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Alex Summers arrived into Belfast last Friday from Henley In Arden, with his DJ Firestorm for scrutiny at Campbell College along with twenty other competitors from the Motorsport UK British Hill Climb Championship (BHC) presented by Nova Motorsport to entertain us all on the Patterson Electronics Hytera Communications UAC Craigantlet Hill Climb, kindly supported by Belfast City Council.

Alex won the event in 2023 and has repeated his triumph topping the leader board with a time of 45.23 seconds for which he received the Dunlop Trophy and as he recorded the fastest time of the day he also collected the News Letter Trophy.

Unfortunately the weather conditions were far from suitable for a crack at the current record of 39.12 seconds, evidenced by his time compared to that in 2023 of 39.97seconds.

The Ulster Automobile Club made a very difficult decision and cancelled rounds 1 & 2 of the BHC, due to the weather. In a statement posted to Facebook, BHC stated, “Heavy rain throughout the day forced event organisers to cancel the opening round of the Motorsport UK British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) presented by Nova Motorsport. Persistent rain at the Belfast venue caused the track to flood in places, forcing organisers to take the difficult decision to cancel the event without either of the two scheduled BHC run-offs having taken place.

The BHC now returns to the mainland next weekend, with a Championship round scheduled for Sunday 12th May. The BHC will be joined by the class based BHC Cup presented by BMTR Motorsport. Action is sure to be fast and furious as competitors finally get to stretch their legs and compete for Championship points.”

After the series’ first run, the time from which were abandoned due to cancelation, Simon Brien drove his MG K3 replica up the hill in celebration of 100 years of the MG marque which first came into being in 1923, MG stood for Morris Garages.

Paul Robinson, a local author and motorsport historian, presented copies of his book ‘From Ballybannon Hill to Magilligan Strand’, the story of Hillclimbs at Ballybannon, Craigantlet, Croft, Red Brae and the sand races at Magilligan Strand and the Ulster Motor Grand Prix at Clady. One of the recipients was Wallace Menzies, the four time BHC Champion who’s event ended rather abruptly with a visit into the Belfast scenery.

Clerk of the Course, Wilson Carson, on behalf of the UAC, took the opportunity at the driver’s briefing to thank Patterson Electronics Hytera Communications, for their second year as title sponsor.

He also expressed sincere thanks to all our other associated sponsors, supporters, volunteers, residents, marshals, competitors and spectators for their continued support for one of the oldest Hill Climbs in the UK which celebrated its 111th Anniversary this year.

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Graham is a photojournalist and motoring writer with over 20 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and motoring events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and Ulster Motor Writers Association.