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5 May 2015

Craigantlet Hill Climb 2015

Craigantlet Hill Climb 2015

Push the Limits

Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis

On Saturday the 2nd of May, the Craigantlet hill was overrun by many brave men who despite the horrific weather conditions decided it was in fact a great day to go out and play. It takes a certain set of b#lls and insanity for one to jump into a race car and push it to the limits. Any sort of motorsport racing is dangerous, but hill climb more so, due to the lack of a co-driver and pace notes. Add rain factor to it and suddenly it becomes one of the toughest motorsport challenges out there.

Tragically we recently lost a true hill climb legend..., so I’d like to dedicate this article to Simon and all the drivers that keep on racing, entertaining and being heroes.
Over 50 race cars from UK & Ireland entered the Craigantlet Hill Climb 2015 which was a round of the British Hill Climb Championship. The event was organised and ran by the UAC (Ulster Automobile Club). For a second year in the row the weather conditions were atrocious; heavy downpours didn’t stop all day, and while everybody tried the best they can to keep their heads dry, the single-seater drivers couldn’t avoid getting their feet soaked as their cars filled with the freezing rain water. Luckily it didn’t stop them or the hard-core fans, and once the morning coffee was finished it was time to start the action.
Located in the heart of Northern Ireland Belfast, the Craigantlet hill is less than a mile long and it takes about 45 seconds to tackle the challenging course.
Start Line - the aim of a hill climb is to ascend the course in the fastest possible time, and just like in any race the start is a crucial part of it! The steep and slippery start proved very tricky as many cars struggled to put the power down and get off the line.
Turn 1 – having had accelerated to second or third gear the drivers are facing the first challenge - a sweeping right hander that is obstructed by the hedges.
Exit of the corner - a standing water paddle on the racing line was ready to catch the drivers off guard.
Turn 2 - Down the gears for the left hander.
Exit of the corner - very slippery surface where the throttle pedal may suddenly become the steering wheel.
Chicane - following Turn 3 the  drivers finally get the chance to put the right foot down down before heavy braking for the chicane.
The crossroads – the junction with the hidden dip can catch out if not careful; quite a few drivers on the day experienced some close calls when their car’s back end stepped out under the heavy acceleration and compression.
It seemed that even the most sophisticated four wheel drive systems just weren't up to the task in these slippery conditions. Ivan’s Momentum Motorsport tuned Nissan R35 had a moment when the rear decided to go.
Turn 4 and 5 – following the crossroads the drivers are yet again able to open up the taps and enjoy the full throttle for a few seconds before approaching the scary turn 4. Braking is crucial here, especially under wet conditions. The Jedi which is piloted by David ended up on a bank here last year, but luckily no drama this year for him or his son Chris, who he also shares the car with.
Turn 6 - Double apex right hander before the finish where the bravest cut the corner hitting the kerb to shave off that millisecond that matters.
And there you have it – Craigantlet Hill. OMS 28 piloted by Trevor Willis managed to storm up the course in very impressive 46.21 seconds.
To see all results please click HERE.

Some more pictures from the day:

1 comment:

  1. Excellent photographs and report