At almost exactly 1000 yards in length, with a maximum gradient of 1:6.24, Shelsley Walsh is the oldest hillclimb in UK and possibly the World. The original pit boxes and the beautifully restored watermill set a rather tranquil scene, but to drive, the track is a stern challenge.
I’d recommend walking it first, not only to see the track direction, but also just how steep it is in places. As we will see, this has a direct effect on how you approach it.
The Start has quite a gradient already and you should bear this in mind as you bring your starting rev’s up. It’s easy to bog down with too few. As you leave the line, there is a slight curve and then the left-hander at Kennel Bend approaches. It’s key to keep momentum here, as in other places. So, it’s a sensible entry speed, but try to get on the throttle as early as possible from mid-corner onwards.
You will curve slightly left, then right before the fast left which is Crossing. A mid-corner entry will give you a safety margin, but don’t cut the left bank too tight. It’s easy to clip it and many have done this before. Again, momentum here is everything as the steepest part of the hill follows. So, I’d have a small lift to settle the car before the bend then try to get on the throttle as early as is safe to do so. Hold onto the car as the bumps give you an undulating ride towards Bottom S.
It’s here that we can use that steep hill to our advantage. Your braking can be later than normal, but build up to it. A wall awaits you straight ahead if you brake too late! In P1 try to brake a metre later than you would normally. If this works OK, experiment again until you can enter safely – but it’s equally importantly to maintain momentum. The left turn is faster than it looks. Lifting off the brakes and a steady throttle application is the key here to maintaining speed.
Top S is a right-hander and look for the drain cover on the right. Run your right wheel over its centre and this should set you up nicely for your exit.
Now it’s a flat out blast to the Finish, but take care to exit Top S neatly as you want to get every horsepower down and pushing you up the hill.
As soon as you cross the line, go hard on the brakes as the slowing down space is limited. Many’s the time cars have sailed serenely into the cow field as their drivers whooped with joy at their time, provided here by a digital display, whilst forgetting to brake sufficiently early!