Continuing my quest this year to try different Motorsport venues that I haven't been to before, Sunday April 19th saw us heading down to the Salisbury area to the Gurston Hillclimb venue. Approached through lovely rural scenery, it really is tucked away, and so far a little known venue. Our usual early start meant that we were only the 15th car in the car park, and within a few paces were in the hub of the action.
As usual we first wandered around the paddock, which is set in the Farmyard of Gurston Farm, adding a certain rustic charm to proceedings. Here we see a 'willing' mechanic begin the process of starting a small machine for its driver.
Even standing still this Quattro looks a bit of a fearsome beast.
At these grassroots events, there are usually a huge range of machinery being used, and this day was no exception.
It doesn't seem to matter what event I travel to, there always seems to be a large collection of Austin Healeys there, either they are in plentiful supply or they follow me around!
One driver taking a moments quiet contemplation to prepare himself for the hill attack.
Those looking for a Formula 1 style paddock of giant motorhomes and corporate hospitality units, were unlucky, but then again there weren't any barriers to keep you out either!
Onto the start area, and the first thing that became apparent, was that although it was a hillclimb, the first part was downhill! This meant that there was some ferocious acceleration off the start line. As you can see the setting is lovely.
Due to the downhill start, once cars have been positioned for the timing beam, a couple of Marshals have to hold the car steady before take off.
Immaculate Austin Healey in action.
As you can see in the background, you have a good clear view close to the action.
Rolling hills, classic British car and glorious sunshine, what more could you want?
Just a trace of opposite lock to keep things neat, the cars may be old but there was still some very skillful spirited driving to be enjoyed.
There is some seriously good preparation being done to get cars looking this good.
A Mini, full of charm, but don't underestimate it, as it was a seriously quick machine.
The purpose built single seaters, are the highlight for many. Small, nimble, powerful and with wings for the resultant downforce to glue them to the tarmac.
Some of them use engines from motorbikes, making them a high energy fizzing missile.
Not hanging around with one front wheel completely off the ground.
Even the single seaters come in many different styles and sizes, all with one aim to get to the top of the hill in the fastest possible time.
Not many sculptured curves on this one, but very purposeful all the same.
Of course not all single seaters were of the modern carbon fibre variety.
Pushing to the limits, is always, at some point going to result in track departures.
A bit of grass cutting!
The Marshals did a great job sorting out the mishaps.
A car dropping oil on the track meant that brooms were put into action, covering it in cement dust. As usual the marshals do a tremendous job at events like this.
Just about the best helmet design I have seen in quite some time.
At various points on the track, there isn't much room for error, so drivers have to concentrate very hard.
The highlight for me though were the bikes, as the riders tried to wrestle them around the course.
Fighting to keep the front wheel down, as he accelerates away from the corner.
Concentrating hard to maximize the speed.
Massive suspension movement to soak up any bumps.
As you can see, his eyes are focused firmly on the road ahead.
If you think racing a bike is brave, you should try being the passenger in a sidecar!
For some the whole day proved too tiring!
At the end of the day, as we walked out to the car, even this horse in the stable appeared sorry to see us leave.
All in all a great day out, packed with competitive action on two and four wheels, with plenty of room to move around and great viewing, I can highly recommend Gurston, it may not be as famous as some other venues, but well worth a visit. I look forward to returning.