TOM HILL – ALFA’S YOUNGEST CHAMPION
Tom Hill collected his championship trophy at the annual Alfa Romeo awards night – Photo: Michael Lindsay
Competitors, families and friends of the BRSCC Alfa Romeo Championship gathered at The Brandon Hall Hotel, near Coventry, on Saturday November 12 to cheer on this year’s trophy winners. At the top of the list was our youngest ever Champion, Tom Hill, who took his Bianco Auto Developments prepared 156 to 9 wins from 16 starts, only being off the Twin Spark podium on two occasions. Twin Spark Cup drivers dominated the overall points table with Simon Cresswell and Dave Messenger taking second and third places with championship veteran Andy Inman finishing a delighted fourth.
Tom Hill’s successes didn’t always come easily, as he had to fight off some stiff competition in some of the races from past champion Paul Plant, James Browning and Dave Messenger. And if Dave hadn’t missed the opening rounds at Snetterton and then suffered mechanical woes at Silverstone and Zolder, he would certainly have been closer to Tom in the final standings.
All but one of this year’s races was won overall by a Modified or Invitation class car, Andy Robinson taking the Modified trophy with five wins to his credit in his 3.8 litre 156 – an aural delight at any time! – while 2015 champion, Graham Seager, took three wins in a limited programme to finish as class runner-up in his supercharged GTV 3.2 litre. The Power Trophy (run to a power to weight ratio formula) turned out to be a battle between Ron Davidson, returning to his racing roots with a 3 litre 164, and Ray Foley in the more modern 147 GTA. The class title eventually went to Ron after both drivers missed the series finals at Rockingham.
The Championship has a number of special awards that were presented at the dinner. The coveted Preparers Award went to the prolific Bianco Auto Developments team while “Black’n’Rounds” Highest placed Newcomer was Mike Tydeman who had returned to racing for the first time since the 1980s. The Reliability Award went to Jeremy Chilton who started and finished 14 of this year’s 16 races. The Champagne Moment Award usually goes to a driver or team who have performed an on-track miracle , but the “miracle” this year was of a different order as the trophy (and a bottle!) went to Andrew Bourke for the moment we saw him walk away virtually unscathed from his monster accident at Brands Hatch in August, pictures of which reached the national media and which is about to be featured on a BBC1 “Close Calls” programme. Finally we had out Photographer of the Year award which went to Paul Stone for his major contribution to our website and also to BRSCC’s race day programmes during the year.
Our thanks go to Ian Brookfield and Joanne Eastwood for organising such an excellent evening. Ian hopes to be back racing his 164 again next year.