What a wonderful weekend we had at the Bo'ness Hillclimb Revival meeting on September 7 and 8. The one aim I had with the car this year was to make it to Bo'ness, and I did.

If you have not heard of this event before, or been there, you should find out more on the Club's own site. It has to be some of the best fun in the calendar, with a tremendous 'gala' atmosphere. This is, after all, the hill that hosted the first ever round of the British Hillclimb Championships and has seen more notable competitors than myself in the past: including Messrs J Y Stewart and J Clark.

Here are links both to the BHCR site, and to John Crae's wonderful galleries of pictures he has taken at recent years' events. John was good enough to provide the pictures of my car here. And 'read more' to learn about my own experience.
Getting there myself was not the easiest. I worked to road-register the car beforehand, but circumstances and the DVLA had frustrated those efforts. So I surrendered to my fate and got on the phone a couple of days before the weekend to Norman, who is my go-to-guy for trailer transport. Fortunately he had friends both competing and spectating, and was happy to get up early on Saturday morning. So the Gilbern had unintentionally become a pampered trailer beastie. This was also my biggest challenge, as I had arrived only having driven the car on and off trailers and the odd North Sea ferry.

The aim was not to bend it or break it - just to see whether it worked and how it went. Hence I had left the car on old, hard road tyres. Of course I would then continue to lock-up or 'chirp' the tyres entering Hairpin right throughout the weekend. The track started damp and very, very slippy. So the Crawyett left hander was green and would not be taken 'flat' any time soon, and the conditions at Old Paddock changed with alternating sun and showers.

The photo above shows me traversing the Courtyard complex, where there was enough grip for a competing Morgan three-wheelers to regularly lift an inside front wheel (3-1=2). And that below is me approaching the finish.

I did not stress anything or anyone too hard. I did screw down the adjusters on the rear AVO's to stiffen the rear suspension considerably, trying to keep the car off its bumpstops. While it remained well-balanced, I also thought the 600+ lb/inch front springs were underdamped and turn-in could be improved. So a bit of a review of the rear spring/ bumpstop combination is probably in order; and a stiffer damping solution up front. My clumsy banging around the gearbox was unsettling the car, although I hope a bit of practice and a reverse lockout will help me to develop a smoother operation of the 3-speed synchro.

The only real result I was looking for was the experience. Believe me, just being there makes it all worthwhile. With some serious metal in my class I was always going to be adrift. But I cruised to a 37.31 on Saturday and 34.77 on Sunday - enough to keep me away from the wooden spoon on either day. Nothing broke or needed significant attention.

In the paddock, the GT1800 created interest as an unusual car. And I would say thanks to everyone who stopped to chat with me about it - I hope to see you all there again next year.

Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply.