…. And now for something completely different.
A few hours after arriving home for the first time in nearly nine weeks, it was time to pop down to Surrey for Sue’s Uncle Rob and Auntie Liz’s Golden Wedding Anniversary party. I’ll leave Sue to say more about that if she wants to – it replaces our ‘Annual Picnic’ jaunt, so readers will be spared that posting this year.
Back in Birmingham, Sue’s Dad turns out to be a member of the Midland Automobile Club, with tickets for one of the five hill climb meetings held every year at Shelsley Walsh, in Worcestershire. So we went along.
This particular meeting was in celebration of Aston Martin’s centenary year, so was themed accordingly. The other meetings have other themes – Jaguar, Porsche, etc.
This old Aston Martin has a long history, dating from 1918.
It’s a friendly sort of meeting, as you might surmise from the grinning stranger in the top picture. Competitors had two practice runs on Saturday and two race runs on Sunday. Most took between 25 and 45 seconds to negotiate the twisty 1000 yard, 300 foot climb. Some (unlike the swish car below) didn’t even make it to the start line!
The cars queue up in batches to perform, before the course car follows them all back down the hill before the next batch sets off. Some cars have two drivers.
This Le Mans Aston did go up the hill, but not in race trim – there was a lunchtime parade of classic Astons in which it took part.
The fastest starters who complete the first few yards in less than two seconds enjoy gravitational forces in excess of 1G.
The course starts fairly gently, but by the time they reach where I’m standing, some cars are travelling at up to 130 mph.
A buzzard spent much of the day on this branch overhanging the course – a bird’s eye viewpoint, so to speak.
There’s an ‘S’ bend that those travelling at up to 130 mph have to slow down for. It can be interesting. Several competitors managed under 24 seconds, and the top ten in the morning and afternoon sessions get an extra run and points in a national championship.
After each ‘batch’, most of the cars free-wheel back down the hill in order to be reunited with the batteries that are needed to start their engines again. The six wheeler car pictured below is a very fast home-made effort that symbolises the ‘fun' loving’ nature of the event.
There’s a slideshow here for anyone who may be interested. It was a really pleasurable day out, in perfect weather.