Doug Barry is the Mantic Clutch NSW Hillclimb Champion for 2017 – the Mudgee driver’s second crown in just five years.
Up against stiff competition in the 2017 season, including two time national champion Malcolm Oastler, it was a miracle win for the speedster, especially considering his equipment.
Barry had his venerable Lola T8750 openwheeler to rely on, while competitors like Oastler were able to bring state of the art vehicles like the UK-built OMS.
On top of that, Barry struggled throughout the season with a number of tough challenges.
The problems started in March when he was pipped to the post at the annual double header at Mount Panorama in Bathurst on both days by Oastler.
Then a drama-filled round at Wollongong’s Huntley Hill in April saw Barry set the second fastest time before he clipped the fencing with spectacular results.
He was back in action by Kempsey’s Mt Cooperabung in May, and this time set the fastest time again without the problems coupled to the result.
Things began to slip away from him in the next round at Grafton in the wet, with the powerful Lola struggling for a grip and Barry could only grab a fifth place spot.
All-wheel-drives dominated in the conditions, with Neville Shears and Phil Heafey, both Sydney drivers, taking out the top spots.
Fine weather shone for Barry in the sixth round at the Tamworth fixture, and he added another first as he began to pull back into the top pack for the season.
He then took the lead in the NSW Championship at Ringwood Park, north of Newcastle, regardless of F3000 Lola’s struggles on the course itself.
Barry was leading coming into the final round, with Canberra’s Fairbairn Park the location of Barry’s triumph.
Although he was runner-up on the day to Malcolm Oastler, his season rival, he ended with enough points to claim the crown and be named the NSW Champion.
After the win, Barry was ecstatic: “It’s great to have a repeat of 2012. Looks like the Lola’s still got it.”