The VSCC must rank as the world’s coolest car club. It’s not cool in the Dubai chrome Veyron sense. It’s cool because the members not only adore their cars, but also use them properly. Where else would one find priceless treasures from Bentley and Aston Martin being hooned up a hill in the Cotswolds during a storm? Eccentricity pervades in the most gloriously charming and informal fashion.
I’ve been to several VSCC race meetings before, but this is the first time I’ve seen one of the club’s hillclimbs. Prescott is always over-subscribed and the paddocks are full to bursting with 16 classes of pre-war racers eager to prove their hill ascending capabilities. As Secretary Mike Stripe describes in the programme, this is the jewel in the VSCC’s crown.
Away from the hill there are rambling car parks full of every kind of vintage brilliance – from Bugattis to Frazer Nashes, BMWs to Bentleys. Even in the torrential English summer rain, there was the usual VSCC spirit in adversity and a steady flow of old motors populated the fields adjacent the hill.
Prescott is picture postcard perfect. The hill meanders quite steeply at times and where there is run-off it exists only for a moment before giving way to unyielding barriers. It’s certainly not a place for the faint-hearted, even less so when one is aboard a giant pre-war jalopy motivated by an engine which started life in a WW1 bomber. Crazy mob, the VSCC lot.
There’s great spectating all the way up the hill on the ‘outfield’ (excuse my rhetoric but can such a thing exist on a hillclimb?) and for the opening few metres on the ‘infield’. Highlight here is the splendid new clubhouse, recently erected above the paddock. The clubhouse serves tasty hot food all day and afford visitors a panoramic vista across the site including the startline and those sprawling vintage car parks. It’s a great facility and sheltering from the rain showers with a coffee while still enjoying the on-track action was a daily highlight.
The track dried rapidly in the afternoon and times were tumbling when the quickest of the three ERAs took their final runs, right at the end of the day. James Baxter snatched the lead with a 44.14sec before Mac Hulbert hammered his trusty R4D up the hill in 43.78sec, having missed the morning’s timed ascents. The sound of that glorious straight-six peeling through the woodland and the scent of Castrol R on the breeze…it doesn’t get much better than that.
Unique Texton-bodied Rolls Royce gained this amazing glasshouse in 1930s Boston.
I usually hate wicker but this extraordinary monoposto looked fabulously delicate and decidedly dangerous. Road legal too.
We completely missed the chance to explore the museum but it’s a good excuse for another trip for the the British Hillclimb Championship next year.
Extraordinarily tight hairpin gave rise to differing lines. Huge gradient change looked a pretty useful challenge.
Evocative twin rear wheels on MG Special spat huge rooster tails of spray high in the air.
James Baxter guided ERA R4A to second fastest time of the day as the track dried.
Chris Williams performed his usual heroics in the Napier-Bentley special.
Mac Hulbert looked relaxed in the paddock before blasting ERA R4D to FTD.
Glorious Coltswolds backdrop to the ludicrously treacherous Semi-circle corner. Marshals remained pretty relaxed though.
Charlie Martin was spectacular in the Morgan Special.