And now for something completely different

Yesterday I visited Prescott hill climb with the Vintage Hot Rod Association (VHRA). I first saw these cars a few years ago at Pendine sands in South Wales and since then, whenever they have their ‘GOW’ weekend at Prescott, I make a point of attending – just to see the wild & wacky cars that they bring. Here’s a few from the day – a gallery will be uploaded shortly to the website.

Just like buses

Yes, just like buses, you wait for a hill record to be beaten and it happens three times in as many minutes. The hill record at Shelsley Walsh has stood since 2008 when Martin Groves set a time of 22.58s. Yesterday, during the morning top 12 run-off Wallace Menzies broke it first with a run of 22.55s, then Sean Gould followed with an ever faster time of 22.37s. The final contender, Alex Summers, had all the pressure and although achieving a great time had to settle for second place with a run of 22.52s.

Not to be outdone, the ladies record was also broken. In the second and final run-off Nicola Menzies achieved a time of 24.70s taking the 24.73s record set by Sue Young in 2007.

This was a day that many hill climb enthusiasts will remember for some time.

VSCC at Prescott gallery now live

A gallery of over 770 images has now been uploaded to the website. I was fortunate in getting a spot between Orchard Corner and Pardon Hairpin which meant I could get one shot as they approached from Bridge with my 70-200mm lens, a second shot at the corner with my 28-75mm lens and then back to the 70-200mm for an upwards shot as they left Pardon – so three shots of each car. Of course it helps that I had two camera bodies in use – I couldn’t have changed lenses that quickly! It was only when I downloaded them into Lightroom that I realised that there must be a 30 second difference in the time set on each camera body because they are slightly out of sequence.

Jeremy Flann in a 1918 Curtiss Le Zibre Special 8200cc

VSCC at Prescott

So yesterday I made the 60 mile journey south into Gloucestershire to photograph the Vintage Sports-Car Clubs “short course’ hill climb at Prescott. Ettores loop isn’t used in this event as a throw-back to the original hill climbs which negates one of my favourite photography spots – but opens up another as the cars swing round for the short push up a steep climb to Pardon hairpin. The day started with the annual bicycle race and then there were two timed runs for the sizeable entry, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The forecasted rain stayed away – just a few light drizzles that didn’t even require the use of a hat – and the sun even shone briefly in the afternoon. With over 970 photographs taken on the day it will be a little while before the gallery is live but here are a few tasters:

Bromyard Speed Festival

A number of years ago the Bromyard Speed Festival came into existence as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company were the proceeds are used to fund future events with any surplus going to local charities. Originally it was run in the town of Bromyard, Herefordshire but was only planned to run every two years due to the administration of shutting down the town centre to allow the vehicles to parade. Covid has put paid to this over the past couple of years and so the event has moved to Shelsley Walsh in the interim.

So yesterday I was one of the volunteer photographers who spent the day on the hill photographing the various entrants of cars and bikes, which had an age range from 1923 to 2019. It wasn’t a competition (no timed runs) but just a showcase of interesting vehicles. It all went very smoothly and was a great day out.

The images from all the photographers will shortly be available for sale (proceeds to the charity) here.

Andrew Bennet on a 1983 Yamaha YZR500 Kenny Rogers Replica

Champion day

Another round of the British Hillclimb Championship took place at Prescott in Gloucestershire last weekend. I was there on the Sunday and had a ‘champion’ day. Not sure why but I felt really on-the-ball and, even though I say so myself, the photographs reflect it. It had some exciting, and very close, top-12 run-offs which made a very interesting end to the morning and afternoon sessions. It was good to see that the public were allowed in and it certainly gave a better atmosphere to the proceedings even though the crowd was quite small, possibly due to the poor weather forecasted throughout the previous week (which didn’t materialise). I’m now looking forwards to the next local championship round at Shelsley Walsh in August.

The Hillclimb & Sprint Association (HSA) have already used four of my photographs on their website.

Richard Spedding in the second Top 12 run-off

British Hillclimb Championship at Loton Park

In past years Loton Park has always hosted the opening round of the British Hillclimb Championship and so it was a change of the norm’ at the start of the year to see that Prescott had been given the honours for 2021. Fate intervened, however, and the continued Covid-19 lockdown in Scotland & Wales meant that it wouldn’t be fair to hold a round of the championship at that time (April) and so Loton Park once again hosted the first round over the weekend just gone.

With no spectators allowed it sadly lacked atmosphere even though it was a full entry list I certainly couldn’t find much enthusiasm and spent a good part of the morning talking to another photographer over a nice cup of tea and missing photographs of a large number of cars. When a magazine asked me for a list of images of different cars/drivers it was somewhat embarrassing to only be able to supply a very small offering. Must try harder next time!

Check out the gallery here.

Hill climb at Prescott

Last Sunday I took a trip down to Gloucestershire to the Prescott hill climb venue for their first event of the year. Originally it was planned to be the opening round of the British Hillclimb Championship but the continued Covd-19 lockdown rules in Scotland and Wales meant it would have been unfair to start the championship with those affected unable to attend. Thus it was a lower-key affair albeit with a huge entry which meant the first runs hadn’t finished until nearly 2pm – much to the annoyance of the marshals who only had about 20 minutes of their usual hours lunch break.

Check out the gallery here.