2022 is the 75th anniversary of the first ever British Hillclimb Championship (BHC) event, a fact that all associated with running it over the years are very proud of. The inaugural event of what is the “oldest” British Championship, was run on 17th May 1947 at Bo’ness near Falkirk in Scotland. The 1947 Championship consisted of just five rounds which took place at Bo’ness, Prescott in Gloucestershire, Shelsley Walsh in Worcestershire , Bouley Bay on Jersey in the Channel Islands and Craigantlet on the outskirts of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Of the original five venues, ironically only Bo’ness does not currently host a round of the BHC. The Championship has now expanded considerably and consists of thirty rounds at ten different venues across the UK, including events in Scotland, Northern Island and the Channel Islands.
The 2022 BHC season, presented by Avon Tyres, kicks off over the weekend of 23rd & 24th April at one of the original venues from the 1947 Championship, Prescott Hillclimb. The historic Cotswold venue is always resplendent in its Spring colours at this time of year. Its natural amphitheatre is a magnet for spectators, who can view the track action during the day, whilst at the same time enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
BHC competitors will be joined at Prescott and all mainland venues by competitors in the class based BHC Cup, presented by classic car insurance broker Footman James. Competitors in the BHC Cup compete in cars ranging from relatively standard road cars through to sports cars and historic and modern single seaters.
The 2022 season looks like it's going to be an absolute cracker. With over fifty drivers registered for the BHC, including nine of the 2021 top ten finishers, the season ahead really is a mouth watering prospect. Defending BHC & BHC Cup Champion Wallace Menzies is sure to be fighting for wins in his Cosworth XD engined Gould GR59-M. 2022 runner-up Alex Summers is back for more in his DJ Firestorm and will be doing all he can to turn the tables on Wallace this year. Joining them for the first time in a top-line single seater is twenty six year old Matt Ryder in the “works” Judd engined Gould GR59J, which he is sharing this season with super-experienced top ten regular Will Hall. Will should be on the pace quickly, with Matt sure to be competitive within a couple of events as well. An interesting question in 2022 is will a female driver finish in the top ten overall? Nicola Menzies in the Gould GR55, who had a very good end to her 2021 season, will be trying her very best to do just that!
The BHC Cup has a strong entry list. With approaching one hundred drivers registered, competition in the class based Championship is sure to be fierce. Ones to watch are the 7.3 litre engined Pilbeam MP92 sports racer of Robert and Bob Penrose which should be a real crowd pleaser. Allan McDonald is always spectacular in his self-built Mitsubishi engined Mini, as is Damien Bradley in his fearsome Subaru Legacy. Action in the classes is therefore sure to be fast and furious.
Should be quite a season! Come and take a look for yourself. The full 2022 BHC & BHC Cup calendar can be accessed here: britishhillclimb.co.uk/calendar