Firle Hill Climb

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Firle Hill Climb is a defunct hillclimbing course near Lewes, East Sussex, England, sometimes referred to as Bo Peep Hill Climb.[1]

"The event will consist of a timed climb of the metalled road known as Bo-Peep Hill, situated near the village of Selmeston, on a turning off the A27. Map reference No. 183/498053. Each competitor will be permitted two timed runs in addition to practice." [2]

In 1966 The Autocar reported: "The hill covers 600 yards, and if the weather is fine the setting is really superb." [3]

History[edit]

The situation faced by the racing motorist in England after World War Two was bleak. Brooklands was permanently closed and Donington Park was out of action. Two other obstacles were petrol rationing, which was not abolished until 26 May 1950,[4] and an acute shortage of tyres, the R.A.C. having banned retreaded or remoulded tyres from competition.[5] The search was on for a place to race. The Bentley Drivers' Club found Firle. W.O. Bentley attended the race here in 1951.[6]

The BARC event held on Sunday 2 June 1957, was run in conjunction with the BARC 11th Annual Rally at Eastbourne, a 50-mile road event held the day before, starting at the Grasshopper Inn near Westerham, with intermittent driving tests, including one at Butts Hill, Willingdon, and then on to Eastbourne, via Beachy Head. A steward of the rally was Captain A. Frazer-Nash, M.I.Mech.E. [7]

On 14 September 1958 Tony Marsh set an unofficial record of 25.31 sec during a demonstration run: "He chose to run in the big twin Cooper rather than the Formula 2 car, the former being less of a handful on Firle's somewhat bumpy surface." [8]

A report from 1965 states: "Once again, many of the hill records were lowered, including the absolute record for the hill, which came down from 24.45 seconds, set up by Miss Patsy Burt in 1963, to 23.87 seconds standing to Gordon Parker in a Cooper Climax. Patsy Burt did her utmost to retain her title but was unable to better 23.97." [9]

On 12 September 1965, Jack Sears driving a Bentley 8-litre set fastest time of the day by a Bentley.[10]

David Good, BRM, set the track record of 22.78 sec on 28 May 1967,[11] a record he holds in perpetuity, as the course closed at the end of the season.

Road sign on approach to Firle Hill Climb.

Firle Hill Climb events and past winners[edit]

Year Driver Vehicle Time Club Notes
1949 F.H. Howorth Lagonda 4½-litre #57 31.40 sec R Bentley D.C. [12] 25 September.
1950 G.D. Parker Jaguette 2½-litre S/C [13] 31.40 sec Bentley D.C. [14] 24 September; equalled course record.
1951 Gerry Crozier Barnato-Hassan 8-litre 30.2 sec R Bentley D.C. [15] 30 September.
1952 Gerry Crozier Bentley 8-litre 30.8 sec Bentley D.C. [16] 28 September. Joint fastest.
D. Hely Frazer-Nash LMR
1953 Ben Wyatt Frazer-Nash 2-litre 30.91 sec Bentley D.C. [17] 27 September. Mist affected second runs.
1954 G. Parker Jaguara S/C 28.46 sec Bentley D.C. [18] 5 September.
1955 G. Parker Jaguara 3½-litre S/C 26.98 sec R Bentley D.C. [19] 4 September.
1956 J. Rudd Frazer-Nash LMR 29.63 sec BARC [20] 25 May.
Max Trimble Jaguar C-Type 28.67 sec Bentley D.C. [21] 2 September.
1957 G. Parker Jaguara 26.73 sec R BARC East Sussex/Bentley D.C. [22] 2 June.
M. Salmon Jaguar C-Type 28.38 sec Bentley D.C. [23] 8 September.
1958 W.D.J. Roscoe Cooper-JAP S/C 26.71 sec R BARC [24] 1 June.
P.M. Salmon Jaguar C-Type 27.48 sec Bentley D.C. [25] 7 September.
BARC S.E. 5 Oct.
1959 Patsy Burt Cooper 26.57 sec R BARC [26] 31 May.
M.H. Barker Alton-Jaguar 28.39 sec Bentley D.C. [27] 6 September.
Patsy Burt Cooper-Climax 25.40 sec R BARC South Eastern [28] 4 October.
1960 BARC South Eastern 29 May.
M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [29] 10 July.
A.G. Mann H.W.M.-Jaguar 27.36 sec Bentley D.C. [30] 4 September.
M. Anthony Lister-Corvette 5,555 c.c. 26.08 sec BARC [31] 2 October.
1961 Arthur Owen Cooper 25.94 sec BARC South Eastern [32] 28 May.
W.G. Heathcote Lotus 18-Ford 1.0-litre 26.55 sec M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [33] 9 July.
Bentley D.C. 3 September.
A. Owen Cooper 25.21 sec R BARC S.E./M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [34] 1 October.
1962 A. Owen Cooper 24.83 sec R BARC [35] 27 May. Wet morning, dry afternoon.
W.G. Heathcote Lotus 18-Ford 1.0-litre 25.40 sec M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [36] 8 July.
C.R.C. Aston Aston Martin DB3S 2,992 c.c. 26.09 sec Bentley D.C./M.G. Car Club [37] 16 September.
D. Good Cooper-Climax 27.68 sec BARC S.E./M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [38] 30 September. Wet and slippery.
1963 Patsy Burt Cooper T59-Climax 2.0 24.45 sec R BARC South Eastern [39] 26 May.
Gordon Parker Cooper-Climax 25.06 sec BARC S.E./M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [40] 14 July.
D.R. Good Cooper-Daimler 24.53 sec BARC S.E./M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [41] 1 September.
Peter Farquharson Allard J2-Chrysler 5.4-litre 26.23 sec Bentley D.C. [42] 15 September.
1964 Gordon Parker Cooper T43-Climax 1.5 S/C 23.87 sec R BARC South Eastern 31 May.
David Beckett Lister-Jaguar 3.8-litre 27.89 sec M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [43] 12 July.
David Beckett Lister-Jaguar 25.45 sec Bentley D.C. [44] 13 September.
J.F. Barnes Elva Mk 7-Ford 1,500 c.c. S/C 24.41 sec BARC South Eastern [45] 4 October.
1965 Patsy Burt Cooper T59-Climax 2.0 24.22 sec BARC South Eastern [46] 30 May.
BARC South Eastern, 20 June, practice day.
Gordon Parker Cooper-Climax 26.87 sec M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [47] 11 July, wet.
Gordon Parker Cooper Climax 23.09 sec BARC S.E./M.G. Car Club (S.E.) [48] 29 August.
R. Tindell Lister-Jaguar 25.88 sec Bentley D.C. [49] 12 September.
1966 John Barnes Elva Mk 7-Ford 1,650 c.c. S/C 24.09 sec BARC South Eastern [50] 29 May.
D. Harris D.M.F. 3-Ford 1.6-litre 24.02 sec M.G. Car Club (S.E.)/BARC [51] 19 June.
1967 David Good BRM P67 4wd 2.0-litre #170 22.78 sec R BARC South Eastern [52] 28 May.
M.G. Car Club (S.E.),[53] 25 June, rained off.
John Fenwick Brabham BT18 Ford 1.6-litre 24.52 sec BARC South Eastern [54] 27 August.
Mike Barker Alton-Jaguar 25.71 sec Bentley D.C. 17 September.

Key: R = Course Record; S/C = Supercharged.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Motor Sport, September 1957, Page 448.
  2. ^ Firle Hill Climb programme, 27 May 1962.
  3. ^ The Autocar, 27 May 1966, Page 1109.
  4. ^ The Manchester Guardian, 27 May 1950, Page 7.
  5. ^ Autosport, 3 October 1952, Pages 425.
  6. ^ Autosport, 5 October 1951, Pages 436-437.
  7. ^ Joint Eastbourne Rally/Firle Hill Climb Programme, 1–2 June 1957.
  8. ^ Autosport, 19 September 1958, Pages 365, 372, 384.
  9. ^ BARC Report and Accounts for the Year Ended 30 November 1965.
  10. ^ Gentleman Jack – The Official Biography of Jack Sears, Graham Gauld, Foreword by Sir John Whitmore, Page 155, ISBN 978-1-84584-151-5
  11. ^ Autosport, 9 June 1967, Page 940.
  12. ^ Motor Sport, November 1949, Page 451; Hugh Howorth obituary
  13. ^ For a description of the Jaguette Special see: Motor Sport, October 1948, Page 341.
  14. ^ Autosport, 29 September 1950, Page 191; Motor Sport, November 1950, Page 565; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 27.
  15. ^ Autosport, 5 October 1951, Pages 436-437.
  16. ^ Autosport, 3 October 1952, Page 425.
  17. ^ Motor Sport, November 1953, Page 620; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Pages 50-51.
  18. ^ Motor Sport, October 1954, Page 552; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 26, gives f.t.d. to Parker at 28.19 sec; for a description of the Jaguara Special see: Autosport, 25 April 1952. The car featured a Buckler chassis and was registered GDP 1.
  19. ^ Motor Sport, October 1955, Page 595; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 78.
  20. ^ Firle Hill Climb Programme, 2 June 1957, Page 16.
  21. ^ The Autocar, 14 September 1956, Page 371 ; Motor Sport, October 1956, Page 601, (reports 28.57 f.t.d.); C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Pages 91-92.
  22. ^ Motor, 5 June 1957, Page 613; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 99.
  23. ^ Autosport, 13 September 1957, Pages 342, 344; The Autocar, 13 September 1957, Page 377.
  24. ^ Motor Racing, July 1958, Page 232. C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 113.
  25. ^ Autosport, 19 September 1958, Pages 365, 372, 384; Motor Racing, November 1958, Page 386; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 120.
  26. ^ Autosport, 5 June 1959, Pages 730, 738, Vol.18 No.23; Firle Hill Climb programme, 4 October 1959, Page 3; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 139.
  27. ^ B.D.C. Review, January 1960 (quarterly), Pages 41-42; 45-50; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 140. For an article by Bill Boddy on the Alton-Jaguar see Motor Sport, July 1959, Page 511. For a picture of the Alton-Jaguar at Firle see: The Brighton National Speed Trials in the 1960s, 1970s & 1980s (2004) Tony Gardiner, Veloce Publishing ISBN 1-903706-88-2, Page 37. The car was fitted with a Microplas Mistral fibreglass body and registered 5 GPK.
  28. ^ Motor, 21 October 1959, Page 375; See also: The Autocar, 22 July 1960, Page 137; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 139.
  29. ^ For photograph see: Safety Fast, September 1960, Page 17.
  30. ^ Autosport, 16 September 1960, Page 394; B.D.C. Review, January 1961 (quarterly), Pages 31-33. Reports include photograph of winning car registered HWM 1. C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 155.
  31. ^ Firle Hill Climb official results; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Pages 160-161.
  32. ^ Autosport, 9 June 1961, Pages 774-775, Vol.22 No.23; Motor, 14 June 1961, Page 748; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 169.
  33. ^ Safety Fast, September 1961, Page 27.
  34. ^ Autosport, 20 October 1961, Pages 562, 565; C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 187.
  35. ^ Motor, 6 June 1962, Page 721; Autosport, 8 June 1962, Page 836.
  36. ^ Autosport, 13 July 1962, Page 64, Vol.25 No.2; Motor, 18 July 1962, Page 929; Safety Fast, September 1962, Page 7.
  37. ^ Autosport, 21 September 1962, Page 399; Motor Sport, October 1962, Page 799. G.H.G. Burton, Bentley 4½-litre, was fastest Bentley in 28.96 sec.
  38. ^ Autosport, 5 October 1962, Page 469.
  39. ^ Autosport, 31 May, Page 767, Vol.26 No.22.
  40. ^ Safety Fast, September 1963, Pages 14-15.
  41. ^ Firle Hill Climb official results.
  42. ^ Autosport, 4 October 1963, Page 472.
  43. ^ Autosport, 17 July, Page 116, Vol.29 No.3.
  44. ^ Autosport, 18 September 1964, Page 462.
  45. ^ Autosport, 16 October 1964, Page 618.
  46. ^ Autosport, 11 June 1965, Page 922, Vol.30 No.24.
  47. ^ Safety Fast, September 1965, Page 16.
  48. ^ Autosport, 9 September 1965, Page 387.
  49. ^ Autosport, 17 September 1965, Page 464.
  50. ^ Autosport, 10 June 1966, Page 982, Vol.32 No.23.
  51. ^ Autosport, 1 July 1966, Page 28, Vol.33 No.1; Safety Fast, August 1966, Pages 16-17.
  52. ^ Autosport, 9 June 1967, Page 940.
  53. ^ Safety Fast, September 1967, Page 17.
  54. ^ Autosport, 8 September 1967, Page 420.

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 50°49′33″N 0°07′21″E / 50.8258°N 0.1225°E / 50.8258; 0.1225