The third Chateau Impney Hill Climb took place on 8th and 9th July and was regarded as a resounding success by all who attended. In glorious sunshine and the picturesque grounds of Chateau Impney there was an increased number of attractions for the 16,000 visitors to enjoy. This included, not just the line up of world class cars and bikes, but fun for all the family provided by the free Land Rover Experience, G-Tec Sports Village, climbing wall and vintage funfair. A resplendent mix of traders and exhibitors courted this year's visitors and included: the Morgan Motor Company, the Alvis Car Company and Brian James Trailers to name a few.
The delectable array of machines gathered for this event continues to get better every year attracting cars from around the world and from some of the most prestigious car collections including the ERA Delage kindly entered by Peter Mullin and a Maserati Birdcage provided by Nick Mason.
It was Lotus 20/22 driver and 2015 Fastest time of the day (FTD) winner Jack Woodhouse, who once again reigned victorious as he was the first ever to brake under the 40 second barrier!
Previous winner Martin Jones in the Brabham BT 21B and last year’s title contender Callum Grant in the Merlyn Mk 5/7 were close behind. With the top 25 cars all within 5 seconds, the competition was close!
Woodhouse broke 40 seconds in the morning session on Sunday which set the pace for the day and set a blistering new course record!
In all, the existing Chateau Impney record was only beaten by Jack Woodhouse and his winning times. However, contenders Callum Grant and David Gidden in the Lotus 23B beat their previous times at last year’s event!
"We are delighted with the growing success of Chateau Impney Hill Climb which simply could not happen without the support of all who contribute and attend each year. 2017 has been a special anniversary year and seen the event develop achieving a step forward from last year. We look forward to raising the bar again in 2018!" said Event Director Rod Spollon.
In total, over 200 drivers took part in the event, split across 18 classes. The full list of class winners is as follows:
Class 1: Sue Darbyshire – Morgan Super Aero – 49.07
Class 2: Ewen Getley – Bentley 3 Litre – 48.24
Class 3: Dr David Pryke – Morgan-Riley – 47.70
Class 4: Tom Waterfield – GN Dragonfly – 47.62
Class 5: Geoff Smith – Piccard Pictet Special – 53.02
Class 6: Gary Clare – Grannie – 49.98
Class 7: Ben Fidler – ERA AMJ1 – 45.01
Class 8: Ian Baxter – Alta 61 IS – 43.71
Class 9: Justin Maeers – GN Parker Special – 44.57
Class 10: Mark John Riley – Creamer Special – 45.70
Class 11: Mark Woodhouse – Elva FJ 100 – 43.18
Class 12: Justin Maeers – Cooper Monaco T49 – 44.46
Class 13: Malcolm Thorne – Lotus Buick 15 – 43.34
Class 14: Rod Spollon – BRM P48 – 46.17
Class 15: David Gidden – Lotus 23B – 41.25
Class 16: Jack Woodhouse – Lotus 20/22 – 39.33
Class 17: Martin Jones – Brabham BT 21B – 40.53
Class 18: David West – Austin Cooper S – 45.04
Ben Fidler scooped the award for the Fastest ERA in ERA AMJ1 with a time of 45.01 seconds. This award was in partnership with the Bugatti Owners Club, to present ‘The ERA Challenge Trophy’ to the best ERA or ERA-engined car performance on handicap at both La Vie en Bleu, held at Prescott Hill Climb and the Chateau Impney Hill Climb.
This year marked the 60th Anniversary since the Maserati factory retired from racing with a spectacular array of Maserati’s competing. This anniversary also coincided with Manuel Fangio’s spectacular World Championship title win in 1957. Some of the Maserati’s competing included the 250F, 6CM and Birdcage. The award for the fastest Maserati went to Michael O’Shea in the Cooper Monaco Maserati with a time of 45.37. We were proud to be supported once again from our timing partner, Simon Carter, exclusive menswear brand.
An unrivalled and diverse array of cars took part in our lunchtime demonstration runs, including the sensational Bugatti Chiron, Ferrari Enzo and Jaguar CX75. We were lucky enough to secure 3 F1 cars which roared along the course, to the delight of the fans and on Sunday were astounded by the flaming Ford 24T Bucket Dragster which lit up the hill. The public were able to vote for their favourite car from the Footman James Concours d’Elegance, with the stunning 1934 Bugatti T57 Atalante taking the spoils. Within our Concours d’Elegance area there was a special display of Bugatti’s from throughout the years, in partnership with the Bugatti Owners Club.
Alongside these stunning demonstrations, we were fortunate to have over 10 Group B rally cars, including an Audi Quattro A1, Renault 5 Maxi Turbo and Ferrari 308 GTB which put on a show for the crowds with donuts in front of the Chateau, regularly leaving bodywork scattered up the drive way.
The event also featured a crowd-stopping flypast from the Lancaster Bomber on both Saturday and Sunday. We were lucky enough to also have the thrill of the Red Arrows fly past on the afternoon of the Saturday.
Having had a sensational summer weekend in the shadow of the majestic Chateau Impney the crowds left on Sunday evening with beaming faces looking forward to next year. The Chateau Impney Hill Climb continues to get bigger and better, but still retains its wonderfully relaxed and chilled atmosphere. The combination of exciting classic motorsport, the style and sophistication of the Chateau's grand French architecture set in beautiful English parkland is pretty hard to beat. Let's see what 2018 will have to offer…