On one hand, Ian Le Messurier clocked a fast 29.66sec. to get close the Sports Libre record held by his brother, Paul, and take third overall behind in-form Steve Brehaut (29.41) and the ever-impressive Nick Saunders (28.75).
But any hopes of further progression fell apart when Paul understeered and smashed their shared-drive Ravenscroft Construction Lemtech DB into the first bend.
‘Probably not ready for the next one,’ was Ian’s prognosis of the battered and fragmented car body, though Paul emerged relatively unharmed.
The siblings’ up-and-down day gave a good summary of a season opener garnished with several fast times, including Jez Mann and Craig Robert improving their own class records, but also five crashes. Thankfully, none were particularly serious.
The catalyst for the large number of crashes and the general lack of blazing-fast times was the shortage of traction on cold tarmac.
This did not stop Saunders, the overwhelming favourite for ‘FTD’, showing solid speed and consistency by going 28.77, 28.78 and 28.75 in his Eric Sturdza Reynick.
While the dominant climber of 2020 carried his momentum into another clear win, the contest for second raged on for much of the day.
That was an honour that Ian Le Messurier came ever-so-close to, landing 0.27sec. outside his personal best despite poor conditions.
But six-time Muratti man Steve Brehaut, using his powerful Resolution IT Empire Evo which he introduced late last year, usurped him one run later.
Le Messurier was pleased with his efforts nonetheless, and it now seems the race is on to fix his vehicle before the next event on 3 May.
‘I’m happy to get a 29-mid in this temperature, because it’s colder than usual for hill climbing this time of the year, that’s for sure,’ he said.
‘I just want to get lower 29s and beat the record. We [Paul and I] have been battling it out.’
Paul posted a decent 30.08, while Tim Tulie and his 1,000cc racing car also featured prominently with a 30.35.
Once more Tulie’s classmate Emma Rayson was out taking the women’s honours, peaking at 31.39.
Craig Robert inched down his own record in the Modified Limited Production Cars with a last-gasp 34.12, though brother Karl was less fortunate, ending with a minor crash.
Scooter soloist Mann was the other class record-breaker, clocking 39.65 for his first sub-40 in a Motorcycle and Car Club event.
Ben Carre and his Husqvarna led the charge overall among the two-wheelers – concluding with a fast 34.67.
But five other riders broke 35.50 in an endorsement of competitive motorcycling’s depth, the next two being the experienced Leigh Digard and young Josh Lambourne.