Cornwall will be making motorsport history this weekend as the ground-breaking Watergate Bay Speed Hillclimb takes place on the North Cornish coast near Newquay (15/16 September).
Around 90 cars and drivers from across the UK will compete against the clock, tackling the 720-metre course along the B3276 coast road between Padstow and Newquay. The event marks the first Speed Hillclimb to take place on a closed public road, since the passing of a law in Parliament in 2017 which enables the suspension of the Road Traffic Act for motorsport events. It will be sanctioned by the Motor Sports Association (MSA) which governs the sport in the UK.
From an idea in 2013 by Truro Motor Club Competition Secretary and now Deputy Event Director of Watergate Bay Hillclimb Dave Brenton, the concept has grown significantly in strength and has gained support from a wealth of local businesses who are keen to see the event become an annual event.
Local charities benefit from the weekend, with all profits being donated to the Cornwall Air Ambulance and Cornwall Food Foundation, which includes Jamie Oliver’s apprentice training scheme at the nearby Fifteen restaurant.
Organisers have been inundated with entries for the weekend which boasts a fantastic mix of personalities and local competitors all eager to play a part in making motorsport history. Ginetta GT5 racer and motorsport star Charlie Martin. is a notable entry on the list, bringing her own Mini Cooper to Cornwall after spending the previous week enjoying the Cornish hospitality and surf in the region.
Sadly, FIA World Rallycross ace and Monster Energy Athlete Liam Doran has had to withdraw due to be called up to contest the next round of the series in Latvia by Prodrive.
There will be a wide range of cars competing throughout the weekend, divided into 12 classes, ranging from totally standard road going examples to highly modified racers and rally cars.
Local drivers have been eager to contest the event which is aiming to become an annual celebration of the sport for the region. Husband and wife team Helen and Gary Pitt from Camborne will be sharing their Suzuki Swift in class A1 (Roadgoing). Whilst they have four other contenders in the class, their biggest rival will undoubtedly be each other.
Shelley Deacon has been involved in the organising team of the event, but switches to the driver’s seat during the weekend. Deacon, from St Dennis will drive her Audi TT which she has been using with great success in the British Women Racing Drivers Club Hillclimb and Sprint championships this season.
The Watergate Bay Hotel Rally Car Class is well supported, with event sponsor Neil Yates bringing his Rally Prep backed BMW E30 the three or so miles from his St Columb workshop to the hillclimb. A rare MG Metro 6R4, driven by Andy Slade will make the trip from Plymouth and motorsport fans will be in for a treat, undoubtedly hearing the car before seeing it.
Deputy Event Director Dave Brenton is delighted with the response to the Hillclimb.
“A few years ago, this was just an idea and now this weekend, after many months of hard work, it becomes a reality” he said.
“Cornwall is a fantastic place for motorsport and has a very healthy scene which tends to hide itself away, so Watergate Bay is effectively bringing motorsport to the people. We have had lots of support from the MSA and our sponsors, all of which have helped to make this happen and it really is exciting to be making history in the sport. We have a great entry lined up and we think it will be a great weekend for all to enjoy and the plan is certainly to make it an annual event”.