To conclude the 1957 European Hill-Climb Championship a meeting was held in Greece, a few kilometres from Athens, and most of the regular competitors in the series made the long journey to the ancient city. The trip itself was anything but easy, the Borgward works team electing to go all the way by road and having to spend a whole day at the frontier because the customs officials could not understand about a sports car being carried in a lorry! This was most unusual to them, so they immediately assumed there was something fishy about the whole business and shut the frontier gate until inquiries had been made. The Porsche team were little better off for they drove to Brindisi with their double-decker lorry and trailer, only to find that the entrance into the hold of the boat to Greece was too low for the lorry. The three works cars had to be unloaded, what spares and bits that would go into the passengers’ seats loaded on the cars, and the mechanics had to drive them across Greece to the venue after the boat trip. In consequence of this the special 1,680-c.c. engine which von Trips should have used had to be left in its box on the quayside in Italy and the smaller engine that was installed in his car for practice had to be used in the event.
The course was not a long one, being only six kilometres, but it included many hairpin bends and called for a lot of driving skill. Borgward had to do without the driving of Cabianca for he was taken ill with ‘flu during practice and went back to Italy, his place being taken at the last moment by the factory tester, Karl Juttner. The Hill-Climb Champion, Willy Daetwyler, did not compete, having made certain of the championship for this year after the Gran St. Bernard event in Italy.
lt would be nice to see some of the British hill-climb exponents joining in this series next year, though there are two drawbacks. Firstly the European hills take minutes to cover rather than seconds, which might strain some of our sprint machinery, and, secondly, none of the Championship events provide starting-money; this being done deliberately to discourage professional money-making racing drivers, and to encourage the sporting amateur. As the first six places in all the events were invariably taken by works drivers, this idea should have been to encourage sporting manufacturers rather than owners.
The ex-A.W.E. driver Edgar Barth was fully recovered from his crash before the Austrian hill-climb, though his team-mate Maglioli still remains in hospital. The Porsche Carrera driven by Hanstein was a special works one with Spyder engine, a truly Grand Gran Turismo car, with 130 b.h.p. in a normal Porsche coupe.
1st: W. von Trips (Porsche 1,585RS) 8 min. 22.3 sec.
2nd: H. Herrmann (Borgward 1,500RS) 8 min. 25.2 sec.
3rd: E. Barth (Porsche 1,585RS) 8 min. 26.5 sec.
4th: R. von Frankenberg (Porsche 1,585RS) 8 min. 32.8 sec.
5th: K. Juttner (Borgward 1,500RS) 8 min. 58.3 sec.
6th: H. von Hanstein (Porsche Carrera) 9 min. 00.9 sec.