Prescott Hillclimb With A (Slight) French Accent…If You Listened Closely.

Ooh look! It’s a….Lotus….followed by a…RileyDSCF5168 And here’s a jet powered motorcycle. Never mind, there will be something French on the course soon…I’m sure.

Actually there was quite a lot of tasty Gallic machinery on the famous Gloucestershire hillclimb last weekend but the French ‘theme’ for the annual LA VIE EN BLEU event was perhaps a little diluted for complete satisfaction. Never mind! There was a beautiful, DSCF5205jewel-like little Amilcar sat in the paddock and a Lafitte (No I don’t know that marque either!) There was the ever-splendid Land Speed Record breaking Darraq V8 and a number of other huge capacity Edwardian era racers from across the channel, which did get used in real anger. In the spectator areas we had stilt walkers with onion necklaces and ALLO ALLO accents, Can Can girls (didn’t there used to be a lot more of them ?) and a busker with an accordion, lots of tricolour flags and lots of owners club displays. But the stars, according to my two young daughters, were the mime artists (was one really called Marcel and the other Marceau? Or was that just aDSCF5181 rumor?)  These two clowns had the girls transfixed, and almost falling down from fits of the giggles, so who cared if there were more English-DSCF5202built cars on track then French? Or even in the paddock? Was the bizarre BUSY BEE V twin single seater trike (left) rather out of place for not being a touch more Gallic? Not really.

There was a Bugatti Veyron – but there’s ALWAYS a Veyron – and an aerobatic display…. ah! Now that was pretty special. That was virtual air sickness inducing. It reminded me a little of the contortionist acts on BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT in recent weeks. Clever, very difficult, but just a cringe too many for total comfort, yet rather mesmerizing all the same. How did that plane stay airborne? At some points it appeared to reply on the prevailing breeze to keep it from landing in the tree tops. Impressive stuff. Some people reckoned it was the best one they had ever seen. I think they may have been right.

DSCF5189So what was the car that stood out among the million pound motors from Molsheim? Actually it was pale blue…but it was a 1979 Lyncar single seater with a thundering 5 litre Rover V8 in the back(left). It was an example of that classic late 70s origami-style of racing car, all straight edges and flat panels. Chevrons and March were good at making such cars. They didn’t always look elegant or conventionally beautiful but they had this functional attraction. They looked like they meant business. No messing around. The Lyncar’s owner, John Hewitt has a mouth watering selection of old racing cars to choose from – normally he’s at the wheel of a McLaren M18 F5000  or an F3 GRD. The LyncDSCF5196ar seems to be a new addition to the fleet and when I checked up I found I had watched this very car many times in an earlier guise when driven by West Country F3000 team owner Roger Orgee back in the early 1980s at Castle Combe. That clinched it. I’ll take the Lyncar over the Veyron – and with the change I’ll have that little Amilcar for trips to the Post Office. Now all I need is a lottery win to make that happen.


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