Empire Racing Strikes Back At The Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb


May 3, 2016 By Mike Lee
Last updated on May 3, 2016

Nic Mann with his extraordinary Manic Beattie machine.
Empire racing cars took the honours at the first competitive event of the season held at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb at the weekend.

Organised by the Midland Automobile Club and entitled ‘Speed into Spring’ the weather was anything but spring-like, with cold winds and showers creating a damp and slippery track which curtailed many competitive runs for drivers in the Midland Hill Climb Championship.

This played into the hands of the Empire racing team, whose light and nimble cars managed to trounce much more powerful machinery, taking top slots in both run-offs sessions for the quickest cars in the TTC Group Top Ten Challenge.

MAC committee member Simon Fidoe had a fantastic weekend, winning ‘Man of the Meeting’ and the first run-off in his Empire Wraith, whilst Ed Hollier won the second in his Empire Evo. On top of this Empire cars took the top three places from an entry of nearly 25 cars in the 1100 Racing Car Class, in the hands of Simon Fidoe, Chris Aspinall and Tom Poole, respectively.

Empire constructor Bill Chaplain, commented: “The cars have really shone in these very challenging conditions, against such powerful competition, and I am delighted with the efforts of all my drivers, especially young Tom Poole in a brand new car that was only completed and unveiled last week.”

Entertaining the spectators was Nic Mann of Newbury, in his spectacular Manic Beattie machine, which is powered by a 1700cc Ford BDT engine and uses a helicopter gas turbine starter system, a former Sports Libre record holder at Shelsley Walsh, climbing the hill in a time of 27.02 seconds.

Upholding the family tradition, brothers Simon and Peter Marsh, sons of the late Shelsley Walsh champion Tony Marsh, took first and second ‘Fastest Time of Day’ respectively in their DJ Firehawk racing car with only half a second separating them.

Reign Midland champion Mike Turpin continued the defence of his title with another win and other class wins came for veteran driver Ken Williamson in his Lotus Elise, Roy Standley in his Mitsubishi Evo 5RS, Phil Ludbrook in a Honda S2000GT, Alan Warburton in a Caterham 7, Mike West in a Westfield, Tim Dennis in a Mini Cooper, Colin Satchell in a Peugeot 205, Ash Mason in a Westfield and Kim Johnson in a Mallock.

The racing car classes saw wins for Neville Rollason in a Formula Ford Jamun, Andrew Henson in a Pilbeam MP62/82, Alan Goodwin in an Aldon, and Stuart Ridge in a Pilbeam.

Paul Howells in a 911 RSR won the class for competitors in the Porsche Club of Great Britain Hill Climb Championship and John Stevens won the Newbarn B-Licence holders class in his Renault Clio 182.

The Paul Matty Sports Cars Lotus Championship classes were won by Richard Swindall in a Lotus Elan sports car and Stephen Palmer in a Lotus 23B racing car.

The next event at Shelsley Walsh is the social gathering Breakfast Club (advanced tickets only) on Sunday 8th May and the next hill climb is a round of the TTC Group/Avon Tyres British Hill Climb Championship on the 4th and 5th of June.

Tickets can be obtained by visiting the club’s website at www.shelsley-walsh.co.uk.