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Last British Speed Hillclimbs On a Loose Surface


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#1 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 15:38

Up to the war it was not uncommon for speed trials and hillclimbs to run on unsealed roads - Dancers End (below)for example looks more like a modern rally stage. Posted Image
After the war this was increasingly rare - due I guess to the sudden availability of military venues.
Naish hillclimb featured a grass surface in the late 40s and later gained concrete corners but I think it retained grass straights until it's demise in the mid 50s.

Were their any others post-war and when was the last I wonder? Did the RAC suddenly rule them out or did they "die a natural death" ?

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 16:41

You raise a very interesting point, Simon. It will be interesting to see how the thread develops.
I know the Fordingbridge event in the late '40s was on a loose surface

Back home in New Zealand we had an approximately 50/50 split. Bear in mind that there were no roads in NZ (outside the towns) until about the 1860s, and even by the time hillclimbing took off after WW2 only the A-road equivalents - generally speaking - had tarmac surfaces. Everything else was gravel. Which made the handful of tar-sealed hillclimb venues something special. A tradition for both types of events grew, and even into the 1980s (which is where my first-hand knowledge stops) most clubs would have one sealed venue and one gravel if they could. And the rules for the national hillclimb championship at the time gave equal emphasis to both types.

#3 bradbury west

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 17:18

Simon, I have Clerk Hill, near Whalley in Lancashire, run by the Lancs A/C on July 10 1955. It is described, p774 June, as " always good fun", being loose surface, 4 corners and under 30secs. J B Brierley's Cooper MG in the photo in Autosport , p74 July 55, looks very vulnerable on the rough surface.
Roger Lund.

#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 17:37

Re the BRM contention above - unlike The Mouth Breather, the V16 BRM programme cost the nation ZERO!!!! .

DCN

#5 Geoff.Harrison

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 17:50

Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club together with the North Midland Motor Club ran hillclimbs at Castern Hall, Ilam in Dovedale , Derbyshire , from 1954 to 1956 . THe hill was rough by todays standards and in part loose .
Somewhere amongst my pics taken as a fourteen year old I have one of John Dalton in his then new Austin Healy 100s RWD 132.

#6 CoulthardD

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 17:58

Hard to say what the surface was at Harewood's first meeting, back in September 1962. However, the photo of the E-Type (towards the bottom) suggests tar and chippings, which broke up quite badly.

www.harewoodhill.co.uk/Hwoodgallery/Hwoodgallery1962.htm

Regards,

David

#7 garyfrogeye

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 23:29

Nice pictures.
Incidentally, according to Tom Coulthard (Sebring Sprite historian), Peter Smith still owns the Speedwell GT which appears in the Harewood hill gallery.

#8 Stephen W

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 08:08

Wasn't Mancetter a loose surface hillclimb? That was still listed in the Blue Book in 1962.

There was also a quarry near Chorley that was used as a hillclimb which I guess was also a loose surface - not sure what that was officially called!

:wave:

#9 fuzzi

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 08:32

Was it Clerk Hill near Whalley? According to Uphill Racers it was used by the Lancashire AC in July 1952 it offered a 250yard loose surfaced course. BTD Jack Clegg in his Clegg Special 30.66

#10 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:12

Originally posted by fuzzi
Was it Clerk Hill near Whalley? According to Uphill Racers it was used by the Lancashire AC in July 1952 it offered a 250yard loose surfaced course. BTD Jack Clegg in his Clegg Special 30.66


250 yards....that must be the shortest venue ever used, surely?

I recall some comment in the late 80s about the VSCC being unable to hold an event on the historic Madresfield site near Malvern because the RAC would not grant any track license for a loose surfaced sprint. The venue had a history of use for speed trials (in the 30s I think) and the VSCC ran driving tests there for many years so it was a logical step. Vintage cars running on a suitably "vintage" surface would seem entirely appropriate. A bit hard on the paintwork maybe, but nothing like they are routinely subjected to in trials.

#11 Stephen W

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 10:08

Originally posted by fuzzi
Was it Clerk Hill near Whalley? According to Uphill Racers it was used by the Lancashire AC in July 1952 it offered a 250yard loose surfaced course. BTD Jack Clegg in his Clegg Special 30.66


Not Clerk Hill as Whalley is some 14 miles North East of Chorley. I will have to look it up when I have some time to spare.

:wave:

#12 Bob Riebe

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 16:57

What was the closet you had in the mode of Pike's Peak?

I don't mean it has to be miles long, but longer and STEEP.

#13 RS2000

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 19:14

The longest ever hillclimb on the UK mainland was Porlock at about 1.5(?) miles. The Isle of Man had a slightly longer venue.
Regarding loose surfaces on UK hill climbs I guess it just got eased out by better surfaces rather than banned - but certainly by the 80s the MSA were adding all manner of safety regs for loose surface stage rallies and would have looked aghast at a loose hill climb. Of course the logic of the MSC/MSA in speed events is open to question. The most potent (and open top) cars can still compete without even a simple roll hoop if road legal but flame proof overalls have been required since 1992. Not the right priority many would say.

Probably the closest thing we have to Pikes Peak is the rally special stage on the new roads in Tarenig Forest in Wales, called on the recent Mid Wales Rally......"Pikes Peak"...

#14 fuzzi

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:49

Not on the mainland (and tarmac surfaced) but on the Isle of Man was Tholt-y-Will, where depending on weather conditions (or your source) competitions were timed over 2-3.6miles. It was the longest British championship hill.

#15 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 09:25

Originally posted by fuzzi
Not on the mainland (and tarmac surfaced) but on the Isle of Man was Tholt-y-Will, where depending on weather conditions (or your source) competitions were timed over 2-3.6miles. It was the longest British championship hill.


How about the one that ran a some years back along a section of TT course from Ramsey up through the Gooseneck and onto Hailwood heights ? I think that was even longer. In fact so long it had two available finish lines - one at the maximum distance allowed in the RAC championship and another which quite along way further up the mountain which was 'European size'.

I can't recall what it was called, something in Manx, but it was briefly part of the RAC series in the early 90s and features on the Duke Marketing season review videos of the era.

#16 RS2000

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 09:57

Lerghy Frizell (spelling not checked).

#17 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:02

Originally posted by RS2000
Lerghy Frizell (spelling not checked).


Thats the one - sounds like a character from the Goon Show (apologies to any IOM locals reading this!)

#18 Stephen W

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:47

Originally posted by RS2000
Lerghy Frizell (spelling not checked).


Lhergy Frissel actually.

As in Mr Frissel came down with the Lhergy!

:wave: