Cultra Hill Climb 2014
Up the hill we go
Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
Thousands of people annually visit the Ulster Transport museum to enjoy the historic machinery; however, one day in particular the crowds are bigger than ever. Each year this peaceful and beautiful park gets overrun by loud, aggressive, fire spitting race cars, flying up the narrow and twisty hill pass the magnificent Cultra Manor.
The oldest hill climb in the world attracts large crowds each year thanks to the fantastic location and impressive entry lists. The 109 year old event is organised by the TSCCNI motor club, and usually features an extraordinary line up of cars ranging from modern era to the early 20th century. Rally cars, single seaters, street performance vehicles, classic sports cars and modern race cars - there is something for everybody.
The event continues to grow from strength to strength with the support of the local council, Ulster Transport Museum and the countless volunteers, including the marshals. With an incredible fan base and friendly atmosphere it is an event that makes you want to return.
Fine tuning their engines, checking the tire air pressures or just relaxing; from the moment the sun rises the drivers are there. With only a handful of practice runs under their belts, it takes a lot of skill and concentration for these men to battle the hill without the pacenote aid.
With a unique theme running each year for the Cultra Hill Climb it was the anniversary of the Mini's victory in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally that was chosen for the 2014. Many owners of this cult car displayed their pride and joy on the day.
But don't be fooled in thinking it ends there; many other cars are scattered across the park for spectators to admire.
The cars line up in the paddock at the bottom of the hill.
Surrounded by the shadows of the tress the start straight is only a few yards long. Once in the open the drivers approach the first long and tricky left hander that immediately throws you back into a right hand bend.
Down the straight to a nearly flat right hander.
A few gears down and harsh braking into a double left.
Exit right and flat out for a long left hander.
Continue to the trickiest part of the course - hard breaking for a right hand junction. With either understeer or oversteer this seems to be the Achilles' heel for many.
Once the traction has been regained it's time to brake again for the left hand junction.
And away to the finish line with a right/left to finish it off.