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Hill climbing in Malta


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 08:45

It may be current but the cars they drive are certainly not, so I'm wondering if there would be any interest in seeing the vehicles they use over here?

As a taster, here is a 1971 Hawke DL.6.B with a 1200 c.c. Kawasaki motor cycle engine, owned and driven by a gentleman named Patrick Gauci:

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There are more if anyone would like to see them.

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#2 Stephen W

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:33

Slapping motorcycle engines into old Formula Fords was common place in GB and there are some still out & about but most are a bit too long in the tooth!

Keep up the good work Barry.

:up:

#3 Gary C

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:38

keep the pictures coming, Barry.

#4 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:30

This is a 1992 Ralt Honda RT.36 belonging to Zach Zammit.

He says this is a March-built Ralt but apparently there are no records kept of cars built at this time and Zach knows little of its history:

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#5 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:34

Something of a rarity, I think, a Ray with a Mugen Honda 1600 V-Tech engine. I thought that Ray only made F. Ford cars but this was originally a Formula Renault car. The driver, Karl Spiteri has owned it for 5 years:

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#6 D-Type

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:41

It may be current but the cars they drive are certainly not

Wasn't that usually the case with a lot of hillclimb cars? R4D, the Ferguson, etc. Admittedly the top cars have generally been purpose-built (Bloody Mary, GN Spider, Pilbeams etc) but the bulk of the entry is traditionally old circuit racing cars, albeit modified for hillclimbing. "Slapping motorcycle engines into old Formula Fords" is in this tradition.
plus ça change ...

Keep 'em coming. (Please)

Edited by D-Type, 17 March 2012 - 10:43.


#7 MCS

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 16:49

All very interesting and, as Duncan says, keep 'em coming, Barry.

I don't remember many/any(!) hills in Malta, but that may be just me and my memory. Where is the hillclimb course - or is there more than one?

I do remember wall-to-wall televised football though and would imagine you enjoyed Wednesday evening. Hope you are settling in.

Is there another Valletta Grand Prix event this summer?

#8 David McKinney

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 17:47

Is there another Valletta Grand Prix event this summer?

Yes, in October


#9 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 18:00

Well, not Valletta. There is so much building going on around the capital that last year's event was moved down to Mdina and was run on the roads below the Silent City. This years plan is similar.

I am hoping to suggest a trip down to anyone who has a classic sports car that they would like to show off.

Hills? Yes there are two or three. Tomorrow's event is out on the west coast in Gnejna Valley. There is another at Mizieb and certainly at least one on Gozo.

#10 Giraffe

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 18:27

Any pics of Hubert Camilleri and his Chevron, Barry?

#11 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 19:29

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I had a good chat with Hubert and have been invited down to his garage to see his other Chevron and his other racing cars.

Edited by Barry Boor, 17 March 2012 - 19:31.


#12 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 19:49

There is at least one of these:

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It is driven by James Dunford and is chassis PR.06-9 from 2007. It's powered by a Power Tech engine (I don't know what make that is, sorry).

#13 Bloggsworth

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 20:38

There are hills in Malta! The only time I've been there we arrived in the dark and left in the dark the following morning. Mind you, that was in 1954, they could have grown some since then...

#14 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 20:42

I'm amazed that people seem to think it's flat. It's not Holland.

#15 Kpy

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 21:02

It is driven by James Dunford and is chassis PR.06-9 from 2007. It's powered by a Power Tech engine (I don't know what make that is, sorry).


According to the badge on the nose it's a Radical.

#16 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 21:28

Er, yes, I suppose I might have mentioned that.... :blush:

#17 Phil Rainford

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 21:36

Cars on trailers...........how it should be :)



PAR

#18 Stephen W

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 10:14

Wasn't that usually the case with a lot of hillclimb cars? R4D, the Ferguson, etc. Admittedly the top cars have generally been purpose-built (Bloody Mary, GN Spider, Pilbeams etc) but the bulk of the entry is traditionally old circuit racing cars, albeit modified for hillclimbing. "Slapping motorcycle engines into old Formula Fords" is in this tradition.
plus ça change ...

Keep 'em coming. (Please)


Not quiet sure that the concept of "old racing cars" has always held true. Chris Cramer bought a couple of brand new March single seaters back in the day whilst Godfrey Crompton was always picking up realtively new cars. Now-a-days Goulds, Force, DJ Racecars, OMS and Pilbeams all produce new cars for the sport.


Any pics of Hubert Camilleri and his Chevron, Barry?


On Facebook Hubert has set up a group "Camilleri Racing" where he posts lots of piccies of his beloved Chevron.

:wave:

#19 Charlieman

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:30

Wasn't that usually the case with a lot of hillclimb cars? R4D, the Ferguson, etc.


Is that a UK phenomenon or was it true in the old days of the European Hillclimb Championship? Looking at some of the class winners in the 1970s and 1980s, there were many contemporary models in use (a March 722 in 1972 for example).




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#20 Barry Boor

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 15:09

Just got back - pictures later.

Youse guys who said Malta has no hills should have been walking up from Gnejna Bay with me a couple of hours ago. Flat? I should cocoa.

#21 Phil Rainford

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 15:46

Just got back - pictures later.

Youse guys who said Malta has no hills should have been walking up from Gnejna Bay with me a couple of hours ago. Flat? I should cocoa.


From my memory of my one vist to Malta; doesn't the old capital the walled city of Mdina sit atop a rather large hill?


PAR

#22 Bloggsworth

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 16:58

I'm amazed that people seem to think it's flat. It's not Holland.



It was a joke Barry - Well, almost. Even Suffolk has hills!

#23 Barry Boor

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 17:04

Accepted as one too, Bloggy.

Yes, Phil, excellent recollection.

This should be on the paddock thread but I'll keep all my Malta hill climb images on this one thread:

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#24 Phil Rainford

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 18:41

Nice umbrella :)


Looks like the weather is improving Barry?


PAR

#25 Barry Boor

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 19:53

Weather is now fantastic. It's still only mid-March.

This is a tidy piece of kit:

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I know nothing about it but someone said it is home-built.



#26 MCS

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 22:32

Well, the colours work for sure and based on the last couple of pictures posted I think a TNF visit (of some sort) may be in order...

#27 Tim Murray

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 22:41

I suggest a TNF meeting at the Mdina Grand Prix, 11-14 October 2012. :wave:

http://www.malta.com...grand-prix-2012

#28 Barry Boor

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:18

Well, I can certainly cope with a few visitors. :)

A taster of what goes on here can be found here: here

And at 7 mins 21 seconds, if you can see someone in a lilac shirt and blue cut off jeans walking down the hill, you might recognise him.

Edited by Barry Boor, 19 March 2012 - 06:23.


#29 arttidesco

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:09

Well, I can certainly cope with a few visitors. :)

A taster of what goes on here can be found here: here

And at 7 mins 21 seconds, if you can see someone in a lilac shirt and blue cut off jeans walking down the hill, you might recognise him.



Having seen the track first hand, I could well be tempted for a second visit :wave:

Hope the guy who went off at 7 mins is ok ?

Looks like a well known F1 mechaninc & slot racer walking down the hill :up:

#30 Gary C

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:02

Barry, any idea on how long the course is? Does it have to be a certain length minimum to be classed as a'competition'?

#31 Gary C

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:02

oh, and the video clip was fab. I must admit, there is always something fun about seeing full blown race cars at speed on a normal road!

#32 Barry Boor

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:06

I asked several people but nobody seemed to know! One bloke said 1.5 kms.

The not terribly accurate method of measuring through Google Earth gives me 1002 metres. So we might as well say 1 kilometre.

I doubt there are any minimum requirements here. It's all very much 'in house' as it were.

#33 Stephen W

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:21

Weather is now fantastic. It's still only mid-March.

This is a tidy piece of kit:

Posted Image

I know nothing about it but someone said it is home-built.


Looks a bit like an ADR - possibly the UK ADR company may have provided bodywork?

:wave:

#34 Gary C

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:22

'It's all very much 'in house' as it were.'
Which is no bad thing!!

#35 Barry Boor

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:30

This will give you a bit of an idea of the set-up:

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And yes, that is the Mediterranean at the top left.

There were two chicanes delineated with tyres on the hill but I haven't marked those.

#36 Mallory Dan

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:47

Excellent stuff Barry, the cars are so much nicer than the stuff SA has posted from Oz... Which Chevrons does Hubert C have? That Hawke on the first pic is, I think, a 1971/72 Atlantic car, is it the one Ted Dzierzek ran in Scottish Libre in the 70s?

#37 Barry Boor

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:02

Yes, Dan, a 1971 car. The owner told me the car had been racing in F. Atlantic in the U.S.A, but he didn't give me any other info.

Meanwhile, back at Star Wars....

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#38 JMH

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 16:14

The DL6 was a rare beast, I think there may only have been 3 or so built, (probably why this one was advertised for 26,000+ Euros a couple of years back). In the best Lotus tradition un-numbered Hawke "kits" sometimes went out the factory door! :cool:

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#39 Stephen W

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:27

In the best Lotus tradition un-numbered Hawke "kits" sometimes went out the factory door!


Twas ever thus! Not just Lotus but most race car manufacturers were not averse to a 'back pocket' transaction.



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#40 Johnbull

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 21:18

Having been active in one way or another in the local hill climb scene for close on 50 years, i may be able to reply to one or two questions.

Hill length. Gnejna hill, which was used last Sunday is fractionally over 1 km start to finish.

There are a few other hills on both Malta and Gozo that are used for hill climbing. The first hill ever used, from the days of the Forces Motoring Club, was Mizieb. Even shorter and much tighter than Gnejna. It is still used today. It was my first hill climb in 1965. The only other hill with a half acceptable surface is Mtahleb which is 1.5km long. This is the best hill we've got. It needs a few crash barriers to catch errant cars about to fall off the edge, and could do with a decent surface, but beggers can't be chosers. On Gozo there is Xaghra hill which is about as long as Gnejna, and hopefully in the next 2 or 3 years, when they've finally finished resurfacing it we will have Dwejra, which will also be about 1.5km.

Patrick's Hawke is indeed an ex Formula Atlantic car which has been in Malta at least 20 years. If I remember rightly it had a Lotus Twin cam engine originally.

Zach's Ralt was one of a batch of 5 or 6 bought from UK by someone many years ago as bits. There were no engines or gearboxes. You fitted whatever took your fancy at the time, though I seem to think one of them did come as a complete car with a Mugen F3 engine. Zach's has a Honda S2000 engine presently fitted.

There are a number of Radicals. The first (black one) and last (white one) to go up are both powered by Kawasaki 1200 engines. The other 2 white ones are powered by 1300 Hyabusas. The pretty blue and orange car was built locally and is also Hyabusa powered.

Of the remaining single seaters there is a mix of Jedis, OMS, Van Diemens (the black one and the blue one).

Any more questions, feel free to ask.

#41 Alan Cox

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 21:40

Fascinating footage, Barry. It's great to see that there are still some places on this planet where you can still sit in the sun with your mates, with your legs dangling over the wall, and enjoy motor sport without being told that you are endangering all the world and his wife.

#42 arttidesco

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:25

Thanks for giving us so much information John :up:

Next time I visit Malta I hope to catch one of these hill climbs :wave:

#43 Barry Boor

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:02

Apropos of nothing, Art, John is Joe. :)

#44 arttidesco

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:18

Apropos of nothing, Art, John is Joe. :)


:up: :blush:

#45 Johnbull

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:08

Fascinating footage, Barry. It's great to see that there are still some places on this planet where you can still sit in the sun with your mates, with your legs dangling over the wall, and enjoy motor sport without being told that you are endangering all the world and his wife.


Another great country for hill climbs is Sicily, in fact for anything motorsport. Apart from the numerous hills - mountains actually, Sicily boasts dozens of enormous kart circuits and 3 full scale car racing circuits.

After my failed attempt at the Targa Florio in 1972, I started participating regularly in the National Italian Hill Climb Championship from 1978 to 1982. A hill must be at least 7 kilometres start to finish in order to qualify as a National round, but they still have dozens of them. Erice and Caltanisetta are still rounds of the FIA Mountain championship today. Giarre Milo, Avola, Etna, Chiaramonte, Sortino, Collesano and Cefalu are amont the many others that form part of the annual championship in just Sicily alone.

In the last 5 years, as an old man, and now in my capacity as team manager I have been taking a group of youngsters across to Sicily on a regular basis. We started off with hill climbs but have progressed to circuit racing, with very positive results. Yes it's expensive going across by ferry every time, but the difference is chalk and cheese, in every respect. Their hills are excellently surfaced and lined with crash barriers throughout, and their organisation, believe it or not, is second to none. And most importantly the athmosphere there is great, as is the weather.

In the Targa days, British crews would drive all the way down the continent to Sicily to take part in the Targa, because of the fascination and athmosphere of the event. Nothing has changed. The CSAI officials are still the same bombastic politicians and the beaurocracy is still all there, but the racing on such superb hills still wins over all the deficiencies.

The Enna circuit around the lake is back in use. The old Syracuse GP circuit is being refurbished. And less than 10 years ago a new circuit at Racalmuto near Agrigento has sprouted, which has totally cornered the racing market. It is just over 2.5 km per lap, has all the facilities of a modern circuit, including a large restaurant and hotel, and is packed with one form of racing or another for every weekend throughout the year.

And I'm told that the MBR karting circuit near Palermo is being doubled in length and should be ready soon too. I can't think of any other country / island with so much motorsport. Thank goodness it's just 60 miles or 90 minutes away.

#46 Barry Boor

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 19:35

I made it down to Mtahleb last Sunday for the second round of the Championship. Mtahleb is a long continuous climb of around a mile. Lots of tress, stone walls and other things to hit!

This is Gordon Farrugia's pretty OMS. He failed to get a run two weeks ago and this time the chain broke as he was coming to the start on his first run while this picture shows him at the final corner on his only run of the day:

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I looked at the car shortly afterwards. The left drive shaft was broken!

Not all the cars are pure racing machines:

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The status quo was restored after Zach Zammit's surprise win at Gnejna when Hubert Camilleri in his Chevron B.43 set a new record in winning this time:

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followed by young Fabio Baldacchino's O.M.S:

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while a delighted third was Matthew Zammit in his 1992 van Diemen - an ex-Formula Boxer chassis:

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I must remember to take my SLR camera next time....

Edited by Barry Boor, 08 April 2012 - 19:25.


#47 arttidesco

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 22:52

Love that NASCAR netting safety feature on the 'impure' racing machine :up:

#48 Barry Boor

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 19:23

I meant to add this picture last week but lost it somewhere. Now I have found it again I think it's worthy of a post all to itself.

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The car is built and driven by a man named Joe Mifsud. Joe is younger than me but not by much. He is not a trained engineer yet he has built this car, and its sports predecessor in his own workshop/garage. I spent about 5 hours with Joe last week after he came and collected me from home (they are like that here). When I saw how much space he has, UNDER his house, I could have cried. We built our car in about a tenth of the space Joe has.

Joe was the first man to bring Hillman Imps to Malta (he claims) and he won his class in the hill climb championship numerous times driving one - it's still in a corner of his garage. Everything he has done since then has been Imp engined, including the above vehicle which uses what Joe calls a 'granny engine', because basically it's 50 years old. I believe it uses motor cycle pistons and I think it is a 1400 c.c. motor now but I may be wrong about the size. Joe says his tyres are old and wooden but he isn't in a position to buy himself a new set.

The immaculate paintwork is the work of a friend of Joe.

Along with everyone else over here, Joe gets frustrated because the only time he can actually try his car out is in competition. There is nowhere to test, although (whisper it) that may be changing soon.

Joe does not attend every event and he admits that he is fairly careful nowadays but this is exactly what motor sport here in Malta is all about. (Well, I think so, anyway.)


#49 ensign14

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 19:43

This is great stuff, I never knew there was any form of motor sport in Malta. How many people take part in these events?

#50 Barry Boor

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 20:07

There were about 50 cars at Mtahleb last Sunday, of which 11 were single seaters, 4 were Radical or Radical-style sports cars, there were a couple of Lotus Elises while the rest were touring cars with various amounts of competition modification from a rear wheel drive Mini down to one or two outwardly fairly standard road cars, although all are fully roll-caged etc.

Malta has a drag strip, one kart track (hopefully soon to be two), plus an autocross venue.

What it doesn't have is a circuit but the story there can be found earlier on this thread posted by John Bull who is Maltese and has been involved in motor sport here for decades. (and a very nice man he is too!)