Australian Hillclimb Championship at Mount Cotton

Dean Amos. Picture: CH Images

A capacity field of 92 cars is set to challenge for the 2022 Australian Hillclimb Championship at the picturesque Mount Cotton track this weekend.

Event organiser Richard Mattea, of the MG Car Club of Queensland, said the purpose-built facility is primed for the national titles, with the big field headlined by four outright title contenders in the Open Formula Libre category.

“While local driver Dean Tighe is racing on his home track, his supercharged, methanol-burning, Suzuki-powered Empire Wraith, you can never discount his arch-rival Dean Amos and his Gould GR55,” Mattea said.

“Dean Amos managed to wrestle the Queensland title from Dean Tighe here at Mt Cotton in June, setting a fastest time of 35.81 seconds, finishing just four tenths of a second ahead, so they have some real history between them.”

The other expected outright challengers are Warwick Hutchinson, in an OMS28, and veteran competitor Stan Pobjoy in his supercharged VW Special, while Greg Ackland’s Volkswagen-powered Ninja is also tipped to set fast times.

“But you can never discount the smaller engined Formula Libre cars, there are a number of motorcycle-powered specials in the 751-1300cc class, if the conditions are right, expect them to take advantage of their lighter weight to set some blisteringly quick times,” Mattea added.

Among these cars, local drivers Neil Lewis (Fly-001), Michael Ciccotelli (Stohr F1000), Ian Lozell (FL GAE01) and Jim Milliner (OMS 2000M) are expected to star, although stiff competition is likely from South Australia’s Dave Mahon (Dallara F394 Suzuki) and Dave Morrow of New South Wales (Krygger Suzuki).

While the Formula Libre cars are likely to be the top 10 fastest outright cars, Mattea said one of the attractions of hillclimbing is the challenge for driver’s to beat their own times, as well as other drivers, which leads to exciting battles throughout the field.

“The battle between two Production Sedans can be just as thrilling as the Formula Libre cars, with each driver looking for that thousandth of a second advantage, it can be the matter of braking just a few centimetres later than your previous run, which not only gives a personal best, but it can be the fraction needed to edge out a competitor,” he explained.

While the Mount Cotton layout remains virtually unchanged from when it first opened, track improvements, including resurfacing, reshaping of kerbs and improved drainage have seen times tumble over the years.

Mattea said although the layout appears simple, it is a true challenge of drivers and machines in the quest for the perfect run.

“With a ‘double loop’ layout, Mount Cotton has three uphill straights, two downhill runs, both leading into near-hairpin turns, it places an equal premium on acceleration and braking, with the famous nutshells waiting to catch any driver who misjudges their braking into the two hairpin corners,” he detailed.

“Hillclimbing also allows for drivers to share a car, which leads to the most fascinating rivalries, best friends or family members driving the same car, and there is nothing like the bragging rights of knocking off your best mate, or your parent, child, brother or sister, with the difference measured in microseconds.”

Mattea said the family-friendly nature of hillclimbing is another attraction, with many ‘multi-generational’ entries at events.

“While it is a relatively simple category to enter, it is also ultra-competitive, and we have seen cars evolve and developed over the years, and be passed down from one generation to the next, and the cars become more refined and faster, with more power, improved brakes, and enhanced handling and steering, to make them super-competitive,” he concluded.

The Australian Hillclimb Championship is at the Mount Cotton circuit, Gramzow Road, Mount Cotton, with access from Mount Cotton Road only.

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