Five Top Tips for Tackling the Hagerty Hill Climb

by Hagerty
4 April 2024 3 min read
Five Top Tips for Tackling the Hagerty Hill Climb

Hagerty’s annual Shelsley Walsh speed fest is approaching fast. On Saturday 11 May, you could join dozens of petrolheads to drive at the oldest motorsport venue in the world – and make your own contribution to motoring history!

Driver tickets are £135 and you’ll get at least three runs up the historic hill. “For not much more than a couple of karting sessions, you can drive, competitively, at a certified motorsport venue, in the wheeltracks of the sport’s great names, and pit your mettle – and metal – against your friends or competitors using very little in the way of brakes and tyres as you do,” says Paul Cowland, who we simply can’t keep away from the annual event.

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Drew Pritchard and Paul Cowland to go head to head at the Hagerty Hillclimb

If you just fancy watching the action, then spectator tickets are £27 per car, while overnight camping is also offered at £30 per pitch. There’ll be plenty of food and drink options on site, and access to amazing vantage points along the 1000-yard course.

The paddock area is open to everyone, and it’s always a joy to explore this amazing moving motor show and chat with fellow enthusiasts.

“Back in the paddock, parked up alongside everything from an Austin-Healey to an Alvis Beetleback, it was a typically English celebration of fabulous cars and the people who drive them – spectators supped Pimm’s while drivers drank tea,” recalls Charlotte Vowden of her first Hagerty Hill Climb experience.

If you’re tempted, take a look at the tips below and then get your tickets here.

Hagerty Hill climb

What to drive and when to arrive

The event is open to almost anything on four wheels! So whether you’ve got a classic car, a modern sports car, a supercar, or a historic competition machine, you’ll be very welcome. The gates will open at 8.30am, with the first run set for 9am.

What you’ll need to bring

You don’t need to dress like Lewis Hamilton, but you will need to wear a long-sleeved top and trousers, and bring a crash helmet. If you’re driving an open-topped car, then a full-face skid lid is required.

What to expect on the hill

It’s steep! The start can be especially tricky, but the marshals will be on hand to chock your wheels and prevent you rolling backwards. Then it’s up to you.

“Leaning forward, white knuckled, I steered Frisky steadily into and out of the track’s near-90-degree left- and right-hand bends – without drawing breath,” remembers Vowden. “The achievement felt phenomenal.”

Hagerty Hill climb3

How to learn your lines

The great thing about the Shelsley Walsh hill is that you can walk almost the entire length of it on the parallel spectator path. It’s quite a hike, so you’ll probably want to wear walking shoes rather than your racing booties, but it’s a great way to figure out exactly where the narrow track goes.

It’s not a complex layout, but perfection can only come with practice. From the start there’s just a slight kink before the first left-hander at Kennel. It’s a quick right-left combo at Crossing and another almost-straight to the tight left at Bottom ‘S’, followed immediately by a tight right at Top ‘S’ and then flat out to the finish.

If you want a more granular guide, then course record holder Sean Gould can help.

Take it seriously… but not too seriously!

It’s all too easy for the red mist to descend as soon as you put a crash helmet on, but remember, the Hagerty Hill Climb is not an official competition. You’ll be timed on the hill, but there’s no prize money or potential for a works-drive with Red Bull at stake. Take a leaf out of Paul Cowland’s book: “My mates were with me, and despite not particularly setting the world on fire with my times, I truly had a blast.”

Hagerty Hill Climb-Renault rally car

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