Opinion: Rising Racing stars return for British Hillclimb Championship Car News

Take a specially designed single-seater with around 600 hp, launch control, traction control and a sequential gearbox and run the clock on a hill course at times barely wider than said car. This is the ultimate adrenaline rush: rock climbing to its highest level.

the British Hill Climb Championship (BHC) is the oldest motorsport series in this country, long before the British Touring Car Championship, British Formula 3 and even the British Rally Championship.

Its 2020 season was lost due to the pandemic, and it was the first time the title had not been awarded. But this year he’s back stronger than ever, with a fantastic line-up of cars and drivers on a schedule that includes most of the usual touring – though the annual summer trip to Jersey and Guernsey has been canceled due to uncertainty regarding travel arrangements.

Hill climbs in the UK are short and intense. Shelsley Walsh is only 1000 meters long but is one of the most popular places. The same goes for Doune, Loton Park, Harewood, and Prescott, but Shelsley, which has been in use since 1905, is the tallest of all. The high speed climb up the Teme Valley side in Worcestershire remains one of the toughest challenges in climbing.

This year more than ever, Shelsley’s longtime record of 22.58 seconds is under threat as the latest generation of cars chases fractions of a second.

Each round of the BHC takes place over two laps, during which the 12 fastest contenders come together to have another crack at the hill. And with the fastest qualifying last, the atmosphere and excitement is second to none.

Remarkably, the technology is as diverse as the pilots and yet events are won and lost by the finest of margins. There are older Indycar engines, McLaren Cosworth DFVs, and even a pair of Hayabusa motorcycle engines combined into a V8. Specially designed frames from Gould, OMS and Force are among the pioneers.

But of course, hill climbing is not just about top-level single-seaters. Each event’s classes cater to everything from a virtually standard road car to a classic sports racer. Hillclimb is one of the most accessible forms of speed events in motorsport, and right now it is full of entries.

BHC 2021 started in May at Loton Park in Shropshire, and it was 2019 champion Wallace Menzies who was in stunning shape to win both qualifiers for his Gould GR59.

Although he’s been out all last year, Menzies clearly hasn’t lost any of his competitive edge, as he took on the challenge of Sean Gould, Trevor Willis, Scott Moran and, most notably, Alex. Summers in his Indycar-powered DJ Firestorm, which spins over 14,000 rpm at its peak.

Seeing these cars in flight over a narrow hill is a breathtaking sight. And it’s one of the few categories of motorsport in which engineers are free to explore technology without regulatory constraints.

The BHC has been in operation since 1947, and the action is still going strong. It’s going to be a crack season.

Paul Laurent


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This notice was published: 2021-06-03 23:01:23

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