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Gotherington, 27 – 28 May, 2017

The Prescott Speed Hill Climb, a fraction over a kilometre in length, near the village of Gotherington in Gloucestershire, home of the Bugatti Owners’ Club, hosted the annual La Vie en Bleu meeting incorporating La Vita Rossa, which they introduced in 2016. This was very apt in 2017, Ferrari’s 70th anniversary year, and also the 50th anniversary of the Ferrari Owners’ Club in the UK. Thus the event featured a round of the Ferrari Owners’ Club’s Pirelli Ferrari Hill Climb Championship, with a healthy twelve competitors taking part, in models ranging from a 250 GT Lusso to a F430 Berlinetta.

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There were a wide variety of competition classes, covering a broad spectrum of vehicles, from relatively standard humble road going machinery, like a Ford Puma, to purpose built hill climbing specials like the OMS PR R1 Yamaha. Within the number there were road and race classes for pre-war Austin 7s, with quite a bizarre mix of body styles, a pair of MG Car Club classes, plus of course French and Italian marque classes, and it goes without saying, one for Bugattis. There was also a class for the ERA Club, with six examples of the charismatic marque in the entry list, including the Riley prototype from 1933 and the black ex-Raymond Mays R4D from 1938. Raymond Mays was one of the founders of English Racing Automobiles (ERA) and also British Racing Motors (BRM), apart from being a successful racing driver in a career spanning some thirty years.

Apart from plenty of competitive track activity, there were also special vehicle demonstration parades up the hill, including the “Monster of Turin”, the massive twin chain driven Fiat S76, with its 28.4 litre 4 cylinder engine making an impressive sight. At the modern end of the spectrum, it was a trio of Bugattis that grabbed the attention, with a pair of Veyrons, one black and orange, and the other chrome and black, being preceded up the course by the latest offering from Bugatti, the Chiron, finished in an elegant duo tone blue colour scheme. There was also a raffle each day, in which the prize was a ride up the hill in the Chiron. There were also display areas for one make car clubs, the largest of which on the Saturday was the Ferrari Owners’ Club in The Orchard, numerous trade and vendor stands with a wide variety of offerings, a music entertainment stage, and ambience acts, all combining to provide an entrancing touch of France and Italy in rural England.

Report & Images … Keith Bluemel