Saturday 10 September 2011

Bo'ness Hillclimb

Had an interesting day out at the Bo'ness Hillclimb. I'd only been to one hillclimb before, the Barbon Hillclimb in Cumbria, so was looking forward to seeing another one more locally. The Bo'ness Hillclimb was only for cars, whereas Barbon is bikes.
I got up to heavy rain and set off for the 40 or so mile ride to Bo'ness. I rained off and on all the way, and there's nothing interesting to say about a trip across Central Scotland mostly on motorway, except there was a holdup on the M8 motorway through Glasgow, (caused by an accident according to the signs). I had to filter through traffic for about 2 miles before I got to the front of the queue, where the Police had pulled all the motorbikes over to the side as there had been a fuel spillage and they were scrubbing the road with detergent. (You wouldn't want to ride on that!)
Just after I arrived, the road cleaning had just finished, and the Police waved all the bikes through. From there it was an uneventful trip to the hillclimb where I met Malcolm (Suzuki SV650), and my brother Stuart (Yamaha FJ1200).
The competitors were just stopping for lunch as we arrived, so we went round the displays by various car clubs.

(That's suspiciously close to Periwinkle and Creme de la Creme - mmmm, nice!)

(Early 60s Ford Zodiac. My Dad had the slightly less swanky Zephyr)

(There was a stall from a place that trained owls for demonstrations, I thought this pair were just so sweet.)

(Norton single on one stall)

We went for a wander down to the competitor's paddock for a look at some of the cars.

(Norton 500cc single powered racing car. There were a few of these.)

(JAP V-twin powered. This was really loud!)

(Yes, someone is rich enough to race a Ferrari.)

The object in hillclimbing is to drive your car as fast as possible up a short but winding road. Cars go singly and are timed against the clock. There were various categories from pre 1918 road cars to Single Seater Racing cars up to 1973. Last year they also had bikes, but there were none this year. The track is very narrow and lined with straw bales, so I think it would be a bit dangerous for bikes. It doesn't say anywhere in the programme, but the track looked to be about half a mile.

The racing restarted for the afternoon session and we watched from 'Old Paddock Bend', where the still damp track caught out a number of competitors. Most managed round only clipping the bales, but one wasn't so lucky!

There's very limited viewing points on the track, so these tend to be busy. This added to the safety fences and straw bales makes it very hard to photograph cars during the event. Best to look at the galleries on the website, where pictures by photographers who had access to better parts of the track are posted.
As the day went on the weather got better, the track dried, and the cars got faster. By the end of the afternoon it had got so warm that we had some icecream - not often you can say that in September!
In the paddock I spotted this AJS:

And in the car park I saw this really nice MG:

It was a great day out and the trip back was a lot warmer, sunnier and drier than the trip over.


  1. That's odd, the link for here at "Auld Kawas..." says "High Security...4 days ago". Oh well, you've posted several times since then.
    "Hill Climb" always conjures up in my mind Malcolm Smith in "On any Sunday", blasting up some hairy dirt hill out in the wilds somewhere. Either that or the Pike's Peak climb that involves all manner of vehicles up a mountain. I have never been to any hill climb of any sort, other than ones I did myself on dirt bikes. Looks like an interesting event there. It seems there are always wrecks involved in all hill climbs.
    My Grandfather had a 1964 Ford Galaxy wagon,with the monster 390 V-8. My father brought a 1954 Ford wagon to Japan when our Air Force family was stationed over there in the 50's. It was always a spectacle when compared to the Mazdas and Toyotas and such over there. Cars were so tiny there back then.
    And what do they train the owls to do?

  2. I've noticed that links to other blogs seem to be a few days 'late'. No doubt there's some explanation!
    They train owls to fly down from perches, hover, and swoop down to whistled commands. I've seen it done with other birds like falcons and kestrels. Takes a long, long time to train them!

  3. Haven't been to the Bo'ness Hill Climb yet, always seem to remember after the day, might get there yet! Looks like a good turn out of machines, were there many bikes. Used to go to the Doune Hill Climb many years ago, great track but only cars racing.
    Glad you said about blog posts, there hasn't been anything in the blogs I watch section to say you had posted anything, also I can now post comments on others sites but cant get into my own blog..... back to FB :-(

  4. I'd forgotten all about it until my brother phoned me the night before! Doune Hill Climb is on next weekend (17/18th), might go if the weather's OK.