Too broke for the British Grand Prix or couldn’t get a ticket? Then the Château Impney Hill Climb might be for you! My Dad and I attended the race on Sunday 14th July for a lad’s day out.
The winding track bends around the beautiful French inspired Château which was built in the 1870’s, perched high on a hill overlooking the Worcestershire countryside not far from Droitwich Spa. Now a hotel the Château has 106 bedrooms that offer views of the Malvern Hills.
I wasn’t there for the stunning architecture this weekend; however I may go back to photograph the beautiful design and architecture. I was there for the Hill Climb that takes place over two days each year in July.
The sprint climb was established in 1957 and ran for a decade before ceasing in the late 1960’s, with the 1967 event being the last race for almost 50 years. The Château returned to the race calendar in 2015 when after the MSA approved the 885m long course, over 200 racers and 10,000 spectators flocked to the meet for the races re-opening. Thought to be one of the most challenging courses in the country the post 2015 track is almost twice the size of the original lay out.
This event held over a Saturday and Sundays gives driver the opportunity to practise on the Saturday before stepping it up a gear on the Sunday to race.
The event is split into 18 different classes, with all cars being pre-1968, with 1967 being the last race held before the races 48-year absence. This year’s event saw 240 registered cars with the oldest car being a Mercedes 60HP that was produced in 1903, shown below.
One of my favourite old cars was ‘Whistling Billy’, Billy was built in 1905 by a the Whites Sewing Machine Company (you read that right!) and what makes him unique is that he is powered by Steam! Whites built around 10,000 steam powered cars, with Billy being one of five designed for racing. Steam cars were banned from competing in racing for 100 years, a ruling which has only recently been overturned. The car itself sounds like a steam train as it starts, with a fog of steam encompassing the car, unfortunately Billy didn’t finish the race and had to stop mid-way round the track.
Although there are no cars racing that are post 1967, the event still attracts a beautiful array of more ‘modern’ motors, Dad and I spent a good thirty minutes just in the car park – if you want an even cheaper day out just wonder round the car park as parking is free. Away from the car park Michelin Tyres pulled together a fine display of nearly a hundred supercars. Some of the highlights included not one, but three Bugatti’s, one of only 24 Aston Martin Vulcans and even a Bowler Wildcat (if you’ve seen my wedding pictures you’ll know I’m fond of a Land Rover).
“You’re Only Supposed to Blow The Bloody Doors Off.”Charlie Croker
Do you remember these three minis? These minis were some of the many Minis that stared in the original Italian Job, a film which celebrates 50 years since its release this year. The films 50thanniversary is not the only milestone with the car also celebrating its 60thbirthday too! To celebrate these two British popular culture icons the Hill Climb put together a display showing three of the Minis and the bus that was last seen hanging off the cliff in the Alps. Do you know the first car that is show in the original Italian Job? Drop a comment in the post if you do.
“Build a Fast Car, a Good Car, the Best in its Class”WO Bentley
The Minis and the film they stared in is not the only celebration this year with Bentley Motors turning 100 this week (10thJuly)! To celebrate Bentleys birthday the Hill Climb invited a plethora of Bentleys from across it illustrious history. The green one below, adorned with the Union Flag had been driven, not stuck on the back of a trailer from the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu. A 140 mile drive for a car valued at £4.5m, would you dare to drive it at that price?
Another highlight of the afternoon was a triple fly past from a Lancaster bomber that really complimented the sky over the beautiful shadow. The roar of its propellers could definitely be heard as it swooped low over the stately home.
Off the track there was plenty to do too. Children (and adults) could enjoy off road tank rides, climbing walls and even a practise shooting range, so there is definitely fun to have had by the whole family.