Top level motorsport returns to Gloucestershire next weekend (22/23 April) when the legendary Prescott Hill climb course hosts the opening round of the prestigious British Hillclimb Championship.
In the hands of the Bugatti Owners’ Club, Prescott hosted its first Hillclimb in 1938 and rounds of the British series every year since its inauguration in 1947.
Some of the fastest machinery in motorsport will converge on the beautiful Cotswold venue to battle against the clock over the 1127-yard climb which rises over two hundred feet.
The weekend will also feature a round of the hugely popular Midland Hillclimb Championship, which is contested over nine rounds at three venues, Prescott, Loton Park and Shelsley Walsh.
The dominant cars in the British Championship for many years now have been Goulds, the Newbury built single seaters taking the overall title in 20 of the last 23 years.
Scottish driver Wallace Menzies took the title in both 2021 and 2022 in his Gould GR59.
The climax to each British Championship round are the Top 12 run offs, two at each meeting. Wallace Menzies topped the times in one of the four run offs at Prescott in 2022 with Ludlow driver Scott Moran, Alex Summers and Dave Uren also taking on Top 12 victory apiece. Such is the competitiveness of the series, no more than tenths of a second separated first and second place in any of the runoffs, with two of the four decided by just hundredths of a second.
Running alongside the Championship is the BHC cup with points awarded based on competitors’ achievement within their class. The 2022 Cup was won by Alex Coles who took his Van Diemen RF86 Formula Ford single seater to victory in his first full season of hill climbing.
Points in the BMTR Motorsport Tyres Midland Championship are also awarded on a class basis and the 2022 season saw Mitsubishi Evo 6 driver Stephen Moore and Johnathan Varley in a GWR Predator single seater powered by a 2 litre V8 engine, tied on points. Stephen took the title by virtue of setting 7 new class records during the course of the season compared to Johnathan’s four new records.
Part of the appeal of hillclimbing for many spectators is the diverse array of cars to be seen at the events. Apart from the ultra-powerful single seaters vying for fastest time of the day, a wide variety of racing, sports and saloon cars both modern and historic will be in action.
One incredibly special machine on display this weekend with be the Felday F.2. Feldays were built by engineering guru and avid hillclimber Peter Westbury. The F.2 was a two seater version of his F.1 hillclimb car, powered by a 2½ litre Daimler engine but the build was abandoned in 1964 and the car spent the next 60 years in a barn. It will be seen in public this weekend for the first time since, with filming taking place for a documentary currently being made about Peter Westbury.
All in all, this weekend is set to be a fitting start to Prescott’s 85th year as a hill climb venue. Practice is schedule to get underway at 8.30am each day with timed runs to follow on Sunday only. Tickets bought in advance are £18 each day for adults of £30 for a weekend ticket. Under 16s, carers and Bugatti Owners’ Club Members are admitted free of charge. Camping pitches are available for £10.
You can find more information about the weekend and Bugatti Owners’ Club events for the full 2023 season on the Prescott website, www.prescotthillclimb.co.uk.