Monday, 18 January 2016

The right crowd...

I shouldn't steal the old Brooklands saying really, but it seems as apt at a hillclimb as any meeting at the famous egg oval pre-War.

I love hillclimbing.  Speed Hillclimbing that is.  Man against clock for rarely more than half a minute or so up an English hill of maybe 1000 yards, flat out, reaching, these days, maybe 145 mph on a course no more than 12 feet wide.  Now THAT will sort the men from the spotty Corsa modders!
Some of the strangest cars have appeared on British Hills over the years and many still compete 80, 90 years after they first saw the light of day.

I have been making a model of one of the most famous hillclimb Specials, Bloody Mary and was considering making a suitable track to run my hillclimbers on.
Prescott Park initially.  It seems the perfect hill with its big swoop round before the climb up to Pardon Hairpin.

But then Shelsley Walsh has the most wonderful Start line of them all.  Apart from being the World's oldest competitive motor sport venue, Shelsley is a time capsule anyway. Part farm, part village. The ancient buildings are all still there as is the iron fence that accompanies the start line. There's even an ancient water mill and a village church BEHIND the hill's gates!

Then again, the first hillclimb I ever went to was Wiscombe Park in Devon.  I cannot forget standing amongst the rhododendrons whilst 500 horsepower monsters screamed past me only a few feet away, only to brake and slew round Sawbench Hairpin, then reverberate back up through the rhododendron bushes to Martini and the finish.

Damn, what to do?  .......A bit of each!  Shelsley's start, Prescott's middle and Wiscombe's finish.
Presleycombe Park!
1/43rd scale to get as much in as possible and make use of all the thousands of diecast models for the car park AND the fact that I already have buildings in that scale for my model railway that I'll never build.  1/32nd scale slot cars can still run on the track if a little squeezed.  Some of the Specials I love can't be made in 43rd scale as there'd be no space for a motor, so 1/32nd it is for some and 1/43rd for most.


  1. My first hillclimb was Cricket St. Thomas near Crewkerne, lovely country estate. On the start was Denis Jenkinson, on his TriBsa, he was Moss's navigator on the '55 Mille Miglia, still racing despite his advanced years. My steed, a '54 500 Bullet was hopelessly outclassed but it was fun.

  2. Yes, Jenks was a huge bike fan. Bikes always look somehow unhappy on a hillclimb to me though.

  3. Despite knowing nothing of hillclimbing I have heard about Bloody Mary, the lunatic machine built by two schoolboys which ended up being fitted with two JAP engines. Great stuff!

  4. That's the one. Paul. A real giant killer in its day and still running.