In a break with recent tradition, the final round of the Speed Championship ended, not at the usual Prescott hill climb in October along with all the noise and activity of their American Autumn Classic, but at Shelsley Walsh for a day entirely devoted to competition and our last outing this season was all the better for it. We were lucky with the weather too, as the threat of rain held off until long after the Porsche drivers had completed their runs and settled their final Championship positions.
We have done without the presence of long-term competitor Donald Peach in Class P4 since a back injury left him making just the briefest appearance at Loton Park in June. Stephen Jory, in his 2.5 litre 944 and Stuart MacLean in his 924, have formed the entire class since then.
With a smooth and precise driving style that is always a pleasure to spectate, Stuart took second place at Shelsley with a time of 38.73, just over 1.5 seconds behind Stephen who, with a 37.20 finish, consolidated a 12-round appearance this season and demonstrated the naturally gifted driving ability makes him such a consistent competitor and earned him the P4 Class Championship and fifth place overall.
The numbers attending varied in Class P3 over the year, but Shelsley saw almost a full house with six drivers battling it out for important final points. It was really close among the fastest three, with Ross McDonald taking his stunning (and super sounding) 911 RS recreation into third place with a time of 36.25.
Just one-tenth of a second separated second and first in P3 with Wayne Eason putting in a great time for an impressive PB in either the 914/6 GT he drove previously or in his Boxster of recent years. Wayne took second place in 34.93 and secured sixth place overall in the Championship.
Taking first place in 34.83 and emphatically taking the P3 class win was Justin Mather in his 2.7 litre 924. Always quick and highly focused, Justin finished in second place overall in the Championship, fractions of a point behind the Champion.
A big thank you also to Justin for all the help and time he provided at Curborough and leading up to Shelsley to get Mick Brown’s 944 repaired and to the final round.
Five drivers competed in Class P2 at Shelsley with Andy Fagan putting in a super run for third place after making amends for a nearly catastrophic two-wheel ‘off’ at the top of the hill in his first timed run. Andy ‘flying’ Fagan is always a thrilling and fearless competitor and consistently puts in great times in his smartly-prepped Boxster S and he finished the day in 34.51. His repeated success in picking up a trophy at nearly every round, earned Andy fourth place overall in the Championship and second place in Class P2.
In second place at Shelsley, just five-hundredths of a second ahead of Andy was Ian Wadsworth driving the finely prepared and subtly modified ’74 911 SC / RS he shares with son Nick. Despite being plagued with a recurring injury this season, Ian is still a skilled and experienced driver, exciting to watch and always a trophy contender, including at Shelsley. Ian’s final run of 34.46 leaves him in third place in Class P2 and eighth place overall in the Speed Championship.
Taking his sixth first-place trophy this season in P2 was the irrepressible Geraint Evans. Driving his 1975 911 Carrera 3 in ever improving times over the day left him with a time of 33.73. Geraint’s experience, unfailing ability to collect trophies and trademark ‘bell kick’ (yes, it does have a name) leaves him as the P2 class champion and third overall in the Championship.
Class P1 has been a well-supported class in 2017, with six or seven drivers attending most of the rounds. A combination of holidays, mechanical issues and at least one imminent sale of a competitor’s car meant that we were down to just two entrants at Shelsley, with Jonny Mear completing his third outing this year in his immaculate, factory-standard Cayman S. Jonny’s first timed run produced his best time on the day and he took second place trophy in 35.59.
Shelsley was Martin Leach’s eleventh round this year, and his ever-increasing confidence and experience in getting the most from his mildly modified 964 is becoming apparent at each meeting. Like Jonny, Martin’s best time was his first run and he took the class win with a time of 34.64.
Also present at Shelsley, but not competing, was our new Porsche Club Speed Champion David Dyson. David has ripped through the season in his 991 Turbo after winning all but one of the rounds he attended which must count as one of the most impressive debuts in the Speed Championship. A 991 Turbo is a supremely quick car but, as someone might have said, power is nothing without control and it is clear that David is an experienced and gifted driver and many congratulations to him for a superb season and well-deserved Championship win.