Hillclimbing is low-key by competition standards. Think of it as the cricket of motorsport, where you can spend an adrenaline-fuelled minute burning up a hill and testing your abilities to the max, before returning for a nice sit down and a cup of tea.
To me this is absolute bliss, what with tea and fast cars being two of my all-time favourite hobbies. I enjoy the slightly slower pace involved in this over the equally marvellous but rather more frenetic, aggressive world of circuit racing.
Hillclimbing is also a more technical motorsport than most. Being against the clock and through narrow, winding corners over short courses, it is a sport that can be just as rewarding in low-powered, everyday cars as it is terrifying in extremely powerful, specialised cars.
Prescott is arguably the best of these courses in the country. Some of you may be aware that Autocar holds sponsored reader days at the Cheltenham-based speed climb, so I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time there. The current record for the 1127-yard course is 36.5seconds, held by Scott Moran in a specialised Gould single-seater. I found that a Renaultsport Megane 250 Cup was about as much power as I needed or wanted on the course, particularly through the appropriately named ‘Pardon’ hairpin.
The Megane’s title as my hilllclimb car of choice may be lost when I finally get to test our Ginetta G40R long-term car on the course, so I can’t wait to find out how that goes. Ultimately it’s a sport that everybody who takes pride in their driving, regardless of your vehicle, should have a go at. You can learn a lot and have huge amounts of fun against a rather less frightening and competitive backdrop than you’ll find at a circuit.
You’ve got a better chance to do just that if you’re reading this, too, as we’ve got a couple of spaces to give away at our Prescott hillclimb school day next Friday, 7 September.
If you fancy standing a chance of being there, simply email your name and contact details and the reason you think you should go to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll choose the two most entertaining ones.