The opening two rounds of the NSW Hillclimb Championships on Mt Panorama on March 5-6 were downgraded to Multi Club events due to the floods along the eastern seaboard. That did not stop Queenslander Dean Tighe from firstly getting there, and then he set the fastest times on both days of the Bathurst Light Car Club run event.
The event’s first day was on the Esses course which from the Bathurst Goldfields’ gates on Conrod Straight went in an anticlockwise direction on the famous circuit to the McPhillamy Park gates on Skyline. The following day over 100 entrants contested the 1.7 kilometre track that started at the crest on Mountain Straight and finished before the McPhillamy Park gates.
In his supercharged Hayabusa-powered Wrath Empire Formula Libre, Tighe went faster on each of four passes with the fourth attempt the session’s best of 21.99 seconds over the 750 metre climb. He then backed up with a 41.68 best effort on the longer clockwise track to take the second day honours as well.
On both courses Kevin Mackrell was the runner-up in his six litre Chev V8-powered four-wheel-drive Datsun 260Z. His time through the Esses of 25.52 seconds was 0.15 seconds under his own previous Tin Top benchmark. He was also second fastest on Sunday with a 44.49 second effort.
Third on each day was Peter Brown in his Prosport Mulsanne Clubman Sports Car ahead of Matthew Brown (Audi RS4) on both courses. Wayne Penrose finished fifth on Saturday with an early run and before Ben Ford had a rear calliper failure in the shared Volkswagen Beetle Sports Sedan. It was fixed for a run each on Sunday where Penrose was tenth.
Day one’s top ten was completed by Breton Byfield (Improved Production Subaru WRX Sports Wagon), Greg Jones (Locost Clubman), Andrew Fraser (Road Registered Chev Corvette), Riley MacQueen (Improved Production Holden Commodore) and Michael Argoon (Sports Sedan Commodore).
Fifth place on Sunday went to Robert Kolimackovski (Road Registered Honda Integra) ahead of Argoon, MacQueen, Josh Redhead (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo5 Sports Sedan) and Kyle Curry (Road Registered Subaru Impreza WRX).
Joanne Bell (Morris Mini) was the fastest lady on both climbs ahead of Alison Monkhouse (Commodore) while Junior honours went with Josh Hunter (Subaru Impreza RS) over Volkan Gunduz (Ford Focus ST170) on each day.
The closet class competition was on Saturday in Improved Production 2.0 to 3.0 litre where one hundredth of a second split Honda Integra drivers David Smith and Mitch Porch. The latter was fastest on Sunday, three tenths ahead of Tim Weston (Mazda 3). 3E Production was also close with 0.12 seconds between Cameron Brown (Nissan Pulsar) and Kim Wells (Hyundai Excel) on day one.
Check out action from the event with our coverage below:
Saturday Esses HillClimb: