They say that the day you stop learning is the day to give up, so it was with considerable glee that I set about getting my head around hillclimbing last weekend. I’d spectated at an event before, but never taken part in one.
Harewood, which is nestled in the countryside near Harrogate, is the longest hillclimb course in Britain, at 0.9 miles. It’s narrow, twisty and at all times demanding, mixing pretty much every type of corner within its confines – plus a blast between farm houses.
Team Autocar – Steve Cropley, Tim Dickson, Stuart Price and myself – were competing in a brace of Fiat 500 Essesse (pronounced essie-essie, not 's-s' as I always thought) cars; another beauty of hillcimbing is that two people can share a car, running at the start and end of each group.
Apart from uprated exhausts (to make a bit more sound, and up power to 170bhp), some tape on the battery terminal, a sticker showing the ignition direction and a blade to cut the timing beam, these were stock standard cars.
That might sound a bit made on a motorsport event, but the fact is we were never doing speeds greater than you would on a country road, we had helmets and overalls on, and there wasn’t too much to hit – and plenty of help at hand if we did. Even so, I’m glad I didn’t find the track’s ‘Oops’ online photo gallery until today, or indeed make an entry in it...