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?
First, go to some meetings and chat with the competitors, then join your local hill climb club. You may also want to have a look at the Hillclimb & Sprint Association website.
You then need to apply to Motorsport UK for your RS Inter Club 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.
Where can I find technical regulations for Sprints & Hill Climbs?
Technical regulations for Sprints & Hill Climbs are found in section S of the Motorsport UK Yearbook. Specific event or Championship regulations are found in Supplementary Regulations (SRs) made available by the organiser.
What safety equipment needs to be fitted to my car?
It is possible for a standard road-going production car to be used in Sprints & Hill Climbs without any additional safety items. Modified production cars, or specialist Sprint or Hill Climb vehicles are required to be fitted with a Roll Over Protection System (ROPS), details of which can be found in section S of the Motorsport UK Yearbook.
What personal protective equipment do I need to wear?
As a minimum you will be required to wear a helmet, flame resistant overalls and gloves to approved standards. Details can be found in section S and section K of the Motorsport UK Yearbook.