Jump to content


Photo

Dyrham Park Hillcimb, 1960s


  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Darren Galpin

Darren Galpin
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: April 00

Posted 06 January 2005 - 12:11

Dyrham Park is a manor house owned by the National Trust, and is located to the north of Bath in the UK, alongside the A46, and just south of the M4. In the 1960s it's front drive was used as a hillclimb venue by the Bristol Motor Club and Light Car Club, starting by the house and heading up towards the front gate. It was part of the 1964 British Hillclimb Championship.

The course is easy enough to determine, as the direction of the front road hasn't changed since the gardens were last landscaped sometime in the 1800s! However, does anyone know exactly where the course started, and where it ended?

A picture of a Turner on this course can be seen at http://www.turnerspo..._photos365.html.

Advertisement

#2 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,364 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 06 January 2005 - 13:20

First Take's "Bristol Motor Sport" video includes some footage of Dyrham - possibly the 1964 event.

#3 Stephen W

Stephen W
  • Member

  • 11,765 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 06 January 2005 - 17:11

The start was just down the road from the house heading back to the A46.

The track then went through 'The Sweeps' to a sharp left hand Hairpin. There was a short straight to a right handed corner called Neptune then another short straight to the finish. Just after the finish on the right of the track was the holding area. The Main Paddock was next to the house.

Total distance 800 yards.

It featured in the British Hillclimb Championship on three occasions - 1963; 1964 & 1966

A plan of the course can be found in the excellent book by Paul Sheldon entitled 'A RECORD OF THE R.A.C. BRITISH HILLCLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP 1947 - 1994'

:cool: :cool:

#4 Ted Walker

Ted Walker
  • Member

  • 1,432 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 06 January 2005 - 21:28

The Main paddock was at the TOP of the hill. There was not a lot of road btween the finish and the main gates out on to the A46, The start was just up from the front of the house. I remember cycling there in I think 65 ,and having to give way at the entrance to Ron Fry who had just driven up from Bath in his 250 LM.

#5 JohnB

JohnB
  • Member

  • 54 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 06 January 2005 - 22:11

So something like this?

Posted Image

Aerial photo taken from MultiMap:
http://www.multimap....out.x=5&out.y=4

#6 Darren Galpin

Darren Galpin
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: April 00

Posted 07 January 2005 - 08:14

Except that the holding area would also be where the paddock would be, as the top of the hill is to the right of the image, from what Ted has said.

#7 Ted Walker

Ted Walker
  • Member

  • 1,432 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 07 January 2005 - 09:17

Correct. The holding area at the bottom and the paddock at the top. Ian Swift put his Cooper Ford (ex Camoradi) into,or more up the tree at Neptune,this more or less put a stop to it all.One of the wests best hill climbs.

#8 Nanni Dietrich

Nanni Dietrich
  • Member

  • 1,242 posts
  • Joined: February 04

Posted 17 September 2005 - 14:09

Originally posted by Ted Walker
Correct. The holding area at the bottom and the paddock at the top. Ian Swift put his Cooper Ford (ex Camoradi) into,or more up the tree at Neptune,this more or less put a stop to it all.One of the wests best hill climbs.


I have an old magazine clipping (perhaps Autosport, but I'm not sure) in which there is a picture of a strange single-seater #81 driven by Ian Swift, a bloke with big moustache. The legend is "Fastest at the May meeting at Dyrham Park was Ian Swift with the Cooper-Ford. Later in the year Swift was to crash dramatically at this course", and also "... poor Swift made the news in another way at Dyrham Park when his car skidded on..." and the page end.

Do you know what did really happen to Ian Swift?

#9 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,172 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 08 October 2009 - 20:29

There was a hill climb reunion at Dyrham Park (about 10 years ago, maybe a bit more?), held in the orangery and organised by Bristol MC, that had photos etc on display. Someone in Bristol MC may have the data that was put together for it. Chris Mason's book has a diagram of the course.
As for the venue's original fate: the National Trust stikes again... (although, to be fair, other venues now remembered as falling to National Trust occupation - Trengwainton etc - had safety issues that the then RAC found unacceptable).

Edited by RS2000, 08 October 2009 - 20:30.


#10 CLR

CLR
  • Member

  • 42 posts
  • Joined: October 05

Posted 22 October 2009 - 08:50

Ted
I too was a regular spectator at Durham park.
Ron drove his 250LM on the road to and from the hill. I can very well remember trying to follow him down to the top of Tog Hill; me in my sit up and beg, Ford Pop ! happy days
Kevin Whittle



The Main paddock was at the TOP of the hill. There was not a lot of road btween the finish and the main gates out on to the A46, The start was just up from the front of the house. I remember cycling there in I think 65 ,and having to give way at the entrance to Ron Fry who had just driven up from Bath in his 250 LM.



#11 Pete Stowe

Pete Stowe
  • Member

  • 474 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 30 July 2011 - 15:21

The Bristol Motor Club are trying to fill some gaps in their archives relating to the Dyrham Park Hillclimbs 1961-66, so does anyone have a copy of the programme or entry list, or full results sheets, for the first event on 29 April 1961, or full results sheets for 27 July 1963 and 17 September 1966?


They have unfortunately had to cancel plans to revive the track, and the hillclimb scheduled for Sunday 2nd October this year will now be replaced by a “Spirit of the 60s” show.
From their website www.bristolmc.org.uk :
“We are sorry to have to report that the Dyrham Park Hillclimb, planned for 2 October, will not now go ahead. There are logistical difficulties at the venue which have proved to be disproportionately costly to overcome.
Instead we are offering a concours display under the title Spirit of the 60s, which will feature an array of in-period competition cars of all sizes and types, many of which competed at Dyrham in the 60s. Visitors will enjoy the site and sound of these cars as their owners enjoy once more the experience of driving up this challenging hill - albeit at a rather more sedate pace than they did 50 years ago!”


#12 Ted Walker

Ted Walker
  • Member

  • 1,432 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 30 July 2011 - 16:52

Thats a blow. Does this mean that it will never re-open or is this just a set back ???????

#13 Pete Stowe

Pete Stowe
  • Member

  • 474 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 30 July 2011 - 18:26

As I understand it Ted, that's a never :down:

#14 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,172 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 30 July 2011 - 19:57

I don't understand the use of "logistical difficulties" in the statement. Why so coy? Isn't it fact that the MSA track inspection refused a track licence (even a limited one excluding sports libre and racing cars) without substantial additional safety infrastructure that would be both unaffordable and unacceptable to the NT?
Having been associated with a couple of hill climb venues that suffered MSA re-inspection, I would have to say I'm surprised that the event was even billed if that was the case. Normally someone has some idea of what would be acceptable to the MSA (Symes, to be specific). To have it refused entirely at this stage suggests a fairly fundamental "disconnect". Most experienced observers would I'm sure share the view that there will be no new or resurected hill climb venues at this rate, whilst some of those in continuous use from way back seem to present far greater safety hazards but consistently get passed on re-inspection.
I'm the first to object to massive hill safety infrastructure imposed for racing cars, the costs of which saloon car drivers don't need but have to share fully but this is getting a bit worrying.

Edited by RS2000, 30 July 2011 - 20:01.


#15 cdrewett

cdrewett
  • Member

  • 361 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 31 July 2011 - 06:33

[quote name='Pete Stowe' date='Jul 30 2011, 16:21' post='5203688']
The Bristol Motor Club are trying to fill some gaps in their archives relating to the Dyrham Park Hillclimbs 1961-66, so does anyone have a copy of the programme or entry list, or full results sheets, for the first event on 29 April 1961, or full results sheets for 27 July 1963 and 17 September 1966?

I competed there in 1963 in a Lotus 18. I'll rummage through the archive and see if I've got the programme but I am not optimistic.
Chris

#16 Pete Stowe

Pete Stowe
  • Member

  • 474 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:40

Thanks Chris, that would be helpful.

#17 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,364 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:47

Has the Bath Chronicle been checked, Pete? If not, I'll be in Bath library at some point in the next week or so.

#18 Stephen W

Stephen W
  • Member

  • 11,765 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:30

I don't understand the use of "logistical difficulties" in the statement. Why so coy? Isn't it fact that the MSA track inspection refused a track licence (even a limited one excluding sports libre and racing cars) without substantial additional safety infrastructure that would be both unaffordable and unacceptable to the NT?


My understanding is that after an initial inspection which appeared favourable the second inspection did as you suggest put more requirements on the club involved. I suspect that the cost would have had to be met by the club rather than the National Trust.

Having been associated with a couple of hill climb venues that suffered MSA re-inspection, I would have to say I'm surprised that the event was even billed if that was the case. Normally someone has some idea of what would be acceptable to the MSA (Symes, to be specific). To have it refused entirely at this stage suggests a fairly fundamental "disconnect".


Knowing the people involved I would suggest that it came as a shock to them that additional requirements were laid down at this late stage. As for a "disconnect" that would appear to be more within the MSA.



Most experienced observers would I'm sure share the view that there will be no new or resurected hill climb venues at this rate, whilst some of those in continuous use from way back seem to present far greater safety hazards but consistently get passed on re-inspection.
I'm the first to object to massive hill safety infrastructure imposed for racing cars, the costs of which saloon car drivers don't need but have to share fully but this is getting a bit worrying.


I am pretty sure that "saloon drivers" need protection every bit as much as those in "racing cars" otherwise there would be no need to fit roll cages in Modified Saloons!

:cool:

#19 Pete Stowe

Pete Stowe
  • Member

  • 474 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 01 August 2011 - 15:07

Has the Bath Chronicle been checked, Pete? If not, I'll be in Bath library at some point in the next week or so.

Thanks Richard. That I don’t know, but I suspect not; the enquiry I had concerned entry lists and results sheets with run times. However should you have time it would be interesting if there was anything in the B.Chron on the 29-4-61 event. That was closed to club and there wasn’t even a report in Autosport.

Advertisement

#20 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,364 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 01 August 2011 - 15:32

Okay, I'll have a hunt through the Chron's microfilms and also check the library's local history document files: it's sometimes surprising what you can find in those!

#21 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,172 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 01 August 2011 - 19:28

My understanding is that after an initial inspection which appeared favourable the second inspection did as you suggest put more requirements on the club involved. I suspect that the cost would have had to be met by the club rather than the National Trust.

Knowing the people involved I would suggest that it came as a shock to them that additional requirements were laid down at this late stage. As for a "disconnect" that would appear to be more within the MSA.

I am pretty sure that "saloon drivers" need protection every bit as much as those in "racing cars" otherwise there would be no need to fit roll cages in Modified Saloons!


Obviously the costs would have to be met by the clubs - and some of these safety demands are not just capital costs, they are the "cost" of organising set up and take down working parties (additional to and at different times from marshalling the event) at venues where the land owner will not accept barriers etc. being in position all year round.
Are you suggesting more than one MSA person was involved in track inspections, if there is internal disconnect?
Saloon (and closed sports car) drivers not only do not need the same protection as racing cars but they are positively put at risk of shell write off by some of the single seater "precautions" and many seriously object to paying equally for some things they neither want nor need. Quite substantial bushes and even small trees are far safer for saloon cars to plow into than barriers.
No car should be competing without a basic roll-over bar, roadgoing included. This is far more important than all the fire and other safety demands for clothing etc. in hill climbs for the simple reason that marshals are far closer with extingushers than in most other types of event but will be helpless to assist those already dead from unprotected rollover.
To get back on topic, there should be serious concern at the way things are going. The next step may be another safety assault by the MSA on "classic" venues that have been in continuous use for decades - I can point to potential safety issues at some that seem far more serious than some attracting MSA impositions at "younger" venues. Every successive Speed Committee shies away from the "unthinkable": restricting or barring racing cars. The writing is on the wall: "Nostalgia" in the future might stop with the present if we allow potential personal liability of one MSA employee to get out of hand?

#22 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,364 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 10 August 2011 - 19:32

Thanks Richard. That I don’t know, but I suspect not; the enquiry I had concerned entry lists and results sheets with run times. However should you have time it would be interesting if there was anything in the B.Chron on the 29-4-61 event. That was closed to club and there wasn’t even a report in Autosport.

Okay, I have good news, not so good news and a confusion.

April 29th 1961
Found a preview and report. Briefly: 60 entries, 2000 spectators @ ten bob a car or half a crown for pedestrians :eek: Seven classes including Karts: I have first three in all classes, with times, and even a reasonable amount of detail on most of the cars. There was also a big kart meeting at Castle Combe that day - results looked pretty comprehensive but I wasn't going to copy them out if you didn't need them :D

July 27th 1963
Complete contrast. Picture of Tony Marsh (FTD) and two paragraphs, mainly about Ron Fry. Otherwise zilch.

September 17th 1966
There is a report, but it refers to Burnham Motor Club and again focuses on Ron Fry. I'm not that familiar with 60s climbs, but I don't think Burnham and Dyrham match up? There's no mention of Dyrham in the report either. (Duh! Call me an idiot, but I didn't look to see what the times were, which could have been an easy proof or otherwise! :blush: ) That date also clashes with a VSCC meeting at Combe - again reported in the Chron.

There's also a meeting on August 12th 1961 - bigger entry, smaller crowd - and I saw a reference to a September 1961 meeting, but didn't investigate further. I'll type up the reports and results and PM them to you tomorrow: I'm in Bath again on Friday, so can investigate further if needed. Otherwise, I probably shan't be there for a fortnight.

Oh, and finally - I just love local newspapers for their "small news". Turned up a beauty today: 70 year-old lady taken to hospital after being scratched by her cat! Allowed home after treatment. (No mention of the condition of the :cat: )

#23 Pete Stowe

Pete Stowe
  • Member

  • 474 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 11 August 2011 - 11:18

Ah, the joys and frustrations of local newspaper reports.
Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to investigate, Richard. :up:

Regarding 1966, according to Autosport, Ron Fry set BTD (23.90s) at the Burnham MC sprint at Holimarine on Sunday 18th Sept, so I’d guess that was what was reported; he didn’t feature in the Dyrham awards on the Saturday.

1963 :well:

1961, an excellent result on that one. :clap:
I’ll pass that on, I’m sure they’ll be most pleased.

Kart meeting at Combe, that would be one of Bath Karting Club’s (alumni include Simon Taylor, Nick Brittan & Roy James) meetings.


#24 CLR

CLR
  • Member

  • 42 posts
  • Joined: October 05

Posted 17 August 2011 - 18:36

The start was just down the road from the house heading back to the A46.

The track then went through 'The Sweeps' to a sharp left hand Hairpin. There was a short straight to a right handed corner called Neptune then another short straight to the finish. Just after the finish on the right of the track was the holding area. The Main Paddock was next to the house.

Total distance 800 yards.

It featured in the British Hillclimb Championship on three occasions - 1963; 1964 & 1966

A plan of the course can be found in the excellent book by Paul Sheldon entitled 'A RECORD OF THE R.A.C. BRITISH HILLCLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP 1947 - 1994'

:cool: :cool:



I tried to follow Ron in the 250LM down the A420 in my Ford Pop !!! Ah youth, wasted on the young !!
Kevin W