Special beats weather at Scottish hillclimb

| 13 Sep 2011

A heroic climb in heavy rain secured Fastest Time of the Day for George Laycock in his squat FARM Special at the Bo’ness Revival Hillclimb on 10 and 11 September.Fittingly, Laycock took FTD on his final run of the weekend at the annual Falkirk historic meet, with his 30.95secs result pipping Geoff Hunt’s 31.41secs in his Lotus 22 and the 31.57secs Jock Ramsey set with his potent Opel Manta.That such vastly different cars can compete so closely says much about the tight, slippery and challenging environment at Bo’ness.C&SC’s Simon Taylor voted Bo’ness his favourite event of last year and was back to shave three seconds off his 2010 time in the HWM Stovebolt Special, clocking a best of 33.58, but he had to be happy with third in class behind Fraser Ewart’s purposeful Bentley Mk VI special (32.47secs) and Scott Goodfellow’s Terrier Mk 2 (32.98secs).

This event has been growing steadily since being revived in May 2007, more than 40 years after the final event of the hillclimb’s original life that had started in 1932.The top section has disappeared under a housing estate but, after a very restricted run in the first year, the historic venue now offers competitors a decent blast up from the paddock level below the railway line (charmingly occupied by steam locos from the nearby Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway), around a left-hand hairpin and then up a quick stretch with a left kink before the most challenging section, a right-left-right dash through the Courtyard and up to the finish.However, the venue is handicapped by the lack of a bridge to allow pedestrian access from the classic car displays and refreshments in front of Kinneil House to the car park, extra classics display and paddock path on the other side of the track.The steep forest path up to the paddock doesn’t aid access either, but the pleasant blend of serious competition cars (including an Alfa Romeo TZ and a Brabham BT18 this year), good-humoured local drivers and the picturesque setting made it a weekend to treasure, despite the unpredictable Scottish September weather.

A selection of photos from the event follows below. Double click on the lead image to launch a slide show.

Stewart Gordon in The Trice.

Jock MacKinnon's Bentley 3-litre on the start line.

Good turn out of Vintage Bentleys.

Trevor Jackson's Austin 7 Ulster was light enough to cope with the mud in the paddock.

Kinneil House made for a scenic background for the classic display.

A taste of the variety in the classic display.