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Former group treasurer recounts historic hillclimb
publication date: Sep 8, 2014
author/source: Robin Wager
I was a member of the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club, to give its full title, back in the 1960s, writes Robin Wager.
During the time we ran the speed hillclimb at Dyrham Park, the National Trust estate just north of Bath.
Part of the agreement with the NT was that we arranged to have the track, which was in fact the driveway between the house and the A46 road, resurfaced.
With help from various sources this expensive project was achieved, and the events ran from 1961-66, including a round of the British National Hillclimb Championship in each of the years 1963, 1964 and 1966.
The main paddock was always at the top of the hillside, with the start/holding area at the bottom in front of the house.
The course, about 800 yards, was typical of those for this branch of motorsport: competitors first entered The Sweeps, followed by a sharp left-hand hairpin, a short straight into a right-hander named Neptune after an eponymous nearby statue, with another short straight to the finish line.
I was a marshal at most of the meetings, which were very successful, with good turnouts of both competitors and spectators, and an interesting mix of cars; but sadly we were obliged to end them after regular competitor Ian Swift (who I believe owned a sports car dealership in Bristol) had a serious argument with a large tree after skidding on wet leaves at the finish.
He suffered multiple injuries, from which he eventually recovered, but it was too much for the NT who insisted that we pulled the plug!
You can learn about the other historic motor sport venues in the group's area by looking at our article from last month.