were also able to vote in the Footman James Concours d’Elegance.

However, the busiest area of the event was the open paddock, where spectators could view all of the cars that were taking part at the event and meet the competitors and mechanics.

Visitors also had the opportunity to purchase a classic of their own at a specialist auction on Sunday, hosted by event sponsors H&H Classics, or go home with something more modern from the Listers display.

  • Martin Jones, Brabham BT21-B at Chateau Impney Hill Climb, Droitwich
  • Martin Jones, Brabham BT21-B at Chateau Impney Hill Climb, Droitwich
  • Martin Jones, Brabham BT21-B at Chateau Impney Hill Climb, Droitwich
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