Wiscombe Park gearing up for a racing anniversary
- Credit: Nigel Cole
At the end of July, the UK’s fastest drivers and cars will be visiting Wiscombe Park, near Honiton, to compete in the British Championships.
Speed events have been held within the grounds of Wiscombe House since 1958, with cars striving to set the quickest times up the steep and tortuous 1,000-yard course. It is one of the country’s leading speed hillclimb venues - the challenging design making it a driver’s favourite.
The discipline of speed hillclimbing is the oldest form of motorsport. Before the advent of race circuits like Brooklands, men and women were racing their machines up hills against the clock. It was the French who were the first off the line in 1898 with an event held in Paris. Just a few months later, the French also organised the first Land Speed Record competition.
The following year, the first hill climb event took place in England, at Richmond-on-Thames. In 1905, the Shelsley Walsh venue in Worcestershire was established, and it is now the world's oldest continuously staged motorsport event.
Shelsley was the venue for the very first BBC outside broadcast of a sporting event in 1935. It was where Murray Walker made his commentary debut in 1948 and it was also where Sir Stirling Moss launched his motorsport career. The British Hillclimb Championship started in 1947 and was won by Raymond Mays in an ERA R4D. It has been held every year since.
This year is a special one for Wiscombe Park, celebrating its 60th Anniversary of holding a round of this prestigious competition. The 2022 Championship promises to be one of the closest battles for many years.
Defending Champion, and Wiscombe Hill Record holder, Wallace Menzies, has a two-point lead over 2015 Champion Alex Summers, with six-time Champion, Scott Moran, seven points behind. In previous rounds, plenty of hill records have been beaten, so the organisers are hoping to see a new Wiscombe Park record established – currently 33.13s - set in 2019.
The event will be held on July 30 and 31. Tickets are now available to purchase from the Wiscombe Park website www.wiscombepark.co.uk and can also be purchased at the venue on the day.