Imagine if you will a picturesque wooded hillside with a narrow tarmac road wending it’s way from the valley to the summit. Not the place you might normally expect to find a six hundred brake horse power racing car. But throughout the summer an increasingly large number of enthusiasts converge upon many such roads with one common aim: to climb from start to finish in the shortest time possible.
Hill climbing began illegally at the turn of the century on public roads, much to the annoyance of the general public and the local constabulary, and it was quickly realised that a closed course was necessary for this new found sport.The sport flourished and today hill climbing is one of the most popular forms of motor racing, with approximately 30 hill climb courses in the British Isles, ranging from the short and tricky 440 yd course at Great Auclum, near Reading, to the mile long hill at Craigantlet, just outside Belfast.
To all hill climb enthusiasts, the ultimate event is the R.A.C. National Hill Climb Championship —open to single-seater and two-seater racing cars and taking place at venues all over the country. (The next round is at Shelsley Walsh, near Worcester on the 8th of June.) Like most branches of motor sport, hill climbing is divided into several classes. The premier class is for single-seater racing cars with an engine capacity of over 1600 cc. I n addition to purpose built cars, many ex-Formula One and Formula Two cars are to be found in this class. plus some ultra powerful Formula 5000 machinery.The choice of car is a difficult balancing act — do you sacrifice power for agility or go for the brute force of a F5000 machine and suffer the resultant penalties in handling? There are, of course, other classes for smaller engined single-seaters ranging down to a class for the fabulously exciting 500 cc motor cycle engined machines which were so competitive in hill climbs just after the war. But hill climbing’s not just for single-seaters, there are classes for Sports and Grand Touring cars, Modified Sports cars (Sprites and Midgets are a popular choice, while the V8 engined AC Cobras and Morgan +8’s provide the excitement in the larger class) and, the most popular class of all, saloon cars.
Choice of car in the saloon car classes ranges from Minis to Camaros and at many events there’s a class for unmodified saloons, which provide a good way to make an economical start in motor sport.
Hill climbing is a tough sport. It requires skill, immense powers of concentration and a great deal of determination.Yet more than any other form of motor sport, it has a marvellous atmosphere of friendly competition. Add this to the excitement of the event and you have the ingredients for a great day out.
Where the action is
June 7 Cricket :World Cup: Australia v Pakistan, Headingley ; England v India. Lords: New Zealand v East Africa, Edgbaston: West Indies v Ceylon, Old Trafford.
7-8Powerboats: International Meeting, Bristol Docks.
8Motor Cycle Racing: Post T.T. International. Mallory Park.
11Cricket: World Cup: Australia v Ceylon. Oval: England v New Zealand, Trent Bridge; India v East Africa, Headingley; Pakistan v West Indies, Edgbaston.
14Cricket : World Cup: Australia v West Indies, Oval ; England v East Africa, Edgbaston; India v New Zealand, Old Trafford: Pakistan v Ceylon, Trent Bridge.
14-15Drag Racing; International Meeting, Silverstone.
15Motor Racing: ShelISPORT 5000 European Championship, Jyllandsringen (DK).
18Cricket : World Cup semi-final round, Headingley and Oval.
21Cricket : World Cup Final. Lords.
22Motor Racing: Sports 2000 International Races. Brands Hatch.
22Motor Racing: ShelISPORT 5000 European Championship. Casale, Italy.
3-6Rowing: Henley Royal Regatta.
6Motor Cycling: British 500cc Motocross Grand Prix, Hawkstone Park.
9-12Golf: British Open Championship.Carnoustie.
10-15Cricket : England v Australia, Edgbaston.
12-13Athletics: European Cup Semi-final. Crystal Palace.
13Cycling: British Amateur Road Race Championship, Bromsgrove
14-19Croquet; Open Championship. Hurlingham.
14-26Shooting: N.R.A. Meeting, Bisley.
18-20Rowing: British Championship. Nottingham.
18Athletics: Women’s AAA Championship, Crystal Palace.
19Motor Racing: British Grand Prix, Silverstone.
19Cricket : Benson & Hedges Cup Final, Lords.
19-21Cricket : England XI v Rest (women), Hastings.
19-20Water Skiing: British Championships, (venue to be decided).
23-27Cycling:Scottish Milk Race.
26-Aug 2Cycling : British Track Championship, Leicester.
26-27Archery: British Target Championships, Warwick.
26Shooting: Queens Prize. Bisley.
27Motor Racing: ShelISPORT 5000 European Championship. Snetterton.
31-Aug – Aug 5Cricket: England v Australia. Lords.>/p>
ShellSPORT — where the action is.