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Kop Hill Climb

REPORT: The historic setting of Kop Hill once again hosts a gathering of over 450 cars.

Kop Hill Climb

Just four years after creating the Revival gathering at Kop Hill in 2009, the event has quickly established itself as a major player on the classic car event calendar. Heavily oversubscribed with around 450 cars and motorcycles booked in, variety was once again was the spice of life, guaranteeing something to please everyone.

Back in the halcyon days of motorsport the Kop Hill Climb event was a famous venue between 1910–1925 that witnessed the top drivers of the era compete, such as Malcolm Campbell, Henry Segrave, Archie Frazer-Nash, Lionel Martin and many others. These days there’s no more timed competitive runs up Kop Hill, but merely a celebratory run involving a huge number of vehicles ranging from veterans through to supercars, reviving the spirit of the past.

David and Diane Weeks brought along their 1936 Riley TT Sprite an ex-Factory team car, magnificently restored by David during 2007/2008. Interestingly Diane’s father Henry Geary worked on this very car in the Riley competitions department while serving his apprenticeship, and always vowed that one day he would own it. Many years later he did! The Sprite spent the majority of its life in France, has a huge competition history and was returned to the UK in 1967 by Henry Geary who continued to race his Riley Ulster Imp until he was 80 years old.

Brian and Barbara Moyse were displaying their 1933 short chassis Aston Martin Le Mans. ‘We are still researching the car’s history and have about 95% fully documented,’ enthused Brian. ‘Back in the 1980s it was owned by noted motoring historian Karl Ludvigsen, who raced it a little and wrote about it in various motoring magazines around the world.’

Camilla Fraser had entered ‘Meadow Sweet’, her 1928 fabric bodied Austin Seven Box saloon, while her father Will was driving a 1910 Model 38 Overland. I asked Will about the history of his car, to which he replied, ‘I know very little at the moment as I only purchased it a few days ago!’ Someone who knew his car’s history, right down to the last nut and bolt was Gervase Forster. His superb 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with bodywork by Lopes of Portugal was originally owned by a wealthy textile mill proprietor Franchesco Alcada.

Dick Skipworth’s collection of Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar race cars, along with the Commer T3 based race car transporter has become a regular fixture in the Kop Hill Climb paddock. They represent a myriad of racing memories, victories and a few mishaps along the way, but ultimately a lasting nostalgic tribute to the great days of racing in the 1950s and 60s. The race car transporter that first appeared at Charterhall in May 1960, eventually fell into disrepair and was once offered for sale at £15! However, it was eventually acquired by Dick Skipworth and subsequently restored to its former glory by Lynx Engineering’s John Hay, involving a mammoth one-man 2000 hour project.

Other attractions at the Kop Hill Climb included an aerobatic display on Saturday by one of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Spitfires, live music which included a performance by rock chick duo Ria Parslow and Suzanne Rice who together are the ‘Two Non Blondes’, a Soapbox Challenge, main sponsor Chevrolet car cavalcade, Laurel and Hardy lookalikes ‘Haurel & Lardy’ with their Ford Model T, a vintage bus trip between Kop Hill and Chinnor & Princes Risborough Steam Railway, plus a large trade area and car club displays.

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