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Scott Moran's record time is target for hillclimb competitors

By Sammy Hamill

For decades it was a permanent fixture in the late summer motorsport calendar but in recent times the Craigantlet Hillclimb, the event which brings some of the fastest cars in the British Isles to Belfast city limits, has been switched to a spring date.

And it is the same again this year as the organising team from the Ulster Automobile Club comply with the requirements of the British Hillclimb Championship by scheduling the event for April 29.

It was a move that paid off last year when, on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, Scott Moran soared up the hill, which starts at the top of the Belmont Road, in the fastest ever time, hitting speeds in excess of 150mph.

His record of 39.12 seconds, set on a final run in his V8-engined Gould GR61X, will be the target for the leading contenders in the 2017 Avon Tyres British series which kicks off with the Prescott Climb in Gloucestershire on April 22.

Craigantlet is also round two of the Millers Oils Northern Ireland Championship and will see champion Chris Houston trying to continue the successful defence of his title after his victory at Croft earlier this month.

Houston was the fastest of the local drivers at Craigantlet last year, finishing in eighth place overall, and with his single-seater OMS now upgraded and fitted with a 1600cc engine, he will be aiming higher.

Sponsored by Bangor car dealership Ballyrobert Vauxhall, the Craigantlet roads close at 7.30am with practice runs scheduled to begin at 9.30am.

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