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Success for Hill on Goodwood Revival debut
Success for Hill on Goodwood Revival debut

Having already celebrated Victory at Goodwood in April’s Members Meeting, as well as a spectacular ‘Tin-Top Heroes’  Touring Car class Win at the Festival of Speed in July, Kent’s Jake Hill continued his run of success with an impressive debut at the Goodwood Revival.

He shared the beautiful 1954 HWM Jaguar with Gregor Fiskin in the Freddie March Trophy, the pair taking a well-earned Runner-Up spot in Friday evening’s 50 minute race.

Having become a popular regular at both the Members Meeting on the Goodwood circuit, as well as the Festival of Speed at Goodwood House,  many were surprised to learn that Hill was making his debut at the Goodwood Revival, fulfilling a long-held ambition to become part of the legendary event.

“I received the invitation via the organisers about a fortnite ago, and was absolutely delighted, not least to be given the chance to drive this special car, and to share with such a brilliant driver as Gregor (Fiskin) in the Freddie March Trophy.

“I sat in the car for the first time on Thursday and was ‘Wow’ with what I was seeing. I must admit to being a little daunted by driving something as rare and valuable as the HWM, but thanks to Gregor’s advice and guidance I felt well-prepared for practice”

After Fiskin set a strong pace in the first part of Friday morning’s 30 minute practice session,  putting the car initially in the top-three of the 28 car entry, Hill took over for his first-ever drive in a 1950’s Sports Car, and in the remaining 15 minutes of the session managed a 1.30.064 to qualify fourth, with 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button on Pole Position in his own 1953 Jaguar C-Type.

“What a car! Just the smoothest engine I think I’ve ever driven, and a wonderfully balanced chassis. The advice I had was to be   as smooth as I could be, and not to brake too late as they can be a little bit hard to judge, but overall we are delighted to have qualified this well”

On a blisteringly hot day it was a relief to get to the early evening for the start of the 50 minute race, now at 6.45pm and in slightly cooler conditions than the 30 degree high of earlier.

Fiskin started the race strongly, immediately catching and then  passing the Jaguar C-Type of Ward/Webb at the end of lap one,  before setting after the second-placed 1957 Maserati 250S of Richard Wilson.

With Alex Buncombe sharing the Pole-Sitting C-Type with Button and setting a scorching pace from the outset, it was a matter of keeping the pressure on the Maserati and putting in smooth and consistent laps, which Fiskin delivered superbly well.

After ten laps, both Buncombe and Fiskin pitted to hand over to their respective co-drivers, with several drivers staying out the order was still yet to settle down, and Hill now onboard rejoined in seventh place, but with a number of drivers yet to pit.

Over the next five laps all the pitstops were taken, and Button now led Richard Bradley in the Maserati by 7.5 seconds with Hill a further 11 seconds behind in Third Place, but a safe distance ahead of Darren Turner and Simon Hadfield’s C-Type.

As the race progressed into the gloom, Hill set his and the cars fastest lap of the weekend, a 1.29.983 – just 2/10s slower than Bradley in the Maserati, and quicker than Button’s 1.30.071 best, and put in a run of quick and consistent laps heading for a debut podium at Goodwood Revival.

However as the race entered its final laps, the stunning bronze-coloured  Jaguar C-Type of leader Jenson Button began to lose pace, and Bradley caught and passed with just 7 laps to go, before Button was forced to retire the car a couple of laps later.

This promoted Fiskin and Hill into Second Place, with Sam Hancock now in third. Hill continued lapping smoothly to the flag to conclude a dream debut at the Goodwood Revival.

As the pair were interviewed on the Finish Line after the race, they were both handed the traditional ‘Podium Cigars’ and Hill reflected on his experience and the days events.

“This is incredibly special. To make my debut in this car and with Gregor is such an honour. Thanks so very much to everyone – including of course the cars owner, Jonathan Turner, who have made this possible for me. It’s been a wonderful day. The car never missed a beat, and I hope I’ve shown I can look after something as precious as this – that was my main goal – but to finish Runner-Up and get the famous Cigar is brilliant! I really hope I can do this again next year – it’s been so cool!”

Hill also raced Historic Cars at Paul Ricard the previous week, sharing Simon Watts Chevron B26 and BMW 3.0CSL ‘Batmobile’ in the Peter Auto series.

After a strong showing in qualifying, unfortunately the BMW had to be withdrawn due to engine issues, but Hill put the Chevron on Pole Position for the under 2 Litre class, and fourth overall.

Watts started the race and put in a solid run, coming into the pits fourth in class where due to Hill being classed as an Elite driver, the organisers added a 90 second penalty to their pitstop, meaning Hill rejoined now well down the order.

However a charging drive saw the 29 year-old work his way up to fourth in class, and also take the Fastest Lap in class.

“As always the Chevron was a joy to drive – I absolutely love this circuit too. Unfortunately we had a sticking throttle which cost us some time, but with a pit stop penalty like that we were just aiming on getting home as best we could. Huge thanks again to Simon (Watts) for having me on board and the JDR guys for a brilliant job as ever”

Now Hill gets a rare break from racing until the 23rd & 24th September when he will hope to continue his strong form in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, having taken Seven Podium finishes including Four Wins in the last twelve races.

“We’re third in points with six races left and I will be pushing like crazy to the very end. My Laser Tools MB Motorsport BMW 330e M-Sport has been really strong of late, and we will be doing everything to get ahead of Tom (Ingram) and keep Sutton on his toes!”

Catch the action on ITV4 on Sunday 24th September, with qualifying live on line on itv.com/btcc on Saturday 23rd.

Photos supplied by Peter Auto and Goodwood Revival)