Wolfstone’s Hill Climb, Holmfirth, Yorkshire. UK
The organizers of Yorkshire Motorsport, a new festival, were planning to hold this event last year to commemorate the centenary of the original Wolfstone’s Hill Climb but, unfortunately, Covid and subsequent lock-downs intervened, and therefore the event was re-arranged for 25-27th June this year.
Aside from the motoring events, there will be a full-blown Music Festival each evening plus all manner of family entertainment, on-site camping is available for seven days; the official event website gives far more detail than I possibly could, which can be found here.
This looks like a very ambitious programme and the organisers are expecting up to 35,000 visitors over the duration.
I was invited to the pre-event Press Publicity Day; many of my fellow attendees were from the local newspapers and other media outlets, as there are quite a few local competitors and musical performers scheduled to appear at the Festival.
For overseas readers, who might not be familiar with the geography of the UK, Yorkshire is a large County in the North East of England; people born there call it “God’s own county” and it has to be said that there are many beautiful areas, including the Holmfirth region.
The nearby small town of Meltham was once home to the David Brown tractor factory and there will be a display of historic tractors including the last one produced.
There is a motorsport connection here as David Brown also owned Aston Martin for a time and his team won at Le Mans; the DB in Aston’s model designations, e.g. DB6, etc. reflect David’s ownership of the company.
A couple of more modern racing Astons were at the press day and I notice that a 1934 A-M Ulster is entered for the hill-climb in July.
A diverse selection of vehicles were on parade at the Press Day as you will see in the photographs; the Friday of the Hill-Climb will see a large presence from the Benjafield’s Racing Club. This is a club for vintage (pre-1931) Bentley cars, with an emphasis on racing, trials, and rallies.
Johnathan Turner brought along his 1925 Speed model, which was actually the first factory team Bentley to participate at Le Mans, and it looked splendid, having been driven around fifty miles of tortuous Yorkshire lanes to the display. Johnathan told me that it had been “pretty hard work”!
Local resident Rebecca Brierley was driving her husband’s 1929 4.5 Litre model around she is entered to drive it in the hill-climb- her first competitive event!
Another Yorkshire lady (whose first event this is not) is Sarah Bosworth; Sarah is three-times Harewood hill-climb Champion in her Special Saloons Ford Anglia, this car/driver looks like a favorite for the 1-mile Wolfstone’s course; the car is light, compact, and nimble and the driver is very experienced.
This will be the first time, in living memory, that public roads will be closed for a competitive event and I believe it has taken an awful lot of work to get everyone on board with that concept.
A special guest for the festival is another Yorkshire lass, Sarah Crabtree; those of you who have seen the TV Classic Car Auctions program “Bangers and Cash” will be familiar with Sarah’s charm and wit- she is the one who keeps all the men in order; I was fortunate to talk to her for quite a while and she had me “in stitches” as we say in the UK.
I’m pleased to tell you that what you see on TV is what you get- she’s absolutely delightful company! I understand that Bangers and Cash is to be broadcast in Australia and the USA- look out for it as it has a cult following in the UK amongst old-car folks.
A car that caught my eye was the Cirrus Buick (or is it Buick Cirrus?) I’m surprised to find that I’ve never been close to it in the 50ish years I’ve been photographing vintage racing, don’t know how I’ve missed it.
Basically, it seems to consist of a GN/FN front axle, a Chevrolet rear axle, and in between a Buick chassis and Cirrus aircraft engine from a De Havilland Moth! The four-cylinder engine displaces around five liters, which is quite a lot for such a light car- this is one of many “Specials” built for racing in the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) series of circuit races.
It appears to be one of more than a few Specials fitted with aero engines after the First World War; presumably, there were lots of surplus aircraft engines kicking about, and why would a young man not drop one of these into some sort of car? I ought to be able to tell you why this car carries an Australian flag, but I couldn’t find anybody with the car, so I’m afraid I failed that test!
I also failed with the Invicta- this lovely old car appears to have been very well used; I recall seeing it race at the Le Mans Classic with, if I recall correctly, owner Alan Brown sharing the driving with Patrick Blakeney-Edwards. This car also was “unattended” and unfortunately the organisers had not left the usual information crib-sheets with each car.
According to the website, there will be a display of historic trucks (and some not so historic too); this is not my field of expertise but there was an almost immaculate drop-side Bedford delivery was on show, someone has obviously gone to a lot of trouble to complete a detailed restoration.
I’m looking forward to attending the Festival and will report back in due course; in the meantime, if you have any questions, please ask and I’ll endeavor to get back with an answer. Previous photos can be found at www.petetaylor.org.uk – there’s lots of old car stuff mixed in with the usual photographic clutter, give it a go!