New champions savour Cultra Hillclimb at Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Andy Hawthorne won at Cultra
Andy Hawthorne won at Cultra

The Cultra Hillclimb 2014 crowned no less than 10 new outright and class champions as ‘Ulster’s Motoring Garden Party’ delivered a packed programme of thrills.

Over 2600 visitors flocked to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum for the event – run by the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club.

There was something for everyone at the 109year-old hillclimb that these days celebrates the heritage and history of motoring and motorsport.

From a miniature traction engine trundling around the displays at the historic Cultra Manor, via a unique 40’s Rover single-seat race car, autotesting and sporting trials demonstrations to the 2013 GMS Honda sports car racer of young David Mutch.

Andy Hawthorne, driving a Reynard, edged out Chris Houston (OMS CF04) by just 0.08secs to lift the Lynes Trophy for the first time as former Irish Hillclimb and Historic Rally Champion Robert McGimpsey grabbed the final podium place in his unique RMG Busa.

With the next single-seater a full 15 places further back, the top saloons and sports cars proved highly competitive at the twisting North Down venue.

Mark Francis (GMS Honda) was top sports car for the first time and won class 7 by half a second from Mutch with Stuart Biggerstaff in the family Metro 6R4 and

Davy Francis (Ford Escort Cosworth) providing the tightly packed meat in the GMS sandwich, the saloons split by just 0.08secs.

Ian Lancashire (Subaru Impreza) completed the Saloon car podium as Richard McGimpsey (RV8) grabbed the final saloon podium spot.

The TSCC again provided a Ladies Class that was won by experienced Irish Hillclimb competitor Deidre McKinley for the first, leaving multiple Irish Champion

Simon McKinley.

Former Miss Northern Ireland Tiffany Brien (MG Midget) was runner-up from Cheryl McBride (Citroen Saxo), completing a pair of fathers and daughters contesting

the event.

Will Corry Jnr (Midget), Colin McBride (Sylva), Steven Strain (Ford Escort Mk1) and Chris Rogan (Ford Mk2 Escort) were all first-time class winners.

The ‘Tullyhommon Flyer” Mervyn Johnston (Cooper S) made his trip from County Fermanagh worthwhile by holding off another legend of motorsport, Tom Lawther (Rover SD1), to complete the historic saloon podium.

Closest finish of the day went to Andy Johnson (Alfa Monza), who held off Michael Adams(MG Midget) to best the rest of the Historic Sports Car field by just 0.01secs.

Staying with the vintage cars, Simon Thomas (Ford TTV8) won the UVCC Members Handicap, whilst Nad Haghighi (Vauxhall VX220), in one of the youngest cars in the event, scored his biggest success to date, by winning the TSCC Members Handicap and the prestigious Todd Trophy.