What is this hillclimbing sport all about?
For a start, it doesn’t involve hiking boots, though wet weather gear may sometimes be required! Essentially, a Hillclimb is a time trial on a closed road – almost like a very short single stage of a rally. Competitors drive individually against the clock between fixed start and finish points over a challenging course. Fastest person to the top wins. There are classes to cater for cars of different capacities or similar performance.
Hills are generally around one mile long, however there a few hills which are longer and there is a difference in altitude between the start and finish lines.
A sprint is pretty much the same as a hillclimb – except it is run on the flat.
You will see an amazing selection of cars on your average Hillclimb weekend. Everything from Single seaters (Lant, Formula Opel Lotus, Judd powered Pilbeam, OMS to name a few) to 300Bhp MKII Ford Escorts, Darrians to beautiful Starlets, Minis, Novas and historic cars will be there. Once the strict safety requirements are met, pretty much anything goes in Hillclimbing.
There are 14 rounds in the calendar for the National Hillclimb and Sprint Championship (normally two rounds over seven weekends at a variety of locations around Ireland – Galway, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Donegal, Carlow. There are also a number of Non-Championship Hillclimbs and Sprints held at various locations.
Can I compete?
If you are over the age of 16 and have a competition car and racing suit, gloves, balaclava and helmet that meet the Safety requirements – yes you can!
You will need a suitable competition licence. All safety equipment and your car need to conform to the scrutiny requirements as defined by Motorsport Ireland – see here: Current Yearbook
Hillclimbing in Ireland is a truly Sporting form of Motorsport. Your closest competitors are always the first people to lend a helping hand (and sometimes even a car) when you run into trouble. On your average Hillclimb, you can expect to find a super-relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Great fun, good humour, great craic and amazing cars are what it’s all about.