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This year commenced with an air of uncertainty as the Foot and Mouth disease took hold around the country. We managed to get in an opening round at North Weald, but then Prescott in April was cancelled, and other hill climbs had to similarly cancel their meetings early in the season. Rumours abounded, and those of a gloomy nature predicted that we would be lucky to get on the hills at all! Harewood organisers BARC Yorkshire section though seemed determined to go ahead with their May meeting, despite a few sheep hanging around locally, and after that it all started to get better.
As for the competitors it was significant that our first three finishers from 2000 were absent, and only Jon Goodwin turned out too late in the year to really score. Inevitably only a handful of the Ferrari drivers involved have the aspiration and ability to go for the title, and of these it was Peter Hayman, last year's "Newcomer of the Year", who took an early lead in his silver 512TR. By midway through the season Geoff Dark, easily our "Oldcomer of the Year", had hauled Peter in to take the lead. Meanwhile another of our younger and newer drivers Nick Frost was closing in on Geoff. The problem facing both Nick and Peter was their lack of experience at many of the venues that Geoff had been frequenting for so many seasons. Even so they both acquitted themselves very well in the circumstances with Nick Frost chasing Geoff right to the wire at Curborough for our closest ever result to finish just one point behind.
Congratulations then to Geoff Dark as our 2001 FHCC Championship winner. Far and away our most experienced competitor, and a strong consistent performer everywhere, Geoff is always a hard man to beat, as exemplified by the Shelsley round where he won on scratch, his 308GT4 ahead of several more powerful Ferraris, including Geoffrey Rollason's F355. He did a similar job in the wet at Curborough in August winning on scratch from another bunch of the more powerful tipos, this time including Jon Goodwin's F355.
Our further congratulations to Nick Frost and Peter Hayman for finishing second and third overall. Nick has driven with great speed and accuracy in his beautifully presented 348GTC. At his home venue Harewood he scored strongly on both occasions, taking a scratch win in May and a second overall and maximum points in August. He took maximum points at the MIRA sprint too, all the time gaining knowledge of venues that are still relatively new to him,and looks in great shape for next year's championship.
Peter Hayman and his 512TR have maybe provided the best value of all. This big machine is very powerful, but it sure is not too nimble, and Peter has taken the 512 by the scruff of the neck and driven it really hard. He has shown a very high level of determination, though similarly to Nick he is still learning the venues. A minor off at Shelsley tended to blunt his point scoring, but he came back and still threw the 512TR about with abandon. His times at Harewood are really impressive and at quite a few other places too. Like Nick he can only improve and will be a strong runner next year.
Elsewhere we have seen some good performances. Brian Jackson, fourth overall and one of the old school of FHCC drivers, has campaigned both his 308GTB and his F355 with his usual skill and enthusiasm, gaining some scratch wins with the F355. Mike Spicer scored consistently with his 308GTB, though was often thwarted by an ignition gremlin that caused the car to misfire at a crucial moment. Jon Goodwin was busy elsewhere and missed most of our rounds, but when he did show he was on winning form with the F355. He too could be a contender for next year's title if he turns up at the meetings - especially the ones where we are competing! Our new boys Richard Prior (348ts) and Philip Whitehead (328GTB) were both enthusiastic competitors in their first year and finished well up the points chart. We have many other people who had their moments , but space precludes covering the entire field in this review.
I would like to thank Brian Jackson and Mike Spicer for reporting meetings I was unable to attend, Sally Maynard-Smith for so much of the administrative side of things, and both John Swift and Christian Mineeff for producing our reports and results on the Club media.
Finally a very big thank you on behalf of all of us to Ferrari UK for their continuing support for our series. We are very proud to carry their "badge" - our Ferraris do attract the most attention in the paddock, and it is both a prestigious and natural association. We can now look forward and start preparing for The 2002 Ferrari Hill Climb Championship.
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