Civic pride as standard Honda makes hillclimbing history

This Honda Civic Type R was the first completely standard car to score points in the British Hillcli

This Honda Civic Type R was the first completely standard car to score points in the British Hillclimb Championship. - Credit: supplied

A Honda Civic Type R has done what was supposed to be impossible. A feat so unlikely, no-one had ever even tried it. The front-wheel-drive hot hatch has become the first completely standard car to score points in the 69-year history of the British Hillclimb Championship (BHC).

BHC points are normally scored by extremely powerful single-seat racing cars which no standard model could possibly keep up with.

However, David Finlay, who was driving the car as part of the Primo Multi Vehicle Insurance Multi-Car Hillclimb Challenge, raising awareness for the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes, realised that only a few of the registered championship contenders would be making the trip over to Northern Ireland to compete on the closed road course at Craigantlet, near Belfast.

With less than a week to go, he registered for the BHC himself and qualified for the two championship run-offs. The Civic finished eighth in one and ninth in the other, beating a modified Porsche 911 on each occasion and scoring five points, an achievement unlikely to be repeated by any showroom model for a very long time.

Impressive as this was, the Honda's main business of the day was to compete against the local experts in the two-wheel drive road-going series production cars over 1,700cc class. After the practice runs, the Honda was fifth quickest, but with increasing knowledge of the track – and careful adjustment of the tyre pressures – the Civic's times kept coming down. By the end of the day it was in first place, having lowered the class record from 55.75 seconds to 54.69.

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Mr Finlay said: 'I could hardly believe that. I was sure a 57-second run was on, but if you'd said before the event that we'd be in the 54s I'd just have laughed. It wasn't the best I could have done, either. I made a couple of mistakes, and there was more time to come at several corners. If I could take the car back to Craigantlet for another event I think a high 53 might be possible.

'Honda markets the Civic Type R as a 'race car for the road'. Manufacturers often make wild claims like this and they shouldn't all be taken seriously, but in this case I think Honda is absolutely correct.'

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