Pictures by SM-S/Digicam Productions
FERRARI HILLCLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP
This was not the only Ferrari so equipped at the meeting, as there was a guest appearance by the "yet to be announced" (according to the commentator) 360 Modena. This yellow demonstrator from Ferrari UK was the first most people had seen "in the metal" and it attracted considerable interest. The car is simply stunning and makes the 355 look decidedly old fashioned!
Climbing the hill to spectate makes one realise just how steep and narrow it is, but what is not clear from the safety of the fence is that all the corners are "blind"and very difficult. Shelsley Walsh demands considerable bravery and commitment to achieve a good time, especially in a heavy car like a Ferrari and there is no margin for error.
This was demonstrated by Robin Ward's first class run. Clearly determined to continue his winning ways, he was trying hard and clattered his blue GTB into the sleepers in the Bottom Ess bend, damaging wheels, suspension and bodywork. Let us hope that the damage is not too bad and that he returns to the Championship soon. The rest of the class completed their runs without incident with Richard Allen's 355 in the lead on 36.57 secs. from Geoffrey Rollason on 36.76, just in front of John Marshall who was a praiseworthy third with a 36.78 in his 328 GTB.
The two leading 355 drivers really got their act together for the second runs. Rollason exploited his vast hillclimbing experience to take the win on 35.34 from Allen's 35.81, with Geoff Dark edging out Marshall to take third.
The computer-based timing system provided some fascinating data. On their quickest runs Rollason was 0.03 secs. slower than Allen over the first 64ft, was 0.21 secs. up by the Esses and extended his advantage to 0.47 secs. by the finish line, despite being 2mph down on terminal speed. The tipos' speeds across the finishing line were largely in line with engine capacity, with the three 355s fastest in the high 80's/low 90s (mph). The 328s and Geoff Dark's 308 GTB were all in the low 80s, with John Dobson's 308 GT4 slowest on 77mph. The 328s were quickest over the first 64ft with 2.60 secs. by John Marshall and 2.63 by Keith Maddox, just in front of the best 355 time, 2.66 secs. by Richard Allen.
With the PEP factors taken into consideration, Geoff Dark emerged with the maximum 20 points from Rollason and Allen. On a cumulative basis, after five rounds Robin Ward continues to lead the Championship despite his zero score at Shelsley but behind him John Marshall and Len Watson are involved in a close contest for second place, albeit still someway behind Ward.
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