FASSI Classic Speed Championship Rounds 3 & 4

Rounds 3 & 4 of the Bugatti Owners Club FASSI Classic Speed Championship took place over two days 25/26 May at Prescott Speed Hill Climb. Prescott Historique sees over 150 cars from nine decades take to the hill in celebration of hill climbing through the years.

The FASSI Classic Championship fielded 30 cars across four classes which made for a great photo by Steve Shelley on the start line with all the drivers in their FASSI Championship caps gathered around Simon Braithwaite’s Ford Escort RS1600.

Saturday was a lovely day of sunny weather & perfect driving conditions with Prescott buzzing with a large crowd.

It was great to see the new for 2024 class for pre-1986 saloon cars represented with three entrants. Clive Berry took the class honours in his Chrysler Sunbeam 1600TI from Christopher Dewe in the Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce after Steve Dymoke retired his Alfa Romeo Alfa Sud.

The pre-1977 sports car class had 11 drivers battling it out. A notable highlight was Garry Cox breaking the magical 50 second barrier in the Reliant Scimitar Coupe with a 49.91, usually the preserve of the racing car class. Scuderia FASSI’s Dave Fripp took the class win on his first drive at Prescott in the Fiat Abarth 124 Spyder from Oliver Slater in the Ginetta G15 with both drivers showing serious championship winning intent. Third place went to Steve Akers in his returning Lotus Elan S1 GTS, his 2022 championship winning car.

A highlight of the pre-1977 saloon class was an incredibly close battle for second & third between Matt Clarke’s Mini & Simon Braithwaites Ford Escort RS1600. Both drivers were on the limit demonstrating spectacular car control with Matt just one hundredth of a second faster on scratch time. Simon edged it on handicap to take second place in the class. Alistair Clark managed to shave 0.69 seconds off his handicap to just take the class win in the Triumph Vitesse MK2 to add to his Shelsley Walsh success.

The pre-1986 racing car class featured the return of last season’s championship runner up, Peter Thurston in the Mallock Mk4 U2, with the fastest time of the day at 46.06 seconds & second in class. First place went to Ben Fisher in the Mallock MKII with Jeremy Rivers-Fletcher in third after a quick car swap into his Triumph Special after a mechanical failure on his BB Special.

Sunday started with rain & a wet surface for the first practice runs before drying out & we somehow dodged the heavy showers for the rest of the day.

Graham Hill joined the pre-1977 saloon car class in his Mini cooper S, a car built specially to take on Matt Clarke’s Mini. A battle royale ensued with Matt just taking scratch time honours by 0.17 seconds from Graham with a 50.52 run. Simon Braithwaite’s Escort joined the fun & chased the Minis down, pipping Matt by 0.18 seconds to level their score over the weekend. Graham was under his handicap time however by 0.14 seconds which was enough for a second place in class from Ian Stringer’s Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT in third who pulled a blistering final run out of the bag to go under handicap. The consistent Alistair Clark in the Triumph Vitesse MK2 turned it up another notch to take first place with a drive under his tightened handicap time.

A few spots of rain started to fall as the pre-1977 sports cars took to the hill for the final timed run which motivated all drivers to go for broke while it was still dry. Dave Fripp was leading the field after the first timed run in his Fiat Abarth 124 Spyder, but previous champions Steve Akers in the Lotus Elan & Ben Cross in the MG Midget pushed him down to third despite Dave recording his fastest run of the weekend.

Christopher Wigdor joined the pre-1986 racing car class in his Mallock U2 Mk6B/8 & was just beaten by 0.09 seconds to a class win by Jeremy Rivers-Fletcher with Ben Fisher in third despite some difficulties with the Mallock denying him a second timed run. Fastest time of the day went to Peter Thurston again with a 45.92 in his Mallock.

Clive Berry had the pre-1986 saloon car class to himself on Sunday so collected maximum points again for his Chrysler Sunbeam 1600 TI.

With four rounds completed Alistair Clark leads the pre-1977 saloon car class in the Triumph Vitesse MK2 with three straight wins to his name. Scuderia FASSI’s Dave Fripp has made a dream start to the season & is leading the pre-1977 sports car class in his Fiat Abarth 124 Spyder. Ben Fisher is looking like Max Verstappen with a big lead in the pre-1986 racing car class in the Mallock & Clive Berry’s back-to-back wins sees his Sunbeam heading up the pre-1986 saloon car class.

Many thanks to Steve Shelley & Max Hawkes for the excellent photography & to all the staff & marshals at Prescott Speed Hill Climb for a well-run event.

Click here to go to the championship photo gallery.