The 2013 Kop Hill Climb was held 21-22 September in Buckinghamshire, England, with a record 15,000 spectators enjoying the 11 decades of motoring history that challenged the storied hill in Princes Risborough.
On the Kop Hill Climb the morning sessions of the twice daily runs of 400+ vehicles were kicked off by the current Lord Howe and Paddy Hopkirk waving the 1931 ex-Lord Howe racing Talbot GO54 off the line. The crowds were held spellbound as the drivers of the country’s most iconic sporting marques demonstrated the prowess of their machines with spirited runs commemorating the glory days of the original 1910 to 1925 speed hill climb events. Back in the paddock a further 200 static club vehicles were ready to entertain.
The biggest draw on the hill was undoubtedly the Brooklands Museum’s recording breaking 1933 John Cobb commissioned Napier-Railton. The car, which has to be push started, announced its arrival at the start-line with a sharp crack as its 24-litre Napier aero engine roared to life sending a tingle down the spine before holding the drama for seven nail-biting minutes while the engine came up to operating temperature before launching itself up the hill consuming five gallons of fuel per mile.
The Kop Hill Climb celebrated a brace of centenary celebrations in 2013. Both Aston Martin and Vauxhall’s 30-98 celebrated their 100th Anniversaries. To mark the occasion Aston Martin Heritages A3, the oldest surviving Aston Martin in existence, was on show. It was in the A3 back in 1922 that Lionel Martin took a class win at Kop Hill, so it was a welcome homecoming. The Vauxhall 30-98, also an accomplished hill climber with Kop Hill heritage, was celebrated with several examples of the extraordinary make including the ultra-rare Vauxhall Heritage – owned 1926 OE-Type Velox Tourer (OE268).
It was an event full of emotion as a lone Scottish piper poignantly piped the stunning Dick Skipworth Ecurie Ecosse collection to the start-line where, in a last hurrah, the collection’s C-, D- and E-Type Jaguars lit up their tyres in celebration of their last public appearance before being auctioned at the Bonhams December sale.
Keeping the excitement in the paddock was Dave West’s team of expert race mechanics from the Risborough Service Centre as they stepped up to the challenge of building an Aston Martin GT race car in time for the Sunday afternoon run up the hill while raising money for charity, it was a close run thing but they made it, just.
In a not-to-be-missed spectacle on Sunday afternoon, the crowds fell silent as the distinctive throb of Merlin engines could be heard approaching low and fast as a Hurricane and Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Flypast Team strafed the paddock several times in an exciting aerial display before ‘climbing’ the hill and disappearing over the horizon.
In all, the 2013 Kop Hill Climb was a success, with climb-goers already talking with excitement and anticipation about next year’s event. The provisional date for the 2014 Kop Hill Climb is the weekend of the 20th-21st of September, confirmed dates will be announced in the coming months, with advance tickets going on sale in early 2014.
Kop Hill Climb 2013 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)