Piper Valley Rd Gravel Hillclimb 2013

Stu Weeber Winner of the Piper Valley Rd Gravel Hillclimb 2013

Stu Weeber on his way to winning the Piper Valley Rd Gravel Hillclimb 2013 in his stunning ex-works ex-Possum Bourne Group A 555 Subaru Impreza

Click for a copy of the Overalland Class Results.

It was hot alright, too darn hot.
As Canterbury enjoyed another 30 degree day the effect in the windless Piper Valley was sweltering heat.
A twisty and enjoyable run along the bottom of the valley was followed by a tight and steep course to the top of the Port Hills. The heat was too much for Wade Henshaw and Bruce McMillan who saw dangerous oil temperatures in their Rotary’s on the Indian File run. Both parked up from there to keep their engines alive for another day.

The reg’s for this National Hill Climb Championship Qualifier said there would be a timed practice, that took the pressure off learning the new bit of road which had a few tricks awaiting anyone who got too keen too early. No-one did.
Stu Weeber made a guest appearance in his Subaru to lead the times after run one with 3.20:24, but Michael Tall was just 0.3 sec behind in his 2300cc Evo 4. Next was Scott Jones, 3 seconds back in his Evo 3.  Gary Cliff was just one second further back, having the first drive in the Evo 5 he purchased recently ex the late Andrew Grundy.  Gary Hawkes was next in his recently acquired Evo 9 but would take no further part after a stone pierced his oil filter.

Trevor Crowe had finished third overall the previous day at the Sealed Qualifier Round and was very fast at Piper Valley Rd as well, with 3.34:80 in the first run in the Justy. Chris Hey was next 2WD, 7 seconds back in his Nissan turbo powered MR2, with Brent Tiney and Tony Gosling close behind Hey in their BDA’s.
Hamish Anderson set the 1600cc pace in the first run with 3.47. Gary Cowan’s AE86 was next some 6 seconds back, with Paul Cox next in his fairly standard MR2 another 7 back. Club President Graham Wilson was the only 1300 competitor to register a time in run 1.
Run 2 saw Weeber go near six seconds quicker with 3.14:61 to stay at the top. Two seconds back Scott Jones climbed to second, while Tall failed to go any quicker but held third. In the open 2WD class Hey took 15 seconds off his run one time to move 2.5 seconds clear of Crowe, while Jeff Judd moved into third in his Mk1 Escort. Things stayed the same in the 1600 cc Class while Grant Goile made a race of the 1300cc Class with Wilson.
By run three many competitors, their kids and their dogs had had enough of the heat, put their cars on the trailer and retreated to the local café.  Not so at the front of the field where Tall and Jones were chasing the Hillclimb Championship and wanted to win this event. But Stu Weeber was not going to make that easy. Tall ran first and put down 3.13:42, Weeber just beating him with 3.13:14 – the fastest time of the day. Jones held third two seconds back.  Richard Baddock jumped up to 4th in 4WD in the last run while Cliff took 5th despite electing to miss run 3.
The Crowe and Hey showdown in the Open 2WD class got so intense that both beat the rest of the 4WD’s to the top of the hill, with Crowe taking the Open 2WD win in 3.21:89, 2 seconds clear of Hey. Brent Tiney made the last run count to take third in the class, while Paul Gorman (RX7) and Richard Towse also took lots of time off to move into 4th and 5th in class.
Cowan took the 1600 cc win from Anderson in the last run, while Cox kept third ahead of Josh Mitchell (Starlet 4AGE) and Jason Barr’s Toyota.  Goile won the 1300cc battle from Wilson.
It was great to have the out of town drivers at Piper Valley Rd for the Hillclimb Championship Qualifier. It produced some interesting battles between drivers that are used to winning. Everyone took their cars home safely.

Trevor Crowe has won the 2WD NZ Hill Climb Championship. Crowe continues to defy gravity with seriously impressive results in the WRX turbo powered, mid-engine 2WD Justy. Michael Tall took second in the overall championship competing for RATEC. Tall must be getting a bit sick of getting second, but it was another good showing for the fast Cantabrian. North Islander Ben Thomasen beat Tall to the overall title in his Impreza, while Scott Jones took 3rd and Crowe 4th outright. Well done.
Words by Ross Teesdale.