Well-known competitor Shirley Monro will take part in the inaugural Hill Climb this summer in her Cooper 500 Mk IV, almost half a century after joining thousands of spectators who watched her father take part in the sprint events, organised by The Hagley & District Light Car Club.
Donald Monro competed at the Chateau many times during the sixties in his distinctive blue AC Ace Bristol in the Grand Touring Cars 1301-2000cc class, alongside contemporaries Phil Scragg, Doc Taylor and British Hill Climb Champions Tony Marsh and David Good in their respective categories.
As a child, Shirley, then a pupil at a nearby Droitwich boarding school, made the short journey to the grounds of the Chateau to watch the action unfold and became captivated by the roar of the engines and the smell of the motor oil.
She treasures a photograph of one of her father’s appearances at the Chateau and following his death, was inspired to begin competing herself more than two decades on. In 1990, she bought the Cooper 500 MK IV she still competes in today and in recent years, researched into the car’s history to discover that it was originally driven by racing legend Stirling Moss during the 1953 season at the French, German and Italian Grand Prix.
Today, Shirley is well known in historic motorsport for competing all over the world sporting her trademark red lipstick and pearls. She will be competing at the Hill Climb in the Racing Cars up to 500cc 1946-1967 class against 500 Owners Association members Xavier Kingsland in his Cooper Mark V and Nigel Challis in the Mark VIII.
A thrill for speed clearly runs in the family as her father was related to Burt Monro, the famed motorcycle racer, which biopic The World’s Fastest Indian, starring Anthony Hopkins, was based upon.
With so many memories intertwined with both the event and the hotel itself, competing at Chateau Impney is certain to be a particularly poignant moment for Shirley.