Houston Takes Maiden Win at Croft Hillclimb

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Last Saturday the 16th April, Croft Hillclimb, Holywood, Co Down played host to Round 1 of the 2016 Millers Oils ANICC Hillclimb Championship, with Ulster’s hillclimbing fraternity producing a wide ranging entry of 69 cars of which 64 completed the course and posted a time.

This popular Thoroughbred Sports Car Club NI run event was again rewarded with fine weather and a local winner in the form of Bangor’s Christopher Houston, who also convincingly took his OMS CF04 to its maiden Championship counting win.

Houston Takes Maiden Win at Croft Hillclimb

Bangor’s Christopher Houston in his OMS CF04

As the first practice runs which got underway at around 10.30am, the public road course witnessed action straight away with various competitors suffering mechanical woes and trips into the scenery and even the finishing line’s timing equipment didn’t escape an excursion.

Practice two was just as busy with first time competitor Eldoras Eglerius clipping a bank in his Ford Focus, Gary Milligan’s mini suffered with a loose bonnet and Gordon Fogarty’s Fiat X19 rolled to a halt after his throttle cable came loose, but after a quick fix went on to a class win later in the day. Newtownard’s Robert McGimpsey survived a heart stopping tank-slipper at the top of the hill in his newly acquired VW Bettle and the Harvey’s Escort was hampered by a loose exhaust pipe.

Houston Takes Maiden Win at Croft Hillclimb

Brendan Flynn’s OMS PR00

Continued good weather and growing crowds of spectators greeted the afternoon’s timed runs, but unfortunately it also brought the longest hold-up of the day. From class 14 Brendan Flynn’s OMS PR00 suffered a catastrophic engine failure and dropped a large quantity of oil on the start-line.

After the oil was dressed the Croft hillclimb featured some great battles throughout the field, the Gage’s in their respective Maguire Mini’s particularly stood out, with son just piping father. Also the dual entry of Ian and Mark Lancashire provided plenty of spectacular and crowd pleasing moments, in their highly modified Subaru Impreza,

This year’s Top 3 TSCC committee members were Tony McLaughlin’s who also took his Ford Escort to 2nd in class 16a, 43.63. Bangor’s William Heaney clocked 44.94 and took his Ford Puma to a class1 win and local farmer Wallace McKee’s MX5 clocked 45.11 in a very crowded class 2.

As in previous years the province’s Ford Escort brigade provided lots of fast sideways action and it was Adrian Mullholland’s RS example that took the class 2 win, setting a very competitive time of 40.20. Mervyn Johnson’s 911 and the fastest Porsche took 2nd, 40.90 with another Escort taking 3rd in the hands of David Gibson, 40.92, missing second by two hundreds of a second. A fitting result for the best supported and most varied class of the event.

Even though class 14, was hugely depleted throughout the day, its single-seater exponents still provided the top 2 times overall. Christopher Houston’s times improved on every run so it was no surprise that he set FTD on his fourth run clocking 34.50. George Stevenson used his Jedi MK6 to great effect in keeping Houston honest and set the 2nd overall time of 35.65 and 2nd class 14 and It was class 15 competitor Newtownard’s Richard McGimpsey who rounded off the top 3 overall, clocking 35.98 in his RMG.

A touch of nostalgia was provided by the four strong UVCC vintage class with Magherafelt’s John Keatly taking the class win in his splendidly prepared Invicta 55.21, with Holywood resident’s Dermot Johnson, Samson 2nd 56.76 and Sheelagh Glover’s Riley Special 57.96 3rd

After such a successful Croft Hillclimb event TSCC, President William Heaney said, ” After such a successful day and great opener to the 2016 ANICC Miller Oils Hillclimb Championship, a big thanks must go to the competitors for their support, the marshals and club members for all their hard work in delivering an event that still managed to offer competitors a fourth timed run, despite various delays. The Club is especially grateful to the residents of Ballymenoch and Creightons Green Road and the local PSNI for their continued support.”

FTD- Christopher Houston OMS CF04 34.50

The Croft Hillclimb Class winners

Class-1 William Heaney Ford Puma 44.94
Class-2 Adrian Mullholland Ford Escort RS 40.20
Class-3 Conor Hamill Toyota Celica GT4 43.40
Class-4 Gardiner McIIwaine Westfield SEI 39.94
Class-5 Robert Davison MEV 39.09
Class-6a Gordon Fogarty Fiat X19 40.14
Class-6b Steven Gault Citroen Saxo 39.06
Class-8 Roger Gage Maguire Mini 36.46
Class-9 Gary McWilliams Toyota Starlet 41.55
Class-10 Alan Roddy Citroen Saxo 40.77
Class-11 Conor Lavery BMW M3 39.07
Class-12 Ian Lancashire Subaru Impreza 38.07
Class-14 Chris Houston OMS CF04 34.50
Class-15 Richard McGimpsey RMG 35.98
Class-16a Gordon Buckley Ford Escort 42.64
Class-16b Robert McGimpsey VW Bettle 46.33
UVCC Class-17 John Keatley Invicta 56.37

Photos by Gary Craig and Stuart Woods

Houston Takes Maiden Win at Croft Hillclimb

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About Author

Tony Gregory is a long time motorsport official with credits ranging from Kirkistown to Bathurst. Tony has lately added part-time Motorsport journalist and PR guru to his portfolio.

RMS Forum Comments

Cooper 17:08 | Mon 25 Apr, 2016 | Report
Love the OMA Impreza cocking a wheel. Have to get back out to these events - TSCC put on a great day
dub 17:52 | Mon 25 Apr, 2016 | Report
Craigantlet is on this Saturday btw! Looking forward to it!
PhilM 19:23 | Mon 25 Apr, 2016 | Report
| Craigantlet is on this Saturday btw! Looking forward to it!
Always a good day out. Better spectator hill than Croft aswell. Phil
Gambit 21:56 | Tue 26 Apr, 2016 | Report
| Always a good day out. Better spectator hill than Croft aswell. Phil
You think? I much prefer Croft as you can dander up through it. Will still take a run up to craigantlet but im expecting it to be baltic this year!
PhilM 22:14 | Tue 26 Apr, 2016 | Report
| You think? I much prefer Croft as you can dander up through it. Will still take a run up to craigantlet but im expecting it to be baltic this year!
my post couldn't have made less sense if I had tried. Let me try that again, At Croft it's virtually impossible for the drivers to see any of the event bar the view from the drivers seat due to the split paddock and a hike to the start line. Craigantlet the paddock is after the startline and before the finish line so very much in the middle of things. It just seems more compact/accessible but your probably right it'll likely be cold and miserable on Saturday weather forecast isn't so good right now Phil
Gambit 09:38 | Wed 27 Apr, 2016 | Report
ahh get ya now!
PhilM 12:38 | Wed 27 Apr, 2016 | Report
| ahh get ya now!
:D also these guys who took the pics for the report @ croft - any off them on RMS and if so did you get any pics of the wee black starlet? Phil
stevieturbo 11:18 | Thu 28 Apr, 2016 | Report
I think there were one or two photos somewhere on FB that popped up after it. There's also usually a couple of photographers dander about the events who sell photos from previous events. W7YF069ElSk
PhilM 11:52 | Thu 28 Apr, 2016 | Report
Cheers @stevieturbo Phil


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