It is, with the best will in the world, a slightly bizarre venue for a hilclimb. There’s a 19th century French chateau dominating the landscape but it’s located just outside Bromsgrove in Worcestershire! For a hilclimb it’s also on quite a shallow incline eally very slight and the entry precludes anything post 1967 … But then again it is very picturesque. And the cars in the paddock are superb… and the drving is suitably spirited.
The first car we saw was Chris Williams massive Bentley Packard (left) which passed right under our feet as we walked over the openwork footbridge. The huge black beast spat two-foot long flames from it’s stub exhausts in dramatic fashion.
Five minutes later my girls were captivated by the parachtists who came sweeping down to land at terrifying speed. The actual landing zone was just out of view and the first one seemed to go in at such and angle that he could not possibly have survived! “Is he dead, Dad? Can we go and see if there’s any blood?” For the record he wasn’t dead, there was no blood…it was just part of the diplay, but it was a bit worrying.
In the paddock itself a row of ERAs all seemed to be camera shy, covered in blankets or sheets for some reason but over by the Chateau itself an Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato guarded the door and alongside it some Edwardian cars including the immaculate Fafnir of Oil-man Guy Lachlan (below left). This striking white painted monster sported a bizarre pointed mascot the looked like the top off the Prussian officer’s helmet and a “Votes For Women” sufferagette car badge that must have been contemporary(1910)
Never seen one like it before! Guy told us the 10 litre Hall-Scott engined car , which he’s only just acquired, only has hand brake for retarding it’s speed, and there are times when he needs one hand to change down a gear and the other to haul on the brake… what he steers with is anyones guess.
Several other aero engined cars were in evidence. Mark Walker’s crowd-pleasing 200hp Land Speed Record holding Darraq (left top) is always great to watch, as is the tyre burning 24 litre Napier-Bentley of Chris Williams (his larger 42 litre Packard engined car we saw was just a demonstration runner). At the other end of the scale Hughie Walker’s tiny GN Thunderbug (right) has a compartively tiny 4.3 litre V Twin based on a mixture of various 1920s aero engine componants. Hughie droe with considerable rubling verve , one or a whole host of Shelsley Special-style cars in action, most of which were thrown about in fine style – none more so that the historic SPIDER II which Martin Spencer got to all kinds of angles, not always on all of it’s 6 wheels…(Right). With the funfair proving an irresistable (and Free!) draw for my two offspring, we wandered down to the lower end of the hill, close to the start, where it was located. Under the nearby trees sat a display of Indian motorcycles. One in apparant ‘barn find’ condition (below) was very appealing but sadly it wasn’t for sale…
Once the broken down Ferris Wheel had been given a running repair, the three of us had a birds-eye view of the venue , then a lengthy trawl of the pick-and-mix before heading back to the car parl. We had a great time. It might be a funny place to find a Chateau but it’s being put to good use! I’d recommend it for next year if you have not yet paid the event a visit.
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