Dromore’s Stuart Biggerstaff made his eagerly anticipated return to Cultra Hillclimb, building on his 2012 debut to win his class.
Biggerstaff once again returned to Ulster’s Motoring Garden Party with his father’s MG Metro 6R4 No.1, one of rallying’s most iconic rally cars from the Group B era.
Since its last appearance at the event, the Biggerstaffs have taken their car back to its original colour scheme and sponsor decals, hence it was one of the most photographed cars there.
The event was situated in the spectator friendly parkland grounds of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum North Down and provided a packed programme of thrills and spills for over 2600 visitors.
Organised by the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club, the day’s competition saw no less than 10 new Outright and Class Champions crowned, at the World’s Oldest Active Speed Hillclimb.
Apart from only one blemish on his first practice run, when Biggerstaff proceeded to cross the finish line backwards, his 6R4 made easy work of the 640m long course and unlike his last visit sounded on song for all five runs up the hill.
As in 2012, Biggerstaff took fifth place overall, but this year moved up the podium and won Class Eight for non road-going and rally cars with a time of 33.98.
Davy Francis (Escort Cosworth) 34.06 was the meat in the sandwich, with him and Biggerstaff split by just 0.08secs. Ian Lancashire’s (Subaru Impreza) 34.42 completed the Saloon car podium. The Class Eight was also the biggest of the completion with no less than 22 cars vying for class honours.
FTD went to Andy Hawthorne (Reynard) who 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 non road-going sports and sports racing cars proved a highly competitive class. Young Mark Francis (GMS Honda) was top sports car for the first time and won Class Seven by half a second from David Mutch.
The TSCC again provided a Ladies Class which was won by experienced Irish Hillclimb competitor Deidre McKinley who left multiple Irish Champion Simon McKinley to look after their four-week-old (Rory) in the Paddock.
Former Miss NI Tiffany Brien (MG Midget) was runner-up from Cheryl McBride (Saxo), completing a pair of fathers & daughters contesting the event. Will Corry Jnr (Midget), Colin McBride (Sylva), Steven Strain (Escort Mk1) and Chris Rogan (Mk2 Escort) were all first-time class winners.