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Prescott Hillclimb, 23 – 24 May 2009

The Bugatti Owners’ Club hosted their third annual “La Vie en Bleu” meeting at the Prescott Hillclimb course to the north of Cheltenham, over the weekend of 23 – 24 May. As befits the name of the event it was essentially a celebration of French racing blue, with a definite Gallic atmosphere, from Legionnaires and Gendarmes, through striped matelot and beret wearing “artists”, a ‘20s Parisian bus, live music, to performances by Can- Can girls.

As Prescott is the headquarters of the Bugatti Owners’ Club, there was a wide range of Bugatti models in attendance, with around a hundred examples ranging from a Type 15, through a great selection of T35 variants, plus many others, to a quartet of the latest model to carry the Bugatti badge, the spectacular Veyron. All in all, a great selection for the enthusiast to enjoy in Bugatti’s centenary year.

It wasn’t only Bugattis that featured at the event, as there were numerous other French cars, including rarely seen pre-war classics like Amilcar, Delahaye, Hotchkiss, and Talbot-Lago, and post-war ones like the Alpine A110, Renault R8 Gordini, Venturi, not forgetting the venerable Citroen 2CV, plus an extremely rare CG Spider. There was also a British car with French power, the ex-Ayrton Senna JPS liveried Lotus 98T, with a turbocharged Renault engine, which did demonstration runs on both days. However, it wasn’t exclusively a French gathering, as there was also many other cars charging up the hill, including a 5 litre air cooled aero engine powered JAP, Alfa Romeos, Austin Healeys, Ferraris, Minis and Porsches to name but a few.

With perfect weather, sensible entry fees, a great friendly and relaxed ambience, a wonderful variety of machinery, this was the place to be that weekend, deep in the lush green British countryside.

David O’Neill