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KOP Hill Climb Celebrates Centenary

Photo: Pete Austin

A week after the Goodwood Revival, Buckinghamshire held its own Revival on the weekend of September 25-26 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Kop Hill Climb that, between 1910 and 1925, was one of the most prominent hillclimbs in the UK.

When historic racer Barrie “Whizzo” Williams waved the Union flag to open the hill, the first car up was the Bugatti “Cordon Bleu,” which took part in the last event in 1925. Then, an Oxford student named Francis Giveen crashed it, breaking a spectator’s leg, and leading Parliament to ban racing on public roads in Britain. A flesh and blood link to Kop’s illustrious past was 98-year-old Stafford East, a retired Chesham garage owner who had previously seen greats like Malcolm Campbell, Raymond Mays and Archie Frazer Nash on the hill. This time he got to go up himself aboard a Hispano-Suiza.

Last year was the first time a hillclimb took place since 1925. It was a tremendous success, attracting 5000 spectators and raising £30,000 for charity. This year a larger field took part, with organizer Tony Davies saying, “It’s a cavalcade of motoring history. It’s not a competitive event, it’s a commemorative event, so  it becomes a family atmosphere as everybody relaxes and enjoys themselves.”

Early figures reveal 8000 spectators attended the two days, helping raise £46,000 for charity, including Ian Rennie, Air Ambulance for Berks, Oxon and Bucks, Rotary Club of Princes Risborough, Aylesbury Youth Motor Project, Risborough School Community Bus Project and Risborough Cares.

by Simon Stiel