Goodwood’s Festival of Speed aside, the pinnacle of hillclimbing for period machinery continues to be the events run by the Vintage Sports Car Club. Summer dates at Shelsley Walsh and Prescott draw huge crowds into a garden party atmosphere, the background against which intrepid drivers urge their machines up the narrow asphalt hills.
Hillclimbing is a major part of the VSCC season, with overflowing entries for visits to Wiscombe Park, Loton Park and now, following last year’s pilot event, Harewood, in this the VSCC’s 70th anniversary year. In addition there are two big events at Shelsley and Prescott. While two-day meetings at Prescott and Loton draw capacity 200-car fields, the limitations of just a single day at Shelsley will put entries there at a premium.
Inevitably, the ERA is the car to beat, and the sight of Mac Hulbert’s R4D wailing to a new prewar record at Shelsley last summer thrilled a huge crowd. In June 1939, Raymond Mays stormed the Teme Valley course, whose future is looking increasingly assured (see Matters of Moment, page 17), in the same car to set a new hill record in 37.37sec. Almost exactly 65 years on, a sub-34sec climb is on the cards this July.
Yet VSCC hillclimbs are not just about the fastest racing cars. Myriad classes give just about every pre-war car the chance to compete, from the Edwardian leviathans to the impossibly flimsy Shelsley Specials of the 1930s, whose creators took weight-saving to the extreme. Apart from its major hillclimb dates the VSCC also runs sprints, and the events at Curborough on May 2 and Goodwood on October 16 are readily accessible for fans of historic motorsport
May 9: VSCC Wiscombe Park
July 4: VSCC/MAC Shelsley Walsh
August 7-8: VSCC Prescott
August 21: VSCC Harewood
Septmber 25-26: VSCC Loton Park