On This Day in 1964: Dyrham Park Hillclimb

May 1964 Driving Mirror cover May 1964 Driving Mirror cover

During the 1960s, we ran hillclimbs up the drive at Dyrham Park, the National Trust venue off the A46.  On 9th May 1964, we ran a closed to club event in addition to our restricted meeting in July and the British Hillclimb Championship round in September.  The running of the venue relied very much on the efforts of a working party to build the barriers from straw bales and associated works.  Here’s what was written in the May edition of Driving Mirror…

DYRHAM PARK Past – Present – Future

The closed meeting on 9th May, was staged in conditions which were dry but, distinctly cool probably deterring some spectators from attending. From the organising point of view it was a delightfully smooth event, with time schedules pretty well kept, a reasonable lunch break (still not, long enough for the gourmets who cook 5 course luncheons perhaps!) and only one or two contacts with the straw bales. Not a whisper of a protest, disturbed the rural atmosphere and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. One or two class records were lowered — which is a point worth noting in a closed meeting — and every entry was despatched with impeccable regularity thanks to the timekeepers who were not having things all their own way with the telephone system. During practice the experiment, of running two cars at, a time on the hill was tried. This seemed to cause no trouble and it is hoped to operate this system for the Restricted Meeting on July 25th.

All-in-all a very good day but two big snags. Firstly that the event is likely to show a small loss financially and secondly hopelessly inadequate working parties beforehand. Proposals to circumvent these problems have been discussed and at the Restricted and National Meetings a charge of 2/6 is to be made for parking. A slight increase in the entry fees (5/—) will also assist in this direction despite a larger sum being allocated for awards. The second item is not so easily solved because the only way that results are likely to be gained to alleviate this headache is by appealing to all club members to play their part, in keeping Dyrham going. The Sub-Committee who organise the hill climbs were so appalled at the turn out for the working parties for the May meeting that after a great deal of serious deliberation have reluctantly come to the following decision.

Working parties are called for on the Thursday and Friday evenings and a goodly turn out of marshals etc., on the day. A list will be circulated at club meetings for members to append their names. Additionally, postcards are being distributed to all members within a 25 mile radius to return showing when they can help — these post, cards also being sent to all competitors in the same area — competitors usually being conspicuous by their absence and seemingly forgetful that these events are staged for their benefit.

A minimum of 20 names are required on the list for Thursday evening, 25 for Friday evening and 30 for Saturday at 8.15 a.m. Unless the foregoing numbers are actually listed by July 14th the event will be cancelled.

This, it is realized, is a most serious threat and one that was not taken lightly, as it will obviously result in a heavy financial loss apart from the blow to our prestige. Also bear in mind that entries for this meeting are usually oversubscribed and if we disappoint the entrants our events may suffer in the future.