Records fall at Collingrove State Championship Hillclimb

14_Collingrove_state_champs (41)A spectacular spring weekend saw the outright track record slashed at the State Championship Collingrove Hillclimb, held on the tight 750m course near Angaston in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (9)Blue skies and an earthly warm sun did all they could for track temperature allowing tyres to develop as much heat as possible without robbing engines of valuable horsepower. It would be hard to imagine a more perfect day for getting up that steep and sinuous road as quickly as possible.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (15)And that’s just what Brett Hayward did in his Hayabusa powered special, driving right on the ragged edge to knock over half a second off his own track record. The track record time now sits at a staggering 27.25sec, some half a second faster than the previous record he set in 2012.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (8)Despite the fact that there were only a select few with a realistic shot at the outright record, every competing car was there to fight their own battles. Personal bests, class records and class wins; they were all up for grabs and almost everyone was doing everything possible to make the most of the conditions.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (18)This was gutsy stuff, because Collingrove really isn’t a place you want to go falling off the road.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (23)A lot of the time you can drop a wheel off and get away with it…

14_Collingrove_state_champs (27)… but anything more than that and you could go tumbling far away.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (24)It doesn’t look as severe in the pictures, but there’s some serious elevation change at Collingrove.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (22)And even on the relatively flat bits there’s hundreds of little bumps and yumps waiting to catch you out. It might only be 750m long, but it takes years to learn and perfect.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (1)The tyre warmup at the start line is just the beginning, for a whole variety of reasons.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (32)The car that impressed me most was this blue Beetle. It’s been around for a few years, but the owner is only now just getting into seriously competing in and developing the car.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (44)It ticked both of the important racecar boxes. First, it was almost comically quick.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (28)And second, preparation and attention to detail was impeccable. Having one with out the other is less than ideal, but a quick car presented this well is a knockout.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (31)As you’d expect, details on the exact engine specification are a little foggy but capacities of 2.7 or 2.8 litres in these Beetles are not uncommon. Given the speed, there’s definitely something pretty serious going on here.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (36)On to rear-engined German cars of a different kind, and members of the Porsche Club did a few demonstration runs during the lunch break. This car was one of my favorites…

14_Collingrove_state_champs (37)… as was this 964, which has graced the pages of Any Given Reason previously.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (35)But more important than the cars or the times or the strategy is the atmosphere you find at Collingrove at this time of year.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (42)Because, let’s face it. Most of the time Collingrove can be a pretty torrid place to be. In winter it gets bitterly cold and the wind rushes up that valley, and in summer the paddock becomes a hot, dry dust bowl.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (5)But by the same token, in those few weeks of autumn and spring when the air is cool and the sun is warm, you’d really struggle to find a more scenic, peaceful and enjoyable place for some club motorsport.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (43)It’s the perfect place to unfurl the picnic rug, sit back and enjoy the show.

14_Collingrove_state_champs (4)Words and photos by Andrew Coles

 

 

 

 

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