Sprints and Hillclimbs
Please note that this is only a brief outline of what is involved. If you want to know more our club nights are a great source of information and there will always be someone there who will answer any questions you may have.
What is it?
A sprint is usually held on a racetrack, airfield or sometimes at a stately home (e.g. Lydden Hill, Debden or Longleat). Cars set off one at a time and compete against the clock. You usually get a couple of practise runs followed by a number of timed runs, with your best timed run to count. Being time based you can compete against your own ‘previous best’ or more normally others running in your class of car.
Some of the easiest events to get started on are those held on airfield circuits such as North Weald, where cones are used to mark out the course. One of the benefits of this type of course is that it is usually fairly difficult to hit anything solid (it is however possible, if you try hard enough!).
Hillclimbs are very similar to sprints, but take place on a private road or drive that, not surprisingly, runs uphill (e.g. Valence or Harewood). This usually means that you do a single run up the hill rather than a sprint where you may do a lap and three-quarters of a circuit such as Lydden Hill.
The simple definition of a hillclimb is a sprint where the finish is higher than the start!
What do I need to get started?
16 [with a parent or guardian present] or 18.
Club membership card (7oaks or invited clubs, see individual regs) and a non-race National B licence available from Motorsport UK for £46. For cars running in production classes, the MOT certificate, insurance and tax.
There are numerous classes for a great variety of vehicles although constraints on some venues may mean that not all classes are allowed. For example, some venues exclude single-seater racing cars over two litres. There are classes for most road going vehicles and it is fairly common for cars in production classes to be driven to and from the venue.
You will need an Motorsport UK approved helmet and fire-retardant overalls. There is no requirement at present for a roll cage in production classes, but if one is fitted it needs to be of an approved type. Cars in production classes will need current tax, insurance and MOT.
What will it cost
Entry fees are currently between £70 and £150 an event depending on venue.
What can I enter
The club runs a championship of at least 25 rounds of which 10 count. There are also many other sprint and hillclimb events to which our members are invited.
The down side - possible pitfalls. You will be driving at a higher speed than is possible on the road and the cars can, and do, sometimes break. If you have driven to the event it may need to be taken home by trailer.
If you are using a road car then either the performance on the track or the road manners of the car will be compromised, you can’t have it both ways!
You will get less ‘track time’ per £ than say a ‘track day’ but you do get the ‘competitive element’ and events are often won and lost over fractions of seconds.
As with any form of motor sport, although they are rare, accidents can happen. You must be aware of the risks and accept them, if you are to compete.