To most people, ‘hill climbing’ is an activity involving Ordnance Survey maps, rainproof clothing, wellies and aching limbs. But to car lovers it’s a sport that involves driving quickly up a narrow asphalt hillside course, often little wider than the car itself.
Hill climbing has been part of British motor sport since the early days and many famous drivers, including Sir Stirling Moss, have competed on the hills. These days it’s a discipline mainly for amateurs, although three-time FIA World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx MBE used it as his springboard.
How do Hill Climbs work?
Cars tackle an uphill course one-by-one, with the quickest time dictating the winner. Competitors are given practice runs before the competition starts, and you’ll get a minimum of two competitive runs, with your best time counting in the final results. The good thing is that if you make a mistake first time out, you still have a chance of making amends on later runs.
How do I start?
You then need to apply to Motorsport UK for your Non-Race National B Competition Licence, available to anyone aged 16 or above.
Many events are one-offs, so you can enter a variety of contests without committing to any championship. Beyond that there are numerous regional championships and at the pinnacle is the British Hill Climb Championship.
What kind of car do I need?
You can use your standard road car, which may require some minor safety modifications depending on the class you'll be competing in.
You can also build (or buy) a modified Hill Climb car or even a specialist single-seater, there are a wide variety of classes catering for many options.
What equipment do I need?
Due to the high-speed nature of Hill Climbs you will need to buy some Motorsport UK-compliant safety gear such as a helmet, fireproof overalls, gloves and, for some classes, a Frontal Head Restraint device.
Remember that it is the competitor's responsibility to ensure that their vehicle and equipment comply with both Motorsport UK's General Regulations (detailed in the Motorsport UK Yearbook) and the Supplementary Regulations (SRs) of the event or championship.
If you have any questions about vehicles or equipment you can speak to a member of the Motorsport UK Technical Team by calling 01753 765 000.