Goodwood Glory for Hill
Goodwood Glory for Hill

On his Goodwood Members Meeting debut, BRDC ‘Superstar’ Jake Hill took Pole Position in the Gerry Marshall Trophy in slippery conditions on Saturday, before taking an impressive Victory in the Ric Wood Motorsport sleek ‘Gitanes’ liveried 1978 Ford Capri 3.0, in a frantic race on Sunday afternoon in the sunshine of West Sussex.

The race for Group 1 Saloon Cars from 1970 to 1982  saw Hill drive the car for the first-time in a very wet qualifying, putting in a spectacular lap to take Pole Position by 0.888 seconds from Goodwood legend Nick Padmore’s BMW 520i and BTCC hero Steve Soper’s Ford Capri.

“What an awesome car! I love this circuit, and expected the Capri to be fun, but couldn’t beleive just how MUCH fun it is! So predictable, really nimble, and just an honour for Ric (Wood) to have asked me, so I’m chuffed to have got the job done for him and the team”

Later on Saturday Hill was also entered alongside Rob Fenn in ‘Red Rooster’ for the Pierpoint Cup for Saloon Cars over 5 litres built before1966, the pair qualifying 13th in the wet. However early on in the 45 minutes race, an electrical issue brought the 1966 Ford Mustang to a halt with Fenn on board.

“Such a shame. I love driving the Mustang with Rob, and this was our first time together at Goodwood – something we’d wanted to do for a long time. I think the car was maybe a little too stiff in the wet which is why we both struggled a little in qualifying, and then the rotor arm failed in the race which stopped the car immediately. As always I’m hugely grateful to Rob and David (Fenn) for asking me to race with them, and of course the John Danby Racing crew for looking after us. Hopefully we’ll be back out racing together soon, or if not definitely in 2022”

Hill then took part in the Gerry Marshall Trophy Heat for the over 2.8 litre cars, making his first-ever start in the car, and first laps in dry conditions, immediately getting away an leading the pack into Madgwick on the opening lap.

“What a start! The car just hooked up and off she went. Great opening laps but then I knew I would have the ‘big bangers’ coming after me fairly soon”

The ‘Big Bangers’ in question were the mighty 5-litre Chevrolet Camaro of Jack Tetley and 5-litre ‘Boss’ Mustang of Craig Davies, who had  both struggled for traction in the wet in qualifying, but were able to exert thier additional 200 bhp advantage once the circuit had dried.

Midway through the 20 minute race, Tetley had closed in, but in a superb defensive display, Hill managed to keep the American Muscle car at bay, until eventiually the ‘grunt’ told and Tetley swept by on the Lavant Straight.

Far from instantly pulling away, Hill latched on to the Camaro, and with the pair trading fastest laps embroiled in a fierce scrap, Hill still on Tetley’s bumper until the loss of second gear late on saw him drop behind, and take a battling Second place just 1.710 seconds away.

“That was so much fun. I’d never raced at Goodwood before – I’d driven here of course, and Won in Ric’s Skyline last year at Speedweek – but my first actual race, and it was a cracker! Fair play to Jack, he did everything right, but the Capri just doesn’t have the ‘grunt’ so to be as close on lap times shows juast what a mega car it is. I loved it, and can’t wait for the ‘Final’ tomorrow!”

As the autumn sun began to set, 30 immaculately presented Saloon Cars lined up for a 20 minute blast to roundout the 78th Members Meeting, and would see the 3 by 3 grid line up with Tetley on Pole as winner of the fastest heat, and winner of heat one for the up to 2.8 litre cars, Jim Morris’ VW Golf second with Hill alongside on the outside of the front row.

Once again Hill made a superb getaway, instantly leading with Tetley slow away, and Craig Davies blasting through from the second row to begin to chase after Hill’s French-blue machine.

After four laps, Davies began to use the Mustang’s superior power to draw alongside into Woodcote, but Hill braked incredibly late to keep ahead, drifting the car spectacularly much to the vast crowd’s appreciation.

Hill continued to use all of his skill and the Capri’s nimble handling to hold Davies back, but eventually couldn’t resist the American-built Fords straightline advantage, getting past on lap 7.

As with the Heat on Saturday, Hill refused to be beaten, keeping pressure on and diving past on the approach to St.Mary’s, but carrying too much speed and running wide across the grass, taking Davies with him, before the pair scrabbled back onto the circuit with Davies ahead, and them both still running well clear of third-placed Tetley.

“That so nearly went very wrong! I knew I had to try something – Craig was looking lairier every lap so I had to try it, I’m just relieved we both managed to continue”

However Hill instantly began reeling Davies in once again, and then with just over 7 minutes of the 20 minute race remaining, Davies rumbling red machine plunged off the road and clouted the bank, spinning to a halt before rejoining, now in 6th place, leaving Hill comfortably in the lead.

“I couldn’t beleive what I was seeing. I think Craig was struggling with brakes, but I felt terrible for him as he’d driven so well. We’ve had some great battles in the past but there’s always some drama involved, I was just glad to hear he managed to continue”

Hill then reeled off the remaining laps in smooth style, and swept over the line to Win by 4.5 seconds  from Tetley and Shepherd, taking a superb Victory on his Goodwood Members Meeting Debut.

“Just beyond delighted. Thanks so, so much to Ric, Graham, Mark and the whole crew for looking after me and giving me this opportunity, and for Goodwood for having me along. I can’t tell you how much it means to have Won for Ric. I’m now going away to start preparing for the final weekend of the BTCC in a very different Ford – my MB Motorbase Ford Focus ST, at another of my favourite circuits, Brands Hatch GP. If I could take Pole and a Win there that would be amazing! This is my fourth Win in five weekends – and I finished second in the other one! It’s gonna be tough next week but I am relishing the challenge, whatever happens I have had a blast this season”

Hill will take to the 2.6 mile Brands Hatch GP Circuit for two  40 minute practice sessions next Saturday 23rd at 9.40am and 12pm, with the final BTCC qualifying of the 2021 season at 3.30pm, the 30 minute session shown live on line at itv.com/btcc.

Sunday 24th will see five drivers in the fight to be crowned 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Champion. Ash Sutton holds a 32 point lead over Colin Turkington, Tom Ingram 38 points behind and Jake Hill – in his first-ever BTCC title battle- 45 points behind the leader, with Cook having an outside chance being 66 points adrift, with a maximum 67 points available.

“It’s a very, long shot but this is the BTCC – anything can, and sometimes does, happen! I am really confident we will be in the hunt for Pole Position and race Wins, but we have to rely on those ahead having a very bad day, to move up in the points, so we will just focus on our job and see what happens. I couldn’t ask for a better circuit to finish the season on though, and I will be going for it like never before”

“I have loved this season, driving the Motorbase Ford Focus and representing MB Motorsport, so it would be amazing to finish in the top-three – that is definitely acheivable – so I will just give it everything and enjoy it”

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