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Oddicombe Hill Climb


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#1 Rupertlt1

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 14:38

"Oddicombe Hill Climb was last run in 2003, when Torbay council deemed the Hill to be no longer privately owned, therefore public highway.

Thus needing an Act of Parliament to lift the 30mph speed limit, a few years earlier we clocked cars at over 75mph."

Roy Sims, Magazine Editor, Competition Secretary and Competitor, Torbay MC

 

17th October 1965 - Tenth Oddicombe Hill Climb

B.T.D. John Grafton (Cooper Monaco-Buick) 36.72s

Class winners:

Mike Lane (Saab) 43.62s

Bill George (Mini-Cooper) 41.28s

Gerry Smerdon (Mini-Cooper) 37.36s

R. Doidge (Ford) 42.52s

Peter Bow (M.G. Midget) 39.48s

Geoff Taylor (T.V.R.) 39.74s

R. Harper (Morgan) 40.00s

J. Grafton (Cooper-Buick Monaco) 36.72s

 

This event ran for some 50 years then quietly bowed out to the bureaucrats.

(Why not established use?)

Let us record the history here!

 

RGDS RLT 



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#2 Rupertlt1

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 14:42

Torbay Motor Club organised events at Oddicombe hill climb:

March 1961???

29 October 1961

11 March 1962

28 Oct 1962

17 March 1963

20 Oct 1963

15 March 1964

18 Oct 1964

14 March 1965

17 Oct 1965 (tenth event - see above)

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, Yesterday, 11:07.


#3 RCH

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 15:13

Remember popping across to see the Oddicombe hill climb back in the '60's. Oh and Peter Bow was my dentist.



#4 Rupertlt1

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 15:17

See also: https://www.progcove.../oddicombe.html

 

RGDS RLT



#5 BRG

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 17:21

This event ran for some 50 years then quietly bowed out to the bureaucrats.

(Why not established use?)

 

 

The law was the law, but now the law is different and there is no reason why Torbay MC can't get a road closure order and run the event again.  There have already been four different closed-road rallies run under the new rules and a rally needs a load more work to organise than just a short hill-climb.  



#6 Rupertlt1

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 18:19

Right here is a question - when was the first event?

 

In the book Uphill Racers by Chris Mason, Page 172, it says 1963.

 

Torbay MC says:

"First used on 20th October 1963"

 

https://www.torbaymo....co.uk/history/

 

Given the Tenth event was on 17th October 1965, a first event in 1961 seems most likely?

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 15 February 2020 - 02:11.


#7 RCH

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 20:00

Something is telling me that the event was around before 1963 and that 1963 was the first time I went there but I would have been only 14. I may well be wrong. I suppose there may have been more than 2 events a year if 1965 was the tenth running. If you had asked me I would have said it was only once a year. 

 

Regarding re-establishing the event, I seem to recall that it was a very tight little track within very close confines, it may not be considered at all suitable in this day and age. I also suspect that it may be in a poor state of repair now, but I currently have no evidence for that. Strangely enough I was in Torquay only yesterday and thought of visiting Oddicombe but I didn't. I'll have to see if I can get over there again soon.



#8 Vitesse2

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 22:35

The second episode of the second series of C4's Great British Car Journeys includes an ascent of Oddicombe, with Peter Davison at the wheel of a Morgan, racing the cliff railway, in which Christopher Timothy is travelling. Go to 34 minutes:

 

https://www.channel4...emand/70031-002



#9 Rupertlt1

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:31

Oddicombe Hill Climb, Sunday, 11 March 1962

"Taunton members who sup-

ported Torbay M.C.'s hill climb

at Oddicombe on Sunday, were

S.G. Davey, D. Gill, J. Kite, M.

Pearce and D. Rowe."

Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser, Saturday 17 March 1962

 

(S.G. Davey, #194 Ford Zephyr, on the M.C.C. Exeter Trial, 1959.)

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 15 February 2020 - 04:05.


#10 Stephen W

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 08:30

I attended the hillclimb twice, first time in 1999 and again the following year. The track was getting worse due to land slippage and was becoming very bumpy.



#11 GazChed

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 09:00

A friend of mine competed at Oddicombe in an upgraded Formula Ford ( Royale RP16 from memory ) and mentioned how difficult it was to control the car due to the front wheels pitter-pattering over the bumps due to the roots of the trees which lined the course affecting the road surface. Single seaters were limited to 1600cc.

#12 RCH

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 11:05

Coincidentally I bumped into Howard West this morning, he had been MSA Steward in the latter years. He confirmed that the venue was abandoned due to the road surface suffering from the effects of coastal erosion. Also the road at the top, which was a public road, had to act as a sort of upper paddock which was just no longer acceptable. 

 

I had forgotten about the Channel 4 programme. Bit of nostalgia seeing them crossing the River Teign via Shaldon Bridge and driving along the "corniche" type road from Shaldon to Babbacombe. Totally off subject but I recall driving along there once, glancing left and realising I was being overtaken by a Shackleton flying below me!


Edited by RCH, 15 February 2020 - 11:35.


#13 Rupertlt1

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 15:22

What does Motorsport Explorer say about Oddicombe?

 

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#14 MCS

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 15:28

Hopefully I am okay to quote this: ..."The first meeting seems to have taken place on a sunny 20 October 1963"... etc.



#15 fuzzi

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 16:03

No problem with quoting from Explorer MCS. 

 

The first note I have on Oddicombe is from Autosport in 1963. It is, of course quite possible that an earlier event took place which was reported in the local press. We have to bear in mind that club events were reported by local enthusiasts, and sometimes they didn't think to include national magazines, or they felt too diffident.

 

One of my old friends used to phone reports from Shelsley Walsh to the Birmingham Mail to catch their Saturday edition. Getting the report across to a bored and uninterested Sub-editor was quite often frustrating and sometimes hilarious.

 

For what is is worth the entry from Explorer reads:

 

 

ODDICOMBE Hill Climb

 

Organised by:  Torbay Motor Club

 

First used:       October 1963

 

Last used:        October 2004

 

Directions: Held in a council owned park by the sea. Adjacent to B3199 (Babbacombe Road) in northwest Torbay. SX9265

 

Description: Initially 650 yards (594m) later increased to 849 yards (777m) rising steeply through wooded slopes from the paddock on the seafront. The track was narrow and bumpy, but the good surface offered reasonable grip allowing the use of slick tyres in almost all weathers. The hill was one of the steepest available and was very demanding with 4 tight hairpin turns, the outer edges of the road were lined with low stonewalls, which were in turn protected by straw bales.  Oddicombe also offered spectators the facility of a cliff railway as an alternative way of reaching the top of the hill. 

 

History: The first meeting seems to have taken place on a sunny Sunday 20 October 1963. 53 entries ran and John Grafton’s Lotus Seven-Ford set btd with 37.55secs. The hill record was broken twice on 12 October 1967 when Grafton driving his powerful Cooper-Monaco with a V-8 Buick engine set btd with 36.72secs ahead of Gerry Smerdon in his 1293cc Mini-Cooper S with 37.6secs. After these early runs the Torbay MC settled into running events twice a year, normally in March and October up to 2004 (and beyond?) Racing cars were limited to 1600cc. Entries included classes for motorcycles and three wheelers. Kevitt Payne’s Ensign was perennially successful at this hill along with most west-country climbs in the 1980s.  Hillclimbing is exciting for competitors and while all motor sports are dangerous, fortunately serious accidents are few. It is therefore sad to report that John Morgan of Babbacombe was killed on the hill in 1979 

 

Now the entry was less than the manuscript notes I took as I was trying to keep the book within reasonable limits. I was originally contracted for 200,000 words, the final version was cut down to 400,000.


Edited by fuzzi, 15 February 2020 - 16:16.


#16 Rupertlt1

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 16:19

I think we can be fairly certain that the first event was in March 1961 (followed by Oct 1961) - what we need is the evidence.

Nearly all the dates listed here came from Motor Sport event listings.

I submitted reports to "copy-takers" over the phone to the Daily Telegraph from Fuji, Japan. My lady was highly skilled and did an incredible job - I had to hang around at the races and wait for the desk to open in London - usually last man out.

RGDS RLT

#17 fyrth

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 16:46

1-ENSIGN-Oddicombe.jpg



#18 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 18:24

Julian might have tried this already, but the Torquay Herald Express - available on microfilm in Torquay Central Library - would no doubt have covered some or all of the earlier events. Of course that's not a task for the faint-hearted ...



#19 Rupertlt1

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 18:45

Julian might have tried this already, but the Torquay Herald Express - available on microfilm in Torquay Central Library - would no doubt have covered some or all of the earlier events. Of course that's not a task for the faint-hearted ...

 

When you have a fairly clear idea when the events took place not too hard either - I could dream about visiting Torquay Central Library, stopping at Fawlty Towers - but it is a long way from Vancouver Island!

(I do have a trip to Gaydon to look at Autocar and The Motor in prospect.) 

 

RGDS RLT



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#20 RAP

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 19:27

I have a copy of the entry list for Oddicombe 29 October 1961 which was reported in Motoring News but not Autosport.

I don't have the complete programme so I do not know if it gives any indication as to it being the first event.

BTD was B Whitmarsh (Lister Jaguar) 40.28"

Classes

A Olpin (Mini)  49.27"

B Field (Riley 1.5) 49.24"

W Penhale (Jag 3.8)  46.00"

J Scarr (DKW)  45.41"

P Taylor (Porsche 356B) 41.15"

A Bulpin (AH 3000)  43.28"

J F Barnes (Lotus 7)  40.64"

Whitmarsh

There was no class for racing cars  

 

Richard Page

www.formulaoneregister.com



#21 Rupertlt1

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 21:27

Many thanks to RAP. So now we need the Last Date (no connection to Floyd Cramer) which has to be in March 1961?

 

J.F. Barnes, Elva Mk 7-Ford S/C, turns up in the mid-sixties at Shelsley Walsh, Trengwainton, Firle, Bodiam etc.

 

Is he the same man who finished 8th on The RAC Rally in 1968 in #33 Peugeot 204?

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 16 February 2020 - 16:08.


#22 Stephen W

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:59

Oddicombe-99-A-Fiesta-passes-under-the-f

 

1999 and a Ford Fiesta passes under the funicular railway



#23 Rupertlt1

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 14:49

The only other reference I can find to B. Whitmarsh and his Lister Jaguar is an entry at Goodwood:

 

Goodwood 10th June 1961, B.A.R.C. 46th Members' Meeting

Event 7—5-lap Handicap Race (B):

#27 B. Whitmarsh, Lister-Jaguar, Green, 3442 c.c.

 

Does anybody know any more?

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 16 February 2020 - 14:52.


#24 RCH

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 17:20

The car that sticks in my mind was a pretty little Cooper Manx, vague recollection of that Cooper Monaco-Buick. 



#25 Rupertlt1

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 20:20

Oddicombe Hill Climb, 15th March 1964

"This year the hill's length has been extended by about 100 yards by having the start on the promenade."

B.T.D.: Ron Smart (Lotus Elite) 37.84s

Class Winners:

Rodney Harper (Mini) 47.16s

Gerry Smerdon (Mini-Cooper S) 41.84s

Jumbus Ali Khan (Lotus Cortina) 41.98s

David Wynne (Mini-Cooper S) 39.02s

John Morgan (M.G. Midget) 42.38s

Eric Preston (T.V.R.) 39.56s

David van Horn (Morgan) 40.84s

John Grafton (Lotus-Ford 7) 39.74s

Ladies' Award:

Miss K. Burley (Mini-Cooper) 44.46s

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 16 February 2020 - 20:21.


#26 Rupertlt1

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 22:35

Seasonal Survey, by Michael Kettlewell

"The season was now practically over

but not before the Torbay M.C. had

held their Oddicombe hill-climb. Brian

Whitmarsh made B.T.D. of 40.28 secs in

his hairy Lister-Jaguar."   

Autosport, Feb 23, 1962

 

Was he on the 1964 R.A.C. Rally?

#101 Morris Mini Cooper 997, B. Whitmarsh/J.A. Griffiths

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 17 February 2020 - 00:44.


#27 Stephen W

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 11:24

Oddicombe-Jonathan-Williamson-Porsche-91

Jonathan Williamson rounding the first hairpin in his 911 - you can just see the sea in the background.



#28 Rupertlt1

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 17:32

Would the R.A.C. Blue Book, sometimes mentioned on here, assist us with Oddicombe 1961?

 

RGDS RLT



#29 Stephen W

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 08:50

Would the R.A.C. Blue Book, sometimes mentioned on here, assist us with Oddicombe 1961?

 

RGDS RLT

 

For what it is worth it is listed in the 1962 RAC Motor Sport Year Book & Fixture List:

 

ODDICOMBE (Devonshire) Adjacent to B3199 (Babbacombe Road) in N.W. Torquay

 

From the Fixture List (which runs from 1st April 1962 to 31st March 1963) there two listings for Oddicombe :

 

(a) October 28th 1962 Torbay M.C. and (b) March 17th 1963 Torbay M.C.


Edited by Stephen W, 18 February 2020 - 08:51.


#30 Rupertlt1

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 16:16

Oddicombe Hill Climb, 19th October 1986

A round of the Shell Oils A.S.W.M.C. Hillclimb Championship.

 

RGDS RLT  



#31 Rupertlt1

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Posted Yesterday, 11:56

14th October 1984

Speedscene, No. 16, November 1984, Photo Captions:

"A true clubman on a club hill, Richard Mullis at Oddicombe." #36 Mini on cover.

"Jonathan Williamson clinched the Shell Oils/ASWMC Hillclimb Championship at Oddicombe with his Porsche Targa." #11.

"Always one for the unusual Colin Amos contested Oddicombe in a Honda Acty Pick-up." #2.

 

March 1985, South West Championship

FTD: Kevitt Payne (Ensign)

Class winners

#31 Paul Brend, Mini Clubman, record 

#38 Ian Cameron (Lotus 7 S4) Modsports record

John Turpin (Porsche)

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, Yesterday, 12:54.


#32 Rupertlt1

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Posted Today, 03:35

The car that sticks in my mind was a pretty little Cooper Manx, vague recollection of that Cooper Monaco-Buick. 

 

Here is talk of a Cooper Manx, and what about the Lola Special?

 

Oddicombe Hill-Climb, Torbay Motor Club, March 1971

FTD: Brian Preston, (Cooper S 1293) 37.87s, wet

Classes:

Graham Bush (Mini 850) 42.38s

Bill Cherry (Mini 1293) 43.88s

Graham Da-Costa (1.6 Ford Escort) 41.67s

John Goddard (1.3 Mini) 42.84s

Angela Chipp (1.2 GSM Delta) 42.28s

Paul Channon (4.7 Cobra) 40.36s

Norman Trotter (1.6 Lotus S7) 42.33s

Derek Swann (1.6 Cortina GT) 45.64s

 

"With the demise of John Pugs-

ley's rapid DRW in practice the

specials and clubman's class was

a Lotus benefit with the Super

7 of Norman Trotter leading all

the way with a first run time of

42.79s which he further reduced

to 42.33 at his second attempt.

Ken White, having sold the in-

famous Cooper Manx to Keith

Steer, appeared in his front-

engined Lola Special, but did not

appear too happy with the hand-

ling, and did not appear in the

results."

Motoring News, 1 April 1971. Page 24.

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, Today, 03:41.


#33 RCH

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Posted Today, 10:30

My time at Oddicombe would have been mid sixties, all I can really remember is a little Cooper Manx not even who drove it or how it went. Remember Peter Bow there with his Midget, also at Wiscombe. But then he was my dentist and also went to the same school as me although before my time. Also remember that early '70's some Torbay MC rally stalwarts took part, Dennis Marchant and maybe Dave Lowen spring to mind. Both from Torbay.