Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th June sees the British Hillclimb Championship (BHC), presented by Avon Tyres, and the class based Championship, the BHC Cup, presented by Classic Car Insurance Broker Footman James, visit the iconic Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb in Worcestershire for the first time in the 2022 season. Shelsley is the oldest motorsport event in the world still run on its original course, having run its first event way back on 12th August 1905. This makes the venue ‘older’ than all active motorsport venues including Indianapolis, Le Mans and Monza. That’s quite a claim to fame!
The Shelsley Walsh track measures exactly 1000 yards (914 metres) from bottom to top with the gradient being 1 in 7 at its steepest point. At only twelve feet wide in places with high grass banking, the course feels tight. Shelsley is fast, with carrying good corner speed being key to setting a competitive time. The first left hand corner at Kennel sees the top cars shoot into view without a lift off the throttle, maybe a dab of left foot braking before turn in, then accelerating hard on to the super quick Crossing corner. This is another left hander which is taken most often with a feather of the throttle, but definitely without using the brakes, continuing uphill via a short ‘straight’ into the braking area for the left-right of the Esses. Many a run has been spoilt here, either by scrubbing off more speed than necessary or getting the tail out by being too keen on the throttle. It’s a fine balance and one which is very exciting to watch from the large seated spectator areas. Hard on the throttle exiting the Esses and the run is over in a blink of the eye as cars top 140 mph as they cross the finish line.
The outright record for the 1000 yard climb stands at 22.37 seconds to Sean Gould in the ‘works’ Gould GR59 Judd. This was set in August 2021 and represents an incredible average of over 90mph from a standing start. It has actually taken you considerably longer to read this article than the outright record run up Shelsley Walsh!
The Shelsley Walsh BHC weekend is always guaranteed a high quality entry list and this event is no exception. In fact every point scorer in the BHC in the season to date is entered. The twenty car entry for the big single seater class should be a site to behold on a hill where engine power is key. Defending Champion Wallace Menzies is sure to be fighting for the win in his Cosworth XD engined Gould GR59-M as are Alex Summers (DJ Firestorm – Cosworth XD) and former six time BHC Champion Scott Moran in the Gould GR59 Judd. Young gun Matt Ryder will also be snapping at their heels in the ‘works’ Gould GR59J. Current ladies record holder Nicola Menzies is entered in the Nicholson McLaren engined Gould GR55 that she shares with Dave Uren. She is sure to be gunning to break her existing record of 24.70 seconds.
The top contenders in the BHC Cup will also be competing at Shelsley, including the current top three of Lee Griffiths (OMS 28), Robert Marwood (Renault Clio 172) and Richard Spedding in his motorcycle engined GWR Raptor 2. Damien Bradley is also entered in his 800+ horsepower Avon shod Subaru Legacy, as is long term sparring partner Stephen Moore in his newly completed Mitsubishi EVO6. It will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in this ‘clash of the titans’. Both should be well under the thirty second barrier, maybe event into the 28’s! This battle will be well worth watching.
Competitive action is scheduled to start at 9am on both days and will continue for the majority of the day. Advance tickets can be purchased by clicking the button below.
So, visit Shelsley Walsh over the weekend of 4th & 5th June. You won’t want to miss it!