Hill climb


The Shere Hillclimb in Surrey is a relatively new event, first running last year. The 900 yard course is a public road temporarily shut for the day. As such, and despite the road closure, normal road traffic rules apply. The event is therefore not timed and all runs are mere “demonstrations “.

The event is organised by a number of local car clubs and raises money for the local school and other charities. In this regard it is similar to the now well-established Kop Hillclimb in Buckinghamshire. That event now attracts nearly 15,000 spectators and over 1000 potential entrants for only 100 places. I have driven the Kop Hillclimb in the past and whilst it was fun, the lack of a competitive element to it detracted from my enjoyment and I have felt no strong desire to go back.

As the Shere Hillclimb is close to where I live I put aside my concerns and decided to enter with my MG YB. Like the Kop Hillclimb the Shere Hillclimb was oversubscribed and I was lucky to get a place, primarily due to the 1950’s race history of my YB.

It was a good day but the hill was somewhat ruined by a number of very sharp chicanes which prevented my old car from attaining a decent speed. In addition there were so many entrants that I only had three runs up the hill and there was a lot of waiting around. I won’t be doing it again, at least not whilst is non-competitive.

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MG YB in the paddock next to fire spitting Cobra!

The government is in the process of changing the law to allow competitive motorsport events on public roads (as has been allowed for many years on the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and in France) so maybe next year the event will be competitive or at least have a competitive class.

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Ferrari 246 Dino, Lotus Elise and Lexus LFA – diverse machinery

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Lotus 2- 11 with very smart JPS livery. Signed by Hazel Chapman too!

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Frazer Nash tackles the hill (same restored one that was at Hampton Court the day before).

 

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Chain gang – business end of the Frazer Nash Norris Special. Fancy sitting on that lot?

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Group of AC cars through the ages. AC were a local Surrey make based mainly at Thames Ditton.

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Another view of the Norris Special Frazer Nash. Raced at Brooklands pre war it was most successful post war when used in hillclimbs. It holds the VSCC record at Shelsley, Prescott, Harewood, Loton and Wiscombe Park.

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Monterey Motoring Week in California is famous for its array of top quality international motoring events, all packed into one week in August. Centred on the world-famous Pebble Beach Concourse D’Elegance there are numerous other shows, both formal and informal, together with classic and vintage racing at Laguna Seca. Apart from the lucky few able to travel to California in August, European motoring enthusiasts have not been able to experience anything similar. All that now looks to be changing with what seems to be the emergence of a “London Motoring Week” each September. In fact it is more of a “South East Motoring Week” as it encompasses events across London, Sussex, Surrey and further afield.

The undoubted highlight of London Motoring Week is the incomparable Goodwood Revival Meeting. This has been running every September since 1998. So successful and dominant is it that now other events are beginning to cluster around it. The week before the Revival sees the Salon Prive concourse and motoring lifestyle show at Syon House in London, closely followed by the Hampton Court Concourse of Elegance, The Beaulieu International Autojumble, The Brighton Speed Trials and the increasingly popular Shere Hillclimb in Surrey.

With so many fabulous events crammed into a very short space of time, motoring enthusiasts can find that difficult decisions need to be made as to which events to attend. This year I was lucky enough to attend the Revival, Salon Prive , Hampton Court and the Shere Hillclimb. I unfortunately had to turn down a place at the Brighton Speed Trials due the clash with Hampton Court and Shere.  A great shame is this year’s Speed Trials was the first to be held since the event was reinstated following a successful campaign to stop the Green dominated Brighton City Council banning it.  Reports on all the events I attended will be added shortly.

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La Ferrari and Bespoke F12 Ferrari at Salon Prive 2014

The last two events in my racing season have proven rather soggy affairs. The Abingdon Car-nival is a great event raising money for local and military charities. Uniquely, over the course of one day, competitors get to drive two different sprint courses on the perimeter track of the old Abingdon Air Force Base. Unfortunately it rained very heavily for most of the day. This reduced both track times and enjoyment.

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Ready for the off at Abingdon in the driving rain behind a very loud Mustang

Shelsley Walsh in Worcestershire is the oldest motorsport venue in the world. Cars have been racing up the hill since 1905. This heritage and the beautiful country surroundings make it one of my favourite events. Sadly it rained heavily again all day. Unlike with many sprint courses there is very little run off at Shelsley and therefore it pays to be cautious when it is wet. It was my first time taking the Beast up the hill so I was extra careful. She’s a big car for a narrow twisty Hill! Whilst my time was okay it was still nowhere near as fast as times that I have managed previously in my little MGF.

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A very wet paddock at Shelsley. I was the only car out of 150 to not get a pit shelter. Then again I needed it less than the vintage MGs seen behind.