Kophill Climb

“The Next Car is 571 is one of our favourite cars,an Audi quattro famous for Rallies, winning Rallies and starring in Ashes to Ashes … Remember that... And this car has upgrades including water cooled turbo and………then, the famous 10 valve exhaust noise and off! High rev changes and on to the trees!!”

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That was the reception and start this September at the Kophill Climb sent out via loudspeakers to the many hundreds/thousands in lines of spectators and on grandstands alongside the start of the hill run.

My enthusiasm for the Kophill weekend started several years ago, when I applied to have the MB in the club paddock where around 300 cars are on show for what I found to be admiring and surprisingly knowledgeable car enthusiasts, many quattro lovers. The hill climb added a greater array of cars and the hill run provides fantastic sounds and atmosphere. There is also an entrant’s paddock where you can admire and talk to owners and be closely alongside when they go and return from the hill run.

This year I asked if it was possible to enter an application for the hill. The event is mainly for older cars; pre and post war up to 1970s.There is however limited space for what is called exotic cars, and seeing this year there were around 150 rejections overall, to very worthy applicants, I was not very optimistic.

However I was delighted to be accepted. Other exotic cars included 2012 Ferrari 458; 2007 Lamborghini Spyder; 1997 Ferrari 550; 2004 1997 Bertini GT and I think 8 in total, so the quattro was in impressive company in this sector.

Most cars have one day hill and one day in the paddock, and this initially was my schedule. Then I had an email stating that I was among some special cars being offered the weekend - would I like to enter..?. Would I!!! When will this dream end...? More garage pre checks; Harraps Motors and Steve Hedges body shop of Chesham, to be worthy of the day.

The day and the weekend weather was remarkably sunny and warm. We started with the de brief, instructions, current facts of the law on hill runs - 60 mph? - my neighbour Ferrari did over 120 prior to the hill! Are the any here with experience of hill runs, sprints etc? Hands going up...It’s not relevant
here …. you are there TO ENTERTAIN, meaning (I was sure) amongst other factors, wheel spin starts,(not for 4 wheel); high revs; lots of noise for this event, and maybe dress for the time. I did enquire into the QOC regalia kits, with no reply. So I eBayed an original Audi Pit crew shirt and found other suitable coats and hats

When you are called, it’s a close gauntlet of lines of spectators, possibly preferring to be closer here than to the runs. Some did come up to show appreciation and chat, which was nice and also some from the marshals while waiting turn. Frequently over the weekend, I experienced lots of mutual admiring exchanges from participants. On the grid, there is an announcement of the car/owner /history, for all participants over the loudspeakers; the flag is down and we are off, high revs, quick gear changes and then up the hill. The hill is not particularly challenging for the MB, but it’s very narrow, enclosed by
trees. There are stations of marshals, whom I understood are professionals, including Silverstone regulars. We were informed at debrief that they are there to ensure you are driving within the limit of your car (MB quattro – what limits?). Finally waved down at the finish. Not a long run, maybe one tenth
of Nuremburg, but overall much more fun. That’s not the finish, as on the return run there are many spectators along the route, and much hooting and waving which really added to the occasion. There are two runs each day.

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Probably the most memorable moment and what summed up the weekend, was when the show photographer asked me for a favour - could I speak to a teacher and a pupil from the local school...?

The school owns this field and much of this event is run by vast numbers of volunteers and the school, with the pupils organising the photographs in cooperation with the local Rotary Club. They wanted me to show my car and give a hill run ride to a participating pupil to give them more experience with the event. Did I have choice? Afterwards, parents came over for photos and a chat.

This is what makes the Kophill event so brilliant. It is now mentioned alongside Goodwood. This year £75,000 was raised for charity. Petrol heads - bring your family, there are great events for youngsters and enjoy a carnival
atmosphere. Also, their Web site is worth looking at, especially to see the entrants.