Kop Hill celebrates its hillclimb history

It was appropriate that there were three Brescia Bugattis among the 250 car and motorcycle entry for September’s Kop Hill 99th anniversary celebration. In 1925 Francis Giveen, an undergraduate who had acquired Raymond May’s ‘Cordon Bleu’ Brescia, crashed there and broke a spectator’s leg. As a direct result the RAC banned speed events on public roads, thus giving the Princes Risborough hillclimb an unfortunate place in UK motor sport history.

Around 5000 spectators watched this year’s (naturally untimed) runs. Support came from Paddy Hopkirk, who opened the hill, and pop star Jay Kay, as well as GT teams Modena and Beechdean. Modena’s Graham Schultz praised members of the British Motor Racing Marshals Club, under Ray Cook, for adding efficiency to “a typical British picnic hillclimb”.

Reflecting the one-time importance of the area to hillclimbing, the oldest surviving Aston Martin, the recently restored ‘A3’, was among an eclectic entry. This ranged from the ex-Mike Hawthorn 1934 Riley Ulster Imp to the Austin Seven-based special built by Charles Cooper; from Dundrod TT class-winning Kieft to the Aston Martin Speed Competition in which Richard Stallebras was killed at the 1948 Spa 24 Hours.

Organiser Tony Davies has promised that this will now be an annual event, with the centenary runs taking place on September 25/26, 2010.
Ian Wagstaff