Shelsley Walsh resumes British hill climb racing

Sean Gould posts fastest time up the historic hill

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Shelsley Walsh
A car races up the hill at Shelsley Walsh

Noting that it not only has the world’s oldest motorsports venue still using its original course, but that its 2020 event was the first competitive hill climb of the British season, Shelsley Walsh staged its “Summer Spree” this past weekend, ending a hiatus forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the event was held “behind closed doors,” it also marked the first time in the 115-year history of Shelsley Walsh that the hill climb was live-streamed on the internet.

Sean Gould
Sean Gould’s car was fastest to the summit both days | Shelsley Walsh photos

Sean Gould posted the fastest time both days of the event in his 700 horsepower Gould GR59 V8, a vehicle that looks like an Indycar and made it up the hill in as little as 23.61 seconds. 

Three-time British hill climb champion Trevor Willis was second at 24.27 seconds.

The winner and his car

“We are all thrilled to be back, there’s nothing quite like the smell of Castrol R, the sound of engines reverberating around the paddock and getting to see all our race community of friends that we’ve all missed dearly,” said Gary Hall, general manager of the Midland Automobile Club. 

“With all motorsport this year taking place behind closed doors, we were keen to share the hill climb action at Shelsley Walsh and instigated live-streaming which was broadcast free of charge to fans throughout the world.”

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The popularity of such coverage came as a surprise, he added.

“We have been taken aback with the response and popularity of the live-streaming and had viewers tune in from as far afield as Tasmania, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Canada and USA to France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain and of course throughout the UK. 

“One viewer was on a yacht off the coast of Cornwall whilst another on an oil tanker in the middle of the South China Sea! The reach was phenomenal and reminiscent of the BBC Empire Service in the 1930s that was also broadcast worldwide from Shelsley Walsh.”

The next event on the Shelsley Walsh hill is scheduled for August 8-9 and will feature a VSCC Vintage meet for pre-war cars as well as the run for the Reg Phillips Memorial Trophy. There is no announcement yet about live-streaming.

The 1,000-yard (0.568 miles) ascent at Shelsley Walsh, located in the Worcestershire Hills countryside, has been used for motorsport since August 12, 1905. 


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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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