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Shelsley Walsh Newsletter

May 2020

Dear Friends of Shelsley Walsh,


We hope you are all doing well and keeping safe during these times of lockdown and social distancing but we thought we’d give you some Shelsley Walsh articles and stories to go along with. We’ve also got some hill climb cars to colour in for the aspiring hill climbers of the future or maybe of today too. 


For competitors who are hungry to fire up and attack the first '64 feet' of the season, you’re just as keen as the fans of speed hill climbing are to see it all happen too. If you’e entered a meeting you will have already received an email outlining your entry is safe here for whenever we get going again - you’re automatically on the entry list. 


We’re thinking of plans as to how we may be able to get going again, but until then we have to wait until the Government and Motorsport UK allows us to.


In the meantime, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you all here at Shelsley Walsh when it’s safe to do so.


Kind Regards,


The Team at Shelsley Walsh and the Midland Automobile Club


Sir Stirling Moss


As many of you know, Sir Stirling Moss died on Easter Day leaving a huge hole in the hearts of many motorsport fans the world over. He was the patron of the Shelsley Trust that kick started and drove forward the renewal of our 99 year lease at Shelsley Walsh in the mid 2000s. He came to Shelsley at either ends of his career but here’s Stirling presenting Graeme Wight Jr with a £1000 cheque for breaking the 25 second barrier for the first time at Shelsley after a 24.85 second run.

The money had been put up by Reg Phillips, the cheque having been written out for a while, but finally on June 2nd 2002 Graeme took it during the tremendous run of form he was having in the Gould GR59 V6 that ultimately took him to two British Speed Hill Climb Championships in 2001 and 2002.

Graeme is on the podium at the end of the day with Tim Mason and Rob Turnbull.


Pictures from Tim Robbins and John Charters


Colouring in Templates


We’ve been on to the constructors of some of the Top 12 cars and come up with something for all ages to colour in, so here’s a Gould GR59 of reigning Champion Wallace Menzies, a DJ Firestorm, an Empire Wraith and a Force WH to print out and colour in. 


The Gould took outright records at Prescott, Loton, Harewood and Wiscombe in 2019 with Sean Gould and Wallace Menzies.  Maybe you’d like to put a Formula 1 colour scheme over the top of a hill climb car…? 


When we get going again at Shelsley, bring your drawings in as we’d love to have a look!

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Top 12 Drivers Update

Will Hall was the fastest man up Shelsley Walsh in 2019 with a 23.18 second run in August and is always spectacular with his Force X-Tec that shuns the big V8 trend using a 2 litre turbo.


With Ian Dayson and 1989 British Hill Climb Champion Ray Rowan always at his side with the prep and engineering of the car, Will has gone from a lad coming to the hills with his Dad, Mike, to a championship contender, but what’s a foot for when the car next comes to the start line in 2020? “Mainly we’ve taken 30kgs out of the car to make it go quicker without more power. I’ve also taken 10kgs out of myself by going out on the mountain bike! We don’t have a huge budget but we had some unlucky breaks last season so over the off season we’ve made a cam cover that extends to join the tub to stop the sub frame breaking due to the sheer amount of torque the engine produces. That’s what lost me a run or two last year so I think that’s the thing that’ll give me that step up.”


Sean Gould

Sean Gould had a great run towards the end of last year with a new outright record at Prescott in September with the ‘works’ Gould GR59 but were it not for a few niggles he believes he could have had more results in 2019. 


“A pushrod broke towards Bottom Ess last August and that really hurt my chance of a really good run at Shelsley for the car. I was 0.4 secs faster than my previous best to that point when it broke so I’d say I was on course for a 22.7 or a 22.8 second run. The data backs that up from the car but I can only look forward to seeing what I can do when we get back hill climbing. I was as good as flat through Crossing on the data…”


The engine is different from the British Championship winning Gould of Wallace Menzies as it has a 4 litre Judd V8 that has had a brilliant track record at Le Mans and the WEC in LMP2, although now it’s capacity is a little more than the initial 3.5 litres. “It’s more money to start with over some other engines but it’s bullet proof and won’t need a rebuild for about six years. The centre of gravity is a bit lower as the V angle is a bit wider than an XB Nicholson McLaren but it’s very usable.” 


No matter how many times you hear figures of big power, one is always in a little disbelief when people say that 680bhp is ‘usable’ up narrow hill climbs, but seeing what Sean Gould did last year, it’ll be very interesting to see how things go in his second season in the car.


See more pictures of the Gould GR59 on our facebook page.


10 Years Ago

Martin Groves won the June meeting with 23.15 seconds and then the August meeting with 23.39 seconds. Derek Bell came to Shelsley in a Bentley Continental and also drove Ash Mason’s Pilbeam MP88 Judd V8, the 5 time Le Mans winner. Wallace Menzies was building experience with his DJ, Oliver Tomlin was going well into the 25s with the Pilbeam MP88, Graham Wynn was in the Force Sportscar, The Moran Gould was yellowy/orange, Trevor Willis had a carbon unpainted nose and Richard Spedding was in the orange Force.

25 Years Ago

Andy Priaulx won the British Hill Climb Championship at the August meeting 1995 as he cantered to a perfect score in the British Championship of 10 wins. The title structure was a little different in those days as you could take your best ten scores forward and drop your weaker scores, but Priaulx will go down in history as having the full tally. the Pilbeam MP58 remained on the main land as Graham and Andy skipped back and forth to the mainland from home in Guernsey. June Shelsley had fallen to Andy with a 26.59 second win while in August he did 26.12.


As we know, Priaulx went on to win the European (once) and then the World (three times) Touring Car Championship with BMW before driving at Le Mans for them and also winning the Nurburgring 24 hours in 2005. Little is it known that Andy also tested for Williams when they had BMW power. He was awarded an MBE for his racing accolades in 2008 and also a BRDC Gold Medal.

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Andy Priaulx Wins 1995 BHC August Shelsl
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50 Years Ago

Shelsley had just three meetings over the 1970 season with mid June, July and August. It wasn’t until 1992 that we had a September meeting to bolster the season to four weekends. The record had been set in 1969 to 30.72 seconds by Martin Brain in the 7.2 litre Cooper Chrysler but it was David Hepworth in the 4 wheel drive Hepworth Chevvy that took the record to 30.49 seconds. When would the magic 30 second barrier be broken? 

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100 Years Ago

Following The Great War, Shelsley continued to only have one meeting a year just as it had since the birth of the hill in 1905. It was only in 1926 that it expanded to two meetings a year. However, it was Sunbeam that took their first outright win on the hill with Chris Bird taking the Wolverhampton built TT car to the win with 58.6 seconds. The day must’ve been a little damp as the existing record was a 55.2 set before the war by a Vauxhall 30/98 

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TV at Shelsley Walsh

Shelsley Walsh has been host to many a TV show or filming over the years so we thought we’d pull together some highlights of who’s been.

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Treasure Hunt

Annabel Croft was in touch with Kenneth Kendal about getting the final clue for Treasure Hunt in 1988. Flying around Worcestershire starting from the Schweppes bottling plant at Colwall over the Malvern Hills, to Bromyard, Lower Brockhampton House Annabel’s final clue was 'Above the Teme-ing crowds, SLY HAL’S WHEELS suggest a vintage challenge. Rise to it with the inventor of mathematical logs’.

The helicopter arrived into the car park over the road during the VSCC meeting in 1988 with Anabel running towards the startling looking for an Napier car that was conveniently placed ready to go up the hill…but then didn’t start! A back up car (John Elliot’s Alvis) was pulled into place as the Treasure Hunt clock ticked down. “Is this a Napier?” She cried to which Nick Harrison shouted, "Yes.”  At the top of the hill was the clue attached to the chequered flag and that was the complete Treasure Hunt completed. 

Kenneth Kendal concluded "Above the River Teme (above the Teme-ing crowds) lies Shelsley Walsh (anagram of SLY HAL’S WHEELS) where a vintage car hill-climbing event is in progress (a vintage challenge). Annabel and the crew ride in one of the cars to the top of the hill (rise to it) and reach the treasure, the chequered flag (it’s down in black and white). [They were supposed to ride in a Napier car (Napier invented mathematical logs) but it wouldn’t start, so they rode in an Alvis].

The programme was broadcast on 23rd February 1989.