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Downhill Hillclimb ?


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#1 bill moffat

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 19:51

A random thought on a Friday evening, probably prompted by the first glass of Sauvignon of the weekend...

There's something a bit satisfying at a Hill Climb meeting when the cars return downhill after their runs. OK so the smaller class cars probably return under their own motivation but the big boys tend to return powered by gravity rather than Judd etc - so it's silence other than a bit of tyre scrub, transmission whine and brake squeal.

So - with the exception of Gurston's initial downhill blast has there ever been a competitive "downhill" Hillclimb - if not, why not ?

Edited by bill moffat, 26 May 2012 - 08:26.


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#2 D-Type

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 21:03

Technically would a "downhill hillclimb" be a "sprint".

I think that the reason why not, is that going uphill you effectively lengthen the run while downhill would shorten it. And most [British] hillclimbs are short enough anyway.



#3 RS2000

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 21:14

Safety reasons I imagine. I'd have to say Hollow at Gurston (the end of the downhill bit) is a major accident waiting to happen, with possible aero effects leading on from a "wall of death" moment putting a car into the spectator area.

Porlock (then not a hillclimb course and no longer one) has been used downhill on the RAC Rally as a (much longer than the hill climb) stage in 64 and was to be so used in 76 until a (very) last minute re think.

Returning downhill in convoy without helmets is an opportunity to listen for unusual noises from your car, invaluable from a safety point of view, I found. Bizarrely, certain venues in the south west UK started insisting on helmets being warn in closed cars, whilst in convoy behind a course car in which the occupants were not wearing helmets. It doesn't happen elsewhere. What I never understood was why a massed revolt of competitors did not overturn such inconsistent nonsense, as would have surely have happened on a rally.
(The MSA Safety Executive was aware from an early date and did nothing to either stop it or adopt it for all venues)...but many UK speed event competitors seem never to be too hot on knowledge of regs. and run a mile rather than support those who do...

#4 CoulthardD

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 08:18

...So - with the exception of Gurston's initial downhill blast...

The start of Harewood is also downhill.

DC

#5 Stephen W

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 09:29

Several hillclimb courses in the UK are used in the downhill direction by fanatics on street luges.

Rather them than me!

#6 Librules

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 11:45

The Haunted Hills (Bryant Park) track located Down Under in a rural area of the state of Victoria starts from the top of a hill in all configurations.

Here's a vid of one of the fast guys on the original layout (track is only about 4 years old)



#7 alpine

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 12:08

In national rallying, sometimes well known hillclimb courses are used 'the wrong way'.
IIRC, in the late seventies this was even the case at WRC level at the TAP-Rally Portugal -
as far as I can remember, Walter Röhrl was fastest on that occasion.
Sorry, cannot tell the year or the name of the course, maybe rally experts could help!

Edited by alpine, 26 May 2012 - 12:09.


#8 David McKinney

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 12:10

The Haunted Hills (Bryant Park) track located Down Under in a rural area of the state of Victoria starts from the top of a hill in all configurations.

Great course - is it purpose-built?

#9 RA Historian

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 13:36

Sometime in the late 1950s Sports Car Graphic magazine had a one page feature on the "Downcar Club de Barcelona", a Spanish group which did just that; timed their cars from the top of the hill to the bottom. The time of those events was the very dawn of motoring, so I suspect that the vehicles essentially were 'soap box derby' cars. The article made enough of an impression on me that I remember it after over 50 years, even though I admit I have not seen it since. Of course, it may have been Sports Car Graphic's version of Road & Track's long running April Fool's road test, but it was an amusing read nonetheless.
Tom

#10 taylov

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 13:59

Safety reasons I imagine. I'd have to say Hollow at Gurston (the end of the downhill bit) is a major accident waiting to happen, with possible aero effects leading on from a "wall of death" moment putting a car into the spectator area.


I used to be a Gurston regular but have to qualify this reply by stating that I haven't been for the last 3 years.

I recall that a small spectator area is/was level with the curve at Hollow but situated well back by hillclimb standards. Thereafter the spectators have to climb up and away from the track into trees to reach the main viewing area halfway up the hill. I have seen cars crash into the foot of these trees having got Hollow wrong but none have ever come anywhere near the spectator path which by then is a long way above the track.

If that is the area of concern then I would suggest that no track or hillclimb I have ever seen is safe.

Tony

#11 Librules

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 20:17

Great course - is it purpose-built?


Yes. It has replaced the Morwell Hillclimb (that also had ups and downs) which taken back by a power company due to the need to keep digging out coal.. It's quite a challenging track, particularly in reverse direction to that shown in the video, with a crossover to make it part figure 8. That format was used for the first time last year at the Australian Hillclimb C'ship.,

#12 RS2000

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 20:19

I used to be a Gurston regular but have to qualify this reply by stating that I haven't been for the last 3 years.

I recall that a small spectator area is/was level with the curve at Hollow but situated well back by hillclimb standards. Thereafter the spectators have to climb up and away from the track into trees to reach the main viewing area halfway up the hill. I have seen cars crash into the foot of these trees having got Hollow wrong but none have ever come anywhere near the spectator path which by then is a long way above the track.

If that is the area of concern then I would suggest that no track or hillclimb I have ever seen is safe.

Tony


No. The path is not an issue. A car going off on the outside of Hollow can do a very, very long "wall of death" after the slip road on the right, bounce in the air and, hopefully, come down again (as I witnessed Tony Marsh, the track's consultant designer, do when I was leaning on the rail feet from the track in the spectator enclosure before Karussel at its furthest point back towards Hollow). Speeds are so high there a winged car could just as easily fly as land. There are bushes at that end that tend to conceal any direct line of sight to the critical point a car could launch into the air, so it is not an obvious risk to the casual observer.
I agree no track is totally safe. I once helped at Wiscombe judge whether the inside bank immediately before Martini should be raised. We concluded - by standing in potential harm's way - that it was not necessary, either to protect spectators at the furthest point of the enclosure, or to prevent cars launching. Years later Rob Turnbull did just that...
The worry at Gurston is the speed at the end of the downhill bit. Even saloons trap at Hollow at nearly 100mph. Big single seaters are at, what? 130mph?
I've done Wiscombe downhill on the RAC Rally but Harewood's only been used uphill on those RACs I've done, as has Loton. I can't see downhill being realistic on safety grounds for open wheel cars from speed alone.

#13 GMACKIE

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 22:16

At Siverdale hillclimb, in the late '50s - early '60s, there was a bit of 'un-official' timing DOWN the hill. I think the excuse was [for the air-cooled cars that could not negotiate the return road] that it was important to get back to the pits ASAP, and keep the air-flow around the engine. :lol:

There was a time when Jack Meyers held the downhill 'record', but I think common sense prevailed, and the VSCCA 'put the brakes' on the practice. :rolleyes:

#14 baz

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 09:45

A random thought on a Friday evening, probably prompted by the first glass of Sauvignon of the weekend...

There's something a bit satisfying at a Hill Climb meeting when the cars return downhill after their runs. OK so the smaller class cars probably return under their own motivation but the big boys tend to return powered by gravity rather than Judd etc - so it's silence other than a bit of tyre scrub, transmission whine and brake squeal.

So - with the exception of Gurston's initial downhill blast has there ever been a competitive "downhill" Hillclimb - if not, why not ?


Mt Cotton in Brisbane is in the shape of rabbit ears and has two steep downhill sections both with tight corners at the bottom. A great place for spectators as you can view most of the track from one spot.

#15 HeskethBoy

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:09

So - with the exception of Gurston's initial downhill blast has there ever been a competitive "downhill" Hillclimb - if not, why not ?


It is my understanding that, for an event to classify as a Hill'Climb" - the Finish Line has to be at a higher altitude than the Start Line.
Otherwise, the event is a deemed to be a Sprint.

#16 Stephen W

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 08:22

It is my understanding that, for an event to classify as a Hill'Climb" - the Finish Line has to be at a higher altitude than the Start Line.
Otherwise, the event is a deemed to be a Sprint.


Not necessarily; I understand it is all to do with the percentage of uphill track throughout the length. This led to both Cadwell Park and Knockhill hosting hillclimbs when selected sections of the track were used.

#17 GrzegorzChyla

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 16:57

In 1990 in Poland there was a hill climb that went up and down.
It was quite complicated, the track used part of Kielce racing circuit.
Start was near the lowest point of circuit but cars run in the opposite direction to that of normal running of races.
There is a windy road there, the cars went to the highest point of track (about 60 meters up on distance of about 1300 meters) - and slightly behind it.
There was a mark here, where cars turned back and gone back up and down to the start finish line.
Of course only one car could be on track at a time, so running of all cars took ages.
Originally scheduled second run had to be stopped because it was too dark.
It was a fiasco and was never repeated.


#18 Nick Wa

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:21

A lovely story told by "Jenks" of how he and Oliver in their motor cycling days were entered in the 350cc class at Mont Ventoux. Apparently Oliver calculated that if they did not stop at the finish but continued down the other side of the mountain and back along the valley roads to the start it was possible to start in the 500c class. This would increase their kitty with extra starting money, so this they did with an extra bonus as Oliver picked a place in the class.
There is a link to this story somewhere.