Barker wins Victorian hill climb opener

Tuesday 23 January, 2024
The opening round of the Motorsport Australia Victorian Hillclimb Championship took place on the weekend.
Mike Barker has emerged victorious in the opening round of the EZI UP AND GO Motorsport Australia Victorian Hillclimb Championship thanks to a record-breaking run.
With the popular state championship opening its 2024 season at the famous Rob Roy Hillclimb over the weekend, a strong field of more than 100 competitors took part in the event and got four runs on the facility’s long course.
In the end, Barker took out the victory after producing a 23.81 second run on his second attempt to get his first win at Rob Roy since the 2020 event and broke the previous record in the process, which he himself had previously set.
Barker’s remaining two runs of 23.83 and 23.97 seconds would remain unbeaten by other competitors as Patrick Malanaphy ended the day in second place with a time of 24.10 seconds.
Despite not being able to knock off Barker, Malanaphy proved a worthy opponent throughout the day, going fastest on the opening run and setting the fastest opening split of the entire day.
Rounding out the podium was Daniel Leitner with a time of 25.80 seconds after the impressive Subaru WRX driver posted his fastest time on his third and final run, while also taking out the best time for the tin top drivers.
In one of the closest battles of the day, Keith Wilson edged out fellow Formula Libre driver Matthew Healy by four hundredths of a second to secure fourth place outright.
Setting his best time of 26.32 seconds on his second run, Wilson sat out of the fourth run of the day when Healy picked up his best time of 26.36 seconds – a slower opening split proving the difference.
While it was an entertaining battle for the top five spots, it was Barker who proved most impressive with the winner pleased with his efforts.

“It was a strong win, but by the same token, young Patrick is a very good quick driver, and we were having a bit of battle all day even though I finished ahead on three of the four runs,” Barker said.
“I was very happy with the day, outside of a mistake on the first run where I spun. After that though, I broke my own record on that particular track layout with my next two runs.
“All in all, I went there with no expectations and I was happy with every run I did – even the first one, because outside of a minor error, the car was going well and the track was good.
“After my third run, I thought that I had done the best I could and even if Patrick knocked me off, there was nothing more I could do so he deserved it. Thankfully he couldn’t get closer to me.
“It was a great day, very well organised and magnificently run by the MG Car Club.”
View full results here.
The next round of the EZI UP AND GO Motorsport Australia Victorian Hillclimb Championship will be run by the Gippsland Car Club at Bryant Park on 17 February. 
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