After the sweeping spaces of Abingdon, round 3 and 4 at Wiscombe Park couldn’t really be a greater contrast. Set in idyllic Devon parkland, Wiscombe Hillclimb exists due to the sheer petrol headed enthusiasm of Wiscombe House’s former owners and dates back to when they returned from WWII. For the contemporary hillclimber, it offers a unique challenge. So, read on!
After the now rare bit of tyre warming in the prestart area, you will be lined up in front of the slightly hump backed bridge over the trout stream. A short Shute when the lights go green takes you to Wis Corner, a key part of the climb. It’s a slightly tightening left around big tree. Too slow and it’ll hurt. Too quick and you’ll run wide up the bank. You won’t be pioneering anything, plenty have been up there before. So stay tight, moderate your exit speed mid turn and then smoothly pour on the power for the climb across the meadow. It curves a little and then skirts a big tree on the left at Bunny’s Leap. It’s quick here, but the track curves slightly left and the right bank looms up.
Some heavy braking now for the right handed The Gate corner. As the name suggests, this is a gate where it’s actually important a) not to hit it and b) to keep perhaps a tad more momentum than you think. The Gate leads you to the steepest part of the hill, The Esses, which wind up though banks of foliage and go through a series of lefts and rights where it’s important to keep momentum. Be sure to give yourself room, the banks are very close here.
You will eventually arrive at Sawbench Hairpin. Not actually a one-eighty right but more a one-ten. It’s important to arrive on the left, but the braking area is bumpy. Avoid the temptation to cut across on an early entry, you will go across the steepest part of the track, lift a wheel and run wide. Try to take a later entry and feed the power back on steadily. It’s so easy to leave here in a cloud of crowd-pleasing tyre smoke and indeed a lot of spectators gather here. You may have pleased them, but your time will suffer. So, patience is required.
A medium straight, Castle, now allows you to build up speed, but Martini Hairpin now approaches. Stay right and brake as you feel appropriate. If all fails, a slight right escape road is there, but you need to make a conscious decision to take it. If you are planning to continue your climb, it’s another late entry into the tight left. If being patient worked at Sawbench Hairpin, it’s twice as important here.
Then you will see the finish – give it full beans and you’ll sit there smoking your expensive rubber and throwing away whole seconds. So, it’s a turn in left, let the car settle and then smoothly power over the line. Once again a good crowd waits here precisely to see drivers burn £££’s of expensive rubber and throw away their hard won time.
So, that should get you safely to the top! As at many hillclimbs, the scenery is much closer than at a circuit, so drive accordingly- it’s a great challenge here to get it just right.