Prescott Hill Climb - Event Review

To view images from the event click here

On Wednesday 18 September Club members ventured to Prescott Speed Hill Climb, to get behind the wheel and tackle one of the oldest hill climbs in the world as part of a Drivers’ School experience.

Prescott is a stunning location nestled in the Cotswold Hills just north of Cheltenham and is owned by the Bugatti Owners’ Club. Some of the greatest names in motorsport history have cut their teeth at Prescott from Raymond Mays, Graham Hill to Club member Sir Stirling Moss OBE who entered his first-ever hill climb in 1948 driving a Cooper Mk2. He came fourth out of 12 in the 500cc class – the rest is history!

The 1127-yard ‘long course’ is renowned for its demands on drivers, it’s an extremely challenging technical course but undeniably thrilling too.

As drivers arrived at the sunny race paddock, they parked up and collected their driver number before heading to the Clubhouse for a briefing. The group were formally introduced to the team of AHASS qualified instructors, who between them amassed more than 100 years of competition racing in a wide variety of cars.

The drivers were split into groups to ‘walk the course’ with an instructor stopping at each important turn-in or apex to give advice on the approach and exit. The groups returned to their own vehicle to drive the hill slowly behind the course car to help familiarise themselves before having a go on their own.

The eight member cars participating were a diverse bunch, including a Caterham 7, a BMW Aplina, a McLaren, an Audi R8, a Porsche Macan, a Ford Focus and a Fiat Punto. Although the runs weren’t timed, each ‘student’ was rated on vehicle handling, accuracy of lines and personal improvement during the day.

Each driver got to tackle the hill four times in the morning and five in the afternoon, with every ascent recorded on video for later analysis. At Prescott every corner has an impact on the next and they come up fast!

The group refueled with a great buffet lunch whilst the footage of the morning runs was played, with each clip featuring commentary from the five instructors providing constructive comments and mistakes in a light-hearted manner, encouraging the class to better themselves for the afternoon.

With the line assistance cones taken away, the students continued with more runs, and also had an opportunity to have a passenger ride with one of the hill climb instructors.

The day concluded back at the Clubhouse for tea, cake and presentations. The video playback of afternoon runs clearly demonstrated improvement, confidence and better positioning of lines. Some comments raised a few laughs, but there were no real incidents. At the end of the footage, Chief Instructor Steven Day presented each pupil a certificate of participation and announced their overall driver performance score.

Out of a group of 38 participants taking part, late entry Graham Scarborough who replaced Peter Ratcliffe on the day came 2nd overall and young club member James Garbis featured in the top 5 best performers. Club member Ian Beattie will return to compete at Prescott at their forthcoming Autumn Classic on the 5th October and we hope that his newly honed skills will put him in good stead – no pressure Ian!

What an enjoyable day spent amongst a friendly group of motoring enthusiasts.

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