A downhill start for a Hillclimb is unusual, but its one of the things that defines Gurston Down. From its early and somewhat rugged beginnings as a farm track, this venue regularly wins Best Event in the sport’s annual awards, which tells you something.
The ‘Farmyard’ paddock leads you to the start, where again this year tyre warming is no longer allowed. So, it’s an approach to the line as per the marshal’s instructions.
Off the line you will plunge down Park Straight, heading towards Hollow Bend. I would urge you to walk this section if nothing else. When through Hollow Bend, look back and see what looks like a gentle curve to the left. From the cockpit, the bend looks much tighter. I’m not saying dismiss it as an easy section, It’s not. But it is less tight than you think. So, stay right on approach, use the left-hand kerb as the apex and smoothly power through. The curving left is again a little quicker than it looks, but make sure you are under control for braking for Karousel. As a tight uphill right, you’ll need to brake hard, but again you will be going steeply uphill and it pays to come off the brakes a little earlier and let the hill slow you.
The second right is tight and I’d aim for a smooth exit as you start to accelerate now. But not before the tricky and slightly off camber left-handed Ashes. Here an earlier apex is recommended as the track falls away to the right and many a skilled hillclimber has run wide. So, turn in tight, then get on the power as early as you can as Burke’s Rise, the quickest and steepest part of the track awaits. Here you will find a gentle curve as you approach the finish. My advice is to keep what power you deem to be appropriate on all the way through and over the finish line. It’s essential you do not lift as you approach the line, as this will unsettle the car significantly. Start to slow when you are fifty metres past. There’s plenty of space to slow… and breathe!
The following day, Sunday 18th June, Round 10 of the BARC SBD Speed Championship will take place at Silverstone during the 2017 MG Live event. Unfortunately, Clive hasn’t had the pleasure of competing on the Stowe Circuit. So, the next edition of Clive’s Drives will be for Round 11 & 12 at Curborough Sprint Course.