Set against the backdrop of the Chiltern Hills, Kop Hill in the Parish of Princes Risborough, England, held the now annual hillclimb in commemoration of a sporting challenge from a bygone era that included names such as Malcolm Campbell, Raymond Mays, Henry Segrave, Count Zborowski and Archie Frazer Nash. Following the very successful centenary celebrations of 2010, organizers were able to secure a further five-year agreement from local land owners and authorities to continue the event. Visitors expecting the razzmatazz of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, or the organized competition of venues such as Shelsley Walsh or Prescott may be disappointed, but what Kop Hill offers is an honest passion and enthusiasm for the motoring heritage of the locality.
After starting as a one-in-eight gradient Kop Hill rises to one-in-four at the top, making it a very demanding course. And, if you thought alternative vehicle technology was a new concept, then you’d be amazed to learn that the modern internal combustion engine was in the minority 100 years ago, with electric- and steam-driven cars proving most popular. A few examples of these early machines, including the 1904 Waverly Electric and David Furnell’s 1910 Steam Car, together with a mass of petrol-engined vehicles formed an eclectic mixture of cars and motorcycles, from the 1903 Humberette through to various marques of the 1970s that took the challenge of the hill very seriously—although competition is strictly banned.
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