Now in it’s third year of revival, it was fifty years ago this year that the original Chateau Impney sprint ran for the last time. Now the revived Hill climb is going from strength to strength. The Chateau Impney hotel provides the perfect location, in what has to be the most easily accessible motor sport venue in the country. This years event took place at the beginning of July and drew another large crowd on a fine weekend to see some of the finest vintage and classic competition cars compete over the 1000 years course, with the invited entry all being pre 1967 vehicles, which could have competed at the original sprint events. This year the event also added a more modern element by inviting a selection of Group B rally cars to do some demonstration runs over the weekend, then they added a selection of modern Grand Prix cars and finally finished off with a Ferrari Enzo and Bugatti Chiron plus a few other modern supercars to entertain the crowds.
The timed runs took place on Sunday, after practice runs on Saturday. Jack Woodhouse won the first Chateau Impney hill climb two years ago and was unable to attend last years event, but he was back this year to regain his title, which he did in style, winning with a new record time of 39.33 seconds in his Lotus 20/22. He beat last years winner Martin Jones, in a Brabham BT21B by over a second. Jones still won his class with a time of 40.53 seconds. Callum Grant was 3rd overall in his Merlyn Mk 5/7. Conditions were obviously ideal on Sunday with several new class records being set. These included class winners Ewen Getley in a Bentley 3 litre with a new class record time of 48.24 seconds (Class 2). Dr David Pryke in a Morgan Riley with a class record of 47.70 seconds (Class 3). Ben Fidler in class 7 driving a ERA AIM1 set a record of 45.01 seconds. Ian Baxter in the Alta 61 IS set a new record for class 8 in 43.71 seconds. Justin Maeers took a couple of class wins, setting a new class record in the GN Parker Special in Class 9 with a time of 44.57 seconds and he also won Class 12 in a Cooper Monaco T49. Malcolm Thorne in the Lotus Buick 15 set a class 13 record time of 43.34 seconds. David Gidden in a Lotus 23B did a 41.25 seconds run for a new class 15 record and David West in his Austin Cooper S set a new record for class 18 in 44.69 seconds.
Our hosts for the weekend, Rod Spollon was competing in a couple of cars and won class 14 in a BRM P48 as well as driving a Bugatti T51, while Guy Spollon also drove a couple of cars, the Connaught A Type and the HRG Meadows 1.5 litre.
The remaining class winners included Sue Derbyshire in her Class 1 winning Morgan Superaero 3 wheeler, Tom Waterfield in his class 4 winning GN Dragonfly and Geoff Smith in the Piccard Pictet Special in class 5. Gary Clare won class 6 in Grannie, Mark John Riley in the Creamer Special won class 10, and the Elva FJ 100 driven by Mark Woodhouse won class 11.
There were a couple of special classes, one for Maserati which was won by Michael O’Shea in a Cooper Maserati and the ERA Challenge Trolly was won by Ben Fidler in ERA AIM1 who also won Class 7 for Pre-1940 racing cars over 1100cc and up to 1500cc.
Away from the track, there was a Concours D’Elegance competition sponsored by Footman James which allowed the public to vote for the best car in the competition. The winning car was the Bugatti T57 Atalante, ahead of the latest Bugatti Chiron with the Ferrari Enzo and Ferrari Dino in joint 3rd place. There was also a large area next to the main car parks set aside for car clubs, with a large number of classic cars on display. Finally in the skies above the Chateau, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial flight Lancaster Bomber made several passes on both days of the event.
By Simon & Janet Wright.