Tom Ingram as Star BTCC Rookie Masters 'Mega' Harewood Hillclimb

Tom Ingram as Star BTCC Rookie Masters 'Mega' Harewood Hillclimb

07.07.2014: photo caption: Leading Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC)

photo caption:  Leading Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) rookie Tom Ingram wowed onlookers in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis race car last weekend as the MSA British Hillclimb Championship visited Harewood Hillclimb, the longest in mainland UK

The Tour de France might have stolen the majority of the headlines in Yorkshire last weekend, but the legendary cycling race was not the fastest contest in the county – as standout Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rookie Tom Ingram found out on a visit to Harewood Hillclimb.

Fresh off the back of leading in the BTCC for the first time at fellow BARC-run Yorkshire venue Croft a week earlier, Ingram and his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis returned north to pit themselves against the clock at the longest hillclimb in mainland UK during the eighth round of the 2014 MSA British Hillclimb Championship.

After wisely using his first practice run as an initial sighting opportunity, Ingram increasingly built up his speed and got the hammer down as his confidence grew around the narrow and unforgiving 1,440m course.

Whilst he was never going to threaten the fastest times running on race tyres in a front wheel-drive car, the 20-year-old BRDC SuperStar – who has notched up no fewer than 11 points-scoring finishes over the opening half of his maiden campaign in the fiercely-contested BTCC – confessed that the experience was both hugely enjoyable as well as something of an eye-opener.

“Wow!” Ingram enthused. “That was certainly different to the type of racing I’m used to. For starters, there are no other drivers around you on the hill when you’re on a run, so if you make a mistake, you can’t really blame anybody else!

“It was definitely an education – and a lot of fun at the same time. I was amazed by how tight-and-twisty the course is, and there’s no BTCC-style run-off or gravel traps if you run out of talent – so you really don’t want to get it wrong! That was very much in the back of my mind as I sped through the middle of the farm buildings at 70mph for the first time, because there’s no margin for error whatsoever.

“I’d been saying for a while that I’d wanted to have a go at a hillclimb – and Harewood lived up to all of my expectations and more. There were some awesome cars there, and it was just a mega day. Every circuit racing driver should try it!”

Aside from Ingram’s BTCC Avensis, amongst the awesome machinery taking to the hill were a plethora of Porsches, a legendary Ford Sierra Cosworth, a brace of flame-spitting Audio Quattros, a particularly mean-looking Mini – with a turbocharged, 450bhp Mitsubishi Evo engine lurking underneath the bonnet – and a Gould GR61X, which set the fastest time of the meeting in the hands of multiple British Champion Scott Moran, less than a hundredth-of-a-second shy of his outright course record.

BARC Yorkshire Chairman Tim Wilson reflected that it was a fitting turnout for what was one of the undisputed highlights on Harewood’s 2014 schedule.

“From pedal power on Saturday to horsepower on Sunday, Yorkshire has truly been the place to be this weekend,” he remarked. “We had a superb variety of cars and a lot of interested spectators – and the sun even put in an appearance, too!

“It was fantastic to have Tom here, of course, and his state-of-the-art BTCC car understandably generated quite a stir. He was definitely one of the stars of the show and now he’s laid down a benchmark, maybe some of his touring car rivals will come along to try their hand at hillclimbing, too!”

With superb viewing set against the backdrop of Yorkshire’s beautiful Wharfedale Valley, Harewood is one of the most popular and picturesque hillclimbs in Britain.

Russell Atkins, Credit: Leon Wall Photography /


07.07.2014 / MaP

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