Fired-up Willis has eyes on a second Craigantlet win
It was back in 2012 that Trevor Willis rocketed up Craigantlet hillclimb in his specialist single-seater OMS racing car, setting a new record on his ascent to the British title.
His then record time of 39.56 seconds has since been eclipsed a number of times, most recently in 2016 by Scott Moran, the current champion.
But it is Willis who returns to the historic hill on the outskirts of east Belfast on Saturday as leader of the Avon Tyres championship after back-to-back wins in the opening two rounds at Prescott last weekend. He outpaced Willis in both the Top 12 run-offs in a perfect start to the new season.
And with Moran forced to skip the trip to the Ulster Automobile Club event this year, Willis has a golden opportunity to extend his advantage in the championship.
However, many of the other title contenders, including the 2015 champion Alex Summers, will be here to tackle the 1500 yard ribbon on tarmac which climbs up into the Craigantlet hills from the Belmont road.
Wallace Menzies, Dave Uren, who was second to Willis at Prescott, Graham Wynn and Richard Spedding are among the championship regulars bringing their F1 style cars, which can sprint to 60mph in little more than two seconds, to Belfast.
Craigantlet is also round two of the Millers Oils Northern Ireland championship and will see champion Chris Houston trying to continue the defence of his title after his victory at Croft at the beginning of the 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 fitted with a 1600cc engine he will aiming higher.
The event attracts a huge range of cars and competitors, from historics like former NI champion Robert McGimpsey's Turner Ford, to the MG Midget of former Miss NI Tiffany Brien.
Sponsored by Ballyrobert Vauxhall, the Craigantlet roads close at 7-30am.